Last updated January, 2018
When looking into mining, it can seem overwhelming, and seem like it takes a bunch of money to get started. However, if you have a limited budget, there’s really only a few questions you need to ask:
- Is that your max budget for the foreseeable future, or simply until your next [paycheck/convincing your spouse it works etc]?
If your budget is the max you are going to put into a cryptocurrency gpu mining rig, then you will be looking for the cheapest motherboard/CPU etc that can handle the GPUs that you can buy with your budget.For example, right now, if your total foreseeable budget is $1000, then you really only need to buy 1 big GPU like a 1070TI, 1080, or similar, and you’ll be out of money. In that case, you want to get an old Dell or other desktop PC, and as long as it can run windows 7 (or Windows 10 even more preferable), then you’re set. Ask your relatives, your freinds, etc, and see if any of them have a 1 or 2 generation old PC laying around. Crack it open, and install your GPU – and you’re ready to go.
If, however, your budget this month is $1000, but you want to put more money into it as your paychecks come in, or as you sell the coins you’ve mined and reinvest your profits, then you’ll want a beefier motherboard and power supply that can handle 6 or 7 GPUs. In that case, your up front cost on your motherboard and power supply can cost more. This is the route I took. I first started with 2 GTX 1060 cards, but I spent more up front to buy a 7 PCIe slot motherboard and a higher wattage power supply so that as money allows I can simply buy another one of the best mining GPUs to add to the system.
- How much do GPUs cost right now, and how long are you willing to wait?
Right now, the mining GPU market is red hot, and you will have a tough time finding any cards for your rig build. People are starting to get creative! Things that take more time, but can end up saving you money include:
- scouring the Craigslist and newspaper classifieds for used GPUs from gamers that are upgrading their systems
- contacting local computer shops to see what they have in stock. If you are only one of a few miners in your city, then the local shops probably won’t be sold out – it’s the online shops that people all over the world are buying from that are really out of stock!
- watch for used/refurbished desktop computers. There was a thread on BitcoinTalk about older generation Dell refurbished desktops that you could get for a few hundred dollars – they came with a decent power supply, and even a low quality card that was good enough to set up and start mining with. It’s a great way to get your feet wet while you wait for your high dollar GPU purchases
- watch comparison charts like the ones on this site. It checks every hour and records what cards are in stock and at which online retailers
- What’s your best guess about where the cryptocurrency markets are headed?
This is a discussion that knows no ends, but in reality, as the market heats up and all the cryptocurrencies seem to be heading higher, mining may not be the best use of your investment money.Sure, mining is a great investment compared to your standard business venture (where businesses are priced so that in 5 to 10 years you’ve made back your investment). Right now, a well thought out GPU mining rig should be able to make your investment back within about 6 months to a year (right now, it’s more like 3 months until you see 100% return on investment).
There are many miners who have said that if they had just bought Ethereum 8 months ago rather than buying thousands of dollars of mining GPUs, they would have had less hassle and have made more money. On the other hand, they are still mining, and can still generate more money, and they also have computer components they can sell if they want to.
If you think the crypto market is headed higher, purely investing (rather than overpaying / paying double MSRP for mining GPUs) in the cryptos can be just as profitable.
If you see the market tapering off, or prices decreasing, then mining can be a better long term investment. For instance, let’s say you spend $1000 on an ethereum mining rig, hoping to make $5 per day after electricity – in 200 days you’ll have made $1000. If you buy $1000 of ethereum, and the price stays the same, you still only have $1000 of ethereum after 200 days. In 400 days, your rig will have mined $2000, and your investment would still be at $1000. If the price decreases, then the mining rig is even more profitable.
That’s why it really comes down to personal opinion, and your ability to handle and desire risk!