You might have read our previous article, detailing how to build a 4 GPU Litecoin mining rig, but maybe you don’t want to invest that much money in a rig just yet. No worries! In today’s post, I’ll show you how you can assemble your own fully upgrade-able 1,300Kh/s Litecoin mining rig for under $1,000. As of the date this guide was updated (12/09/2013), a 2 GPU Litecoin mining rig like this, can generate roughly $350 USD worth of Litecoins per month and will cost you between $700-$900 to build. Click here, for a pre-configured calculator with the hashrate and energy use for this Litecoin mining rig already entered. You’ll just have to enter your local power company rate to calculate your net profits. As you can see, using the best Litecoin mining hardware currently available on the market, we can build a fairly low risk investment in the future of crypto-currency. Let’s get started!
Mining Hardware List
Essentially, a Litecoin mining rig is a custom-built PC with parts chosen for maximum hash rates (determines how fast you can mine) and minimal overall cost. Here are the parts you’ll need to build this budget sub-$1,000 rig.
- Power Supply – $115 - Corsair 850 Watt Bronze Rated PSU. A high efficiency, gold-rated power supply uses less power, but if your electricity is under 0.15/Kwh it may not be worth the extra $. I like modular PSU’s for ease of assembly.
- Motherboard – $85 – ASRock 970 EXTREME4 AM3+ AMD 970 Motherboard (this motherboard has two of the 16x PCI-e slots for your two videocards spaced far enough apart for airflow that PCI-e riser cables are optional.
- GPUs – $520 (2x $260) - Sapphire Radeon 7950 - I use these 7950′s and have overclocked them to mine Litecoin at 600+ Kh/s each. For specific configuration details be sure to read this litecoin mining hardware comparison. If you can’t find the 7950′s in stock anywhere, the next best option is the AMD R9 280x. It has similar hash rates, but uses slightly more power.
- CPU – $35 - AMD Sempron 145 Processor Since CPU specs have no effect on mining efficiency, we’ve chosen the cheapest option here.
- RAM - $30 – 4GB Kingston DDR3 RAM
- Hard Drive – $40 - 32GB Solid State Drive or boot Linux from a fast USB thumb drive)
- Case (optional) – $6 - Plastic Milk Crate (you might be able to pick one of these up at your local office supply store for less)
- Power Switch - $6 – A basic Motherboard Power Switch does the trick, making it easier to start up your mining rig.
- Extra Cooling - $30 - Box Fan (best cooling for a mining rig, pushes all that hot air away from the rig)
- Operating System - $0-$90 - Windows 7 is my preference, but if you’re familiar with Linux you can of course download it for free (some folks consider Linux to be the best OS for litecoin mining, since it keeps your overall costs down, improving your litecoin mining ROI or return-on-investment).
- Monitor, Mouse and Keyboard (to install the OS and configure the mining software, no need to buy more than one set since you only use this for setup)
Upgrading Your Budget Litecoin Mining Rig
Minus the optional cost of the operating system and mouse/monitor/keyboard for setup (I assume you already own this trio), our rig easily slides under the $1,000 limit we set for ourselves. One of the nice features of this litecoin mining rig, thanks to the motherboard’s additional PCI-e slots, is the ability to upgrade it to a 4x GPU rig (effectively doubling your hash rate). You would simply need to purchase two more Radeon 7950 graphics cards, four PCI-e riser cables (one 1x to 16x and three 16x to 16x, to space the cards out for airflow), and one additional cheaper 650 watt power supply to provide power to the extra cards to make this a 2,400 Kh/s rig. To connect your two PSU’s safely, I’d recommend an Add2PSU Multiple PSU Adapter. You can use this adapter for bigger builds as well. I’ve seen folks connect two 750 Watt PSU’s with one to power a 6 GPU mining rig.
Putting it all Together – Assembling your Budget Litecoin Mining Rig
- Un-package everything (be sure to keep original packaging for future re-sale or warranty work)
- Install the Sempron 145 CPU and RAM on the motherboard (the processor comes with a good heatsink and fan assembly; it’s a question I am often asked).
- Plug in the hard drive or optionally a USB thumb drive.
- Insert the 7950 graphics cards in the 16x PCI-e slots (big blue tabbed slots)
- Plug in all power supply connections
- Place motherboard in plastic milk crate (This is optional, as some folks prefer to set the motherboard up on a table or utility shelf, like this one, without any case. The milk crate comes in handy if you plan to put the graphics cards on riser cables.)
- Connect mouse/monitor/keyboard and an internet connection (You can use a USB WiFi adapter, however in my experience, a hard wired ethernet cable connection to your modem/router will have fewer ‘stale shares’ when mining Litecoin.)
- Check all connections once more
- Start up your rig! Install the operating system, latest graphics card drivers, and mining software. Make sure the fans are doing their job. Start the mining software, tweak for maximumhash rates and mine some Litecoin!
A word on Bitcoin mining:
Several people come to this site looking for directions to build a Bitcoin mining rig. Unfortunately, GPU-based Bitcoin mining rigs are no longer profitable, due to the introduction of ASIC miners. You could buy an ASIC, but to be honest, you won’t make much due to the intense competition in that market. I’d recommend just buying the coin outright through Coinbase (as I do, using dollar cost averaging).Sign up through that link, and they’ll reward you with $5 worth of Bitcoin to get you started as a way of saying thanks for buying your first coin through them!