Stretched PC Case Turned GPU Cryptominer

We don’t do financial planning here at Hackaday, so we won’t weigh in on the viability of making money mining cryptocurrency in such a volatile market. But we will say that if you’re going to build a machine to hammer away at generating Magical Internet Monies, you might as well make it cool. Even if you don’t turn a profit, at least you’ll have something interesting to look at while you weep over your electricity bill.

Sick of seeing the desktop machine he built a decade ago gathering dust, [plaggle24w5] decided to use it as the base for a cryptocurrency mining rig. Of course, none of the original internals would do him any good, but the case itself ended up being a useful base to expand on. With the addition of some 3D printed components, he stretched out the case and installed an array of video cards.

To start with, all the original plastic was ripped off, leaving just the bare steel case. He then jammed a second power supply into the original optical drive bays to provide the extra power those thirsty GPUs would soon be sucking down. He then designed some 3D printed arms which would push out the side panel of the case far enough that he could mount the video cards vertically alongside the case. Three case fans were then added to the bottom to blow air through the cards.

While [plaggle24w5] mentions this arrangement does work with the case standing up, there’s obviously not a lot of air getting to the fans on the bottom when they’re only an inch or so off the ground. Turning the case on its side, with the motherboard parallel to the floor, allows for much better airflow and results in a measurable dip in operating temperature. Just hope you never drop anything down onto the exposed motherboard…

Mining Bitcoin on desktop computers might be a distant memory, but the latest crop of cryptocurrencies are (for now) giving new players a chance to relive those heady early days.

39 thoughts on “Stretched PC Case Turned GPU Cryptominer

  1. “We don’t do financial planning here at Hackaday, so we won’t weigh in on the viability of making money mining cryptocurrency in such a volatile market.”

    HaD mining instead of ads.

          1. So you are FOR CENSORSHIP in this forum about anything cryptocurrency related in this forum but not elsewhere? Sort of a “Not in my backyard” kind of thinking. Pro-censorship people scare me. Crypto is the future of money. It prevents governments from controlling other people’s money or spending money they don’t have and stops counterfeiting in its tracks. Everyone can be their own banker as an option and can do business with anyone they want to without having to get permission from, being watched by, or paying “The Man”. Crypto severs the evil communion of governments, banks, big-data, and OUR money. That’s worth sacrificing a few kWhs. Best to do some serious learning about what both liberty and crypto actually are which might, at times, be a bit beyond the scope of this forum. But there are some cool crypto hacks out there like special message embedded in transactions and the block-chain itself. Cool stuff if you like the idea of un-censorable, permanent messages to the masses. ????

        1. I’ll take getting some crypto for finding cures for cancer as opposed to not getting any direct benefit doing it. Note that to mine Curecoin/Foldingcoin, you just need to run Folding@Home with the username and team number set to send the mined coins to your account. It does not take away from your contribution. It simply uses “find a step towards curing cancer” as the PoW function in the blockchain.

          1. If your electricity is included in your rent then mining cryptocurrency is at best dishonest, it’s akin to having water included in the rent and making a fountain that fires out of your bathroom window.

          2. So I should set up a waterwheel and use my included in rent water to power my home instead?
            Nah we all have to live on this chunk of dirt together. Don’t abuse the system please.

      1. Crypto is young and only getting established. One can expect extreme dynamics during that time. Crypto will eventually replace political money because no one screws things up like govenments and many people are tired of operating in an evironment where such governments and banks always have their thumbs in everyone’s pies. Crypto isn’t just about money. Its about liberty too. People often forget about he libertarian side of crypto when the values go up quickly and masses of noobs move in buying more and driving up the price further, trying to make a quick buck and then freak when the market adjusts because they just bought high and can only sell low if they panic sell. I feel particularly sorry for people who bought on credit. Others will clean up buying while noobs panic sell and lose. As time goes on, the world will mostly run out of noobs and things will get slightly more stable and regular progress in this new transaction/value technology will happen. Some day anyone will be able to pay anyone else in the world any amount of money (that they have) for any reason without having some kind of troll/middle-man in the way telling them what they can do with their money and/or demanding a piece of it.

        1. I doubt it. Money is just a marker for resource. There aren’t many resources that have monetary value that are not ultimately controlled or owned by government. Unless you envisage an end to governments, I can’t see all this happening. How is cryptocurrency backed up? It isn’t. You might accuse the naysayers of not understanding how/why cryptocurrency works, but maybe you don’t understand how/why fiat currency works.

          Also, the electricity use is getting to be ridiculous, and it will only increase as the ‘blockchains’ get bigger. Total waste of time.

          1. Separating money from banks and governments is no waste of time. Governments and banks can’t print (steal) more crypto when they just want more money. (legal but still unethical counterfeiting) No one can, or rather everyone can if they are willing to earn it. Do you love paying a few percent of every transaction amount to a third party when it could be orders of magnitudes smaller? Do you like the idea of “big-data” gathering details about every transaction you generate and selling it to the highest bidder or, worse yet, governments? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be able to discretely and freely carry out commerce, in fact, its a fundamental right. That’s worth “wasting” a kWh or two. Its also worth shedding blood for.

        2. it’s catch 22. if you can’t spend it, it’s worthless. as soon leeches start trading it, bubbles grow and pop, and the money lost there is suddenly real. non of these crap had happen with btc if the markets wouldn’t have endless hunger for more profit.

          1. You can buy gift cards with bitcoin using egifter or transfer the value to your bank account using coinbase. Both are great options. There are also crypto-atms here and there. Crypto is easy to spend when you know where to do it and many give you a discount for using crypto because they want it more badly than government issued fiat currencies. I know someone who bought a $4000 Orion 16″ dobsonian telescope using nothing but amazon gift cards bought with crypto a few years back. You can also pay Newegg in bitcoin. (Think of the possibilities.)

            Bubbles pop all the time with crypto. Right now we are in a kind of post-pop status in a cycle that reoccurs every X number of months. Its nothing new. A cryptocurrency starts trading well and goes upward. People start getting excited and telling others and others blindly pile on buying more and more until the currency is overvalued, then someone realizes it and sell and triggers panic selling by the noobs involved while the HODLers (HODL-ers -> HODL = Hold On for Dear Life) clean up from the carnage and things go flat for a while until everyone forgets the past and things start going up again. It has happened many times in the past and will likely happen many times in the future until we run out of foolish noobs which I don’t see happening any time soon. :-) Crypto is the Wild-West and anything could happen, and that is what makes it exciting, especially for those who don’t like the status-quo.

        3. Unregulated money, what could possibly go wrong? See my problem comes when these morons that bought on credit etc end up on benefits when they weren’t going to before. Why should I pay for some idiot to take a non-profitable risk? When I am paying for their food and housing, then I get a little miffed. There is no “final boss” with crypto. Who do you sue when the exchange gets raided and can’t replace your e-assets? No FDIC at the very very least. Nah we are just in the infancy of people figuring out the loopholes and exploitation of crypto imho. And for what? So terrorists can hide funds and kids in Indiana can buy molly from Asia that is shipped over in mail supplemented by our own govt? So rich jerks can hide money and not pay taxes on it? I find very few legitimate uses for cc honestly.

          1. “There is no “final boss” with crypto.” This is a very good thing. That “final boss” would use his power to exploit other people. Money of any type is not good or evil, but people often are. Crypto is intrinsically decentralized which makes it harder for evil to happen. (not impossible of course) Evil loves centralized power, like world banks, nany-state governments, and people with big microphones. Crypto undoes some of that and overall, is a more-good kind of money even though you can still use it inappropriatley. Remember, today in America, the best currency to hire a hit-man or a prostitute or buy illegal drugs or a sex-slave is good old USD.

    1. “Thank you very much from the rest of us who use the GPU to actually run graphics… ” Using advanced technology to render “realistic” zombies or Lora Croft’s backside has become more noble than making bits of money to help make financial ends meet. What has this world come to? Way to many man-child whiners need to get out of their parents’ basements and start living real lives rather than complain that they have to pay $500 for their new AMD/Nvidea toy instead of the usual $250. Miners are hurt by this inflation too. They pay no less than the gamers unless we’re talking about the huge mining farms that buy hardware by the shipping container at a discount and consume mega-watts. The small, at home, miners are not the problem. They are putting the technology to its most noble use and don’t deserve the title “Turd-burglar”.

        1. I think that SETI’s failure to find alien life is a result of there actually being NO SPACE ALIENS anywhere nearby. SETI at home has been going on for decades now and still hasn’t found anything. It is time for them to accept the null hypothesis. In the event that they have no null hypothesis, then they are simply failing to find their fictitious gods in the sky to worship. THERE ARE NO SPACE ALIENS!! Prove me wrong with real positive evidence and don’t bring up the Drake equation because it is completely undermined by the anthropic principle. SETI@home has become a religion, not science. They don’t want to know the real truth unless that truth is that there are space aliens.

          Crypto-mining is good, especially when done by individuals trying to use the extra money to stay fiscally solvent. (It also helps keep the house warm in the winter and has helped many mining-friendly gamers pay for their own computer hardware by mining when their machines are not in use) Minergate is a great easy startingpoint.

        1. The Sun gives us many orders of magnitude more energy than this and we wastefully don’t gather it. Keeping the house warm is no waste. Paying the bills is no waste, and I have no sympathy for anyone who choses not to understand that. Crypto-mining is a whole lot less dangerous than gold or diamond mining which does virtually no good at all and kills on a regular basis. Crypto allows everyone to be-your-own-banker rather than letting the fat-cats (both governments and banks) stick their thumbs in everyone’s pie and see everything you are doing.

          More efficient mining may come some day if and when someone comes up with the right idea. Instead of doing busy-work, miners may be able to do actual useful calculations like folding proteins, but an effective logistical scheme needs to be put together. So far the academics at fold-at-home for instance have been ineffective at working with main-stream crypto developers to make mining even more beneficial, but that could change.

          Crypto is here to stay. Resistance is futile. Better to ride the wave than to try to stand up to it. …still not everyone is going to convert right away. The earth was flat 600 years ago, but things eventually changed over. Until then, haters gotta hate, miners gotta mine, whiners gotta whine, and life goes on.

          1. There are highly efficient altcoins that use way less energy per dollar worth of coins mined than the “mainstream” coins. What becomes a problem is that if energy is not a significant cost, hardware is. When I began mining about 2.5 years ago, a cluster of cheap smartphones can pay for themselves in about a week. Nowadays, it’s more like 4-5 months without counting the difficulty continuing to rise.
            Such a high efficiency also makes it reasonable to run the mining operation from solar. And that’s what I did to reach my highest peak so far in my mining adventures.

          2. If my physical location allowed it, I’d be installing as much solar peak power as I need to mine and then supplement it with power from the grid when its darker than full daylight. Wonderfully, solar panels have become quite cheap and a wisely installed setup can have parity or even be better than grid costs in almost any location. Too bad battery technology isn’t better allowing for economical storage to operate on solar for night-time operation. One could always move to iceland where the mining business is booming. Lots of need to keep warm combined with vast geo-thermal energy just boiling away for the taking. Its a great option if you don’t mind living on top of a super-volcano. :-)

          3. It’s a sure thing mining crypto is an adventure. :-) It can inspire, empower, liberate, dominate, consume, and destroy people, kind of like the old San Francisco gold rush days. A lot of miners failed. Some did OK. Others struck it rich, but in all that I’d rather be one of merchants selling pick axes and other supplies. In the current situation we’re talking about (AMD/Nvidea and some of the other minor (please pardon the pun) hardware manufacturers. ) :-) And for heaven’s sake don’t do it with borrowed money. :-)

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