Part 2: Building a Mining Rig – Assembling the Components

Continuing on through the guide where we set up our mining case here, we will start assembling everything.  If you are familiar with putting together a PC, you can skim quite a bit, as this is trying to be geared to someone who may be less familiar.  Almost all parts from this guide are from here.

1. Place the lining that you will use into the crate.  If you haven’t already done so, be sure to cut it to lay flat.

2. With the crate lining already placed, we will place the motherboard in the crate, like so:


Make sure the ports are on the same side that you cut for the graphics cards, in the previous tutorial.  If you haven’t already cut the spots for the USB, be sure to do so now.  Take out the motherboard before you do this!

If you are unfamiliar, here is a quick diagram of where things go (Click to expand if you can’t see):


We want to do this in a specific order, so that it is easier to add additional pieces and put it all together. First, lets do the CPU.


When handling the CPU, be sure to try and hold it  by the edges, avoid touching the top and the bottom of the CPU, as this can leave oil from your skin onto the chip, which can affect cooling.  When removing the CPU from the packaging, be careful not to touch the bottom of the CPU fan, as there is a wet substance on it that we need to preserve to cooling the CPU.

1. Step 1, Lift the tiny lever next to the CPU socket, so that we can place the CPU in:

We want to match the top right gold corner of the CPU with the top right arrow on the socket, like so,



2. With the socket raised and the CPU arrow facing the top right, gently set the CPU into the socket.  DO NOT PRESS DOWN!  The CPU should fit in without any problems.  If it is lopsided or doesn’t seem to fit in right, make sure you have the lever up and the corners matching.


3. With the CPU in the proper position and seated well, place the lever back down.

Adding the CPU Fan and Heatsink

The metal part under the fan is called the heatsink. Be careful not to touch underneath the heatsink, as there is gooey stuff on it.

The CPU fan has two modes, locked and unlocked.

This is unlocked:

This is locked:

Keep it unlocked while we are placing it onto the CPU.

So to add the fan to the CPU, we clamp it down to the two clips highlighted in red:

To do so, put this side of the CPU fan that looks like this, onto the left clip:

2. Place the other side on the right clip.

So now it looks like this, still unlocked:


3. Switch the fan into locked mode.  The fan should be firmly in place:

If it moves very much its not securely fastened on.

4. Now plug the cord from the fan into the CPU fan power:



The motherboard manual for this board recommends that ram goes in the light blue slots first.  So if you have 2 sticks, they should fill the light blue slots before the dark blue.

1. So to add the RAM in, simply open the clips:

2. Then push the ram in, making sure that the ridge(Highlighted above) aligns with the ridge on the ram (Look under it, it is a fairly obvious groove):

Make sure that both clips on each side are pressed back against the ram and not in the open position.

I decided to use the 4 gig stick I bought for this machine in the guide, to instead upgrade my desktop that I use regularly, and to swap it with 2x2gig sticks that it used.  So don’t panic if your RAM looks different = ).

Wireless Card

If you are using a wireless card, be sure to add it in the PCI slot on the furthest from the graphics cards slots, as labeled in the first diagram.  It should place in firmly without any problems.  Make sure your wireless card is PCI not PCIE.

Adding the Holes for Cables

Before you add in all the cables like shown below, I’d recommend you cut the holes necessary.

Being careful not to hit anything, you will cut 3 holes in the floor of the crate for easier cable management.

1.  Basically you want one hole next to the hard drive (Not shown, labeled as Was Added)

2. One next to the power slot by the CPU.

3. One next to the power slot by the RAM.

Adding the Cables

First, I add all the non power cables, like below:

From left to right:

1. Hard Drive Cable -- Bottom Left

2. PCIE-x1, using a powered 1x-16x riser

3. PCIE-x1, using a powered 1x-16x riser

4. PCIEx16 riser

Now I set my crate with the motherboard in it, on top of the other crate, and start adding in the power cables:

When you do this, make sure the cables are clipped(Pressed) in all the way.

From Left to right:

1. Plug in Motherboard main power

2. Plug in Motherboard secondary power

These are both normally labeled.   For the power supply recommended in the guide, the cords are also labeled.  Make sure the cord end labeled PSU is saved to be plugged into the Power Supply.

I set the power supply on a its box in the bottom crate, and now the plugs look like this:

 Edit: I recommend not using a box long term, use something that isn’t flammable and isn’t electrically conductive, like a sturdy plastic container or something.

Now I start placing the PCIE cords for the graphics cards.  For my build I use 3 cards, which use 1 PCIE connection each:

It is much easier to start at the top and thread them down through and plugin them into the PSU than vice versa.

So in the above picture, I added 3 PCIE cords, 1 IDE cord, which is plugged into the powered risers. Don’t forget to do this!


Added the Hard Drive

I have also added the hard drive, and connected it to the motherboard, and also connected the hard drive to the power supply.  Which you can see on the left of the above image.  If you look at the back of the hard drive you should see 2 L shaped connectors, the longer one is for power, the short one is data (the one that connects to the motherboard).  Find the connector for your power supply that matches this.  Other accessories, like DVD roms, are likely similar.

Setting up the Cards

1. Place your card support, like below:


Begin to place your cards and start to plug them in, each one needs 1 data cable (from the motherboard, which would be the 3 PCIE cables, and 1-2 power cables, depending on the card.  I would not screw your cards in until the cables are plugged in, it makes it way easier.

So, for the 270′s we just need 1 cable:

2. Plug the power cables (From the power supply), into the cables highlighted in red.  Make sure they are in there well or are clipped in.

3. Plug the PCIE cables into the bottom of the cards.  Make sure they are secured in place well, both the bottom where the the cord plugins into the motherboard, and where it plugs into the graphics card. Try not to tangle them unnecessarily.

4. Lock your cards in place:

You should now just be about ready to start it.  Give it one last look over and make sure all the cords are firmly in place, your ram is well seated, and so on.  Then we can put the power supply into the ON position, plug it in, and see if the motherboard lights come on.  Then we can give it a start.

5. Pressing this button left of the RAM will boot the computer into BIOS.

From here, you can set your boot device to DVD or USB, and install your operating system.

Did I miss anything? Questions, comments? Let me know!

64 thoughts on “Part 2: Building a Mining Rig – Assembling the Components

  1. Elise

    Dear Poor Shibe,

    This is very thorough and step-by-step, and it will help a lot of people get going! This may seem like a dumb question, but for the DVD Rom, this gets connected to the hard drive, with an ethernet cable? Once the operating system is installed, is it OK to remove the DVD Rom, and use it again for another build?

    Lastly, are there any additional cables we would need, other than what you have listed in your original list? We should have everything that we need?

    Thank you so much for this, I know for myself, I would have been completely lost trying to assemble this on my own, without this guide. Will probably have more questions, once I get into it, but will let you know.

    Thanks again,


  2. nata cata


    The DVD rom is not hooked up to the system via the hard drive nor with ethernet. It has its own IDE and power plug to the motherboard. If the motherboard only has one IDE, then you will use a cable that plugs into your harddrive and it’ll have another plug to go into your dvd rom, and from here it will go to the motherboard.

    Once you have everything setup the way you want, you can shut the system down and remove the dvd rom and use it again in another setup. The DVD rom is removable and the only thing you lose is the ability to use it on that system (unless you plug it all back in again). Good luck shibe!

  3. Elise

    Thank you so much, for your reply! I have another couple of “noob” questions…this may be obvious, once I get everything in front of me, but right now, it isn’t, exactly. I have an extra monitor and can scrounge up a mouse and keyboard. Where would these components hook up to? Do these also hook directly to the motherboard?

    I’m probably embarrassing myself, asking this but hey, what the heck!

    Thanks in advance for your time,


    1. poor shibe Post author

      Hi Elise,

      The monitor hooks up to the video card, and the keyboard and mouse use the USB ports or if it is older, a ps/2 port. You can see where I cut out the spot for the USB ports in the first tutorial. Don’t worry about embarassing yourself, everyone has to learn sometime. Just think about the ports on the motherboard like the ones you see on the back of a desktop PC, if you have one.

      1. Elise

        Thanks poor shibe – once again for your answers. I am starting with 2 graphics cards…it doesn’t matter which one of these, the monitor is hooked up to?

        Are you familiar with a program called CG Watcher? I was watching a you tube tutorial on this program, and it looked like a neat way to edit your config. file and have more control over things.


        1. poor shibe Post author

          Hi Elise,

          I haven’t had any issues based on which card the monitor was hooked up to. I haven’t used CGWatcher before, but it looks pretty cool. But even with CGWatcher you still need to know how cgminer works. Just be careful where you download the program from and make sure its the official source.

      2. Elise

        Dear poor shibe,

        To let you know, I was reading that for GPU’s that aren’t hooked directly to a monitor? You need these dummy plugs (that apparently come with the cards, I don’t know for sure) and that for each GPU, you would need to install 3 – 68 ohm resistors. Have you done this, with your other two cards that are not hooked up directly to your monitor?

        Also, what about an anti-virus software?

        Thank you in advance, for your reply.


        1. poor shibe Post author

          I use dummy plugs on my rigs now, but for awhile I just had 2 cords running from my monitor, 1 to the rig, 1 to my pc that I use. You can unplug it after the computer boots up though. Some cards come with an adapter for DVI to VGA which is what you use to put the resistors in. For antivirus software, if you are using windows, just make sure the windows firewall is turned on and install microsoft security essentials or windows defender and it should be fine. All the coins you will mine won’t even ever be on the computer, you usually send those to your wallet that you would access from your other computer, so that is the one that needs to make sure it has no viruses or anything, because they can steal your coins from there.

          1. Elise

            Dear poor shibe,

            Thank you for your reply – guess I will try the resistors and see how that goes. I’m still unclear what to do with the coins, once they come into my wallet, if they are kept on my local machine or kept offline on a USB stick, or a paperless wallet. Will have to do more research on that, but it’s a non-issue at the moment, as it will be awhile before I can even build this!



    1. poor shibe Post author

      I still have it on the box =0. But I think a upside down plastic rectangular container would work well and be way more safe. I’ll be swapping mine out soon. Electricity and flammability aren’t a good combo.

    1. poor shibe Post author

      Well, the main thing is that if you buy a new wireless card its best to get PCI so you don’t take one of your PCIE slots, but if you have an extra PCIE slot you can use it. Just didn’t want to disappoint people if they decide to go with 4 cards instead of 3, but then they can’t use their wireless card.

      1. JJ

        Ok I understand, I am using 4 cards and will just use my wifi antenna which works via usb.. mistakenly bought the wrong adapter

  4. JNM

    Hi there Shibe!
    I have purchased pretty much everything that you listed. I chose 3x AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB DirectCU II cards. I haven’t yet put the components on my rig (which I built with aluminum and wood). My biggest concern is when I have to boot and set up bios… I found this video on youtube:
    Should I just follow the steps seen in this video to get my rig working?
    I just have no idea which drivers should I download and WHERE. And should I install windows first? (obviously?) I am glad if you could help me with this one. So what drivers I need, where to find them and how to install them. This is my first time building a computer. :(

    1. poor shibe Post author

      The drivers will be on the CDs that came with your video card and motherboard, you would install these after you install windows. You can also download them, if you google the ATI drivers or the motherboard model number you can find them.

  5. JNM

    Oh and also, if I buy wireless card to access internet, do I need drivers for that or would it work right away after I have installed windows?

    1. poor shibe Post author

      Depends on the card, some will automatically work with windows, others you will need to install drivers. But your wireless card probably comes with the drivers on a CD.

  6. JNM

    Sorry for these stupid questions but the you tube video I linked in my first message, check part 4:55. If I’ll get the same note when i’m installing windows what driver can I download for that? I just couldn’t understand enough what he was saying :/

  7. Todd

    Thanks for posting this! One quick question. What kind of activity should I see from the cards right after I turn on the power (i.e. should the fans turn on)? I plugged my monitor into my cards using an HDMI cable but I’m not seeing any activity on my monitor. I’m wondering if I’m getting power to my cards.

  8. Lieven

    @Todd Normally when you boot up the computer the fans of your cards should spin up. If that does not happen then the definately aren’t getting power. If they do spin up but nothing happens, try unplugging all but 1 card (leave the one in a 16x slot connected) and try again. Works? connect the cards again, try again. Does not work? Try each card seperatly in the slot that works, if all cards work in there, but all 3 connected won’t work, maybe there is a problem with the riser cards or something else. Anyway this should help you a bit further.

  9. david bongiorno

    hi. I have everything all set up but when i fire it up with all 3 video cards powered on i get no video…what should i do?

    1. poor shibe Post author

      Are the fans for the video card spinning? Try to take out the other 2 cards and just start with 1, no risers, just right in the pciex16 slot and see if it works.

  10. Jay

    Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I have a question regarding a healers rig. If I am planning on running an OS such as BAMT out of a USB drive, how do I get my rig to boot into it. You mention that by pressing the button by the RAM we can boot into BIOS, do we need a screen and keyboard for this? If so where do I plug them in!? Or would it boot to the USB directly?

  11. Dbong123

    @Poor shibe thank you so much for the help!!! This is a great tutorial. Let me tell you my experience:
    1) for the video cards it seemed I had to unplug the power for 2 of the 3 cards to get the video to output. Once the computer was set up then I reinstalled the extra 2 video cards and it worked!

    2) I bought 3 sapphire R9 270x 4GB OC cards. It was working but when I increased intensity I got tons of hardware errors. I tried the setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_100 percent and after that I got a -4 kernel error. Does that mean I need more ram? I got the 4GB stick you specified in the tutorial. Should I get another stick? Now I can’t even get CGminer to boot :/

    Any help would be INCREDIBLE. Thanks!

    1. poor shibe Post author

      Hardware errors means the intensity is set too high. If you get too many HW errors you have to reboot the machine for it to work.

    1. poor shibe Post author

      Pretty sure it can’t find your cards if you see this. Because they crashed because of HW error or they don’t have monitor/dummy plug connected. Ram doesn’t help at all, you just need it to run your OS. Might also try lowering your thread concurrency.

      1. Dbong123

        well it was working, and then I did the setx SET_GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100 and after that I got the -4 error kernel enqueing

  12. Wanna Be Shibe

    Can I install Ubuntu via USB with this set up? Also, instead of getting a wireless card can I use

    And what GPU software should I use?

    1. poor shibe Post author

      Yes, I use xubuntu for one machine and ubuntu for the other. For GPU software, you can download the ATI linux drivers without too many problems. The wireless usb should be fine, and the drivers for Linux should be okay according to this. But I haven’t use this specific wireless myself, and sometimes it can be hard to get the drivers for some cards.

  13. DW

    Hey this is my first build, just had a few questions.

    1) Why did you put the PSU on a box as opposed to just on the bottom of the crate? Was it simply because the cables weren’t long enough?
    2) Does the top crate need to have holes in the bottom like yours for airflow? Or is it fine to place the motherboard on the bottom of a crate that has a solid floor? And why did you put that material down under the motherboard, is that required or can it just sit on the crate floor?
    3) Is there any reason you need 2 crates? Why can’t you just put the PSU beside the motherboard and use 1 crate?

    Thanks for the guide

    1. poor shibe Post author

      1. Yes, the power supply on my other rig can reach, but it is not very pretty. It lays diagonal.

      2. I wouldn’t worry too much about airflow for the motherboard. The motherboard isn’t overclocked or running very hard at all compared to the graphics cards. You should be able to sit it on the crate floor if it is solid, my crate floor has holes so it would shift if I did that.
      3. You can, but this makes it much harder to move. If you do it like I did in the guide, it makes it very easy to pick up and move the rig somewhere. If you set the PSU outside of the crate, you would have to be very careful about moving it because you could accidentally disconnect something.

  14. DW

    Also, the power cables my PSU came with have 4 connections at various points along the cable. How many things can I have connected? Can I connect a GPU and 3 different hard drives on the same cable?

  15. ss

    Looks good! I build a rig not to long ago for the first time and can say it was a blast.

    Question for all the people:

    How much of an increase in hashrate could you get going from one GPU to 2 GPUs? Thanks.

    1. poor shibe Post author

      Going from one to two cards will give you twice as much, assuming they are the same card. Mining doesn’t rely too much on other specs of the computer at all.

  16. Kojaax

    @poor shibe, thank you for is amazing guide. I just placed my order on amazon essentially following ur instructions to a T. I should be up and running in a week or two.

    Keep you posted. Thanks again.

  17. Bob Smith

    I bought an Asrock 970 Extreme 3, I have everything plugged in, but I can’t find the button to boot it and the manual says nothing. How do I start it the first time?

    1. poor shibe Post author

      If you checked the motherboard manual and it doesn’t have a power button, you will need to manually jump the PC by using a penny or something to briefly connect the two power pins. You can see an explanation here.

  18. dbong123

    Guide was great! I ended up getting a better processor and more RAM because the system was too buggy and crashed more with less. Also ended up with 3 R9 270x and 1 r9 280x, 1350 enermax PSU, 12GB hyper blu, 8 core AMD FX, getting 2.1MH/s.

    Thanks! I started with your setup and got here. You da man

  19. Kojaax

    So i have everything loaded and installed and for whatever reason – the wireless card says I am connected to my home network, “internet access” on that little icon in the bottom right – BUT NO PAGES WILL LOAD.

    Extremely frustrated!

    Running windows 7 home premium just like your guide said…

  20. JMN

    Hi there again!
    I finally got all the parts today. My question may be stupid but, as I bought 3 asus r9 270x cards that has 2 x 6 pin power connectors each but I only have 2 pci-e cords that have 2 x 6 pin connectors and pci-e 2 cords which have only one 6 pin connector. Should I buy one more that has two 6 pin connectors or can I use all 4 cords ? ( 2 cords with 2 x 6 pin and 2 cords with one 6 pin connectors.

    1. poor shibe Post author

      You can use the ones that just have 1 each and put two on one card. Your cards might also come with extra converters to go from 4 pin to 6 pin PCIe.

  21. Chris

    Hey, I’m suffering some confusion concerning the power of the GPU’s. My power supply doesn’t have any slots or cables explicitly labelled PCIE. It has 2 PERIF and 2 SATA as well as 6 slots labelled VGA 1-6 on it. I’m using 4 GPU’s and have 4 1x powered riser cables, is that what I should have? what exactly do I have to plug in, because the only thing I’ve found that fits the powered part of the riser cable is the power cable labelled PERIF. And this power cable branches into 2 molex connectors that the powered riser cable fits into. Should I plug in 2 of the riser cables into the PERIF 1 and 2 into PERIF 2? if I do that then what else do I need to still plug into the card itself for everything to workout… thanks in advanced


  22. Lateguy

    Hey, I know this was posted a while ago, but I was just looking into getting a rig set up this weekend. At the current exchange rate of dogecoin and the current equipment of others, is it too late for starting up with a rig like this to be a viable option?

    1. poor shibe Post author

      Right now the profitability is not as high, but if the price of dogecoin goes up again it could be worth it, even if the coins today won’t give you as much profitability.

      1. Lateguy

        It seems that a company with previous bitcoin work is now selling scrypt mining rigs. Does that nullify your statement?

  23. Dennis Ng

    (Repost from part 1)

    Thanks for the site. Being a totally newbie, I thought it is just great and jumped in.

    Hence, I just bought the same motherboard M5A97 and, due to availability. fx-6300 plus two Gigabyte R9 270x. Not good in working with gears and I asked the shop to install it (and also 6 hard drives for my future RAID when the mining is no longer profitable). They spent 3 hours installing it (!) and after I stood for 1.5 hours I gave up. Unfortunately when I came back (and without knowing the significance), the cards was installed in cross fire configuration .

    Back home, I have not been able to get the two cards work separately. Now under Windows 7 only one is 400 kH/s and the other is about 50 KH/s. The Catalyst said that it is NOT crossfire enabled and I tried also remove the crossfire cable.

    Should I just gave up and bought a third card plus raiser cable.

    Would install Linux help? In this line, which Linux would be good to go? Any suggestion what to look for during installation. I have spare one hard drive for this in the system but could use an external usb thumb drive.

    For your kind advice.


    1. poor shibe Post author

      Sorry for the late reply, I did respond to your other post. If you can provide your cgminer config maybe I can give some more feedback. The 50 kH/s is really low. 400 is not too bad for the other card but maybe could be improved.

  24. JMN

    Hi there!
    I have been mining for 4 days now and I have had some problems with one gpu. It gets sick or dead about once a day and I got info that I should change this card.
    My problem here is that I don’t know which card is it (it’s GPU 1 in cgminer) but I can’t control all 3 of my cards even when I use dummy plugs. So how can I be sure which card it is doing this sick or dead thing..?

  25. Sean

    I accidentally bought the M5A97 LE R2.0 instead of just the regular one in this guide. I figured it wouldnt matter and went through with the process of hooking everything up, only to realize the motherboard I have has no boot button.

    I turn the power on and get a green LED light, the GPU seems to power up as well, but the system does not boot. Do I need a special switch or something to boot the motherboard up?

    Should I just return the one I have and get the regular model and not the LE? Will that fix my issue?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks for the great tutorial. Can’t wait to get my rig working.

  26. Daniela

    If you desire to grow your know-how just keep visiting this
    web site and be updated with the newest information posted here.


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