Knowledge is power...Remember that knowledge is a ruler and wealth is its subject.
-Imam Ali, Nahj Al-Balagha, Saying 146
I have already written about how to be your own bank, in my article hedgeless_horseman's E-Z Internet Guide To Safely Buying and Then Conveniently Losing Bitcoin in a Tragic Boating Accident.
Now, let us discuss how to be your own mint, with hedgeless_horseman's E-Z Internet Guide to Crypto Mining for Fun, Freedom, and Fungibility.
I have built and operate several crypto mining rigs, both CPU and GPU rigs, and have yet to cause any fires! Your luck may vary, so keep a fire extinguisher handy, and have good fire insurance. As many of you know, I am not an engineer, electrician, or expert in such things. So, if I can do this, anyone can do it. But why would anyone want to?
First of all, it is fun! If you enjoy working on your bicycle, auto, or tractor, building a rifle or personal computer from parts, or doing projects that cause your friends and family to think you have gone full-metal bat-shit crazy (sailboat, airplane, race car), then you will likely enjoy building a crypto currency mining rig.
Second, if you have read The Creature from Jekyll Island - A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, Fifth Edition, and thus truly grok The Mandrake Mechanism, and how The Fed creates money out of nothing, then you should really enjoy disintermediating the Central Banks and creating crypto currency.
Third, you can actually make a bit of money mining cryptos. In fact, the rig I am going to show you how to build and operate currently costs about $3244 and makes about $2780 per year mining Ether, for an ROI of 1.17 years, or an 86% annual return. These numbers assume zero electricity expense, because I operate my rigs at offices where electricity is included in the rent which I already pay. At 0.12 per KWh, revenue drops to $1834 per year. Here is a mining calculator where you can play with the numbers:
There are about as many ways to mine crypto as there are crypto currencies. Why start by mining Ether on a GPU rig? Because it is easy. Also, because crypto is fungible, it is simple to trade Ether for any other crypto, like Bitcoin or Litecoin, which are not so easy to mine, because they require much more specialized equipment. It is also very easy to switch this GPU rig to mine Monero or ZCash, once you get it up and running.
The big expense in this type of rig is in the graphics cards, also known as a Graphics Processing Unit, or GPU. These are a very popular upgrade item for video game computers, and this demand assures that they are widely available and relatively affordable. You can operate a rig with a single GPU, and the design I describe handles up to six. The cards are available in a range of processing power that is in proportion to their cost. It is better to have the same make and model of cards on your first rig. I have selected a mid-level speed/cost GPU that can usually be found in sufficient quantity for $399 as factory refurbished. On average, six of these cards produce the processing power, known as hash rate, to generate the numbers I have mentioned, when over-clocked, as I will describe. However, the hash rate of an individual card will vary based on the brand of memory the manufacturer used for that particular run. It can be difficult to determine which memory each card has in it before you buy it. Whether you get a faster or slower hashing card is known as, "The Silicon Lottery." Don't worry about it on your first rig.
This is my component-build list:
6 - MSI GTX 1060 6GB NVIDIA graphics cards
(Aero, Armor, OC, and Gaming are all the same GPU with different fans and aesthetics. The single fan models work fine for mining in an open case).
6 - gpuShack 1x-16x USB Riser
1 - gpuShack ethOS Software pre-loaded on 16gb SSD
1 - Crypto Monster 6 GPU (or 7) Ethereum, aluminum, open-air mining case
5 - AeroCool Shark 140mm case cooler cans
1 - BIOSTAR TB250-BTC LGA 1151 Intel B250 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX motherboard
1 - Patriot Viper Elite 4GB DDR4 2400MHz DRAM DIMM (288-pin) memory
1 - Intel Celeron G3930 Kaby Lake Dual-Core 2.9 GHz LGA 1151 51W BX80677G3930 Desktop Processor
2 - PC Power & Cooling ZX 850 Watt Gold fully-modular ATX PC power supply
1 - Add2PSU Dual-Power 24PIN-molex multiple-PSU power-supply relay
1 - Warmstor PC LED ATX power supply and reset HDD switch cable
1 - 1.75 Liter Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon
1 - USB keyboard and mouse
1 - PC monitor w/ DVI connectivity
1 - Anti-static wrist strap with grounding wire
1 - Cat 6 ethernet cable connected to the internet
Everything else can be found on EBay, Newegg, and your local liquor store. Please avoid Amazon whenever possible, as to not fund Bezos' personal propaganda blog, The Washington Post.
Once everything arrives, start by assembling your totally badass case that has come all the way from Patrick in Czech Republic. Drink one finger of Maker's Mark, preferably straight and from a vintage Waterford crystal tumbler.
Install in the case your five cooling fans using the tiny black dildos. They should be oriented to blow air into the case.
Install in the case the two power supplies, with fans pointing out opposite sides. Using two of the daisy chain cables that came with the power supplies, connect the fans to the left power supply, keeping all power cables "downstairs" in the case to promote airflow around the GPUs.
You need to now start using the anti-static bracelet clipped to the case, which is grounded by one of the power supply cords (turned off), which is plugged into an electrical socket. Using the hand without the bracelet drink one finger of Maker's.
Following the directions in the Biostar motherboard User Manual, install the Celeron processor in the motherboard, then the heat sink and fan that came with it. Plug the fan into the motherboard.
Install the Patriot Viper DRAM in the the #1 slot on the motherboard. Make certain it clicks and locks in place.
Using the Front Panel Header key found on page 15 in the manual that came with the TB250-BTC motherboard, install the Warmstor power switch and LED cable onto the tiny-motherfucking pins at the back-right corner of the motherboard.
Install the brass nuts with small screws that came with the case on to the floor of the case, then install the mother board on to these brass nuts. Connect the big-black ATX cable between the mother board and the left Power Supply Unit (PSU). Connect the left PSU to the CPU power on the motherboard.
Screw the SSD into the left-front corner of the floor of the motherboard. Connect it to the left power supply with a black daisy chain cable. Next use a SATA data cable to also connect SSD to the #1 SATA toward the rear of the motherboard.
Get two of the white connectors having red, black, and yellow wires from two of the riser packages that came from gpushack (you will not use them to power the risers). However, do insert these into the two aux power connections on the mother board located at either side of the six PEX1 connectors (shown in photo below), then connect them both to the left PSU via black daisy chain cable. Connect the third connection on this same daisy chain cable to the Add2PSU relay. Connect the other big-black ATX cable between the Add2PSU relay and the right PSU. You now have your two PSUs connected via the ADD2PSU, the motherboard powered and wired, the cooling fans powered, and the SSD powered and connected to the motherboard, so drink a finger of Maker's!
Always holding the circuit boards by the edges, attach all of the GPUs to one of the risers and lock them together by sliding that little bullshit plastic clip over the foot of the card until it clicks. Screw each of these assemblies into place on the top bar of the case, with the riser sitting on the middle bar of the case.
Only connect one (1) of the GPUs to the left PSU; also connect its riser to the PSU with a black daisy chain cable (shown in photo below, only two risers per cable); and connect its riser to the motherboard with the USB cable and the small circuit board that came with the riser. Make sure to plug this first GPU into the long-yellow PEX16_1 slot on the motherboard. After you get the rig up and hashing, then you can connect the additional GPUs, one at a time, only after each additional GPU is hashing.
Connect the monitor to the DVi output on the first GPU, and NOT to the DVi output on the motherboard. Connect the keyboard and mouse to the motherboard using the blue USB connections, and NOT to the white USB connections.
Connect the ethernet port on the motherboard to the internet.
Plug in both PSUs to an electrical outlet and turn on the power switch located on the back of each one.
Say a prayer to your God, and press the small power button on the end of the cable you connected to the motherboard.
If you are righteous in your ways, and a bit lucky, then the fans will start whirring, and the green LED will light and the red LED will eventually flash on and off. Be patient! Drink two fingers of Maker's Mark. The system will go through a series of restarts as it finds each piece of new hardware. On the monitor it should eventually show on the ethOS interface one GPU found, then the temperature for the GPU, and finally a hash rate for the GPU. When this happens, you are actually mining Ether...to the account of the smart dudes that wrote the eTHOS software. You will fix that in a few minutes, right after you make some changes to the BIOS of the motherboard, learn some basic LINUX commands, and edit the ethOS local config file to use your Ether wallet.
If this all worked, drink a finger of Maker's.
If this doesn't happen, then check the following:
Do you have a loose connection?
Did you seat the DRAM all the way?
Did you connect the riser to the wrong slot in the motherboard?
Did you put the ATX cable in backwards? (I have actually done this).
Did you fail to pray?
There is really no support available for your rig, other than the Maker's Mark, so figure it out. These links are most helpful:
Although I have never used it, ethOS and general mining support is allegedly provided in real time via the ethOS IRC support channel (not via email). To join this channel, read the ethOS Support Policy.
Next, you need to edit some settings in the BIOS for the motherboard. To do so, you need to hit the "Delete" key right when the Biostar screen shows on the monitor, almost immediately after start up. Since your rig is hopefully running, now, you need to either shut it down, or restart it. The ethOS screen showing on the monitor should have a command prompt in a black box on the right side under the gpushack logo. To reboot the rig, simply type a small letter "r" and hit enter. Holy crap! You now know LINUX!!!! To shutdown the rig, instead of reboot, type, "sudo shutdown now -P" and hit enter. Make sure to update your resume tonight to include the terms, "LINUX programmer, blockchain, crypto, and expert."
Once in the motherboard's BIOS settings, find and make the following four changes:
- Internal Graphics - Disable
- VT-D - Disable
- PCIe ExpressConf - Gen2
- Restore AC Power Loss - Last State
Save and exit.
The miner should start mining on one GPU, showing a GPU temp and eventually a hash rate. If it does, then type "sudo shutdown now -p" and hit enter. With the power off, connect the power to the second GPU to the left PSU and also its riser and connect the riser to the second slot in the motherboard. Hit the power button.
The miner should start mining on two (2) GPUs, showing a GPU temp and eventually a hash rate for each one. If it does, then add the third using the right PSU and repeat the above step until you have all of your GPUs mining. The motherboard and two GPUs are powered by the left PSU, the other four GPUS are powered by the right PSU. Drink a finger of Maker's Mark! This is fun, isn't it?
You will be amazed by how quiet and cool these rigs run.
Now, it's time to change the password from the factory default of, "live" for user, "ethos". At the command prompt type "passwd" and hit enter. Change password from live to whatever you want. Ctrl-O. Enter. Ctrl-X. Make sure to update your resume tonight to include the term, "LINUX security expert."
Now, it's time to disable the remote-config, so only your local edits will stick. At the prompt type "nano remote.conf" and hit enter key. Follow the directions on the screen to comment-out remote config by adding the # symbol in front of the line (and turning it white). Ctrl-O. Enter. Ctrl-X.
Next, enter "nano local.conf" and hit enter, to edit the local config file, change the rig to mine to your Ether wallet, and overclock the GPUs to get the hash rate up. All the white lines with a # in front of them are commented out, and do not run unless you remove the # symbol. Take several minutes to read through all of this, and sip a finger of Maker's while doing so.
Where it says "proxywallet" in blue, replace the purple default wallet address with your own Ether wallet address. If you do not have a hardware wallet, like the TREZOR I recommended in my earlier ZH article, then get one. To save your edit, hold down the CTRL key and type the letter "o" then hit the enter key to confirm. Ctrl X exits the config file. After you reboot, r, you will start mining to your own ether wallet. You can monitor your rig by entering your wallet address here:
Lastly, you may want to increase your hash rate by overclocking the GPUs. To do this, again enter "nano local.conf" and hit enter, to edit the local config file. WARNING!!! Overclocking can increase the hash rate, but may also decrease the stability of your rig, causing it to crash, and/or decrease the life of your GPUs by overheating them. In general, you probably want to make these two changes:
Now, play with the following three settings, starting with these values:
Many Bothans died to bring us this information. Not to mention the bottles of Maker's Mark. Thanks to W0 for everything, literally.
If you benefited from this article, please feel free to donate to the Second ZeroHedge Symposium and Live Fight Club in Marfa, Texas, June 1-3, 2018. We would love to see there!
Peace, prosperity, love, and liberty,