It is possible to build a desktop mining computer. You don’t want to run it on a laptop because you can’t add graphics cards to a laptop. In order to mine properly, you need high end video cards. These cost about a thousand dollars each right now. If your motherboard allows you to pop in at least two PCI Express cards, you’re good to go. However, the best mining boards out there allow you to hold anywhere from six to 19 gpu’s or more. Depending on the motherboard that you have, you may or may not be able to put many graphics cards into it. Most motherboards will allow you to pop in one or two cards.
To find out how many video cards you can put into the system, try using CPU-Z to figure out the make and model of your motherboard. After that, go and google your mainboard make and model. When browsing the specs online, it will tell you how many cards you can put into your system. You may find the specs for your mainboard on the manufacturer website, or some other website. There are probably plenty out there that you will find from running a search.
Important things to note about the PCI express sockets on your mainboard:
- PCI express (or PCIe) slots have a speed ratio. 16x is the fastest, then 8x, 4x, etc. This is the lane width. Think of these slots for your video card as an information superhighway. The more lanes that the slot has, the faster it can operate and communicate with the rest of the system.
- The more 16x, 8x and 4x slots the better
- You can put a 16x card into a 1x or 4x slot, but you have to match up the profile size of the bus (meaning that, a 1x slot can’t hold a 16x card because it won’t fit). Therefore, to make a 16x card work with a 1x slot, you need risers that convert a 1x slot to a 16x connector. However, keep in mind that the card will operate a low slower this way.
- You need at least a 4 GB card if you want to mine Etherium. As the DAG file gets bigger (that’s the size of the blockchain file), you need a bigger and bigger video card in order to mine. Most times, you’ll need a card at least 4 GB or more to maintain any kind of proper hash rate anyways
The video card most recommended for building a mining rig at home, at the time of this writing is the Geforce GTX 1080Ti. Many people prefer the TI series of cards because they are already optimized and overclocked right out of the box. The card gets an additional 10-20% hash rate over it’s non-ti cousins.
Another card sought after would be the Geforce GTX 1070 series. Many look for the founder’s edition card which has excellent reviews as it pertains to mining. However, the cost of this card has skyrocketed due to it’s popularity with desktop miners. The price usually should be less than a thousand dollars, but now the card is as much as $2400 or more.
Build your own Mining Computer or Buy One
If you want you could build your own mining computer. Motherboards such as the Asus B250 Mining Expert is an excellent suggestion if you would like to run more than 6 GPU’s in your system – it can run up to 19! Very cool board, which was specificaclly built for mining. The board has 19 GPU connectors on it, built specifically to be plugged into risers and connect off-board to GPU’s. The concept with a board like this is the GPU’s don’t sit on the motherboard, and you would need to buy a big chassis to sit all of the GPU’s on if that’s your goal.
The other option is to buy a rig which already has a number of GPU’s in it. This saves you the hassle of trying to procure the cards on your own and build the system yourself. Other miners have already done the experimentation for you to find what main boards work best and what GPU’s work best. This may save you a lot of trial and error in the long run.