The Best Budget Hardware for a Cheap Mining Rig
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Budget Base Motherboard, CPU and RAM for Mining Rig

With the majority of your cost in building a mining rig going towards your GPUs, consideration must be taken when deciding on the base of your rig.  There are two routes one can take when deciding on the base for their mining rigs which comes from deciding on your CPU, AMD or Intel.  AMD motherboards tend to run cheaper than the intel boards currently however the AMD Ryzen CPUs are running well over $200 in almost all cases.  For a budget rig, it currently makes the most sense to look at the Intel options first.

Most mining rigs today are built around the LGA 1151 CPU as most boards designed for mining rigs support this CPU.  We are going to take a look at both CPU sets to determine the absolute lowest cost base for your mining rig.  As more and more people get into mining, these components are becoming harder to find which is driving up costs.  The prices quoted are as of 15 Jan 2018.  If you can find them cheaper, then you will be coming about ahead of these calculations.

Looking at LGA 1151 CPUs you will find that the best three options are the Intel Pentium G4400 3.3 Ghz, Intel Celeron G3900 2.8 Ghz, and the Intel i3 6100.  There is also the option to attempt to find each of these in their lower wattage variants which is indicated by the “T” after the number.  The G4400T and G3930T are difficult to find new, but can be found on places like eBay if you want to buy one second hand.  I personally use a 6100T in one of my mining rigs as the core concept around that build was low power usage.  I also recommend the Kill-a-watt meter to see exactly how much your rig ends up pulling from the wall.  This device is very helpful in figuring out exactly how much your rigs end up costing to run.

Intel Pentium G4400Intel Celeron G3900Intel i3 6100Intel i3 6100T
 Intel G4400 intel g3900 mining rig i3 6100 mining rig id 6100t mining rig cpu
Amazon – $65.00Amazon – $94.81Amazon – $116.00Amazon – $155.34
Watt use – 47Watt use – 65Watt use – 65Watt use – 35
Cost run 24/7 for 1 yr @0.10 Kwh

 

$41.17

Cost run 24/7 for 1 yr @0.10 Kwh

 

$56.94

Cost run 24/7 for 1 yr @0.10 Kwh

 

$56.94

Cost run 24/7 for 1 yr @0.10 Kwh

 

$30.66

Total Cost after 1 yr

$106.17

Total Cost after 1 yr

$151.75

Total Cost after 1 yr

$172.94

Total Cost after 1 yr

$186.00

 

After all considerations, the G4400 is the best CPU for your LGA 1151 based mining rig.  The second consideration is for your motherboard.  When looking at motherboards, we are looking for boards capable of running 6 or more GPUs.  There are many other motherboards available for use in mining rigs, these are just a few examples.  The top three choices are the Gigabyte GA-Z1702X – Gaming 6, MSI Z270-A Pro and the Asus Rog Strix Z270E Gaming.  All can run at least 7 GPUs making these boards ideal for those wanting to maximize their rig’s potential.

GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 6MSI Z270-A ProASUS ROG STRIX Z270E GAMING
 gigabyte z170 mining rig motherboard msi z170 mining motherboard asus z270 mining motherboard
Amazon – $289.89Amazon – $114.99Amazon – $199.00
Max – 7 GPUsMax – 7 GPUsMax – 8 GPUs

 

The next part of the build is RAM.  This is the easy part of the build as you can easily get away with any 4GB DDR 2400 RAM you can find that is cheap.  Below are some options currently available.  I use the Balistic RAM in all my builds.  Any 4GB RAM you can find that is around $50 or less is what you want to look for.

Ballistix Sport LT 4GBCorsair Vengeance LPX 4GB
ballistix mining memory

 

corsair vengence mining memory
Amazon – $52.99Amazon – $56.99

 

The budget build would be the Intel G4400, the MSI Z270-A Pro and the Ballistix Sport RAM costs $232.98.

Let’s take a look at our AMD options now.

Starting with CPUs we have a few options in the A6, A8 and A10 CPUs.  You can also utilize any of the Ryzen or Threadripper CPUs however at their higher price point these are generally it out of contention when discussing true budget builds.  All of these CPUS are AM4 chipset.  The AMD indicates lower wattage CPUs with the “E” at the end of the CPU number.  This puts the CPUs at 35 watts instead of 65 watts.  The options we are going to look at are the A6-9500, the A8-9600 and the A10-9700.  All of these CPUs run at 65 watts unless you can find the low watt versions of each.

 

A6-9500A8-9600A10-9700
 amd a6 mining cpu amd a8 buget cpu mining amd a10 budget cpu mining
Amazon – $58.20Amazon – $104.94Amazon – $94.00
Watt use – 65 watts
Cost run 24/7 for 1 yr @0.10 Kwh

 

$56.94

Total Cost after 1 yr

$115.14

Total Cost after 1 yr

$161.88

Total Cost after 1 yr

$150.94

 

Now that we have our options for CPU, lets take a look at motherboards that these CPUs can run on.  The three options we are going to look at are the Asus Prime B350-Plus, the Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 and the Asus Prime A320M-K.  The A320 is one that I am looking at for my upcoming test build.  This board only has 1 x 16 PCI and 2 x PCIe slots, but it does offer an M2 adapter.  I am looking at using one of the 1 to 4 PCIe adapters on this board to bring the total to 7 GPUs potentially running on this board.  Check back for the results!

Asus Prime B350-PlusGigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3Asus Prime A320M-K
 asus b350 mining motherboard gigabyte 350 mining motherboard asus prime 320 mining motherboard
Amazon – $89.99Amazon – $84.99Amazon -$49.99
Max 7 GPUsMax 6 GPUsMax 3 GPUs (7 with 1-4 PCIe extender)

 

For these the RAM listed above will work just fine in any of these setups.  Again I use the Balistic RAM in all my builds as it is cheap and it works great.

Ballistix Sport LT 4GBCorsair Vengeance LPX 4GB
ballistix mining memory

 

corsair vengence mining memory
Amazon – $52.99Amazon – $56.99

 

The budget build would be the A6-9500, the Asus Prime A320M-K and the Ballistix Sport RAM costs $161.18, however in order to make this a more efficient build with the standard 6 plus GPUs I am going to factor in the 1 to 4 PCIe adapter bringing the total cost to $192.17.

Some other parts of your rig that you need to consider and will vary depending on your choices at this point.  Your mining rig will need some type of drive.  The cost of the drive will depend on which OS you decided to use for your rig.  The most common rig runs on windows which can reasonably be ran on a 64 GB SSD.

SanDisk 120GBKingston 120GBKingSpec 90 GB
 sandisk ssd mining kingston ssd mining kingspec 90gb ssd mining
Amazon – $59.99Amazon – $49.99Amazon – $33.59

 

The Windows 10 Professional License runs about $50.  If you dig around online you can probably find it cheaper than that.  There are other operating systems that you can use to mine with as well.  At lot of miners use ethOS which you can buy from GPUShack for 49.99 on a 16GB SSD that they mail you.  It is a Linux based OS capable of supporting up to 13 GPUs.  You can also use Simple Mining OS on a 16GB USB drive and these go for about $20.  Simple Mining OS does have a $2 per rig per month fee to consider as well.  For ease of use for most beginners, I would recommend going the Windows route.  This will add about $100 to your overall build.

If you are going with a 6 card build you are also going to need risers for your GPUs.  You can get them from various manufacturers but I have found great success with these from MintCell.  They also quickly replace any bad risers you may receive and their support is fantastic.  I like these ones as they can be powered via SATA, 6-pin or Molex adapters.


Our mining rig also needs a Power supply.  It is generally recommended that you go with a Gold or higher rated PSU and only use about 80% of your PSUs max capability.  This will ensure a long life for your PSU and a lower risk of a failure.  With this in mind, you would want to limit to around 600 watts on a 750-watt PSU.  With your motherboard using between 75 and 100 watts you can usually run 2 or 3 GPUs on the same PSU as your motherboard is running on.  The second PSU can then run the rest of your cards and your risers.  Your power supply decision will be based around your GPU selection.  Our rig so far uses about 90 watts so a 750-watt PSU will be able to run the CPU, motherboard and 2-3 GPUs.  750-watt PSUs can be easily found for about $100.  The other option is to get one PSU that can handle everything.  My recommendation would be to go with the 750-watt PSUs and jump one with a paperclip or get one of the various Dual PSU adapters so you can turn on both PSUs at the same time.  This way if your one PSU goes down you can still run half of your rig while sourcing a second PSU.  Buying two 750-watt PSUs generally ends up being cheaper as well due to the high cost of the larger 1200-watt PSU.  I use the Corsair RMx Series, RM750x as they are quiet and the fans don’t even spin at low loads.  I have two RX 580s on one right now and it is cool and quiet.

Corsair RMx Series, RM750xThermaltake ToughPower 750WSilverStone Technology Strider 1200W
 corsair 750 watt Psu mining rig thermaltake 750 watt mining psu silverstone 1200 watt mining psu
Amazon – $109.89Amazon – $89.99Amazon – $239.99

 

So after all is said and done you are going to need something to put all of this in.  I recommend going the budget route and building something out of PVC pipe or wood.  There is always the milk crate route as well.  If you are looking at your budget spending $100 – $150 on a nice frame doesn’t make sense if you are just starting out.

So the results!  Prices include the cheapest Motherboard/CPU combo, RAM, SSD, PSU and a 6 pack of risers.  For the Intel bundle the build would come to $459.54 for 2-3 GPUs and $560.52 with a second PSU and Dual PSU Adapter ready for 6-7 GPUs.  The AMD side comes in at $418.73 for 2-3 GPUs and $519.71 ready for 6-7 GPUs.

Do you like these options, what are your thoughts? Comment below or join us on discord!

Now get out there and getting mining!

News Reporter

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