How to build a litecoin miner
This tutorial will be broken down into a good, better, best scenario. With any type of crypto-currency mining, there are several hardware combinations to choose from. This can be frustrating, depending on what your long term goals are, and what type of miner you want to be. There are a few questions you must ask yourself before you begin.
- What is your short & long term goal with mining?
- Are you aware of that the difficulty number changes often, and the amount of coins you mine today, may not be the same amount tomorrow.
- Do you have the appropriate electrical circuits?
- Do you know how much power costs are?
- Do you want to scale your operation over time?
- What are you going to do with your used hardware?
- Do you have the technical aptitude to build complex systems of hardware & software?
Having a plan before you begin will help position yourself for success. After you are satisfied with your answers to the aforementioned questions, I will go over a couple of layouts for you to choose from.
There are a couple of options for building a litecoin mining rig. For this tutorial, I am focusing on a entry level miner that utilizes a standard PC case. If you feel comfortable with electronics, you can replace the standard computer case with a custom DIY "Open air" case, such as a plastic crate. This allows you to add additional GPUs to a single miner.
The enclosed cases should not contain more than 2 GPU cards. Any more than this, and you will run the risk of overheating your cards & system.
Hardware - Baseline Minimum
This baseline recommendation utilizes some older components that won't be desirable for resale/reuse. This configuration uses a USB Drive in lieu of a hard drive, and should be run with Ubuntu Linux. Much of this hardware is on backorder. I recommend using a Graphics card equal or greater to a R9 280 (or HD7950 & HD7970) and above. The baseline model should get you approximately 1500 KH/s (1.5 MH/s). The cost of the hardware varies, depending on availability.
- Case: Cooler Master HAF XB Computer Case
- Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme3
- CPU: AMD Sempron 145 2.8GHz
- RAM: Kingston Hyper X 4GB DDR3 RAM
- USB Drive: Sandisk Cruzer 16GB
- Power Supply: Seasonic 850W 80 Plus Gold
- Graphics Card (x 2): Sapphire Dual-x R9 280 GPU
Hardware - Recommended
The recommended hardware utilizes mostly current generation electronics, and has a better chance of resale/reuse after mining. This setup also uses a internal hard drive, and can use Windows or Linux to operate. If you choose windows, you may under volt your GPU cards to help reduce heat. This setup should net approximately 1750KH/s (1.75MH/s).
- Case: Cooler Master HAF XB Computer Case
- Motherboard: Asus M5A99FX Pro
- CPU: AMD FX-6300
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 RAM
- Hard Drive: Western Digital 1TB
- Power Supply: Seasonic 1050W 80 Plus Gold
- Graphics Card (x 2): Sapphire R9 290x GPU
- DVD ROM: Asus DVD Drive
If you wish to build a multiple GPU, open-air mining rig, then you must take great care in assembling & running your equipment. Open-air cases (plastic crate etc...) leave the sensitive electronics exposed, and should be located where they cannot be disturbed. You must also feel comfortable modifying these cases to meet your needs.
Things to be aware of. Multiple GPUs (greater than 3) will need PCI-E riser cables to separate them from each other. Calculate the necessary Power Supply requirements for your system. In many cases you will need two power supplies to operate up to 6 GPUs. The added time & expense may not warrant building an open-air mining rig. Building multiple baseline miners maybe a better alternative, depending your skill level.
- PCI-E Riser Cable
- VGA Dummy Plug (Most GPUs come with a DVI to VGA adapter that will need to be used in-line)
Using the Cooler Master HAF case, it assembles differently than a typical tower case. The power supply, hard drives & DVD drives install on the lower half of the case. Remove the top, and side panels from the HAF case. Then remove the motherboard tray, this will give you more room to work.
- Install Power supply, routing the 24 Pin motherboard power to the side, and the PCI-e cables through the center (between the hard drive & DVD drive slots).
- Install hard drive in removable tray (If using hard drive).
- Connect power to hard drive quick connect board, along with the sata cable. (If using hard drive)
- Install and connect DVD drive to power & SATA. (If using DVD drive)
- Place standoffs on motherboard tray, and install motherboard (do not over tighten screws!)
- Install CPU (take note of pin placement, and align the CPU direction indicator (triangle)), lock in place. (Extreme caution, pins are very fragile, do not force!)
- Install CPU fan.
- Install RAM memory.
- Install motherboard tray back into the HAF case, and fasten securely
- Connect motherboard & CPU power (24pin & 8pin).
- Connect any case fans to available motherboard ports.
- Connect power & reset switch to motherboard.
- Insert GPU into PCI-e slot 1 (closest to CPU). Make sure it snaps into place. Use thumb screw to secure
- Insert second GPU into PCI-e slot 4 (near the edge). Use thumb screw to secure.
- Connect the power to both GPU cards.
- Use zip ties to keep power cords out of the way, and to keep good air-flow.
- Connect monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
- Power on the unit, make sure it posts to BIOS.
After you have assembled the hardware, and powered up the PC, you must ensure that all hardware is functioning properly. All fans should be spinning (GPUs included). Once everything is working, now it's time to install the operating system. If you are going to use a USB drive to run your miner, then you must install the desired version of linux onto the USB drive. You can do this by connecting a DVD drive to the miner (if not using one), and using a Linux install disc. Once Linux is installed, you can begin to configure your miner. You can find Cgminer build instructions here: How to build cgminer for Linux.