How do I add a second GPU to my 1 GPU mining rig?

Review Contents:

Last updated January, 2018

If you already have 1 mining GPU up and mining, then adding more is easy! All of the hard work of setting up mining software, tweaking the GPU clock speeds, finding a mining pool, setting up a wallet etc, is already done and all of it is re-used for the additional mining GPUs. The only caveat is that your motherboard needs to have an empty PCIe slot.

Are you mining with a laptop?

If you’re mining on a laptop, then adding a second GPU is tricky. Some have had success adding a GPU with some fancy USB adapters, but the mining performance is somewhat affected, and it’s a little bit goofy. If you’ve been mining with a laptop and you like it (you’ve made money, you’re having fun, you like the status, or all of the above), then I’d recommend you start building out a dedicated mining rig.

Are you mining with a desktop computer?

If you’re mining with a desktop computer, chances are you’ll have a motherboard that has an empty/unused PCIe slot. If you have a PCIe 16x slot available, then you’ll likely be able to plug a second GPU directly into the board. If the PCIe 16x slot is too close to other components (like your first GPU), or if you only have a PCIe 1x slot or PCIe 8x slot available, then you’ll first need to purchase a PCIe riser (also referred to as USB risers, or Riser cables in the mining circles). It’s a PCIe 1x cable that plugs into any size PCIe slot and at the other end has a small circuit board with a PCIe 16x slot for connecting your mining GPU.

Installing the GPU in your Mining Rig

Insalling computer components can seem daunting, but it’s really quite easy if you remember a few things:

  • Static electricity can wreck computer components. Be sure to touch the metal computer case, or metal case of your power supply often to ensure your body stays ‘grounded’.
  • GPU egdes and cooling shrouds and fins can be sharp – ask me how I know. When I was playing with my GPUs I ended up with 10 beautiful little, evenly spaced cuts in my fingertip from the cooling fins on the EVGA 1060

To install a GPU with or without riser cables, simply power off your system, unplug it, and then press the power button – this gets any leftover electricity out of the components.

Plug your new GPU in.

Plug in power to your system, and boot it up. If you’re using Windows, it should recognize the new GPU and you should be set. Sometimes, I’ve had to use the install disk and find drivers – other times, Windows has figured it out all on its own.

If you’re having a bad day, the system might not boot up – that could be because the GPU is faulty, or your PCIe riser is no good, or it isn’t plugged in properly, or you bumped something else during the install. Unplug power, remove anything you added, and boot up – if that works, then try installing again.

Once your OS has recognized the GPU and installed drivers, then simply run the mining software and you’re off to the races.

On some mining programs where you need to specify which GPUs (or cuda cores like in EWBF miner), you’ll need to add your new GPU to the command line in order to mine on it.


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