Do you guys remember bitcoin? Do you guys remember that ridiculous system we built with a wall of fans, or the special 7 GPU rig that we custom fabricated and sold a few years ago? Well, bitcoin might be worth $2600 right now but it’s pretty difficult to farm unless you’re heavily invested in ASIC hardware. What if you’re just an average joe with an RX 580 or a 1080 Ti? One word: Ethereum.
So what is Ethereum? It’s an open source decentralized blockchain application platform for executing smart contracts. If you’re not sure what that means, then don’t worry. To be honest, the concepts are a bit over our heads as well. If you’re really interested in learning what Ethereum is, then take a look at this great guide written by Antony Lewis.
What we’re more interested in is the hardware aspect of it all, and how you can get started on making an ethereum mining rig. Just remember that this isn’t a get rich quick scheme, so make sure you run the numbers to see if you’ll be profitable before spending hundreds or thousands on a rig.
The first step is setting up your system. Just like bitcoin, all of your computing power will be based on graphics cards. Processor, Memory, and Storage will have negligible effects on your mining power. So find a good motherboard with a lot of PCIe slots, and get to work collecting video cards. Video card performance is calculated by their hashrate, which is most commonly measured in Mega Hashes per second.
Your goal is to spend as little money and power as possible while maximizing your hash rate. To make things simple, here’s the list of recommended graphics cards with a hashrate of 25MH/s and above. Anything lower and it really isn’t worth using as you’ll be mining way too slow to ever be profitable. You’ll end up paying more money for your electricity bill than your mining rig can accumulate, and like grandma used to say, that ain’t beans, Jeremy!
Now, on the AMD side, anything faster than an RX470 with 4GB of ram or more will do. That includes the RX480, RX570, RX580, R9 Nano, R9 Fury X, and even an R9 390. On NVIDIA’s side, your options are a lot more limited (and expensive). There’s the GTX 1070, 1080 Ti, and Titan XP. Sorry NVIDIA, but we’d suggest sticking with AMD for this one.
Now unlike Bitcoin, don’t bother with getting ASIC hardware for Ethereum. It was designed around decentralization, so they wanted to prevent huge ASIC farms from happening when they switch to their Proof of Stake model later on down the road.
Once you’ve got a system set up with as many profitable graphics cards as possible, the next step is to set all your software up. Windows, MAC, and Linux will all work wonderfully. Windows is easiest to set up, while Linux has the lowest overhead and produces marginally better performance. We’ll go with Windows, since that’s what we’re most comfortable with. Now remember, we’re using each video card independently, so you don’t need to worry about things like SLI bridges.
To get started mining, you’ll need a wallet and a mining pool. A wallet is just that – a wallet for your hard earned currency. There’s a lot of different types, but to get started, a desktop or online wallet is good enough for now. If you decide to invest more heavily in Ethereum later on, then it may be wise to pick up a hardware wallet such as a Ledget Nano or Trezor.
We went with MyEtherWallet, which is an open source wallet that functions as both a desktop and online wallet, as well as being compatible with hardware wallets as well. Follow their step by step guide, and remember, DO NOT FORGET OR LOSE YOUR ADDRESSES AND PASSWORDS. These are as important as your bank card number and pin code. If someone gets a hold of this, then they have access to all your digital currency.
Next, you’ll need to set up the mining process itself. We recommend most beginners to mine as part of a pool, since it’s much easier to learn on. Just like a hardware wallet from before, you can decide on switching into solo mining later on once you’ve got some more experience.
There are a lot of mining pools out there, each with their own pros and cons. For us, we went with Nanopool because they charge a below average fee and support mining for SiaCoin as well, but more on that later. Once you’ve picked one out, you’ll need to save the address of your account in your chosen pool.
Next, it’s time to set up the actual mining software itself. Out of the ones we tested, we liked Claymore’s Dualminer the most. As the name implies, it actually lets you mine multiple mining pools at once. We decided to go with Ethereum and SiaCoin, because they use complementary algorithms and the additional cryptocurrency has no impact on our ethereum mining performance.
Download and extract all the files into a folder, and use Nanopool’s handy dandy script generator to create your own configuration file. All you need to do is fill in the blanks with the values we generated earlier including your mining pool addresses, wallet address, and minor profile settings.
Run the generated script, and you’re off and running! A command prompt should pop up, automatically detect your hardware, and feed you live updates as it works. From here you can monitor video card temperature, fan speed, and current hash rate.
And that’s it. Your system is now mining for ethereum and siacoin. Simple! And remember – this was an ultra quick start guide. There is room for improvement in almost every step of the way, so do your research, read forums, and continuously tweak your system for the best performance possible.
For our testing, we used the rig that we normally benchmark games on. An intel i7 7700k processor, 32GB of HyperX Predator DDR4 memory, ASUS Z270-TUF motherboard, and an ADATA SP920 SSD. For video cards, we threw in a reference NVIDIA Titan XP and a 1080 Ti. At stock clock speeds, with the fan speeds set at 75%, we hit an average of 69MH/s mining for Ethereum and 690MH/s mining for Siacoin. We stayed within 72 degrees and 60 degrees respectively, which is much better than the temperatures we saw with bitcoin.
To put things into perspective, the price of Ethereum at the time of filming this is $321. Ignoring the cost of the parts, electricity, and the fee of our pool, we would make $85 in one week and $364 in one month of non stop farming. Siacoin is worth approximately 1.9 cents per unit, so in a week we would only make $11. However, since that one doesn’t affect the performance of Ethereum, it’s a good backup in case the value ever increases dramatically. The difficulty for mining will keep increasing, which means you’ll be mining less,
Is this all worth it? Well, that’s for you to decide. Thanks for watching, you can click here for previous videos, and check us out on twitter over here. But as always like the video if you liked it, comment below for fans with benefits, and subscribe for more videos like this from NCIX.