4 GPU Litecoin Mining Rig Guide

Home-built crypto currency mining rigs are a great way to invest in the new digital currencies, while avoiding some of the risk involved in purchasing the coins outright. This guide will show you how to assemble a fairly easy to build ‘milk crate mining rig’. This rig is capable of mining at over 2,800Kh/s. As of the date this guide was updated (2/20/2014), a 4 GPU Litecoin mining rig like this can generate over $350 USD worth of Litecoins per month or around $500 USD worth of Dogecoin, and will cost you between $2,000-$2,500 to build. If you want to see the live current calculation yourself, click here, for a pre-configured Litecoin calculator or here for a Dogecoin mining calculator. You’ll just have to enter your electricity rate to calculate your net profits. I have built several of these rigs for myself and friends. Build time should be no more than 2 hrs.

Mining Hardware Build List

  • Power Supply - $250 –  1300 watt Gold Rated PSU  -  If you are having a hard time finding these larger power supplies in stock, an alternative is to get  two lower powered 750 watt Gold Rated PSU’s and connect them together with this add2psu adapter to power your rig.
  • Motherboard – $90 –  ASRock MB-970EX4 Socket AM3+/ AMD 970/ AMD (best motherboard for mining at the moment). If it is out of stock, this one or this one are good alternatives.
     
  • r9-280x-litecoin-mining-gpuGraphics Cards (GPU) -  $350 x 4  AMD Radeon R9 280x - This is one of the best graphics card for alt-currency mining. It is capable of over 750Kh/s per card, bringing your total rig power to 3,000 Kh/s. Stick with the Sapphire, Gigabyte, ASUS or MSI brands and avoid the HIS, Powercolor and XFX brands as they are known to have issues with mining. I would also recommend the AMD 7950 if you can find them for under $300/ea. They get around 700Kh/s and use significantly less power than the 280x when under-volted. There are several other recommended mining cards that will work with this rig guide listed here. Just remember to calculate the power requirements for whichever cards you decide to go with.
  • CPU – $40 - AMD Sempron 145 Processor - We’ve chosen the cheapest option here, since the CPU doesn’t affect mining efficiency.
  • RAM  - $50  -  4 GB Corsair DDR3 RAM
  • 1x to 16x Powered Riser Cables -  $6 x 4  -  PCI Express 1X to 16X Powered Riser Cables - These riser cables allow you to suspend the graphics cards abover the motherboard for better airflow/cooling. We recommend powered riser cables which plug directly into the PSU to reduce the wattage required from the motherboard. The 1x male end of the cable plugs into either the 1x or 16x slot on the motherboard, and the 16x end of the cable is where the graphics card gets plugged in.
  • Hard Drive –  $40  -  Small Solid State Drive
  • Case - $6 - Plastic Milk Crate (you might be able to pick one of these up at an office supply store for less). Alternatively, for a much more aesthetically pleasing build, check out the custom built cases designed and built by Rich Chomiczewski. I’ve personally used his cases and can recommend the excellent build quality and customer service he provides.
  • Extra Cooling  -  $30  -   Box Fan - Best cooling for a mining rig, as it pushes all that hot air away from the rig.
  • Operating System  -  $0-$90  -  Windows 8.1  – 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). If you want to load the OS from a CD you might want to pick up a $29 external USB powered DVD drive. Many laptops in the ‘thin & light’ category are shipping with no internal optical drive, so it will probably come in handy for other uses as well.
  • Monitor, Mouse and Keyboard - Most people already have this trio somewhere around the house, but I included it since you’ll need it to set up your rig. Once the rig is setup it can run without these as a ‘headless mining rig’.

If you’d like to trade Litecoins or any other Scrypt based currency to Bitcoin, I would recommend the Cryptsy exchange. Also, I personally use and highly recommend CoinBase for buying and selling your Bitcoin for USD here in the US. If you sign up through that link, they’ll give you $5 worth of Bitcoin to get you started as a reward for buying your first coin through them!

 

Putting it all Together – Assembling your Litecoin Mining Rig

Here’s a quick Youtube Video Assembly Overview followed by step-by-step instructions:

  1. Unpackage everything
  2. Install processor and RAM on motherboard
  3. Plug in all riser cables
  4. Place motherboard in plastic crate
  5. Plug in SATA hard drive
  6. Connect all GPUs to riser cables and fasten them to plastic crate evenly spaced out for maximum heat dissipation
  7. Plug in all power supply connections
  8. Connect mouse, monitor and keyboard and an internet connection (I used a USB WiFi adapter)
  9. Check all connections once more
  10. Fire it up! Install the OS if needed. Install Graphics card drivers. Install mining software. Make sure fans are doing their job. Fire up the mining software, tweak for maximum hasrate and let ‘er run!

 

144 thoughts on “4 GPU Litecoin Mining Rig Guide

  1. watergate

    thank you!

    i’m going to buy my first mining rig after your guide. may i ask you, if i have to enable crossfire or something like that for these cards?

    Reply
  2. Matt

    Hi Josh,

    I’d like to begin with saying thanks, your guides have let me build my first ever rig – however it hasn’t been easy. Since I’m a newbie when it comes to building rigs, I haven’t taken things fast, I’ve set up a rig with 3x r9 280x’s, and I’ve installed them one by one. Yesterday I installed my 3rd GPU (with a powered 1x-16x riser cable), and when I powered up I heard a ‘click’. Not sure where it may have come from, but it was really silent. My heart almost stopped, thinking I’ve burnt something, but there was no smell, thankfully.

    Since then, I cannot even boot with a single GPU. I’ve tried lots of things, and here are some;

    -Took apart all components, inspected everything (CPU, ram, GPU connections for scorch marks – none), inspected every cable for damage, none.
    -PSU is pretty good, has a ‘self check’ button on it, unplugged everything, runs for a minute with the power on light on.
    -Mobo receives power, the CPU fan and GPU fan works, and the led on the USB wireless adapter is on. I can still power it on.
    -Cleared CMOS, by shorting the pins AND removing the battery (unplugged ofc, and according to the manual).

    But still, all I get is an asleep screen with no BIOS. Do you have any idea what might be wrong? Googling hasn’t been helpful so far.

    Here are my specs,

    GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ motherboard – chosen because of 6 slots for future.
    CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) memory
    SAPPHIRE|100363BF4L R9 280X 3GB *3 GPU
    32G|ADATA ASP600S3-32GM-C R SSD
    AMD|SEMPRON 145 2.8G AM3 R CPU
    CORSAIR | AX1200I 1200W Plat rated PSU
    Windows 8.1 64bit OS

    Thanks again, you’re awesome.
    Matt

    Reply
    1. Josh Post author

      I have that motherboard on one of my rigs. I would recommend taking all your cards out and plug in just one GPU into one of the x16 slots. Then power it up. In my experience, the BIOS can get corrupted if it gets unexpected shutdown, etc. and needs to restore from backup (an automatic process that takes a few minutes). Then configure your BIOS settings, shutdown, unplug and re-assemble the rig. This should resolve the issue. Also, I check the /r/gpumining subreddit daily, so feel free to ask any support related questions there. There are lots of friendly miners in addition to myself that can answer questions. Cheers!

      Reply
  3. Nick

    Thanks for creating this website! You have pulled together a lot of the latest information in one location, which is very helpful.

    Given your experience and research in alt coin mining, I am curious to know what you expectations are for the future?

    Understanding that mining difficulty increases over time and there is a lot of variance in alt coin exchange rates, do you think there is still good money to be made? Or do you think that the diminishing returns mean it is not worth it for new miners?

    What tips or advice can you give to new miners?

    Thanks in advance,
    Nick

    Reply
    1. Josh Post author

      Hi Nick! Thanks for your kind words. The future is difficult to predict, but a year ago, these same questions were being asked about Bitcoin mining which was done on GPU’s at the time. Anyone who invested in GPU’s at that time to mine Litecoin is doing very well today. Time will tell. For me it is a calculated risk in the future of crypto-currencies. :) All the best in your mining endeavors!

      Reply
  4. numbernine

    Hi! Thanks for your good work here, a lot of great advices! I have just two short questions…
    Which power supply would you recommend for 2x Gigabyte 7950′s?
    Do you mine any scrypt altcoins now? What’s your opinion on starting to mine with small rig like one I mentioned? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Josh Post author

      I mine whichever currency is the most profitable currently and convert everything into one of these three: Bitcoin, Litecoin or Worldcoin. They have the best chance at success in my opinion based on the research I’ve done.

      Reply
  5. Nathaniel

    Hello,

    Thanks so much for the thorough guidance! I am trying to wade in slowly but think I jumped the gun a bit. I am wondering if the logic of my solution to this dilemma is sound or if I am not considering something… can you advise?

    So, I got the ASRock 970 Extreme MB. I also purchased the EVGO 1300w PS. At the time, a couple weeks back, the only cards I could find/afford were the Gigabyte R9 280X, GV-R928XOC-3GD. I purchased two. Now, It looks like the power draw on these cards is 300w each – so the bind was that if I want to build a 4 GPU rig with these cards, well, 1200 watts would be used up by just the 4 280x GPUs… after reading in the comments that the non-GPU components should be allowed about 200w for themselves, and since running the PS at 90% is ideal, it is obvious that I am coming up short…

    So, it seems I have two options:

    1) I return the 1300 watt PS and get 2 750w PS with the “add2ps adapter”. This gives me 1500w, 90% of which is 1350w. My 4 GPU setup would need 1400w… I am guessing this might work but it is running tight…

    so…

    I thought of option 2 and this is what I am hoping you can confirm will work or not…

    2) The ASRock 970 has 5 PCI-E slots, so couldn’t I just keep the 1300w PS I have, order another 750w PS along with the “add2psu adapter” (bringing wattage to about 2000w), and then buy another (3) 280x’s, adding them to the (2) I currently have, making this a 5-GPU mining rig? My math tells me that I would need 1500w for the 5 GPUs and 200w for the rest, so 1700 total – and I would have 2050w worth of PS so 90% of that is 1845w… that leaves 145w to spare here…

    Is this possible? Am I overlooking something?

    Again, thanks for the great how-to – it’s really exciting to learn about all of this!

    Sincerely,

    Reply

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