In this post, I will walk you through all you need to set up a Monero mining rig. I’ll show you exactly what you need to get started and will describe it for someone who does not have a computer engineering background.
When I first started researching Monero mining it was really frustrating. There is so much misinformation on how to set up a Monero miner and most of the information is out of date. For example, many sites talk about GPU mining when in reality CPU mining is your only option. I’ve spent the past month researching all aspects of Monero mining by asking questions on forums like Reddit, collecting data on the best Monero hardware, and crunching the numbers on the performance of different CPUs. In this article, I’ll summarize all that knowledge for you.
- Monero Mining Rig Hardware Components
- Monero mining rig non-tangibles
- How to decide what Monero mining rig to set up
- Step-by-step instructions on how to assemble your Monero mining rig
To mine XMR profitably you will need both hardware components and intangibles like software and wallets.
First let’s look at the hardware.
Monero Mining Rig Hardware Components
Monero mining is only viable with a CPU. This is done on purpose because the Monero community decided to make Monero mining ASIC-resistant.
What are ASICs?
ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) are powerful custom-built miners that cost a lot, guzzle a lot of energy, and are used by large mining farms to mine proof-of-work algorithms such as Bitcoin.
The problem with them is that they concentrate power because there are economies of scale to operating a lot of them together.
So you end up with a few big companies verifying the majority of the transactions on a blockchain.
This is completely contrary to the ethos of crypto.
Why not ASICs for Monero
Monero is also a proof-of-work blockchain but the Monero community wanted to ensure their blockchain will stay decentralized.
They decided that the way to do this would be to make the Monero network ASIC-resistant.
In November 2019 they introduced a new algorithm called RandomX to replace the CryptoNight algorithm they had been using up until then.
RandomX makes it impossible to mine XMR with an ASIC.
What about GPUS?
GPUs are the graphics cards that computers use for gaming and can also be used to mine crypto coins.
However, it’s not economically viable to mine XMR with GPUs.
While it is technically feasible to mine XMR with GPUs, they offer significantly lower hashing power for mining RandomX. This results in a situation where your electricity costs can surpass your earnings in Monero coins.
Even if your GPU mining rig does pretty well hashing other algorithms it ain’t going to be able to pull its weight on the RandomX algorithm.
So it’s best to forget about them despite what other websites say.
In my research, I often came across developers talking about mining XMR with GPUs in online forums. However, these discussions were usually more than 5 years old and before RandomX was implemented.
For more on this topic see CPU or GPU for Monero Mining.
What kind of CPUs
The most popular CPUs are the AMD Ryzen and EPYC series as well as Intel CPUs.
Prices vary a lot ranging from a few hundred bucks to $6,000 on the higher end.
You can check the live performance of more than 1,000 CPUs on XMRig’s Benchmark page.
I have used the XMrig benchmark data to crunch the numbers to identify which is the most efficient hardware.
You can view the results of this analysis here: What Is the Best CPU for Monero Mining in 2023
CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. The CPU performs the actual mining calculations. Think of it like the brain of your computer.
You can’t use the CPU of your laptop or the average desktop computer though.
If you do that you will likely destroy your machine because it is not built to run at such high intensity 24/7.
So you are going to need to build your own computer by buying all the components and assembling them.
If you are unsure of what CPU to buy check my guide on the best hardware for Monero mining.
Let’s take a look at what else you will need.
If the CPU is the brain of your computer then the motherboard is the body. It is what connects all the components together.
There are all sorts of motherboards (mobo for short) out there but what you need to look at is the type of chipset they have.
The ones you want to look out for are the:
If you plan on overclocking your CPU go for a higher-end motherboard that has VRMs (Voltage Regulator Modules).
Overclocking is not necessarily more efficient and having VRMs means you may need to have cooling for those too.
The other aspect you should consider is whether you want a single-socket or dual-socket motherboard. A dual socket mobo will allow you to connect two CPUs.
Different CPUs use different socket types, such as LGA or AM4, so it’s crucial to check the specifications of both your CPU and motherboard before making a purchase.
You’ll be able to buy a motherboard for less than $100.
Honestly, your motherboard is not going to make a massive difference in how much hashrate you can achieve on RandomX.
What does affect Monero mining hashrate other than your CPU is the amount of RAM you have.
RAM stands for “Random Access Memory”.
It is a type of computer memory that is used to temporarily store data that the computer is currently working with.
RAM is an essential component of a computer, and more importantly, it plays a crucial role in mining Monero.
Here is why computers need RAM.
- Memory for Running Programs: RAM is like the computer’s short-term memory. When you open a program or file, the computer loads it into RAM to work with it. This allows the computer to access the data quickly, which makes your programs run faster.
- Temporary Storage: Unlike the long-term storage provided by hard drives or SSDs, RAM is volatile, meaning it doesn’t retain data when the computer is turned off. It’s used for temporary storage while the computer is on.
- Multitasking: RAM enables your computer to run multiple programs at the same time. The more RAM you have, the more programs and data you can work with simultaneously without slowing down the computer.
- Data Access Speed: RAM is much faster than hard drives or SSDs, which means that data stored in RAM can be accessed by the computer’s processor very quickly. This speed is essential for the smooth operation of your computer.
For mining Monero you are going to need at least two 8GB sticks of 3200MHz CL14.
- “3200MHz” is the memory speed, and “CL14” refers to the CAS Latency, a measure of how quickly the RAM can respond to data requests.
- Dual channel memory is a configuration where you install memory modules (RAM sticks) in pairs, such as two sticks of 8GB RAM each.
These pairs of RAM sticks work together in parallel to increase the memory bandwidth, effectively doubling the data transfer rate between the RAM and the CPU.
Note that rigs that clock over 50,000 H/s are usually using 12 sticks of RAM or more. But then there is a tradeoff between how much you invest upfront vs. how much hash rate you want to achieve.
A two RAM stick combo will set you back by about $80. For more on how much RAM to use when mining Monero see here.
Next, let’s talk about Power supplies.
#4. Power Supply
A high-quality power supply unit (PSU) capable of providing sufficient wattage to operate your rig. Stable power is essential to keep your rig running smoothly.
A CPU will usually require about 90-120 Watts of power but most PSUs give you way more than that usually starting at 500 Watts.
You might think that is fine because you only pay for what you consume not what is available at the wall.
But power supplies are more efficient at 50-70% usage. That’s because the power supply will pull a little extra power at the wall. That inefficiency is the lowest at the 50-70% range. So ideally you would want a 120-140 Watts PSU.
Since the lowest PSU is 500 watts the optimum Monero mining rig would have 4 CPUs all using the same PSU with a 24 -pin splitter cable and 2 motherboards with 2 CPUs each.
But if you are not starting big then you are going to have to live with that slight inefficiency.
#5. Hard drive
You need a hard drive to store your Operating System (OS) on.
Just buy the cheapest 120GB SSD you can find so as to save as much money as possible here.
The speed of your drive doesn’t really matter.
If you don’t want to waste time searching just buy a Kingston A400 for about $25.
You don’t need a GPU to mine Monero but you do need one on your mining rig if you decide to buy a cheaper lower-end CPU such as a Ryzen 3000 or 5000.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to see anything when you are setting up your rig. Something like a GT710 graphics card should do the trick.
Once you are set up you can go into your BIOS settings and set your computer to ignore the GPU so that it does not unnecessarily consume additional electricity.
BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is firmware that initializes and manages the hardware components, including the CPU, allowing users to configure settings and ensure the system operates optimally for mining purposes.
More expensive models like the Ryzen 7000 series have integrated graphics so you won’t need a GPU there.
To put it all together it’s best you make or get a frame to place all components on.
If you just place everything on top of your motherboard it is a fire hazard so it’s best to shell out a little extra for that peace of mind.
It also looks better that way.
3D-printed frames tend to be cheaper. If you want a cool-looking one check out this aluminum mining rig frame by ATX.
#8. Cooling systems
Your CPU will come with a fan that you glue onto it.
But that might not be enough if you plan to overclock your rig.
Higher end motherboards come with VRMs (Voltage Regulator Modules) which ensure the CPU receives a stable and appropriate voltage, preventing power spikes or drops.
However, if you plan on pushing your rig to its maximum output 24/7 then these can overheat and you may need additional fans on your VRMs.
You may also need extra fans depending on the climate that you live in. A good rule of thumb is not to allow your rig to heat up more than 80 Celsius (176 Fahrenheit).
Some people prefer to use an AIO (all-in-one) cooler which is a liquid cooler.
An AIO bundles a water block, radiator, tubes, fans, fittings, and pump into 1 sleek package.
These systems can provide better temperature control and reduce noise levels.
However, liquid cooling requires careful installation and maintenance to prevent leaks and ensure proper functioning.
#9. Thermal paste
When you buy a CPU the box will also include thermal paste so that you can glue the fan onto it. If it’s not included then you will have to buy some separately.
OK, so that’s it in terms of hardware components.
Now let me tell you what you need in terms of software, wallets, etc
Monero mining rig non-tangibles
#1. Operating system
Once you’ve assembled your Monero mining rig you will need an Operating System.
This will allow you to instruct your rig on what to do.
The most popular operating systems for mining Monero are:
- Hive OS (Linux-based)
- Windows 10
Any of those will do the trick. If you plan on switching between mining different coins then that process is easier to manage via Hive OS.
Also, Hive OS is dirt cheap costing only 30 cents per month for a CPU.
In his interview with Seb from Seb’s FinTech Channel, Rabid Mining says that it’s best to get set up on Windows first.
There you can set your BIOS overclocking settings and find the most efficient point and from there you can move to Hive.
#2. Monero Mining Software
The most popular software is XMRig.
The software’s developers take a 1% cut. They do this by taking over your machine’s hash power for 1% of the time.
XMRig is by far the easiest software to use.
Do not waste your time searching for a better option as everything else is more complicated to set up.
Start with XMRig and you can always choose another option such as XMR-Stak later on.
If you still want to explore alternatives then out my analysis here: 7 Best Monero Mining Software to Use and 3 to Avoid (2023)
#3. Monero wallet
To mine Monero you need a GUI Wallet. GUI stands for graphical user interface.
To install your wallet navigate to getmonero.org/downloads and download the GUI wallet.
You will need to add the wallet as an exception to your firewall as it will otherwise get wrongly flagged.
If you have a hardware wallet you can hook it up to the GUI wallet.
When the time comes to set up your wallet I recommend you follow the instructions in this video.
#4. Mining pools
When you operate a Monero mining rig you have two options in which to earn rewards
The first is to solo mine i.e. to let the miner do its job and then whenever it is the first to solve the cryptographic puzzle you will be allowed to add a new block.
For this, you will be rewarded with 0.6 XMR block reward plus fees so about 0.61 XMR in total mining rewards.
The challenge with solo mining is that you are not guaranteed to solve the problem. It’s kind of like playing the lottery.
A solo miner may not mine anything for a couple of years before they hit the jackpot.
In the meantime, they will have made a large upfront investment for their equipment and they will be required to pay hefty electricity bills on a monthly basis.
So a better way would be to combine your rig’s hashing power with others and share the rewards i.e. join a mining pool.
With a mining pool, a central intermediary coordinates everyone’s hashing power in return for a fee of 1-2%.
As a result, you end up with smaller but more frequent and more predictable rewards when you mine.
Most Monero miners, even a large data center, will use pool mining.
Here are some popular Monero mining pools
For more on XMR pools check out my post on the Best Monero Mining Pools
#5. Power consumption
The most important thing to consider when setting up your rig is the cost of electricity and power efficiency.
If you are unable to get electricity costs down to under 0.13 $/kWh then it makes absolutely no sense to mine Monero as you won’t be able to turn a profit if the price continues to hover around the $150 mark.
How to decide what Monero mining rig to set up
When you set up your Rig you are going to need to optimize two things
#1. Optimum Hardware selection
Here you need to find the tradeoff between how much you want to spend vs how much computational power you get.
I have delved quite a bit into this topic and ran the analysis to see how you can get the most mining efficiency from your Monero mining equipment.
Here are some resources to help you maximize your Monero mining profit.
- What Is the Best CPU for Monero Mining in 2023?
- Best Monero Mining Calculator for CPU Hashrate Profitability
- How Profitable Is Monero CPU Mining: Why It Isn’t Worth It
- How to Mine 1 Monero Per Day: Here Is What You Need
#2. Tweaking your settings
Once your mining rig is set up there are loads of settings that you can tweak to optimize your mining operation.
- Firstly, you can tweak the CPU itself to overclock or underclock
- Secondly, you can play around with how much voltage you need to power your CPU. You want just enough so that it runs smoothly.
- Finally, you can play around with your RAM setting to make those overclock/under-clock. Again here you need to find the balance between output in H/s and wattage.
Step-by-step instructions on how to assemble your Monero mining rig
- Install the CPU onto the motherboard. To do this you will need to open the CPU package, insert it into the CPU slot, and lock it in. Check the motherboard manual if you are not sure where to place the CPU.
- Next, you will need to paste the thermal glue onto the CPU brick and glue the fan that comes with it on top of it. The fan will also click into the motherboard.
- Insert the RAM sticks into the appropriate slots on the motherboard. If you have 2 or more sticks check the motherboard manual about which is slot 1 and which is slot 2. The order matters.
- Mount the motherboard into the chassis, securing it with screws.
- Connect the power supply cables to the motherboard, ensuring a secure and proper connection.
- Attach the hard drive and connect its cables to the motherboard.
- Connect any additional fans or coolers if you are using any
Once you have completed assembling your mining rig, it’s time to install the necessary software.
- Start by adjusting your BIOS settings
- Download XMRig from the official website and follow the installation instructions
- Download the GUI wallet and set up your account.
- Configure your rig by entering your mining pool information and wallet address. This will allow you to start mining Monero and begin earning rewards.
- And that’s it you are now mining on the Monero blockchain.
- For the first 2 days continually monitor your mining rig’s performance and make any necessary adjustments to optimize its efficiency.
In this article, I review the best Monero Mining hardware. Let’s dive straight into it. Read more.
Using XMRig Benchmark data I have analyzed the average hashrate of the top Monero mining rigs. The most powerful miners are those in the AMD EPYC series which clock around 45 KH/s on average. A high-end AMD Ryzen will give you around 25KH/s while the AMD Threadripper delivers a hefty hashrate at just under 60 KH/s. If you are looking at an Intel CPU you can expect to get 7 KH/s max. If you want to be profitable mining Monero you need to achieve at least 15KH/s. Let me show you why. Read more.