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Building a Crypto-Currency Mining Rig (Bitcoin/Litecoin)

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December 28, 2012 2:23:01 PM

Hello there.

I have a little project underway but there are many problems I am facing and I hope the good people here at Toms Hardware can point me in the right direction. In order to build a decent Mining Rig with plenty of hashing power I will need to connect multiple AMD Radeon 7850 GPU's to a single motherboard. I am only using 2 GPU's right now on my main PC but I want to mine on a dedicated rig and buy a few more over the course of the year.

Now, I am aware that even the biggest and best high-end gaming motherboards only have 3 or 4 PCIe x16 slots but for what I am doing those sort of motherboards are just way to expensive. I have searched high and low in order to find the answers to the questions I am about to ask but there really isn't anything definitive out there.

Question 1:
If I wanted to connect this many GPU's to one motherboard how is this actually done?! Is there a way of splitting a PCIe slot? Essentially what I want to do is connect as many GPU's as I can to 1 PCIe x16 slot. If this is possible, will I have issues with bottlenecks? I have come across PCIe extenders and risers and I am sure I'll be needing these too but I cant seem to find any PCIe "splitter".

Question 2:
Is there a power supply capable of handling as many as, for example, 8 GPU's? The only devices i will be connecting to the motherboard is a crappy AMD processor, small hard drive, 16GB RAM and the GPU's.

Question 3:
As I will be using multiple GPU's, is there some sort of rack mount specifically for housing GPU's? I don't just want them sitting around with meters of PCIe extension cable getting in the way... its a fire hazard at does not satisfy my OCD! I'd prefer to have them fixed to a mount of some kind in order to keep thing a little tidier and of course help regulate the temperatures and leave room for adding after market coolers etc. From what I have seen from pictures and videos of other Mining Rigs it is just a motherboard attached to a small sheet of MDF (is that even safe?!) with all sorts of cables connecting multiple GPU's which are housed on a rack of some description... none of it is housed with in a tower or case as i would just get too hot.

Question 4:
The GPU's do not need to be cross fired but I have been led to believe that I will need dummy plugs for the GPU's not connected to a monitor. Why?

That's about it for now... i appreciate your time reading!

Peace!
a b B Homebuilt system
December 28, 2012 2:36:10 PM

mehmehspazumweh said:
Hello there.

I have a little project underway but there are many problems I am facing and I hope the good people here at Toms Hardware can point me in the right direction. In order to build a decent Mining Rig with plenty of hashing power I will need to connect multiple AMD Radeon 7850 GPU's to a single motherboard. I am only using 2 GPU's right now on my main PC but I want to mine on a dedicated rig and buy a few more over the course of the year.

Now, I am aware that even the biggest and best high-end gaming motherboards only have 3 or 4 PCIe x16 slots but for what I am doing those sort of motherboards are just way to expensive. I have searched high and low in order to find the answers to the questions I am about to ask but there really isn't anything definitive out there.

Maybe not http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
mehmehspazumweh said:

Question 1:
If I wanted to connect this many GPU's to one motherboard how is this actually done?! Is there a way of splitting a PCIe slot? Essentially what I want to do is connect as many GPU's as I can to 1 PCIe x16 slot. If this is possible, will I have issues with bottlenecks? I have come across PCIe extenders and risers and I am sure I'll be needing these too but I cant seem to find any PCIe "splitter".

There do exist PCIe splitter but they're expensive - expensive enough to make the mobo I linked a better deal - and splitting the lanes of a cheap mobo will leave you bandwidth-limited.

EDIT2: OK now I found this http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2169988 apparently it is not possible to connect multiple GPUs in one slot without an active splitter
mehmehspazumweh said:

Question 2:
Is there a power supply capable of handling as many as, for example, 8 GPU's? The only devices i will be connecting to the motherboard is a crappy AMD processor, small hard drive, 16GB RAM and the GPU's.

Sure, for 8 7850s you'd be looking at a 1kW+ unit or dual PSUs.
mehmehspazumweh said:

Question 3:
As I will be using multiple GPU's, is there some sort of rack mount specifically for housing GPU's? I don't just want them sitting around with meters of PCIe extension cable getting in the way... its a fire hazard at does not satisfy my OCD! I'd prefer to have them fixed to a mount of some kind in order to keep thing a little tidier and of course help regulate the temperatures and leave room for adding after market coolers etc. From what I have seen from pictures and videos of other Mining Rigs it is just a motherboard attached to a small sheet of MDF (is that even safe?!) with all sorts of cables connecting multiple GPU's which are housed on a rack of some description... none of it is housed with in a tower or case as i would just get too hot.

It'd probably need to be something custom or something very expensive.

broken quotes :( 
a b V Motherboard
December 28, 2012 3:50:20 PM

There are extension cables for PCIe you can use so you can build your own mount for the cards. This is the usual course taken by the builders.

The cables are called risers. Think there was also the issue of having to imitate the usage of a monitor? So you'd need a DVI dummy plug for each card as well. Guide to make them here http://www.overclock.net/t/384733/the-30-second-dummy-p...
!