Man oh man. Welcome to the fun and nerdy world of building a super computer! You lucky dog. If you’ve just been out of the game for a while, or already do this on the side, you might want to brush up a bit.
If you’ve been peeking around at the news lately, Bitcoin has been rearing it’s head in the spotlight quite a few times. Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are generated through hashing complex code. Don’t know what that means? That’s ok. You’re here to dig for crypto-gold, right?
Choosing a Coin
When I made my first attempt at this back in 2013, Bitcoin was already over-mined. Companies were already starting to produce ASICs, which were rigs with CPUs intended solely for mining Bitcoin. Then the atom split and we got currencies like Litecoin, Fastcoin, Dogecoin, and the list goes on and on and on. But as standard goes, the earlier you can get into the game the better. In this case, the earlier you get into a coin, the easier it will be to hash one out. These non-Bitcoin currencies that came out really changed the game for us instantly leveling the playing field. Now it wasn’t about who had the fastest processor or an ASIC. It was about graphics cards. Not just any cards, you needed a bad a** AMD card. Why AMD? There was something about Nvidia cards that just wasn’t up to snuff when it came to mining coins. So choosing a coin is kind of like playing the lottery. Everybody thought Dogecoin was going to be the next big thing. In the Reddit forums, we used to throw Dogecoins at each other (tipping) like it was nothing.
Once you’ve got down the coin you want to mine, head over to their respective website and pick up an installer / wallet. There should be an FAQ guide on how to get up and hashing if you get stuck.
Now you’re talking my language. You’re going to want to pick yourself up parts that are going to last. I went with a MSI motherboard, a Core i5, some Vengeance ram, and a really crappy SSD that could only hold 40gigs. This is a mining machine not a hacking machine. The place where you really want to put your money is in the graphics cards. I had paid close to $300 a pop ($900) in total back then. Yeah, I know. You might not have deep pockets, but this is less of a side hustle and more of a gamble.
When you slap this crazy contraption all together, it might look something like my rig below.
This thing ran each graphic card at +300 watts with a 1000 watt power supply while over-clocked to the max 24/7. It was running so hot, I didn’t even need to turn on the heater that winter since it was good enough to warm up the entire apartment.
This may or may not be the side hustle for you, but it’s definitely fun to setup. If you can find a free power source and an internet connection, by all means let her rip.