Earlier this month, we talked about the parts we were going to use to build a PC to mine for crypto-currency using GPUs. But when you're trying to put 5 to 7 graphics cards on a single motherboard, you're going to run into some challenges.
The first thing we though about was how we were going to house this thing. Initially, we considered QDIY's acrylic mining machine "case":
$200 seemed reasonable, but we decided to get a little more creative and headed to Lowes.
After considering wood.... shelf brackets... angle iron... we settled on a $20 solution that was pretty much ready out of the box:
BEHOLD! The wire shelf!
Once the shelf unit was out of the box and put together, the actual assembly of the machine was under way.
It's not pretty, but it works!
We hung the cards from the top shelf, using zip-ties to make sure they didn't fall down onto the motherboard. To move data between the cards and the motherboard's PCIe slots, we used a handful of powered PCIe extention cables, like this one:
And even in an open air arrangement like this, with the cards spread adequately apart, you still need airflow. So we placed four Corsair fans on top, sucking heat up and away from the components:
We can't say that everything has gone completely smoothly up until now. We had a seventh card installed directly into one of the PCIe slots of the motherboard, and the motherboard failed to boot. This is why you only see the five R7970s in the above picture and only one 290X. And when we fired up this machine and started to install Windows on it, we ended up tripping the circuit breaker in the room. I admit, there were other things running in the room so we were certainly pushing the 20A limit of the breaker, so we moved the machine to another part of the building where we could give our mining rig a dedicated circuit.
To simply say this has been a computer building experience that's different of my usual home or gaming PC builds is quite an understatement. The next step is to install Windows, Corsair Link and some software to mine for some digital currency... and try not to trip any more breakers.