Grab those GPUs it’s Cryptocurrency Mining time!

Introduction

This is a pretty unusual one for me, I had looked at Bitcoin and the likes before and came to the conclusion that I couldn’t profit in the United Kingdom due to the fact that power is really NOT cheap here. But then after being promoted by a colleague I took another look at other Cyrptocurrencies and was pretty shocked, there are tons and tons to choose from more than the Bitcoin and Litecoin’s of old.

What is first? well the main one was choosing a currency, once that is over you choose what is best for the type of mining you are about to do. After that, we see if our hardware is even capable of mining and if it is worth using it while we are away. Then of course, budget; this is not for the faint of heart, you can do it cheaply but then your power-bill starts to rear its head. Then we spec what we are going to build (this bit includes calculating how much power this rig will draw). And finally test it all. – Please note that this guide is geared towards “good mining speeds at a lower energy lost” rather than mining galore.

Index

  1. Which Cryptocurrency are we going to mine? (in our case Zcash – Setup a wallet)
  2. Setting up a miner for CPU / NVIDIA GPU (Linux / Windows)
  3. Is our current hardware capable of mining? (Do we want to use it even if it can?)
  4. Budgeting the dedicated mining rig (max monthly cost included)
  5. The three paths – spec’ing the dedicated mining rig (spec’ing power draw/cost)
  6. Full setup and testing the end product (This will be released February/March for a fair trial and test findings)

Which Cryptocurrency are we going to mine? (in our case Zcash – Setup a wallet)

This is probably a simple one for this guide, as yes we are going to mine one currency and we aren’t really going to deviate from it. But I thought it would be important to share the resources I used to make my choice.

We are going to go for the default and supplied Zcash wallet as this seems like a good port of call for being the most supported. https://zcash4win.com/ I have been using the Windows one but will be migrating over to the Linux one, Please support their development efforts! other platforms probably best to look at the Zcash website https://z.cash/support/getting-started.html.

Setting up a miner for CPU / NVIDIA GPU (Linux / Windows)

We are going to use the NiceHash Equihash miner nheqminer, this works for CPU based mining and NVIDIA GPU mining. Linux is a little more difficult to get working than Windows for the uninitiated however it is always worth learning how to use the Linux CLI (In our case Ubuntu 16.04 – Mint/Debian will work as well).

Linux (Debian based distro)

So first we make sure the system is up-to-date via the APT package manager that ships with Debian based distros.

[code]sudo apt-get upgrade[/code]

 

[code]sudo apt-get update [/code]

 

Now we need to install some packages to be able to build the NiceHash miner, this is a fairly simple affair. First on our list

[code]sudo apt install qt5-default [/code]

 

[code]sudo apt-get install git cmake build-essential libboost-all-dev [/code]

 

[code]git clone https://github.com/nicehash/nheqminer.git[/code]

 

[code]cd nheqminer[/code]

 

[code]mkdir build [/code]

 

[code]cd build [/code]

 

[code]cmake .. [/code]

 

[code]make [/code]

 

Pretty simple right?

Once that is over you can use the nheqminer script that you’ve made. Use the Windows examples below to be able to know how to use this script and don’t forget to add the ./

[code]./nheqminer -l eu1-zcash.flypool.org:3333 -u ****Your Wallet address****[/code]

 

Windows (Windows 10 – Should work for Win7+)

Now this URL is important as you will have to check it periodically as there may be an update for it https://github.com/NiceHash/nheqminer/releases and install.

Now make a .bat file with the following examples depending on how you want to mine.

This will use all available resources (Mine will just go for threads but it is meant to go for your GPU as well)

[code]nheqminer -l eu1-zcash.flypool.org:3333 -u ****Your Wallet address****[/code]

 

This will use 4 threads of your processor and only your processor

[code]nheqminer -l eu1-zcash.flypool.org:3333 -u ****Your Wallet address**** -t 4[/code]

 

This will use 8 threads of your CPU and your primary GPU

[code]nheqminer -l eu1-zcash.flypool.org:3333 -u ****Your Wallet address**** -t 8 -cd 0[/code]

 

This will use just your primary GPU

[code]nheqminer -l eu1-zcash.flypool.org:3333 -u ****Your Wallet address**** -cd 0[/code]

 

Is our current hardware capable of mining? (Do we want to use it even if it can?)

So my current system is a fairly high spec’d Ryzen Threadripper build. Specs are as follows – CPU: AMD TR 1900X Motherboard: Asus Zenith Extreme RAM: 32GB Corsair DP 2800MHz GPU: 1080ti Strix OC, 1050 Strix OC. So on that front I could immediately give mining a go and see how everything would work and these were the results were quite catastrophic compared to the Processors I have tried so far.

With just the 1080ti: 384w from the Wall

With the 1080ti and the AMD 1900X all threads: 491w from the wall

Just the AMD 1900X: 234w from the wall

So after these results it is obvious that I should not use my system, well not really anyway. I could make profit of around 11 pounds pcm if it were running off my GPU alone, which really isn’t fantastic. The resources I have used to try and calculate the profit margin have been many and varied but I have now settled for this http://www.mycryptobuddy.com/ZCashMiningCalculator as after you have converted your charge per kwh to usd then this resource becomes more than reasonable to use and it appears to be updated with all the correct information. Which means for me this isn’t the route I was going to take.

Budgeting the dedicated mining rig (max monthly cost included)

Ahh budgeting, something that I have never been good at (I’m looking at my PC…) but this is where I have to think seriously, when I sell this PC am I going to be able to get some money back for it or am I going to run it into the ground. The best option is to sell your rig when you are done with it and that is without a doubt the route I shall be taking. My budget is going to be around £250 for the base system and then depending on the condition of the cards I am buying and of course AMD vs NVIDIA I will set aside at least £600 for a total budget of £850 (I would prefer to spend less than £500 but that isn’t realistic)

The three paths – spec’ing the dedicated mining rig (spec’ing power draw/cost)

Now then, there are plenty of online resources for finding out what hardware will suite your mining needs best. At the end of the day it all comes down to how much you are willing to spend on the hardware and power bill. I used the following resources to make my choice and will be ordering January and I will post an update accordingly.

The plan – Phase 1 – Expensive and opinion based picking

This build should produce around 840 – 900 sol/s (why the variant? – Because it is best to expect software issues and setbacks, a worst case scenario as it were) 144watts (please note the power consumption should be much lower than this) x3 for a total of 432watts with the GTX 1060’s (this is the worst case scenario power consumption according to online forums etc) so after that worse case we have to consider how much more power the base system is going to consume. Now to do all of this power calculation you can just use this power supply calculator. My results for the build below are as follows https://outervision.com/b/RniVPF

Chassis: Logic Case 4U SC-4480A

PSU: HX1000i

CPU: Intel Pentium Dual Core G4500

Motherboard: ASRock Intel H110 Pro BTC+

RAM: x1 Corsair 8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4

GPU: x3 Palit NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB

No this doesn’t have storage (going to use a USB, but if you don’t have one around add £10). Now this comes to a rather healthy £545.92 for the base system and then a further £745.44 for the GPU’s for a total of you guessed it £1291.36. Did I have to rethink? basically and without any doubt… Yes. And at the end of the day, this is best case senario stuff not what will happen when purchased.

The new plan – Phase 1 repeated (Hello eBay) – Second hand is only the way to go if you are buying whole (Failed Seller didn’t send)

So really, you need to plan to either take a hit for this mining machine and calculate profits without considering the price or buy as cheap and efficient as possible without breaking the bank and ensuring that you can actually profit. Now you could do the following and build your own (what I would do below if I built my own without compromising for quality) but I recommend finding a cheap older Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge / Haswell with a branded 700w PSU (if you can)

Chassis: Can either go for a old computer case or a cheap off-brand case. I am going for the Logic server chassis for £98

PSU: I’ve would have gone for the Corsair HX750i (Could get the HX1000i for a little more! P.S never buy second hand PSU’s) £149 but you do have a choice at this point you can either go for a proper known brand PSU or a unbranded PSU that supplies 1600w of 94% eff power for £100, for this guide I’m not taking that risk.

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1220L (You can pick up Pentium’s, i3’s, i5’s and even i7’s for cheap now I would advise either a Pentium or i3 or Xeon as I have gone for) £50

Motherboard: ASRock H81 PRo BTC R2.0 (Because it is future-proofed for mining) £70

RAM: 8GB DDR3 £35 – £62 (depending if new or pre-owned)

GPU: AMD vs NVIDIA choice here.

Base system is already looking at over £410 so we are not really better off. Now yes that is because of my server chassis could save around £70 there but I the form factor for my rack. But as we are looking for the most optimal plan for all the choice is really this buying an entire machine. So, I now own a Dell Optiplex 990 i3 2120 and 6GB’s of RAM with 2 PCI slots for £120. And then I would pick up a Gold or Plat 500 – 600w PSU (I got the EVGA 650w Gold for £70 – as this will only be a 2 GPU system) and plan to go for the 2x NVIDIA 1060’s with a effective hashrate of around 500 – 600 sol/s for around £500 (even if you go for AMD its the same sort of price for more of a power bill) now that is around 700 pounds, almost halving what we had for brand new base system wise. – (had to sell the bits that actually came as the Optiplex never arrived.) https://outervision.com/b/rsLvIW

The plan that should be done if you are doing it seriously (joining the goldrush).

So, you will need a good credit score and the ability to put a fairly healthy sum on a credit card or something that will allow monthly payments. If you are mining Zcash then the power-bill should take care of itself. Buy the system that was spec’d originally in the first plan and then get a bigger PSU max out the PCI-e slots with cards and get a mining frame. Sorted and you are now a heavy crypto miner. I would look into AMD 580’s but this guide covers team green as they are more power efficient and tend to be in stock.

After all that. This is what I did.

I got an Intel G4400, 4GB of Corsair DDR4, Biostar TB250-BTC Motherboard, CS750M PSU (With Thermaltake Dual PSU adapter), 6 PCIe extenders, 60GB Drevo SSD. I also have a Zotac 1060 AMP edition 6GB which 2 more are coming soon. I don’t have a chassis yet but hope to soon. in the end this cost me around £740 for all brand new parts. The Zotac should be able to cool itself well and comes with a 5 year warranty. I will be releasing a post in the future of how to set this all up on Debian Linux.

Thanks so much for reading this post, hopefully this makes the prospect of mining a little less daunting. I will be posting more about how to mine and why to mine etc.

 

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