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 2,600Kh/s. As of the date this guide was updated (12/09/2013), a 4 GPU Litecoin mining rig like this can generate roughly $700 USD worth of Litecoins per month and will cost you between $1,500-$2,000 to build. If you want to see the live current calculation yourself 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 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 Seasonic X-1250 80PLUS Gold Certified Power Supply Unit A gold rated PSU is more efficient than bronze or silver and will save you in electrical costs. If the Seasonic is out of stock, I would recommend this one.
- Motherboard – $80 – ASRock MB-970EX4 Socket AM3+/ AMD 970/ AMD (best motherboard for mining at the moment, and in stock at Amazon as of this article). If it is out of stock, this one or this one is a good alternative.
- Graphics Cards (GPU) - $280 x 4 Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 - This is one of the best graphics card for Litecoin mining (I use it in all the rigs I’ve built), capable of over 650 Kh/s per card, bringing your total rig power to 2,600 Kh/s+. Other system builders recommend the MSI and Gigabyte cards as well. At times, the 7950 is hard to find at a reasonable price. Two alternatives are the AMD 7970 GPU and the AMD R9 280x GPU. Both provide excellent hashing power and will work with this build, but aren’t quite as efficient in their power usage. Just be sure to avoid any of the XFX branded cards. They are known to have multiple issues when used for mining.
- 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 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).
- 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’.
TOTAL COST TO BUILD A 4 GPU LITECOIN MINING RIG:
~$1,500 -$2,000 for a 2,600 Kh/s Custom Litecoin Mining Rig (based on 4x Sapphire Radeon 7950)
A note on ROI (or return-on-investment). I built my first rig in April 2013, and it paid for itself in less than 6 months, however there is no guaranteed return on mining rigs, so use your own judgement, do your due diligence, and decide if this is an investment you want to make. If nothing else, you will learn a LOT about computers in the process of building your rig.
If you’d like to trade Litecoins or any other Scrypt based currency to Bitcoin, I would recommend the mcxnow 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:
- Unpackage everything
- Install processor and RAM on motherboard
- Plug in all riser cables
- Place motherboard in plastic crate
- Plug in SATA hard drive
- Connect all GPUs to riser cables and fasten them to plastic crate evenly spaced out for maximum heat dissipation
- Plug in all power supply connections
- Connect mouse, monitor and keyboard and an internet connection (I used a USB WiFi adapter)
- Check all connections once more
- 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!