Choosing a graphics card
The first part of setting up your mining rig is choosing the proper hardware. Although you could use a CPU or an ASIC device for mining, this article will be focusing on GPU (graphics card) mining. AMD creates their graphics cards with an infrastructure conducive to mining, but Nvidia cards get exceptionally low hash rates making them a terrible choice for mining. The best Nvidia graphics cards yield less than half a megahash. Laptop hardware is even worse for mining than Nvidia cards are, so you’ll need a desktop system to mine. Having a desktop system allows you to keep your hardware properly cooled as well.
The graphics card or cards need to be able to fit your motherboard, and your power supply must have an adequate number of PCI-E connectors. Before settling on your graphics card, keep that in mind. To keep your system cooled properly, you can remove the cover from the case to allow for better heat dissipation. That is called an “open-air rig.” If you point a floor or box fan at your system, or have it near an air conditioner, you can make your rig run even cooler, providing longevity and potentially better hash rates.
So, in summary, here’s what you need to look for to create an optimized GPU mining rig.
- AMD GPU (Select a card from the list.)
- Desktop PC (Remove the side and top panels of the case and point a fan or air conditioner at it.)
- Choose a motherboard that has adequate PCI-E space for your card. Please note that some cards take up multiple spaces on your motherboard.
- A PSU with enough power for your card and system, and provides an adequate number of PCI-E connectors.
GPU mining software
GPU mining software is what makes your miner a miner. You could use cgMiner (no longer supports GPU mining despite its name) or BFGMiner directly, but to make things exceptionally easy, a front-end to the console is a great choice. cgWatcher is a program that provides a front end to cgMiner. cgWatcher offers a much more powerful interface, but we’ll be working with MultiMiner for its simplicity.
MultiMiner interfaces with BFGMiner, and when you run the program for the first time, you’re walked through setting everything up. It downloads BFGMiner and even locates proper mining cards attached to your rig and automatically configures them. Unlike cgWatcher, MultiMiner offers remote management and monitoring for free and instead of using software to provide this functionality, it uses a web interface so you’ll always have it with you wherever you have an internet connection.
In order to finish setting up your mining software, you’ll need to enter pool information. There’s already an article about choosing a profitable mining pool, so review that article and create an account with a pool you like the best. Enter your URL and worker information into the MultiMiner wizard.
Once you’re at the main interface for MultiMiner, click the “start” button or tweak other settings as you see fit. If you get a message saying that none of the pools can be used, check to make sure that you’ve entered your full worker name. You may enter command line options manually through MultiMiner’s advanced settings menu for your GPU.
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