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For those of you who want to build a Litecoin Mining Rig and also double its usage as a gaming PC, here’s a step-by-step tutorial that anyone can follow to build their own Litecoin mining rig. Of course, this tutorial is for total noobs/beginners who have never built a PC before.
Now, let me tell you up-front, using a PC Case isn’t the best way to cool your graphic cards, but I personally wanted to build a Litecoin mining rig that was enclosed in a case first. There can be many reasons for this such as aesthetics (you probably don’t want to have exposed computer parts in certain cases like you have a newborn baby who likes to explore), using your litecoin mining rig as a gaming PC (when not mining), or perhaps you just want a nice case on it so if your friend comes over and spills beer on it, it’s not gonna kill your Litecoin rig.
With that said, my new Litecoin rig with a PC Case runs fairly well while achieving 2.6Mh/s and my GPU fans run a little faster than if it was in a plastic crate, but it gets the job done and it’s still in a sturdy gaming PC case. Will you get more performance out of using plastic crates? After building one with a PC Case, I certainly now think crate is the way to go for my future builds but this rig also has some of its own advantages.
Litecoin Rig Build List
1 CPU – For CPU, if you are going to play games on it too, you can get one of the newer AMD FX 9590 processors or something similar. If you are not going to play games, you don’t need a high-powered CPU, get an AMD Sempron or AMD Athlon II as mining Litecoins take zero CPU power but lots of GPU power. Also get a CPU Cooler.
1 Motherboard – For motherboard, try to find one with at least 3 PCIe 2.0 slots (and 3-way CrossFire support if you are going to use it for gaming although you do not need it for mining Litecoins) with support for AM3+ processors. I used GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD in the video but you can save a bit of money with ASRock 990FX EXTREME, which I will use for future rigs.
(Most AM3+ motherboards are backward-compatible to accept AM3 CPUs like Sempron and Athlon II, one of the benefits that you can use both super-slow/super-fast CPUs.)
1 DDR3 Memory 4GB – You don’t need more memory than 4GB for mining litecoins, I got the Kingston DDR 3 4GB memory. Obviously you will need more if you intend to play some games though.
PC Case – Any mid or high tower case will do, I wanted some good GPU cooling since it’s going to be in a case, the CoolerMaster HAF-X is what I used and works pretty well.
3 Graphic Cards – For graphic cards, I do recommend one of the following: (They can be of any brand.)
- Radeon 7950 ~725Kh/s – Around $300
- Radeon 7970 ~770Kh/s – Around $400
- Radeon R9 280X ~770Kh/s – Around $309
- Radeon R9 290 ~ 830Kh/s – Around $420
- Radeon R9 290X ~ 880Kh/s – Around $500
*Note – Prices on Amazon have been inflated due to large demand over the holidays, I would check back after the holidays often for the best prices and availability.
You can use just 1 graphic card starting out but remember you need to really plan out how many graphic cards you will get eventually as your power supply will also be dependent on it. E.g. if you are planning on getting 1 graphic card to start out but going to get 3 graphic cards, make sure you get the right power supply now otherwise you will spend more later.
Stay away from any Nvidia cards as they don’t support fast integer operations needed for Litecoin mining. Radeon graphic cards are best atm and you probably one to get one of the listed above otherwise your ROI is going to down. Check out the current Litecoin Rig Comparison chart.
Right now, you can’t even buy these anywhere due to high demand and the holidays, but your best bet is on eBay.
1 Power Supply – Each R9 290X uses around 330 watts, for a total of 990 watts at full load. This means you need a power supply with at least 1000 watts, so I went with Seasonic 1250W, which is working out quite good, I am pulling around 1000 watts with my current 2.6Mh/s setup from my Kill-A-Watt reading.
You can probably go with Seasonic 850W if you are going to use Radeon 7950, 7970, or R9 280X but just make sure you get enough power otherwise your new litecoin machine will bootloop. Also, you can use 2 power supplies if needed.
1 Hard Disk – You can get any hard disk you want to use, I used a 3TB Seagate Hard disk. You can also use a USB Flash drive if you want to run bootable Linux, but we will get onto that another time.
Since amount of electricity used will play a big role in how much profit you will make, I do highly suggest you to get an efficient power supply like Seasonic. It is very efficient and going to save you more money in the long run.
Once you have everything you need, let’s get started. My video tutorial is very long (over an hour) but I’ve time-stamped by sections so you can easily jump to the sections you want to watch.
Step 1. Installing motherboard sockets on PC Case (5:35)
You will need to install the motherboard sockets that your motherboard will sit on top of. My PC case came with exact locations and all I had to do was screw those sockets in. If using a different case, just refer to your motherboard instructions.
Step 2. Installing CPU (10:19)
Installing CPU is probably the easier part, just align the triangles snap it in and voila!
Step 3. Installing motherboard on PC case (11:20)
Before you install the motherboard, there should be a thin aluminum panel you can install that has all of your USB ports, sounds ports, etc…etc… Put this on your PC case before putting the motherboard on!
Once motherboard placed into the PC case, simply use screws and screw them in!
Step 4. Installing wheels on PC Case (15:31)
My PC case came with wheels so install them if you want to easily move your rig around.
Step 5. Installing Power Supply on PC Case (20:45)
This is straight-forward, install your Power supply on your PC Case. My PC Case comes with a vent on the bottom of the case so I made sure the fan on the Power Supply points down.
There’s literally 4 screws and that’s how you install power supply, super easy!
Step 6. Connecting Power cables to motherboard (23:48)
There should be two power cables with “motherboard or MB” and “CPU”. Connect these cables from the power supply to the power connectors on your motherboard.
Step 7. Installing Kingston DDR3 4GB Memory RAM (26:20)
Installing memory is easy. BUT, make sure you read the motherboard manual first as you will need to know which slots to use when using more than 1 memory card. Make sure your memory card “snaps” in.
Step 8. Installing hard disk (28:15)
My PC case came with a snap-on 3.5″ slot. I just put my hard disk on there and just loaded onto one of the available 3.5″ slots.
Most PC cases nowadays have the cables connecting on the opposite side of the case so just feed your power and SATA cable to the back and attach.
And also connect to the “first” SATA connector on your motherboard, check your motherboard manual for this.
Step 9. Installing LED, power, sound, reset cables to motherboard (32:35)
Next, go ahead and connect all of youe LED, power, sound, and reset cables to the motherboard. White cable is always negative(-) and refer to your motherboard manual for the exact pinouts.
Step 10. Installing fan cables (42:18)
My PC Case came with 4 fans! You can connect some of them straight to the motherboard if they match (3 or 4-pin) but for me I had to use the provided MOLEX power cables as most of my fan cables did not reach the motherboard.
Step 11. Installing CPU Cooler (45:34)
Depending on the CPU cooler you used, the instructions may slightly differ.
First you probably will need to install a bracket which goes on the opposite side of your PC case. For me, I had to unscrew the existing bracket and install the one came with my CPU cooler.
Apply some thermal paste, nice thin layer will do, don’t go overboard like I am doing here.
Screw the metal fins in first then attach the fan to it. Make sure you have the fan blowing air into the metal fins if using only one fan. Also, make sure you attach the CPU fan cable to CPU fan connection on your motherboard, it will clearly say “CPU fan” somewhere on your motherboard.
Step 12. Installing Sapphire Radeon R9 290X graphic cards (58:42)
Let’s install the graphic cards! When installing the graphic cards, make sure you hear a nice “CLICK”, that means your graphic card has been seated correctly. If you don’t hear this noise then your graphic card will fall out later and you will have to re-attach it.
Connect the PCIe power cables from your power supply to your graphic cards.
Step 13. Testing the built Litecoin Ring – Power ON Time! (1:15:00)
Once you have put everything together, it’s time to test it. Simplest way to test is to connect a display to the first graphic card and also your mouse and keyboard to the PC.
Power it on and if your new rig boots and gives you “not boot device” error message, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve built your first Litecoin Mining Rig (or also a gaming PC).
Step 14. Installing case cover fan cable (1:15:54)
My PC Case came with a big fan that drives the heat generated from the graphic cards, make sure you connect the fan cable to the other fan cables.
Step 15. Testing CGMiner on Windows 7 getting around 2.2Mh/s (1:17:30)
Next, load up your favorite OS such as Windows or Ubuntu, install latest AMD Radeon drivers (it is compatible with all Radeon graphic cards regardless of make), download and run CGMiner v3.7.2. (Also you do need to sign up for a Litecoin Pool and setup a Litecoin Wallet. I should have a full tutorial on this also real soon so check back!)
In my initial run, I was able to quickly get around 770Kh/s on each card for total of 2.2Mh/s.
After optimizing with Ubuntu and overclocking, I was able to achieve 2.6Mh/s easily with each R9 290X doing 880Kh/s. That’s around 1 Litecoin per day, not bad at current LTC rates of $30 per Litecoin. Here’s a video demo of it after optimizing:
Once done making your right check out my full step-by-step tutorial video/guide on installing Ubuntu, installing AMD linux drivers, and optimizing CGminer.
Did my tutorial help you? If it did, you can donate Litecoins here:
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