A beginner's guide to GPU mining - a blog / how to for Ubuntu 16.04 - Part 1 - Hardware
Happy Thursday everyone!
I took a bit of a break from steemit, technology, and city living, but I'm back home and I'm excited to get back to work. I decided I'd jump back into things with a bit of a bang, and mining is something I've been wanting to get into for quite a while. I'm going to be making a series of posts not only describing my journey but hopefully teaching you a little something along the way! I decided I'd like to go the GPU mining route as it is for me currently the most practical.
So welcome to part one of what I hope will be very many, and do feel free to let me know if you have questions below in the comments. I'm not an expert, but I do have access to seasoned veterans in the crypto mining game.
For those of you who have been stuck in a coffin for the last few months - mining crypto is simply verifying transactions on any one of many blockchain networks in order to generate free crypto! Bitcoin for example - say what you want about it - is definitely the most well known crypto currency that operates on a system of mining. Keep in mind there are other types of blockchain networks and not all of them employ this concept. ASIC mining is what the bitcoin network is built upon, while ethereum uses GPU mining, or mining that is done using one or more video cards. Still others such as solar coin use POST networks that do not use mining at all!
Confusing, I know.
The important thing to make note of if you want to follow along with this is that anyone can mine crypto if they have the patience to learn how, and it's not hard. It's actually a great way to get involved with the blockchain technology everyone is so excited about. You don't need to start off with top of the line gear. That can come with time if you decide you like how your initial investment is going later on.
I'm also here to be honest with you, and tell you that you will absolutely not become rich off of this over night. If you stick with it, customize your hardware, and fine tune the software side of things (advanced linux users will really shine here) you could definitely make a decent amount of money after all is said and done. This will, however, take an investment on your part of both time and money.
You'll first need some hardware. The important thing to consider is that the more power you are using the less money you will be making in the long run. Try to customize something that isn't going to kill your electric bill, or if it does, it at least pays you back! People generally opt to go with a low power consumption CPU and high quality power supplies coupled with as many GPU's as they can fit on their board.
You could use stuff you already have laying around, purchase used equipment off of craigslist, or try to scour the earth for deals on all new gear. The important thing is to LEARN! Really customizing your operation is something that will come with time. As you try things, learn, and develop your own way of doing things, you'll discover what works for you and what doesn't.
Matched RAM, and matched video cards are a MUST. RAM is pretty racist stuff, actually. Often times it will refuse to work unless you put it with another stick of RAM that is exactly like it! And as video cards are the focal point of this whole operation, and also rely heavily on RAM to do their jobs, their included as well. Keep in mind you can definitely get away with not doing this. Ideally, however, you would want to if you can.
That being said, you'll need some variation of the below if GPU mining sounds like something you want to try out...
This is definitely most important consideration, as it is the heart of your build. Which motherboard you choose determines how many video cards you can have total, as well as what the speed of your FSB and CPU will be, ultimately. Choose wisely and keep in mind that as always when it comes to things like this you really want to research and get the most current information possible. Something that's the best thing out there today could be yesterday's news by tomorrow.
Use the website below to calculate what you can expect for a return depending on which card(s) you go with. The video card(s) you buy will determine how profitable your entire operation is:
Low power and low cost is the name of the game here. Your GPU's will determine your hash rate, and that's what we're concerned with. Our GPU's will be doing all of the hard work, while the CPU will only be moving small pieces of information into and out of the GPU when needed.
Calculate how much power your rig will be using based on the video cards you went with, and be sure the power supply you purchase can handle it. Generally the rule of thumb is to go with about 20% more than needed there. I found this tool below I was messing with for a bit, but opted to go with tried and true pencil and paper after all was said and done.
Be mindful of the fact that this is all based on power. The video cards you spent so much money on like nice, constant power.
A hard drive is also a necessary element, but doesn't need to be anything special. People often use thumb drives, as it's a snap to duplicate an operating system onto external storage, and won't break the bank.
Perhaps this would be a good time to consider buying a copy ETH OS if you have any interest in it. It's an operating system specifically designed for GPU mining and can be purchased on a thumb drive for short money:
And once you know what you have, you'll need to tie it all together, something that suites your purposes, plain an simple. As with most things, you can buy professionally made units, or make them yourself out of whatever materials you desire. I've included some examples below:
Make sure you consult a licensed electrician if needed. As you start out this really shouldn't be too much of a concern. If and when you decide to kick it into high gear, the amount of power required to run stacks of machines isn't something to be played with.
And that's all you should need in terms of the basic hardware. I'm going to assume I'll be making multiple trips to the hardware store, but I'm okay with that. I'm thinking of using an old metal file cabinet I've had forever as my chassis, and I'll have to figure everything else out once my hardware is known.
I have feelers out on craigslist for used gear and based on the market right now I don't think I can rush anyway. Everything is very expensive, but by the same token there is always opportunity for someone with cash in hand.
This concludes part 1 of the blog/guide/how-to. Thank you for reading my post, please let me know if you enjoyed it in the comments.
Conversations with various friends and acquaintances who have been trying to convince me to get involved with mining for quite a while
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