How do I manage bitcoins

Hardware for mining Bitcoins and Ethereum

Mining is the "calculation" of crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Zcash: Instead of buying such currencies by exchanging euros, one uses one's own computer to "mine" new coins. In order to generate income in a useful time, you need very powerful hardware that eats up a lot of power under load: In forums, people are eagerly talking shop about which mining rigs are particularly profitable.

The manufacturers of graphics cards, desktop PC mainboards, hardware accessories and housings are happy to serve the mining trend. Essentially, the special components aim to integrate as many graphics cards as possible. For example, cards with the AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU, which, according to NiceHash.com, performs around 25 megahashes per second (MH / s) in the DiggerHashimoto mining algorithm, are particularly popular. Allegedly, the popularity of this GPU is causing a shortage among miners, and cards with an AMD Radeon RX 470 or AMD Radeon RX 570 are actually poorly available.

In Bitcoin mining, however, special chips (ASICs) have been delivering significantly higher hashing rates for years, which now reach into the range of terahashes / s.

Special mainboards

Companies such as Asrock and Biostar have been supplying special mining mainboards such as the ASRock H81 Pro BTC R2.0 with cheap chipsets and as many PCI Express slots as possible for some time. The latter are used to connect the graphics cards, which are not plugged directly onto the mainboard: there are no ATX standard housings that can accommodate more than four or five PCIe graphics cards that occupy two slots including the cooler. Such dual-slot graphics cards require more space.

Biostar explains on a website on the subject of mining that the in-house mainboards also have a special BIOS setup option to integrate more than three graphics cards at the same time.

The processor or the RAM is not important in mining rigs with a PC base: the computing power comes almost exclusively from the graphics cards.

USB 3.0 cable for PCIe x1

More than four dual-slot graphics cards do not fit in the ATX case and would probably overheat therein; Mining rigs are therefore placed in open mounting frames with six to eight graphics cards arranged above the mainboard and one or two power supplies.

In order to connect each graphics card to a PCIe x1 slot on the mainboard, there are special adapter cards that in turn use cheap USB 3.0 cables to transport the PCIe signal. You can order such "powererd Riser Cards" in packs of ten from Aliexpress, Amazon or eBay, but also individually from German mail order companies such as Caseking.

A lot of power = a lot of electricity

The AMD Radeon RX 470 draws up to 120 watts under load, for six such cards plus an LGA1151 mainboard with, for example, a Celeron G3930, you have to reckon with around 800 watts. At 85 percent efficiency of the ATX power supply, you get around 940 watts of power consumption at the socket; in 24-hour operation, this results in 22.6 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day. If you pay 29 cents per kWh, the miner has to deliver crypto money of more than 6.60 euros a day in order to get out of the red - but that is still calculated without hardware costs.

For example, if you spend 2100 euros on the components and they would be competitive for two full years, you would add around 2.90 euros per day for the amortization of the hardware. In order for a Minin-Rig to pay for itself at all, it would have to run around the clock for two years and generate cryptocurrency worth almost 10 euros a day at a constant electricity price of 29 ct / kWh.

In view of the rapidly fluctuating exchange rates, crypto money mining remains a risk investment: In the example above, you spend 2100 euros on hardware and an additional 2400 euros per year on electricity costs. If the crypto price drops drastically, the operation of the miner is suddenly unprofitable.