Building a rig may seem like a very complicated task. Well, It is. But complicated does not mean it is hard to do. Just take your time and if you run into problems its better to take a break. Building your rig is part of the fun, so relax, put on some music and let’s get started.
The first thing we need to determine is where the rig is going to go. You need a well ventilated area with access to cooling in the summer (windows for example). Heat is not an issue if you have one rig, but it is a huge issue for multiple rigs. If you need to run AC then this will affect your profitability. You need to be very close to a dedicated electric outlet also (and an ethernet cable. Wireless works, but ethernet is much better). And the second thing we need to do is to build the rig frame. You can use a computer case for smaller rigs, standard wire racks, milk crates or custom made rig frames. CryptoBadger has a great tutorial for using a milk crate here. This thread on the Ethereum forum is very helpful. Once everything is set up, we can start the build. Remember to register all your components and keep all the boxes for warranty/resale purposes.
- Put your motherboard on a non static surface (kitchen counter is fine). Insert your CPU into the socket carefully. If you have a custom cooler you will need to apply thermal paste. Careful when manipulating the stock CPU fan – the paste is already applied on the bottom. If you do apply paste, remember less is better – a grain of rice is about all you need. This ASUS video explains the process very well. Once the CPU is done, install the CPU fan (and connect it to the 3-4 pin) and the RAM.
- Place your Motherboard on your rig frame. Secure it so it doesn’t move too much, and make sure its not resting on a conductive (metal) surface. At this point you want to connect your SSD and secure that too.
- Install your PSU. You need to connect (usually) a four pin on the motherboard near the CPU, the large connector for the motherboard power and the SATA connector to the SSD. Sometimes it can be hard to connect these wires, so take your time. Install all the molex and 6 pin / 6+2 pin cables in the PSU.
- GPU risers. Sometimes it is easier to install the USB cable and the molex cable into the riser socket, then attach it to the GPU. Do it one GPU at a time. Secure the GPU on the rig frame, and connect the USB to the motherboard slot. Once all your risers are done, connect the PCIE cables to your GPU’s. If you don’t have enough molex, remember usually molex cables have around 3 molex connectors. You can safely use 2 connectors on 2 different cards. For example let’s say you have 5 cards, you can place one directly on the motherboard and 4 with risers. With two molex cables you can connect your 4 cards. If you want to read more on power requirements, read here as an example.
- Plug your PSU into your wall socket and connect your Ethernet cable. You will need a USB drive with your OS boot file on it. For example, see this Microsoft help page. But first boot up the PC and go into your BIOS. This should be automatic or just press DEL as it boots. First thing you want to do is go over all the options just to familiarize yourself with them a bit. Go to power management, and if available, set the rig to reboot on power loss. Then set the PCIE subsystem to gen 2 or gen 1. Usually the default is auto. That should do the trick. Shut down.
- Reboot with the USB stick installed. Load up your OS. Once you are in windows, you will need your motherboard drivers that you can find on the motherboard brand website. Download these (from another computer) and install them. I recommend you run windows update and put your computer up to date.
- Optimize your windows. Disable Superfetch in services (run – services) if you have an SSD. Disable all new updates if possible, and cancel all scheduled tasks. Download the latest video card drivers, and install them. Reboot. At this point the system should recognize all your cards. If on windows 7, you may need to install the 6 gpu mod. Open up device manager to verify all the gpu’s are detected.
- Flash the bios of each GPU with AtiFlash. (Always make a backup. Also, run your mining software before flashing bios to check speeds and to see if everything is good) Check for the newest version. For RX series cards, download Polaris Bios Editor. Or just use the appropriate .ROM file you can find on Cryptominingtalk or elsewhere. Reboot.
- Check again to see if all your cards are detected. At this point, download the mining software and set up your pool credentials. Set up your .BAT file. Put a shortcut of that .BAT file into the start menu folder (program data – microsoft – windows – start menu – programs – startup) so that if your rig reboots the mining software is a lso restarted.
- Download MSI afterburner, (or trixx or other overclocking software), or watttool, and adjust your GPU’s core clock, memory clock and voltages. You want low voltages, and high memory clocks for ETH (you can lower core clock on RX cards). For other cryptos, including ZCash, you want low voltage and higher core clocks. If your rig fails, re-adjust your settings accordingly.
- Start it up ! Monitor your hashrate and if you want, buy a wattmeter. Kill-a-watt is a good product. Play around with the rig to optimize hashrate and power consumption.
- If you choose to install Claymore’s mining software, use ETHman to monitor your rigs from another computer or from your android phone.
Feel free to comment or send us an email to ask us question if you run into problems or have suggestions.