The age-old debate of build-or-buy is nothing new in the PC world. However, the popularity of mining has attracted many new investors and enthusiasts alike, each with varying degrees of technical expertise. As mining rigs operate quite differently compared to traditional systems, the question arises again.
This article will cover the pros and cons of buying a pre-built rig and building your own. The information presented here should help you choose the best method and begin the journey of cryptocurrency mining.
Time and Difficulty
It’s no secret that building a mining rig can be quite time consuming and difficult. The time consumed and level of ease greatly depends on your background in computers — both software, and hardware. To build a mining rig, you have to spend the time researching which individual parts are the best to purchase depending on which cryptocurrency you want to mine. You have to spend time ordering the necessary equipment and wait for the shipment of the individual parts. After the parts arrive, it can take a good chunk of time (depending on your level of expertise) to actually construct the mining rig and take necessary steps to ensure that it’s functional. It is time-consuming to install the necessary software to mine, which can also involve a lot of troubleshooting, where technical expertise really comes in handy.
On the other hand, purchasing a mining rig off of eBay or another online outlet is a lot quicker and less painful. Research is limited to which cryptocurrency you wish to mine and what video cards are best for mining it. Then all you have to do is to go on ebay (or another site) and purchase a rig with the aforementioned video cards. There is no need to check the compatibility of the individual components, or go into other specifics. As long as the seller is legitimate, you shouldn’t have to worry much about troubleshooting potential issues. This option is much easier and less time consuming, especially for those without a technical background. Many pre-built rigs even include the necessary mining software to get started.
Generally, building a mining system yourself allows for a lot more flexibility in cost and performance. When choosing the individual parts, you can choose where you want to put your money. Do you want a beefy power supply but don’t need a great CPU? Want to start off small and add additional graphics cards later? Are you willing to purchase some used components that are lower priority? No problem, just set your budget and find parts that fit it. Also, individual components often come with their own warranties, allowing for easier replacement and some added reliability.
Meanwhile, there isn’t a lot of wiggle-room when springing for the pre-built machine. Pre-builds simply don’t give you a lot of choices in the individual components, as everything is bundled. Some builders offer some choices in parts, but this is uncommon and can often be expensive. The only choices you really have are how much money you are willing to spend and what general system you need. Also, eBay sellers often do not offer their own warranties. This means that the individual components may not be under warranty or could have significantly lower warranty periods depending on how long ago the seller bought them. However, a lack in choices can have advantages if you do not trust yourself to make the right ones.
The primary objective of building a mining rig for most is profit. Some do it as a hobby, but it’s typically a longer-term investment. Performance-per-dollar is of uppermost importance if you want a fast ROI.
A pre-built rig might be appealing for the ease described earlier, but profitability tends to be the factor that scares investors away from the option. Most rigs you will find on eBay or another online retailer cost significantly more than a similar performance system that was custom-built. This is due to the cost of shipping a full system, the cost of the time put into doing the research and labor you would be avoiding, and the interests of the seller to make a profit. The seller knows that they are providing a service many customers aren’t willing to. Sometimes you may stumble upon a good deal on a rig, but this is an exception and not the rule.
With a custom build, you can save a lot more money. There are no extra expenses on top of the cost of the components (except for shipping). Also, as mentioned before, building a custom rig allows for the flexibility to purchase some individual used components without necessarily buying a totally pre-owned rig. This saves money without sacrificing performance or reliability. As long as you have some free time, building a mining rig yourself is economically worth it. ROI is generally much faster and will in turn lead to you earning those sweet profits quicker.
The decision to buy a pre-built mining rig or build one yourself can be quite a difficult one to make. The pre-built machine is the quicker and easier route. However, it is usually more expensive and less flexible. This option is probably best for someone who doesn’t have the time or has little background knowledge in computer hardware and software (although some tinkering with software is probably going to be unavoidable regardless).
For those most concerned about the profit line, the custom route is the journey worth taking. The price-performance ratio of a custom build saves a lot of money and leads to getting profits faster than an equivalent pre-built system. However, this doesn’t account for bad decision making when choosing components. As profitability is the most important aspect of investing in a mining system, I would recommend going the custom route.