Cryptocurrency Mining Farm – Setup (DIY) and Configuration

Cryptocurrency Mining Farm - Setup (DIY) and Configuration

In this article, we will talk about the Cryptocurrency mining farm tool through which cryptocurrency mining occurs. Consider the configuration, assembly, and configuration of the farm for mining, as well as the selection of the optimal configuration.

A mining farm is a regular computer with video cards connected to it; a standard home farm includes 4 to 6 video cards. This amount is optimal from the point of view of choosing a motherboard and power supply (server or two conventional synchronized). With the help of a special program (miner), the computer farm provides the return of computing power in favor of the Blockchain system, the cryptocurrency that you are currently mining.

Mining farm for 6 graphics cards
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Video cards are usually used as usual serial ones (both for games and regular work), but from the middle of 2017, special lines of video cards for mining from NVIDIA P106-100 and P104-100 (analogues of serial GTX 1060 and GTX 1080) began to appear.

They are adapted for mining and differ from serial ones in the large issued hashrate (production speed is higher by 30%), but also with a lesser guarantee – 3 months. Due to the very small warranty period, these model lines have not received much popularity among miners. Read more about the choice of a video card and other components we will describe further.

Why are miners in the Blockchain system needed?

In the Blockchain system, data is stored in a database of peculiar chains – blocks. Each computer collects its chain separately from the others and if it succeeds in getting ahead of all the others, it receives a reward in the form of a fixed amount. In fact, miners provide cryptocurrency operability in the form in which it exists.

Why are miners in the Blockchain system needed

Types of mining farms

  • GPU farms can be assembled from several video cards (optimally up to 6 pieces). The assembly and configuration of just such a farm we will consider in detail in this material. The profitability of such a system is directly dependent on the total power of the used GPUs, that is, the greater the power of your system, the more profit you can expect.
  • Farms on FPGA modules . However, such farms are now no longer relevant, their production stopped quite quickly, because in all respects, except for energy efficiency, such systems lose to their GPU counterparts. So this practice has not received proper development.
  • Farms from ASIC miners . They are quite expensive, but their productivity, payback periods and profitability are usually higher than similar indicators of the options described above. But ASICs are not suitable for “home mining”, because in addition to the high prices they have a very high level of noise, heat generation and energy consumption.

If you want to mine cryptocurrency on ASICs (for example, Bitcoin is mined only on this equipment), then cloud mining is an ideal option for you. for him, you don’t need to configure the equipment yourself and monitor his work, read more in our review about cloud mining.

Must Read – Top 10 Best Cloud Mining Online Services + Blacklisted

What will we produce on the farm – bitcoins or altcoins?

Mining Bitcoin on video cards today does not make sense, since the complexity of the network is too high, so we get alternative coins on the GPU (altcoins – Ethereum, Zcash, Monero). If you want to mine precisely Bitcoin (BTC), then there are such options for this:

  • Cloud mining on IQMining and Hashflare services  is the best option for mining bitcoins for 2019, and in principle the best option for mining any popular cryptocurrency since It does not require large investments, it pays off quickly and there are no problems with setting up and maintaining equipment operability.
  • Special ASIC equipment designed exclusively for mining BTC (the most expensive solution and pays for itself for a very long time).
  • Mining a Altcoin video card with instant conversion to Bitcoin on the NiceHash service (not the most profitable option for video cards, but earnings go immediately to BTC).

List of stages for starting cryptocurrency mining

  1. Several video cards are bought (optimally 4-6) with good cooling and a better hashrate (performance) / cost ratio, and you should not forget the amount of memory, for example, from 2017 some cryptocurrencies (in particular Ethereum) cannot be mined with 2 Gb or lower cards due to of the DAG file, and in 2019 it will grow to 4 Gb and for its production will need cards already 6 Gb and above.
  2. A good powerful power supply is purchased. consumption will be large from 0.7 to 1.5 kW. There are two options – a server power supply or two conventional ones (synchronized with a special cable). Both options have their advantages, you decide.
  3. A structure similar to a server rack is being built on which the farm is mounted and assembled. There are many such designs on sale on Avito and forums, the average price is 1,500 rubles.
  4. Everything is connected and assembled like a regular PC, but video cards are connected with special risers (Molex or 6pin).
  5. We install Windows (preferably version 10), the software is configured (miner, overclocking utility, etc.), production starts!

Of course, this is a very short list of actions, then we will consider the assembly and configuration process in more detail and analyze all the details.

What a standard mining farm consists of

A mining farm is an assembly of several components that are interconnected and produce virtual currency. The technique continuously solves complex mathematical problems, the result of which is the converted program code, which is cryptocurrency.

The basis for the farm are video cards, as they are engaged in computational processes. The more powerful the video card, the faster it selects numerical variations, the more it is possible to get coins for a limited period of time. Accordingly, the more video cards, the more income they will bring together.

The farm consists of a complex of various components :

  • SSD-drive (its advantages are stability and speed). 60 gigabytes may be enough, but it is better to take 100-160.
  • Processor .
  • GPU video cards (optimally 4-6 pcs.).
  • Motherboard . An ordinary motherboard will be enough, in which there will be the necessary number of connectors for the video card.
  • Power supply (with a margin of 20-30% of the maximum consumption of the entire system). Farms with 4+ video cards often require more than one power supply. They mainly buy several 750-watt units and simply connect them together to work.
  • Risers (one for each video card).
  • RAM (enough 4 GB).
  • USB WatchDog.
  • Wireframe. It is best to make a frame of wood or aluminum. The size of the mining farm will be slightly larger than its frame due to protruding parts, adapters and a cooling system. The average farm will be about half a meter high, 70 cm long and 50 cm wide. A large mining farm can reach length and height parameters of one meter.
  • Monitor emulator.
  • It would be advisable to buy another 1-2 coolers for better cooling, but it depends on the location of the farm and the conditions in the room where it is located.
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The last two points are not necessary for the farm to function, but USB WatchDog improves stability when you are not nearby and short-term electricity has occurred. And the monitor emulator allows you to run the farm without a monitor, you first need to install TeamViewer in startup.

Farm Mining Assembly

How to assemble a mining farm yourself – instructions!

How to build a farm on your own is described in detail in these videos, each demonstrates the process of connecting and configuring from start to finish, including registering on the pool and setting up the miner.

motherboards

Most miners face the first problems already at the stage of choosing a motherboard. There is little reliable information on the network about which hardware will be guaranteed to work with several video cards. The classic scheme for assembling a farm for broadcasting is 4, 6 or 8 video cards. Accordingly, not every motherboard will pull so many devices on the bus. On this, many come across.

The main criteria for choosing a motherboard for mining:

  • Price
  • Number of PCI-E x16, PCI-EXPRESS x1, and M.2 ports

Note: all PCI ports must be ACTIVE (they are parallelized and then only one of the pair works!).

The price should be as cheap as possible, and the ports as large as possible and they should be located as convenient as possible. There are motherboards positioned as specialized motherboards for mining, for example, the ASRock BTC series or motherboards from Biostar. 

A motherboard for maning for 6 video cards

To build a budget-level farm, miners choose used motherboards based on a 775 socket. As a rule, motherboards of the middle and premium segment on this platform have 4 or more PCI-E ports and without any problems determine all the video cards on board. Among them, motherboards based on P45, P43 and P35 chipsets (Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L or Asus P5Q Deluxe) are the most famous.

However, the most optimal option is still relevant, but already inexpensive motherboards in a simple design based on the Z270 chipset. For example, Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3, which works with six video cards without “dancing with a tambourine.” Such a piece of iron can be bought for about $ 90− $ 100.

ASUS PRIME H270-PLUS boards popular in mining, but they are almost never available, due to the fact that they are in various guides. Usually people don’t want or can’t choose for themselves, therefore they blindly follow what they write. But there are a lot of similar options.

Motherboard ASUS PRIME H270-PLUS

For fans of the AMD platform, there is also a good option in this price category – the Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3P. But this board only supports 5 graphics cards.

Setting up a motherboard for mining

For normal operation, disable all unnecessary functions in the BIOS, for example, sound and usb 3.0 ports. Next, in the Standart SMOS Features we switch the Halt on item to No Errors (this is necessary so that there is no error checking at the beginning and the farm starts quickly after the same reboot). Disable (DISABLED) HDD SMART function We are looking for the AC Back function and turn it on (the farm will automatically start after power up).

At the end, put the boot from the USB stick to install Windows 10. For some boards, additional settings are required, for example, for ASUS PRIME H270-P you need to enable the 4g Decoding (advanced \ system agent) item, if this item is not there, just update the BIOS.

Risers

Cards will be connected through risers (special adapters). They are universal; they are connected to both PCI-E x16 and PCI-E x1 ports. You only need to buy raisers USB 3.0 and see that the wire is more authentic, for example, 60 cm.

The technological feature of PCI Express desoldering does not allow using all the connectors at once for direct connection of video cards to the motherboard. They will certainly interfere with each other’s cooling, or they can’t be installed at all.

There is a solution – a PCI-e extension cable, or riser. They come in two types – a loop with connectors or an independent board with a full PCI-e 16x connector and additional power wiring. A common form of the adapter looks like this: a riser, a contact pad and a USB 3.0 wire.

Such adapters vary in type of power. The most common and reliable ones are powered by molex computer PSU connectors (connectors for powering DVD drives, old HDDs).

For video cards without external power supply, it is strictly necessary to install risers powered via PCI-e connectors of the power supply unit. These wires are designed for heavy loads and will not overheat.

For powerful video cards with external power supply, it is better to buy a molex version. Since the power supply load of the video card is removed from the PCI-e slots, there will be no strong current at the riser power terminal, which means that there is no need for powerful wires.

The average price for a riser in Russia fluctuates around $ 6− $ 7. In China, such an adapter costs no more than $ 5.

Video card raisers

Risers differ in versions, the main difference of which is the power connectors. Choose them based on the free on your power supply. When connecting farm power, add about 80 watts to the power consumption of your card and risers. BE CAREFUL WHEN CONNECTING THE RISER TO THE PCI-E x16 SLOT, it can be connected to the wrong side and it will go into the slot. The result will be disastrous. Watch the position of the key on the connector.

M2 adapter

In order to connect an additional card to the M2 port, you will need a special adapter.

CPU

Mining on the processor is not relevant in 2019. Therefore, choose the simplest and cheapest processor for your farm, based on the socket of your motherboard. The processor should pull Windows 10 and miner work. Processors of such a Celeron G1840 BOX plan are suitable.

To build a simple configuration for broadcasting and similar coins, you can put the most affordable processors:

  • Celeron G3900 (G3930)  for a farm on an Intel platform with the Z270 chipset (about $ 40); 
  • Core 2 Duo E7300  (any C2D series, starting from 7xxx) for a farm on an Intel platform with P45, P43, P35 chipsets (price is negotiable, no more than $ 10− $ 15); 
  • Athlon X3 445  for the farm on the AMD platform with the 970A chipset (in China, the processor can be found for less than $ 10).
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For processor mining, you can consider multi-core stones that mine coins using the Cryptonight algorithm. For example,  Core i3, i5, i7  for a platform based on the Z270 chipset.

Although there are other, more profitable options. For example,  Xeon E5-2650 . But this is a server profile equipment, therefore it is better to entrust the knowledgeable person to search for components and settings. And for a “home” miner, a farm on a weak processor is enough.

We recommend buying a BOX version of the processor, as this configuration has a cooler. The price difference between BOX and OEM versions is minimal, but buying a third-party cooling system will cost more. Plus, the guarantee for the “boxed” cooler is not 12, but 36 months.

Video Cards for Mining

For an approximate analysis of mining earnings on specific video cards, there are special income and payback calculators that provide current data online at the moment, because network complexity and course are constantly changing. Here you can see how much the farm will bring you with certain cards on different coins.

Video cards for mining different models

Nvidia and AMD graphics chips have their advantages and disadvantages. But the main difference between them is mining efficiency. Depending on the coin, the miners select exactly those video cards that give more power and consume less electricity on a certain algorithm, for example, Ethereum can be efficiently extracted on AMD cards, and Zcash on Nvidia cards.

The main pros and cons of cards of two manufacturers can be described as follows :

  • Nvidia is easier to set up, less cooling problems, but power consumption is slightly higher. After mining, you can sell profitably.
  • AMD is more difficult to configure and maintain, there are nuances in cooling, but there is a solution from gluttony (fine-tuning the voltage in the firmware). Less popular with gamers, sold worse.

Video cards are selected taking into account the fact that you need to mine. The GTX line is best suited for Equihash coins. For example, Zcash or Bitcoin Private. All this thanks to the architectural features of green graphics chips. So, the GTX 1060 produces a little more than 310 salts, and the Radeon RX580 is only 290. The difference is especially noticeable if you include two 1050Ti against one RX580. Then the difference in power will exceed 20% in favor of Nvidia.

But for ether and other coins on the Ethash algorithm, it is better to look towards the red camp. You can squeeze out more than 30 mega-caches from the same RX580 when the GTX 1060 with 6 GB of video memory accelerates to only 22. And the price difference between such video cards is minimal.

Nevertheless, the purchase of video cards is not limited to the choice of the manufacturer of the graphic chip. In any case, the video card will mine and earn. Therefore, the primary role in mining is played by the reliability and durability of the equipment:

  • The cooling system should consist of copper heat pipes. The memory chips must be cooled by the main heat sink or copper plate through thermal spacers. Power batteries on the board (mosfets, transistors) must be cooled by a common or separate radiators.
  • High-quality cards are reinforced with a metal plate – backplate. This contributes to a good heat dissipation from the PCB and affects its rigidity (the risk of chip chip failure due to skew of the board is reduced).
  • Must have additional power 4 or 8 pin. This will reduce the load on the riser and PCI-e lines of the motherboard.
  • It is good if the coolers are assembled on rolling bearings. With proper care, such fans work for a very long time even in mining (there are bearings on MSI video cards).

The following maps are currently most relevant:

Nvidia:

AMD Radeon :

AMD cards need to flash BIOS for better performance. And buy  a monitor emulator for stable operation of the system.

Take those that are. But you should not take the RX 470 for 40,000 rubles, it already does not fit into any framework, its maximum real price is 25,000 rubles. Choose cards with a good cooling system.

Power Supplies for Mining Farm

Mining power is a critically important task that must be tackled non-standard. The power supply for the farm is selected a little differently than it is when assembling a conventional computer.

For everyday assemblies, the power of the power supply is calculated using calculators or manually, based on the values ​​of power consumption declared by the manufacturer (processor, motherboard, RAM strips, video card, disks, coolers). In mining, the criteria for choosing a PSU are not limited to just watts. There are much more important parameters that play a decisive role in choosing a PSU.

From the school course in physics, we know that the power supply, as a radio engineering device, is a simple converter of electric current. His task is to turn hundreds of volts into tens. Accordingly, the stronger the BP “squeezes” the incoming current, the more useful energy it will lose in the form of heat and radiation. In physics, this is called efficiency – the coefficient of performance.

In computer units there are several power lines – 12 volts, 5 volts, 3.3 volts. Accordingly, the manufacturer indicates in the BP passport the total maximum power for all three lines. And in mining, only a line with a voltage of 12 volts is used. Therefore, we are interested in the power of this particular tire.

For such scenarios, power supplies with increased efficiency along the 12 volt line are provided. They are issued with the certificate 80 Plus. This means that more than 80% of the total power of the unit falls on the 12 volt bus. It is these PSUs that are selected for the assembly of the farm.

There are five main types of certification: Plus, Plus Bronze, Plus Silver, Plus Gold and Plus Platinum. Accordingly, the price of the power supply depends on the color of the certificate:

Power Supply Certificates

Mining farms need good power supplies from trusted manufacturers with 80+ certificates. Do not save on them and always keep at least one in stock. Do not let the unit run at full power, keep 100 watts in reserve.

  • The most optimal option is a bronze and gold certificates.
  • The most sought-after “bronze” blocks are the KCAS line from Aerocool. Low price, good performance and market availability are the reasons for the high demand for these power supplies. The average cost is from $ 45 for 600 watts.
  • In terms of quality and cost, Corsair PSUs are one notch higher. The most common models are certified with Plus Gold. Most often, miners choose the RM line (550x, 750x). The average cost in the market is from $ 100 for 750 watts.
  • Seasonic is responsible for the premium segment of the power supply market. These are the most expensive power supplies available in the Russian market. The Platinum line offers customers 520 watts for $ 200.
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Power supply for mining farm

When connecting several power supplies to one farm, evenly distribute the load between them and use the special add2psu relay   to combine them into a circuit that will start and stop at the same time. Connect to the molex relay from the master, and 24 pin from the slave power supply.

RAM

Here the main thing is not quality, but quantity. There will be no difference in performance or stability with an expensive memory kit or with a cheap one. For normal farm operation, you need to install at least 4 GB. Although there is evidence of stable farm operation with 2-3 GB of RAM. The main thing is that the memory strips are not broken (if we choose from the supported ones).

Those who assemble a farm from used components should take into account that it is more reasonable to look for a motherboard with support for DDR3 brackets. So far, this is the most accessible memory in terms of cost per GB (from $ 5). Moreover, the secondary market is full of this type of memory.

Those who assemble the farm from new components have no choice. Motherboards based on new chipsets no longer “understand” the old memory. Therefore, a minimum of 4 GB of DDR4 memory is installed (approximately $ 40− $ 50).

The exception is the assembly on the AMD platform. There are new motherboards with support for DDR3.

Hard drive

The size and type of hard drive for the farm does not affect the speed of mining (if you are not going to mine on the HDD, of course). During mining, the disk is idle, only occasionally recording miner logs or system information.

Some specialized mining OSs even know how to work with flash drives. True, not for long (the flash memory has a small recording resource, which will end after about a month of use as the main drive for the OS).

It is advisable to choose a drive from new ones, but sometimes in the secondary market there are good options up to $ 10− $ 15. The main thing is to check it for bad sectors before buying. For a system and mining, any drive from 50 GB is enough.

You can put an SSD drive. The farm will start loading faster (10-15 seconds versus 30-40 seconds with HDD). And that’s all, no more pluses. But it will cost several times more.

Standard rig example

As part of our detailed guide, you can summarize in theory and give an example in practice. To do this, we will virtually assemble the farm on topical components, immediately clarify that this is just one of many options:

  • Motherboard – Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3
  • Processor – Celeron G3930
  • RAM – AMD Radeon R7 Performance Series [R744G2400U1S-U]
  • Storage – Any from 50 GB
  • Riser – VER006 Molex (6 pieces)
  • Power supply – Aerocool KCAS 800W [KCAS-800W] (2 pieces)
  • Video Cards – Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC (6 pcs.)
  • Synchronizer – 1 piece

Total: 125 mega-caches on Ethash and 1,600-1,800 salts on Equihash for $ 2,600.

Setting up Windows and mining pool

Install all driver updates for your hardware. Set the page file to 20 GB. Download MSI Afterburner to overclock your graphics cards . Install T eam V eaver to remotely control your computer and HWiNFO64 to monitor the system (optional). Install the miner itself. For clarity, select the pool (the network through which we will mine) nanopool.org

Mining pool Nanopool.org

We select the currency, in our case it is Zcash and we get to the zec.nanopool.org section, there we go to the help section and download the miner (claymore for AMD cards and CUDA for Nvidia – disable the antivirus!)

Next, we right-click on the start file   (it may be called differently for you), change it, and edit using notepad. There you just need to register the address of your wallet (below I will tell you how to create it on the exchange), the name of your farm, for example, Miner1, and yours, which will receive notifications about the shutdown of the farm.

We save, run the file and mining has begun. Add your miner to startup at the start of the farm. You can check mining statistics on the same site, just type in the address of your wallet, which is configured in the miner, into the search bar.

How to get your cryptocurrency wallet?

We describe the full list of available wallets here , for beginners we immediately explain that all wallets are free and differ only in functionality with a degree of reliability.

But the easiest and fastest way to get your wallet of any cryptocurrency is to register on a cryptocurrency exchange.

Consider the express option of receiving wallets on the Binance exchange   (the largest platform for 2019). The rating of cryptocurrency exchanges can be found here.

To start, click on the main page “Create an Account” or “Register” and get to the registration page.

Create an account at Binance

Note! When registering, it is advisable to enter a strong password containing upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters. It must not match other passwords that you use. Remember your safety.

After entering the data, click the checkmark for agreement with the terms of service (the Russian version of the translation is lame here, yes), and proceed to the next step. You will need to move the slider so that a separate piece of the puzzle is aligned with the main image.

Original captcha Binance

Now it remains only to check the mail and confirm the registration on the exchange by clicking on the “Verify Email” button, which is contained in the letter. After that, you can go to the exchange by entering the email address and password.

At the first start, we are asked to configure two-factor authentication using the Google Authenticator key or confirmations using SMS. But this is not necessary.

Immediately after registration, you can copy the address of your wallet you need cryptocurrency in the “Balances” section.

Alternative mining options

If this option of mining cryptocurrency is too labor-intensive for you, we recommend paying attention to cloud mining – it is interesting in that it does not require technical knowledge about cryptocurrency and equipment, while at the beginning of 2019 it provides greater profitability than assembling and setting up your own equipment.

Reviews on the most popular and reliable cloud mining services you can see on our website:


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