I recently went over how to put together a Litcoin Mining Rig. I mentioned in that video that I will eventually transition all the hardware into a milk crate setup. Well today is the day I complete the Milk Crate Mining Rig.
Why a milk crate?
Well, the main two reasons are that its CHEAP and it provides much better airflow than having the GPUs mounted directly to the motherboard. With a milk crate setup, you are able to lift and space out each GPU at much greater distances when compared to mounting it directly to the motherboard.
This will keep your GPUs at a much cooler temperature and potentially allow you to increase the “Intensity” of each GPU , thus allowing you to mine at greater speeds. It will also reduce the wear and tear that your expensive GPUs face at higher temperatures.
What you need:
- Milk Crate
- PCI-E Riser Cables
- Plastic Bumpers
- Support Brace (can be anything)
- Zip Ties
- 200mm Coolor Master Fan
- Utility Knife (to cut the milk crate)
- All the same hardware from previous article
Plan it out.
The first step you need to do when building a Milk Crate Mining Rig is to decide on the placement of your hardware. Specifically, you need to decide where you will mount your motherboard and power supply.
Fortunately for me I was able to place both motherboard and power supply inside the milk crate. If your motherboard and power supply do not both fit in the crate, you can mount your power supply on the outside of the crate and secure them with zip ties.
Once you have decided on the placement, go ahead and cut out any part of the crate that is covering your motherboard connections. Primarily you want to be able to access your power cable connector, your usb ports, and display ports.
I also decided to cut out any portion that was covering the power supplies’ fan. I did this to avoid any turbulence that it may have caused.
Next up, find a way to support the GPUs that will be suspended over the motherboard. The last thing you want is for your GPUs to come crashing down on your expensive motherboard.
The front of the GPUs will be supported in the front by resting it on the lip/ridge of the milk crate. This provides a perfect support to mount your GPUs on. However the back of the GPUs do not have any solid support unless you create one.
I am using a 3/4″ PVC pipe that I have laying around the house. Simply cut out the side of the milk crate that will allow you to rest your brace on the crate evenly and flat. Test fit your GPUs on this brace to ensure that it provides the support it needs to not fall onto the motherboard.
Secure this brace firmly to the milk crate by using zip ties.
Now that at we have everything ready to go, we need to have the ability to raise the GPUs off the motherboard and onto the support brace that we added to the milk crate. We do this by using PCI-E riser cables.
The GPUs originally plugged into the motherboards 16x PCI-E slots. The riser cables basically act as an extension cable to allow you to lift the GPUs off the board.
I am using a 1x to 16x PCI-E riser cable. You are more than welcomed to use a 16x to 16x riser cable if you like, however it is not necessary and is usually more expensive than a 1x to 16x cable.
It is also recommended to use a “powered” riser cable. This connects directly to your power supply and will take some stress off your motherboard by powering the GPUs directly from the power source.
Before installing your GPUs to the riser cables, you need to connect all the power supply cables. You want to do this before installing the GPUs because it will give you more room to work with. Tidy up all the power cables with zip ties and get the inside of your crate as neat as possible.
This is an optional step but a good one to have.
I had an extra 200mm Cooler Master computer fan sitting in my closet. I decided to use this fan as an exhaust for the milk crate. This is not entirely necessary but you can never have too much air flow.
Simply secure the fan with zip tips and connect the power cables from the power supply.
Mount and Secure.
The only thing left to do is connect the GPUs to each of the riser cables, connect the PCI-E power supply cables, and make sure everything is mounted securely.
To secure the GPUs in place, you can either drill a screw or hammer a nail into the milk crate. The GPUs have pre-drilled holes that are meant to secure it to a standard computer case. Use those holes to secure it to the milk crate.
Was it worth the trouble?
I was having some slight heat issues with the GPUs mounted directly to the motherboard. The 2nd and 3rd GPU was seated really close to each other on the motherboard. The spacing is all dependent on the configuration of your motherboard (yours could be different).
By connecting riser cables and lifting the GPUs off the motherboard, I was able to significantly reduce the temperatures my GPUs were mining at. This cooler temperature allowed me to turn up my mining “Intensity” and utilize the full potential of each GPU.
This simple milk crate mining rig is highly recommended.