Computing is my hobby. I build computers for fun, sometimes for money, and spend most of my time browsing on eBay or the website of the local second-hand market of electronic devices. How I got into the mining business is interesting. In the summer of 2016, I went to buy a used radiator and pump for my computer. The seller was a student living in a dormitory. I’d noticed a computer in the corner of his room with three MSI Nvidia GTX 970 units. I asked him “Oh, you have a powerful computer over there with three graphics cards, are they in SLI?”. He answered, “No, they are not in SLI”. I suddenly thought that it might be mining related. I said, “Ah, you have free electricity here in your room; I guess this is a mining rig”. He said, “Yeah, how would you know? You must be smart, because nobody said this to me since I moved here!” We chatted for about half an hour and then I went home. Later that day, I started to read around the subject. I knew about Bitcoin mining and that GPUs are as efficient as Bitcoin ASIC miners. Later, I texted him and asked where and how he does the mining. He told me that he mines Ether, not Bitcoin, in a pool of miners. What is a pool? Everything was new and so strange to me and so I became curious. After a week, I built my first GPU mining rig using my Radeon R9 290 card. Fortunately, at the same time, the AMD Radeon 400s series was launched and this was very useful since AMD had not offered any new product for 1–2 years. Later, I placed an order for many Radeon RX 480 graphic cards and continued my GPU mining journey.
On the internet, there is a lot of information about the Bitcoin and Ethereum platforms. Much of the information is about the development of cryptocurrency itself, improving the network efficiency and dealing with real-world problems. As a computer expert, I did a lot of research to obtain a reasonable understanding of how to build a GPU mining computer. It took me 2–3 month and cost me quite a bit of money in experimenting. I learnt by trial and error. In spite of the availability of informative blogs and forums, the information on GPU mining is very scattered and there is very little information on building a GPU mining business. The hardware options are so varied and no one has addressed them all in a blog or article. Also, I could not see any long-term investment calculations and any information on how the mining business would develop.
So, I decided to write some guidelines, a kind of reference booklet covering the many topics that have not been comprehensively addressed elsewhere. In addition to a quick review of cryptocurrency platforms, my intention is to cover the general computer hardware associated with GPU mining and also to give some tips on buying hardware, tips that are hard to find on general mining forums. I also want to discuss such topics as: the heat generated by a mining rig and how this affects the life of the computer components and mining performance; the cost and profit of GPU mining in the short and long term and their variability; and finally, how to build a practical GPU mining rig costing from around $100 up to a multimillion-dollar mining farm.