To be clear, we don’t encourage this. But if you really want to start mining Bitcoin or Ethereum or another cryptocurrency, don’t be too intimidated: if you’ve built a rig before, putting together a cryptocurrency mining PC is an easy weekend project that will let you learn how blockchain technology works, the limits of at-home hashing, and the real costs involved, some of which are hidden.
You should also be aware of the risks. Cryptocurrency is volatile, and there’s no guarantee you’ll make back the money you spend on your hardware as quickly as you expect. You could even lose it altogether. And keep in mind that every GPU sent into the mines is one more that could have spent its life pushing pixels in PUBG.
Financial philosophy aside, the hardware part of the bitcoin equation is simple. Despite their well-earned reputation for gobbling up GPUs, the rest of a mining rig’s layout is very lean. You won’t need a high-powered CPU, fancy motherboard, exotic DRAM, or even the Windows OS to bring it all together. In fact, other than a few odds and ends, you may already have most of the parts sitting in a garage or closet—leftovers from previous gaming rig upgrades. Here’s a quick overview of what you need, and why.
A simple frame is all you need to house your mining rig, so wait for a sale or try DIY before spending hundreds of dollars on a 21st century pan and pickaxe.
Mining rigs start with a rudimentary open-frame enclosure for the motherboard and other components. While many prebuilt configurations exist, they can cost more than proper gaming cases since, in a long running tradition, suppliers often charge a premium on mining hardware.
Fortunately, there are frequently plenty of options on sale for under $100, and you can always make one from simple hardware store parts as the…
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