Crypto Mining Rig Setup: Best Guide for Beginners

Published: 26th May, 2024 | Last Updated: 18th May, 2024

Hudson Kisia

Hudson Kisia has been researching and writing content for ElementalCrypto since 2022. He has been writing about crypto, blockchains, and mining for more than 5 years now.

In this guide, I will walk you through what you need for your crypto mining rig setup in simple steps divided into three stages: prepping, assembly, and deployment.

Setting up your cryptocurrency mining rig can seem scary. This is especially the case if you are not a hands-on person. Nonetheless, you cannot afford to miss such a great opportunity to top up your mining rewards with commensurate mining skills.

You might also want to check my article on how to get a prebuilt crypto mining rig.

Cryptocurrency mining rig
Cryptocurrency mining rig

The crypto mining rig setup encompasses the following three main stages:

  • The preparatory stage
  • The assembly stage
  • The deployment stage

The preparatory stage

Adequate preparations make the assembly work easy. Without adequate preparations, many mistakes are bound to happen. Thus, the success of your mining rig setup depends on how adequately you are prepared.

The preparatory stage comprises the following steps:

1. Have the right components in stock

Before setting up your crypto mining rig, ensure all the essential components are in stock.

The following is a list of the essential components that you will need to shop for:

(a) Processor

crypto mining rig processor
crypto mining rig processor

This is the brain of your mining rig. It is the most essential component in a mining rig. The processor is responsible for solving cryptographic problems. Thus, all computer systems, including the mining rigs, require a processor.

Different types of mining rigs have different computational power requirements. Depending on the type of mining rig that you want to build, the following are the different types of processors that you may need to choose from:

CPU

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the most common, most available, and cheapest of the processors. Smartphones, laptops, desktops, and even servers use CPUs.

While CPU mining rigs are no longer viable for most algorithms that require Proof of Work (PoW) protocol, they can be applied by algorithms that rely on the Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol. PoS requires less power consumption thus promoting energy efficiency.

GPU

Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) is by far the most popular processor for mining cryptos. It is more powerful than a CPU. Furthermore, a GPU rig is easier to scale than a CPU rig. This is because GPU cards use ordinary PCI-e expansion slots rather than a special dedicated slot that caters to a specific number of CPU pins.

Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) can be used for Proof of Work and Proof of Stake protocols.  Typically, most GPU rigs also have a CPU.

FPGA

The biggest drawback of the listed processors is the lack of programmability. Field Programmable Gateway Array (FPGA) is the only exception. FPGA chips are programmable post-factory. This means that you can reprogram them and optimize them to suit the needs of your particular mining algorithm.

Those Crypto miners who engage in mining cryptocurrencies from diverse hashing algorithms will find FPGA mining rigs their ideal choice. This is because FPGA miners give them crypto mining flexibility.

In terms of processing power, FPGA processors stand midway between GPU and ASIC. However, some powerful GPUs such as the 4090 series Nvidia GPUs are more powerful than many FPGAs.

ASIC

Due to increased network difficulty under the Proof of Work (PoW) protocol, Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) processors are the most commonly used to mine bitcoins and other members of the Bitcoin family.

ASIC miners are algorithm-specific. Thus, ASIC mining rigs are optimized to mine a specific cryptocurrency. For example, a Bitcoin mining rig is optimized for mining bitcoins, and an Ethereum mining rig is optimized for mining Ethers on the Ethereum network.

Furthermore, ASIC miners are ideal for large-scale mining operations. Except for Bitcoin miners who belong to a mining pool, individual miners and mining farms use ASIC rigs to mine bitcoins. This is due to the higher hash rates required to mine bitcoins.

(b) RAM

Crypto mining DDR4 RAM
Crypto mining DDR4 RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM) serves the processor. RAM serves data and instructions needed by the processor for immediate use. Data and instructions not required for immediate use are consigned to backing storage.

Crypto mining GDDR7 RAM
Crypto mining GDDR7 RAM

Two types of RAM used for mining crypto are:

  • DDR – This is the type of RAM that serves the CPU.
  • GDDR – This is the type of RAM that serves the GPU.

(c) Motherboard

Crypto mining rig motherboard
Crypto mining rig motherboard

The Motherboard is the main board in a mining rig. It is on this board that the major components are affixed.

The motherboard is often screwed to the chassis of a casing or metal frame to provide firmness.

(d) Storage unit

This is where data and instructions not required for immediate use are stored. The following are the main types of storage units for mining rigs:

HDD
Crypto mining rig - Hard Disk Drive
Crypto mining rig – Hard Disk Drive

Hard Disk Drive (HDD). This is the most common type of main storage unit for mining rigs. The hard drive has a compact set of discs each having to be scanned for data one at a time.

SSD
Crypto mining SSD
Crypto mining SSD

Static State Drive (SSD) is a modern storage unit. It is smaller, faster, and compact compared to HDD. It also consumes far less power. This is because it doesn’t have running disks that require an extra mechanism to drive them.

MEM Card/Disk/Stick
Flash Disk and Mem Card
Flash Disk and Mem Card

This is a much smaller storage unit. Mem Cards and Flash disks (Mem sticks) are the most common. Mem Cards/Sticks are used for installing software or transferring data on big mining rigs. However, a Mem Card or Flash drive is the main storage for small mining rigs such as Raspberry PI mining rigs.

(e) Power supply unit (PSU)

Crypto mining - power supply unit
Crypto mining – power supply unit

Without power, the mining rig is a not functional. The Power Supply Unit (PSU) is a box-like container hosting the main power circuit, ports, and slots that distribute power to various components affixed to the motherboard. In essence, the PSU allocates power to the components on the motherboard in the right quality and quantity.

(f) Accessories & peripherals

These are those components and devices that the mining rig doesn’t require to run. However, some are essential for its optimal functioning and carrying out extended functions.

Main accessories

The following are the main accessories used in a mining rig:

  • Heat sink – The heat sink is an important part of the processor’s cooling system. It plays an important role in preventing the processor from overheating during heavy computations. The purpose of the heat sink is to dissipate heat away from the processor unit.
  • Fan – The fan is another important part of the processor’s cooling system. A fan helps to dissipate heat away from the heat sink.
  • PCI-e USB risers – PCI-e USB risers are used to anchor the GPU cards. The PCI-e risers create a raised platform away from the PCI-e slot on the motherboard. This raised platform allows free movement of air around the graphics cards. This helps to dissipate heat.
  • Connectors – These connectors include power connectors and data connectors.
Main peripheral devices

The peripheral devices are not part of the mining rig. They are independent or standalone devices that are used to improve the performance of the mining rig.

The following are some of the main peripheral devices:

  • UPS Unit – Mining rigs are sensitive to power disruption. Thus, an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) unit is important. The UPS unit ensures that the power flow into the mining rig is regulated. The UPS has a regulator (to get rid of spikes) and a battery (to store temporary power in case of sudden power cut from the main grid).
  • External storage – While big mining rigs have enough capacity to hold both HDD and SDD, small mining rigs may not have much space. Thus, an external storage may be necessary to store both apps and data.
  • Keyboard – Some mining rigs are autonomous and thus do not require keyboards. Others do require keyboards to manipulate their operations. Nonetheless, even the autonomous ones may require a keyboard input during installation.
  • Mouse – A mouse may be needed in case of a mining rig that has visual graphic display and a need to provide visual instructions.
  • Monitor – A monitor is necessary to allow graphic display of information. This information includes performance output and input instructions. It also includes monitoring reports about the progress of the mining process.

2. Have the right tools in place

Tools that you need for a basic electronics workshop will suffice. You can visit a nearby electronics workshop to get this information. It is even better if they can lend you space and tools to carry out this assembly.

The tools you need depend on many factors. Nonetheless, the following are basic tools:

  • Screwdriver set
  • Spanner set
  • A set of pliers
  • Tweezers
  • Multimeter
  • Power tester
  • Connection tester
  • Drill

3. Set up the right assembly environment

To avoid the risk of accidents and damages, it is important for you to properly set up the mining rig assembly environment.

Among other things, a proper environment should be:

  • Safe – loosely hanging tools, poorly placed tools, poor circuitry, slippery floors, etc., are some of the things that can pose a serious risk to your safety.
  • Dust-free – dust can cause electrostatic interference.
  • Damp-free – dampness can increase the risk of short-circuiting and electrocution. Furthermore, combined with dust, dampness can cause metallic parts of components to rust.
  • Ergonomic – the working space arrangement should allow you free mobility and the right posture while working. This reduces strain, stress, fatigue, and susceptibility to accidents.

4. Have the right protective gear

While setting up a mining rig isn’t that complicated, it is always good to take adequate precautions. Having the right protective gear can save you from unexpected risks.

The following should be part of your protection gear:

  • Goggles – goggles will protect your eyes from unexpectedly ejected particles
  • Gloves – gloves can protect your hands from being exposed to electrocution and harmful elements
  • Overall – the overall wear can protect you from unexpected elements harming your skin.
  • Shoes – safety shoes can protect your feet from harmful elements on the ground. Most importantly, they can protect you from electrocution. Safety shoes should have a slippery-resistant rubber sole.
  • Headgear – if you are in workshop with hanging overhead objects, it is important to wear headgear to protect your head.

5. Have the right mindset

Yes, it is extremely important to be prepared for the task ahead. The right mindset will not only save you from many risks and failures but will also motivate you to finish your project.

To successfully execute steps (1) to (4) above requires you to have the right mindset. For example, a poor mindset will dissuade you from wearing protective gear and setting up the right assembly environment thus increasing your risk of accident.

The assembly stage

Once you have all your components in stock, you are now ready to assemble your mining rig.

Different types of crypto mining rigs may have slightly different assembly steps. Nonetheless, the following main steps will ensure proper CPU or GPU mining rig setup:

1. Set up the motherboard

This is the first step in the assembly process. In this step, the first thing to do is to read your motherboard’s installation manual for any special instructions.  These instructions may include how to fix the major components such as the CPU, RAM, HDD/SDD, and PSU, among others. The Asus B motherboard not only has an elaborate manual but is also easy to set up.

After understanding the motherboard instructions, fix the motherboard onto the chassis. This chassis could be part of the mining rig casing or a mining frame.

Fixing may require screwing. It may also require the drilling of screw holes if you are building your own custom mining rig frame or casing.

2. Install the Processor

Insert the right processor into the provided slot in the motherboard. Most mining motherboards have a slot for CPU.

3. Insert the RAM

Motherboards come with RAM slots. Make sure that your RAM and motherboard are compatible. For example, a motherboard that supports DDR2 cannot support DDR3 since the RAM board and the slots are designed to prevent the risk of using the wrong DDR type.

Make sure that the RAM board fits correctly and tightly. If that happens, the RAM lock will easily fit into its niche.

4. Install the Storage Drive

You have the option of installing SSD or HDD. You also have the option of installing both, depending on your motherboard architecture. However, there is no need to install both since crypto mining is not data intensive.

5. Attach the PSU

The next step is to attach the Power Supply Unit (PSU). The most important thing is to properly fix the cables in the right ports. Usually, cables are bundled and color-coded. In this case, the color of the cable matches the respective port where it should be inserted.

6. Fix in the PCIe USB Risers

You need this step plus the next step if you are setting up a GPU mining rig.

Just like RAM slots, there are PCIe slots. Fix the PCIe USB Risers in their respective slots.

7. Install the GPU

After fitting the PCIe USB Risers, you can now insert the graphics cards containing the GPUs.

8. Test the mining rig’s hardware assembly

You can now power on your mining rig to confirm that it is running correctly. You may need a monitor to view the diagnostic process and the resultant report.

9. Install the mining software

On successful testing of the assembled mining rig, the next step is to install the mining software. This software comes in two parts:

  • Operating System (OS) – The Operating System (OS) carries out the functions of running your hardware and managing the various resources.
  • Application Software (AS) – The AS (in this case, the mining software) carries out user-specific functions. In the case of mining, the application software is responsible for executing the hashing algorithm. This depends on the type of cryptocurrency that you want to mine.

10. Test the assembled rig

This is the final step in assembling your mining rig. You are testing the entire mining equipment – including the hardware, and the software.  Once testing is successful, you can then move to the deployment stage.

The deployment stage

This is the last stage of your mining setup before the mining operations. In the deployment stage, the following takes place:

1. Setup the right hosting environment

After successful assembly, it is time to set up the right hosting environment to achieve the best performance.

In addition to the conditions that we’ve already covered for the right assembly environment, the right mining environment should:

  • be properly ventilated
  • have enough power supply
  • Properly regulated in terms of temperature and humidity

2. Put up the right hosting infrastructure

The right hosting infrastructure will depend on your scale of mining. If you have just one mining rig, you need just a raised platform (e.g., a table). However, if you have several rigs to host, you need more, including:

  • Mining rigs rack
  • Cable conduits
  • External fans e.g., overhead fan and or rack fan
  • Power connection
  • Internet connection

3. Place the mining rig in the right place

You can now deliver your mining rig to the right place. It could be on a tabletop (or a single mining rig), a shelf (for a few mining rigs), or a rack (for several mining rigs).

Make sure that you have connected power cables, data cables, and internet cables.

4. Test the mining operation

Switch on the mining rig and perform a dummy mining operation to find out if the mining rig is performing as expected.

Correct any issues found. If there are no issues, you can proceed to the next step.

5. Start mining

After the hard work is successfully done, it is your turn to conquer the world of crypto mining. You can now begin to mine a new block on your blockchain network. Ensure you have connected your cryptocurrency wallet to store your cryptocurrency reward before initiating the mining process.

Hudson Kisia has been researching and writing content for ElementalCrypto since 2022. He has been writing about crypto, blockchains, and mining for more than 5 years now.

Learn About a New
Coin Every Week

Learn About a New
Coin Every Week

Master Crypto Basics

Join over 7,300 subscribers. It’s free.

elementalcrypto newsletter benefits