Your GPU Mining Rig Buying Guide
An in-depth look at what parts should you get for your first mining rig. This is your GPU Mining Rig buying guide for 2021.
In this article, we are going to cover all the basics and tips you need to buy your GPU Mining Rig.
This guide is intended to be useful even years from now, but if the market changes drastically I will be doing updates for it.
At the end of Your GPU Mining Rig Buying Guide, we will talk about the market status as of early 2021 and how to deal with the abnormally high prices of GPUs and hardware in general.
Places That You Can Buy Your Hardware From
This will be a list of places you can buy your hardware from that we cover in the next section. These links will have either promotion codes or affiliates to help support Mining Chamber without any additional costs to you.
This is a great option for US-based miners as well as CA. You can get multiple different types of hardware there, so check them out and see what they have in stock.
One of the best options to get your risers from!
Here you can find a great inventory of Server PSUs. Really good option to use and they cover a wide variety of regions for shipping. You can use our coupon code miningchamber for 10% off!
Great store for a wide variety of Hardware. Also covers a good amount of regions.
Here you can buy different hardware. Mainly their GPU frames are really good options.
Finally, we have Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, and all the well-known retailers for PC Hardware. You can get your GPUs from there and all the other parts from the essential and main lists below.
As for Alibaba and AliExpress, you can feel free to use them but do not buy GPUs from there. I repeat, do NOT. They are most likely scams.
GPU Mining Parts List And Buying Strategy
When it comes to assembling your first mining rig, it is essentially divided into two sections.
The first section is your essential parts of the mining rig:
- Processor (CPU)
- Memory (RAM)
- Storage Device (SSD or USB)
- PCI-E Risers
- Frame or Server Chasis
- Network Connectivity
These essential parts can basically be the same in every mining rig and we will explain more on that further on.
The second section of your Mining Rig is considered the main parts. Which is your GPUs and based on what and how many GPUs you will be using, it will help you dictate which PSU(s) should you be getting.
So now let’s go ahead and dive into further details about the first and the second section.
So as we mentioned before, the essential parts can be the same across all rigs. Now, what does that really mean?
Each Mining Rig is basically a regular Computer but with more than one GPU connected to it. Now the reason we connect more GPUs is due to the fact that they are the muscles in this entire operation of mining. So your CPU and RAM will have barely any impact on your mining performance.
Since your CPU and RAM have nearly no effect on your mining, you can go with the bare minimum for it. Now that changes if you're planning on doing CPU mining as well.
CPU mining requires good processors but it is not a very popular way of mining now since it is not even close to how profitable GPU mining is at the time of this writing.
As for your Network connection, mining does not use or require a strong internet connection, but it does need a stable one. So I do recommend hooking up ethernet as much as you can, if that is not possible then you can reside to using WIFI with WIFI adapters which we will cover more later on.
Now to go with the bare minimum for your essential parts I will go over a strategy that will help you decide what to buy after we cover the main parts.
As we mentioned previously, your main parts are your GPUs and your PSU(s). Now based on how many GPUs you are buying and how much watts they will consume you will be able to make a decision on what PSU you should get.
Generally, when you mine with the GPUs, you will be undervolting them. You should never skip properly undervolting them and overclocking them for mining.
I have write-ups on different GPUs that I got to personally test, you will find all these write-ups in our Overclocking section of the Crypto Library.
You can use the values in the library if your card is on our list, if not then you can look around on Reddit as well as YouTube and Google till you find efficient settings for your GPU. I talk more about overclocking and why you should do it in this article.
Now let’s talk about the buying strategy for a GPU Mining Rig.
Buying A GPU Mining Rig Strategy
Step 1: Plan ahead
So the way the strategy works is that first you want to ask yourself, What is the minimum of GPUs that I want to use for Mining in this Rig?
Now once you answered that, you want to move on to the first part of the Rig which is the Motherboard.
So the way the strategy works is that first you want to ask yourself, What is the minimum of GPUs that I want to buy for Mining?
Now once you answered that, you want to move on to the first part of the Rig which is the Motherboard.
The Motherboard is what will dictate how many GPUs you can run on your Rig. Each PCI-E slot goes to one single GPU. So if you want to run 6 GPUs then you want a motherboard that has at least 6 slots and up. Having more slots means that eventually, you can add more GPUs to the rig!
Now before we give you a list of good motherboards for mining, let’s first talk about the most common questions.
Can you use any Motherboard for mining?
Yes, you can use any board, even a gaming board for mining. Each motherboard has its own BIOS settings, so in some scenarios, you will need to tweak those BIOS settings so that you can run more than one GPU on the system.
Options to look for: Enable 4G Decoding, Set PCI-E Lane Speed to Gen 2 or 3
How many GPUs can you actually run on your Motherboard?
Some motherboards have 13+ PCI-E Lanes, but they might also have rules. For example, the Asus B250 Mining Expert has 19 Lanes but you can only run 13-14 GPUs on them unless you use Mining Dedicated GPUs like the P104s for the last 8 lanes.
Step 3: Choosing CPU, RAM, Storage, Risers, and Network
After picking your motherboard, now you can go ahead and buy the CPU and the RAM. Just keep in mind, that your CPU and RAM will NOT affect your GPU performance or how many GPUs you can run on your Rig. So get the cheapest you can find based on the instructions below.
For your CPU you need to revise your motherboard CPU Compatibility list and then get the cheapest one on there.
For example, the Asus B250 Mining Expert CPU Compatibility list shows that it is compatible with the Celeron G39xx (3900-G3950) which is the most common for miners since it is very cheap and enough to run your mining rig.
Now for your RAM, you will have to get it based on your motherboard. Some boards are DDR3 while others are DDR4. Most of the time you will be getting DDR4 but I recommend double checking as well.
Now the Asus B250 Mining Expert is a DDR4 type memory. so I would get 8GB RAM if you're planning to mine on Windows 10 and 4GB RAM if you are planning to mine on a Linux-based Mining OS.
For storage, the ideal option is just a regular 120 GB SSD. You can use it for any Linux Mining OS or Windows 10. You can use HDDs but they are not efficient, you can also use USBs only for Linux-based mining OS but that is also not reliable.
For risers, generally, the newer the better. So get version 009s if you can find them available through the different providers we listed above.
If even with Powerline Adapters you can’t get Ethernet going then you can reside to WIFI using any WIFI Adapter.
Now to the main part. Your GPUs.
You can start with as many GPUs as you want. It does not need to be a high number of GPUs, but the more you have then the more returns you will make.
So if you are starting on a low budget, you can buy one GPU and then eventually add more GPUs with the profits of that one single GPU.
You can also buy different brands and vendors of GPUs and run them on the same mining rig, that is also not an issue at all. You do might run into complications if you are mixing AMD and NVIDIA and your mining in Windows 10, but to fix that issue I would recommend using a Linux-based Mining OS.
Now, should you buy AMD or NVIDIA?
I recommend mixing both. The benefits of AMD are that it usually comes for a cheaper price and is usually more profitable but it does require more tuning and attention than an NVIDIA GPU.
AMD also is very Ethereum dominant so once Ethereum moves to fully Proof-of-Stake then it will lose its value drastically if no other coin takes its place by then. There is still at least one year before we start to worry about this.
NVIDIA is great for stability and diversity. You can mine multiple different coins not as profitably as Ethereum but it is better than having no fallback at all.
Usually, NVIDIA is more expensive and gives less performance than AMD but now with the new RTX 3000 series, we can go ahead and say that they are the newly crowned king for mining. The new RTX GPUs perform really well in Mining and they are also really efficient.
Does the brand matter when buying your GPU?
For some GPU models it does matter but in most scenarios, if it costs you more than $50 to get a different brand then it is not worth it. I do recommend first looking into the GPU you are getting and watching videos of people reviewing it before buying.
Here are my top 5 GPUs for 2021:
If you can get your hands on any of these GPUs for a decent price that is as close as possible to their original price then you are set! As of the date of this article, each of these GPUs makes over $150 a month.
Now based on what GPU you get, it will help you decide what PSU you need. So let’s take for example if you want to buy 4 RTX 3060TIs now and then you want to add 2 more later on.
In that case, you need to check two things.
1. How many watts do these GPUs use when they are tuned for mining?
So with the RTX 3060 TI Overclocks we will be drawing 120-130 watts per GPU. Since we have 6 of them that will be a total of 780 Watts for the GPUs and an additional 50 watts for the system which gives us a total of 830 Watts.
We have a small list of Overclocked GPUs with how much power they use in our Crypto Library. If you don’t find your GPU there then I recommend looking for it in other places i.e. WhatToMine, Other Content Creators, etc.
2. How many VGA Strands and 8 or 6 Pins do you need to cover including the Risers?
Since we are using 6 GPUs, ideally we need 6 VGA Strands. For that, we can use 1 Strand with each GPU and its riser. IF you wind up short by one VGA Strand, you can use a splitter and then use 2 VGA Strands on 3 GPUs.
We will go over it more in the new Build Guide that will come out soon on YouTube. Make sure to subscribe, please!!
As for the pins, the model that we used in our GPU Overview video, it had only 1x 8-pin, which means 6 GPUs will be 6x 8-Pins and 6x Risers so that is 12x 8-pins.
So we have 830 Watts and 12x 8-Pins. Now we can go ahead and decide which PSU to get while keeping that info in mind.
Now we know that we need 830 Watts of continuous usage and we need 12x 8-Pins/6-Pins for all the GPUs and Risers. There are 3 options you can do here.
Server PSUs are great. They are cheap and reliable and they also easily cover all your 8-Pins. We made a full guide on Server PSUs that can be found here.
2. ATX PSUs
ATX PSUs are usually the common option but I would suggest looking for Server PSUs first because ATX PSUs may sometime not have enough 6/9 – Pins to power all your GPUs and Risers. You can find our guide about using ATX PSUs and recommendations here.
3. Bitmain PSUs
I have seen/heard many people use Bitmain PSUs for mining with GPUs. I will eventually cover that in a video!
Buy or Build a frame of your own, it will be where everything will come together. I will soon be doing a video on custom building a GPU mining frame.
Reflection On Early 2021
Glad you made it to this part of the article! Now that we covered all the necessities for buying your first mining rig, let’s reflect on how it is in early of 2021 while the Cryptocurrency Market is thriving more than ever.
Even though this guide is supposed to be Your GPU Mining Rig Buying Guide For 2021 it does not mean that the process will be smooth.
At the time of writing this article, the demand for mining hardware is at a really high point due to the prices of cryptocurrency which leads to really good profits. i.e. 1x RX 580 8GB was doing up to $4 a day, which is insane!!
What that means is that the hardware prices will be exponentially stronger and I recommend using servers using different bots to keep track of the inventory and then try to buy the parts that way at MSRP cost.
I don’t recommend buying GPUs that are marked up prices so being patient until you come across a decent price for hardware will most likely be a wise choice.
Building The Rig
We will be doing an in-depth guide on building your mining rig as well soon. As of now, feel free to use all the resources on our YouTube channel as well as on the Website to help you build the rig. We have a Playlist full of GPU Builds, that should give you a good place to start!