Roll Your Own Crypto Mining Rig

A picture showing several cryptocurrency coin logos as this article is all about the crypto mining rigs used to process blockchain transactions and how to build your own cryptocurrency mining rig.

Cryptocurrency has quickly become a digital alternative to state-backed traditional currencies thanks to distributed crypto mining rigs built to validate blockchain transactions.

A decade after cryptocurrency mining emerged, the market for hardware and software continues to mature for interested crypto miners. Crypto mining rigs play an essential role in ensuring the integrity of blockchain transactions between parties based on a given cryptographic protocol. These high-powered machines receive a fraction of the crypto coin for their work, making crypto mining a potential source of revenue for individuals, groups, and companies.

This article looks at crypto mining rigs; steps to deploying a rig; mining equipment needs; and considerations for the crypto mining software, breaking even, and processing capabilities.

What is a Crypto Mining Rig?

A crypto mining rig is any machine with the hardware and software needed to process the cryptographic problems associated with blockchain transactions. Crypto mining is an unregulated industry meaning any individual or organization can procure and run mining operations to participate in one of multiple cryptocurrency blockchains.

Bitman Antminer.
The BITMAIN Antminer S19k Pro 104TH/s.

Steps to Roll Your Own Crypto Mining Rig

  1. Consider the four methods for mining rigs and select one
  2. Purchase rig components for assembly or buy a rig prebuilt
  3. Buy the desired quantity of rig chips (e.g., GPU, FPGA, ASIC) 
  4. Place the rig in an appropriate location where energy and cooling is available
  5. Download and install a crypto mining software
  6. Configure software policies to ensure proper hardware and resource utilization 
  7. Start mining cryptocurrency 
  8. Receive fractional coin rewards for completed transactions
A graphic describing the process of mining cryptocurrency.
A graphic showing the general process for miners starting with a crypto mining rig.

Mining Equipment Needs

  • Motherboard: Circuit board for connecting crucial system components
  • Central Processing Unit(s): The processors responsible for executing instructions
  • Hard Disk: Solid-state drives (SSD) enabling flash memory for speed and storage
  • Random Access Memory (RAM): DDR4 SD RAM console
  • Power Supply Unit (PSU): A mechanism for regulating the power supply
  • PCI Express (PCIe): Cables connecting a power supply to graphics card slots
  • PCIe Riser: Converter component connecting PCIe to a graphics card
  • Micro USB: Miniature USB cable often used for crypto mining rigs
  • Cooling: Preventative components like fans to avoid overheating
  • Frame or Case: Metal exterior like aluminum or steel to hold or conceal rig components
  • Interface and Peripherals: Monitor, keyboard, and mouse
Bitmain Rig Components.
A diagram by BITMAIN showing the external components of a pre-built mining rig.
Also read: How to Mine Cryptocurrency in 2021 | Webopedia

What is Cryptocurrency Mining Software?

Cryptocurrency mining software enables machine power to participate in a cryptocoin blockchain. Miners can download software built to validate blockchain transactions, run their mining rig, and collect the rewards using existing system hardware. Cryptocurrency mining software is explicitly capable of:

  • Scanning computer systems and identifying mining-pertinent resources
  • Utilizing computer processor power to participate in blockchain networks
  • Validating transactions individually or in a pool and transferring rewards to a wallet

Because the computer’s GPU (graphics processing unit) or CPU (central processing unit) is the processing engine making crypto mining possible, the newer and more advanced the processor, the more influential the software will be. 

Mining Software Security Concerns

When registering for cryptocurrency mining software, users often get hit with an alert about disabling their antivirus (AV) solution, like Windows Defender, during installation. 

As unique programs, mining software can appear as malware to AV software. At the same time, analysts note this is usually a false flag and a small hurdle to getting started. Note: Disabling security software inherently makes devices more vulnerable to attack or data loss.

Users can maximize cybersecurity by using machines with no connection to sensitive data other than the needed crypto wallets.

Screenshot of Cudo Miner software.
The Cudo Miner devices dashboard shows data like power usage, hash rate, and temperature.
Read more: Go from blockchain beginner to cryptomining master to start a new career | TechRepublic

Crypto Mining Software Vendors

  • BeMine
  • CryptoUniverse
  • Cudo Miner
  • ECOS
  • Genesis Mining
  • HashGains
  • HashNet
  • IQ Mining
  • Shamining

How Long Does It Take to Mine Cryptocurrency

All crypto coins present their blockchain and power needs differently in the cryptocurrency universe. While Coin X might take 15 minutes using 9,000kWH of power, Coin Y could take two minutes using 2,000kWH.

On the spectrum of time it takes to mine cryptocurrency, the fastest route is a few minutes by outsourcing mining to a third party or installing a driver that uses a local CPU or GPU. Alternatively, the longest route to mining could take as long as a week to a month.

Fastest Route for Crypto Mining: Outsourcing

The fastest route to mining is working with a third-party mining vendor or using existing hardware and equipment. By outsourcing the work of mining, users can pay for the same results—reward coins in wallets—and go unbothered by the cost and maintenance of electricity, cooling, and hardware. 

While not recommended for most PCs, utilizing your existing CPU can be just as quick. Download mining software, configure settings to optimize mining, avoid failure, and set the computer within minutes.

Longest Route for Crypto Mining: DIY

Though they are more resource-exhaustive methods, GPU and FPGA (field-programmable gate array) rigs and chips offer more robust performance. Similarly, ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) mining is the most expensive method yet yields the highest returns.

As the device manager, users must conduct regular maintenance to prolong the life and performance of the bustling machine. GPU, FPGA, and ASIC methods are slower because many users choose to self-construct their rig. Prebuilt models are available, but there is a lot of value in knowing the granular details of rig components and functionality.

Breakeven for DIY Mining

The high initial investment means a longer wait before breaking even for users taking mining into their own hands. Most miners break even within the first six months. While cloud mining vendors use their fleet of rigs, users with intermediate skills can do the same, benefitting from transactions and covering their energy, maintenance, and service fees.

Also read: Best Risk Management Software & Tools | Webopedia

Types of Crypto Mining

CPU Mining

Most computers contain a central processing unit capable of mining cryptocurrency. A CPU can get consumers started fast with mining software, but the hashrate is slow, and laptops can quickly overheat. Though mining crypto from a laptop, desktop computer, or the unused hardware sitting around is possible, it’s become known as the least efficient and most risky method.

GPU Mining

For cryptocurrency enthusiasts, GPU mining has long been a popular mining method. Consumers utilize graphics processing units to power the rig’s mining abilities, starting with an initial investment towards a GPU rig, which can be a computer or mining-exclusive machine. 

Cloud mining vendors use GPU mining to optimize their mining farm productivity more efficiently than CPU mining.

AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series graphics cards.
AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series graphics cards.
Read more: Best Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software | Webopedia

FPGA Mining

Ahead of both CPU and GPU mining in performance over time, field-programmable gate arrays are programmable after leaving the manufacturer.

Unlike the most productive method, ASIC mining, FPGA offers a simplistic design flow and the flexibility to configure processing policies outside of the research lab. By altering the computer’s clock frequency and core voltage, consumers can produce a desired hashrate.

Diligent Basys3.
Digilent Basys 3.

ASIC Mining

From playing video games with 4K resolution to performing essential computer functions, the above chips are multifunctional and capable of more than just mining cryptocurrency.

By contrast, application-specific integrated circuits are custom-built to execute crypto mining. Like GPU mining, an ASIC rig is an investment but the most powerful method for mining cryptocurrency.

MicroBT Whatsminer.
MicroBT Whatsminer M30s++ 112T.
Disclosure: This article is not financial advice. We strongly encourage any readers interested in cryptocurrency to learn more and talk with your financial advisor for more information.

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Sam Ingalls
Sam Ingalls
Sam Ingalls is an award-winning writer and researcher covering enterprise technology, cybersecurity, data centers, and IT trends, for eSecurity Planet, TechRepublic, ServerWatch, Webopedia, and Channel Insider.

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