As Bitcoin climbs well over $10,000 in value and Ethereum generally keeping its head over $1,000 in value, more and more people are looking to enter the cryptocurrency mining avenue. Rather than purchasing cryptocurrency, a mining computer provides the opportunity of “earning” it yourself.
That said, with many corporations housing entire warehouses of computers fine-tuned for mining cryptocurrencies, it requires a specialized rig for the average user to compete and still mine enough coins to cover the cost of the initial investment and electricity to power the rig. This ultimately means that the components used are vital, and the most foundational component of a mining computer is the motherboard.
Best Mining Motherboards of 2018
But figuring out which motherboard to use for your mining computer can be a difficult task. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best motherboards for mining cryptocurrency, highlighting what each one is best for. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the right motherboard to build your mining rig
|ASRock H81 PRO BTC|
|Biostar TB85||LGA 1150||6xGPU||DDR3|
|Asus PRIME Z270-P||LGA 1151||8xGPU||DDR4|
|Biostar Motherboard TB250-BTC||LGA 1151||8xGPU||DDR4|
|ASUS B250 MINING EXPERT||LGA 1151||12xGPU||DDR4|
1. ASRock H81 PRO BTC (6xGPU) – Best Budget Motherboard for Mining Cryptocurrency
When purchasing a motherboard for a mining rig, one of the most important aspects comes down to price. While this may be true for all purchases, it is especially true for mining computers specifically because there is usually such a high initial investment in the first place. Having to purchase all of the normal components for a basic computer as well as numerous GPUs can get rather expensive especially since you cannot bargain shop for GPUs with a mining rig the way you might for other types of computers.
Quality for a Price
For instance, many of the newer mining motherboards require DDR4 or even DDR5 RAM in order to run their maximum capacity number of GPUs. While that RAM may be better quality, it is also significantly more expensive than the more common DDR3 RAM which the ASRock H81 can use. Beyond the RAM, the ASRock H81 also has lower requirements when it comes to CPUs. While pretty much all mining rigs can deal with less powerful CPUs than a gaming rig would need, the ASRock H81 is able to get away with a 2 core 3.4GhZ processor. That is a virtual steal at this level of mining.
To go a step further, the ASRock H81 also helps save money in terms of the OS. While it does have 4 SATA ports 2 x SATA 3 and 2 x SATA 2 most users can simply run a compatible OS from a properly sized USB 3.0 drive without any drop it boot speed or latency. This saves a significant cost in regards to the hard drive where you would normally go with an SSD specifically to ensure you did not have issues with boot speed or latency.
Beyond being able to run the ASRock H81 from a USB OS, you also have a fair bit of options when it comes to the OS in the first place. While pretty much all mining rigs can run Linux as it is an open source OS that is constantly being updated with optional, community-driven patches and updates, this motherboard also plays exceptionally well with the OS designed specifically for Ethereum mining, ethOS. On the downside, if you plan on using the Windows OS even Windows 10 you will be a bit more limited in the number of cards you can run and the entire rig will not be as stable as if you ran ethOS or Linux.
Regardless, one of the main issues with the ASRock H81 is its GPU capacity. It is tied on our list for the least number of GPUs that it can run simultaneously. With the ability to run a maximum of 6 GPUs, this is still a solid beginner motherboard for mining cryptocurrency, but it will not be able to scale up later once you have your feet underneath you. That said, the use of high-quality capacitors with this motherboard does at least mean you will not have to worry about power delivery, and the motherboard is noted for its long lifespan.
2. Biostar TB85 (6xGPU) – Best Beginner Bitcoin Motherboard for Mining Cryptocurrency
The Biostar TB85 is a bit of an oddball on our list due in large part because it seems as though Biostar intended to try and use a single board to capture multiple markets. While this does not necessarily make it a bad motherboard for mining cryptocurrency, it definitely means that it is a bit less specialized than some of the other motherboards that we reviewed. On top of that, there are a number of features that Biostar advertises on this board that you are unlikely to make use of if you are using it exclusively for mining cryptocurrency.
Lots of Functions in a Box
For instance, if you were to use this motherboard for a server, the fact that it comes with a number of onboard protections and redundancies is great especially at this price point. That said, mining rigs do not need to worry too much about storing anything to a hard drive since their work is calculated and stored onto the blockchain directly. It is unlikely that any backups will need to be made, and it is just as unlikely that the computer will be targeted by viruses or malware considering it will only be focused on the repetitive task of computing hashes.
If you are looking to break into mining one of the most popular, and valuable, cryptocurrencies around, ETH/ZEC, then this is definitely a solid starter motherboard to choose. The Biostar TB85 actually comes pre-loaded with BIOS and drivers that are intended to make mining BTC a plug-and-play operation with some few minor adjustments in the BIOS. This means that you will not have to worry about scouring the internet for the proper drivers and BIOS updates specifically to mine ZCash or Etherium.
That said, this board is not as focused on mining Ethereum, so if that is what you were looking to mine especially considering the market hosts far more cryptocurrencies and hosts many of the newest ones that are still ripe and fresh and easier to mine then you may want to look elsewhere. On top of that, this motherboard can only run 6 GPUs, which is not terrible, but it is less than other mining motherboards that can host more GPUs for a lower price.
3. Asus PRIME Z270-P (8xGPU) – Best All-Around Value Motherboard for Mining
One of the best things about mining cryptocurrency other than the potential to make a huge return on investment if you mine the right currencies at the right time is the fact that as a hobby it can provide an endless amount of development for growth. The only problem with this is that as you begin to develop a deeper understanding of both the hardware and software for mining, the cost of investment often does not proceed linearly and instead can jump quadratically.
Well Branded, Well Priced
That is why the Asus PRIME Z270-P is such a welcome entry on our list. As the second least expensive motherboard we reviewed that also happens to be tied for the second most number of GPUs it can manage, this is by far the best all-around value motherboard for mining cryptocurrency that you are likely to come across. Even better, the way it is designed explicitly allows for a slow development and continual additions rather than a single large arrangement all upfront.
More x16 Slots Than Ever
With 3 x16 PCI-E slots, the Asus PRIME Z270-P allows the user to gradually increase the number of GPUs they are running to coincide with their development in mining cryptocurrency. Another benefit of this arrangement is that it allows you to slowly increase the number of GPUs that you run, so you do not have to purchase all of the components up front at one time. It also allows the motherboard to run the GPUs more effectively than others that will rely almost exclusively on PCI-E risers to function.
One thing to keep in mind though is that there are actually only 7 PCI-E slots on this motherboard. If you want to run the 8th GPU, you will have to use an M.2 to PCI-E adapter. While this can add an additional level of setup, it does not actually impact the motherboard’s effectiveness too terribly much as the M.2 port was intended to be used for this purpose with the Asus PRIME Z270-P. Moreover, the M.2 port on this motherboard will still produce the same raw transfer rates as the PCI-E slots, so you will also not have to worry about the 8th GPU running at a lower speed or producing slower hash rates than the ones using the PCI-E slots.
Beyond the GPU arrangement, this motherboard also shines when it comes to power management which, as all cryptocurrency miners know is arguably just as important, if not more so, than the actual rig’s setup. The Asus PRIME Z270-P accomplishes this is a couple ways. First, like many of the motherboards we reviewed, it uses high-quality, solid capacitors made in Japan which are generally seen as the best capacitors in the business. Even better, the Asus PRIME Z270-P also has a 10 phase digital power delivery system which reduces the likelihood of shorts forcing automatic reboots.
4. Biostar Motherboard TB250-BTC (8xGPU) – Best Motherboard for 8xGPU Mining Rig
While Biostar might offer less expensive options for mining Bitcoin, this is by far their flagship offering in the arena, and it shows. Aside from the fact that the BIOS of this motherboard was tuned for running GPUs that were mining BTC, it was also made with the intention of working equally effective with any operating system though it is notably easier to use with Linux or Windows as opposed to one of the open source mining operating systems.
Windows 10 Ready
Since the motherboard is designed to manage 8 GPUs, you can simply plug-and-play without too much fuss. This motherboard does support the option to expand its GPU support up to 12 though you will need to be fairly experienced with BIOS to be able to accomplish this feat. Moreover, you will not be able to do this by the simple plug-and-play method and will instead have to convert a couple other ports to run PCI-E data streams. Finally, you will also have to run two different types of GPUs if you expand.
This latter option is not really advised as one of the more frustrating parts about the Biostar TB250 is its lack of solid online documentation. If you use the motherboard as it was intended, you will not have any issue. You will have to go into BIOS to specifically select its mining mode, but it is not a difficult process. On the other hand, if you want to expand the GPU management beyond the intended 8, you will need to know how to alter the BIOS in a far more complex and refined manner.
One potential issue with the Biostar TB250 is that it will require a bit more of an initial upfront investment than some of the other motherboards we reviewed. In fact, this cost will bite you in a couple ways. First, this is the second most expensive motherboard on our list, though it is far closer to the less expensive motherboards we reviewed than the most expensive ones. Still, the second cost of components may cause a bit of concern as well.
Specifically, this motherboard will only accept the LGA1151 socket processor. This means you will not be able to save money using a less expensive CPU light you can with some other motherboards. Considering the CPU does not need to be as impressive as for a gaming rig, this is a bit of a disappointment. Beyond the CPU requirement, this motherboard will also require DDR4 RAM. While this is not as bad as requiring DDR5 RAM, it will still be more expensive than the motherboards which can accept DDR3 RAM.
5. ASUS B250 MINING EXPERT (12xGPU) – Largest Capacity Motherboard for Mining Cryptocurrency
When it comes to building a mining rig, it’s often ultimately comes down to investing now or paying later. Essentially, the best components are obviously going to cost more, but they will generally allow you to run the mining operation at a lower energy cost or in some form at greater efficiency. When it comes to the ASUS B250, this may be the case, but it will require that you set the board up in a particular arrangement with specific components for that to be the case.
Big in Numbers
This is a bit anti-consumer in that it ultimately forces you to purchase exclusively within the ASUS brand lineup if you truly want to get the most out of your board. That said, even if you do not opt for the special ASUS brand GPUs, you can still easily get 12 GPUs assuming they are a singular make and model to run without too terribly much difficulty. This is due in a large part to the fact that the ASUS B250 comes preinstalled with a mining BIOS.
Rather than have to either update the BIOS with a specific mining driver like for some motherboards or even simply switch the BIOS setting from standard to mining, the ASUS B250 is shipped with the expectation that you will be using the motherboard for mining and the stock BIOS setup reflects that. Still, if you intend to run non-ASUS mining GPUs, there will be a bit more setup that you will need to complete. Specifically, if you run Nvidia or AMD GPUs the most common brands for mining cryptocurrency you will need to download additional drivers to use all 12 GPU slots.
Calm and Stable
Regardless of the GPU brand and arrangement that you plan to use, this motherboard is at least exceptionally stable especially when compared to its competitors. For instance, this is one of the few motherboards we reviewed that can maintain fairly stable wattages to all the PCI-E slots even if you decide to mix and match your GPU brands. Some motherboards have difficulty when mixing GPU models, let alone makers, but the ASUS B250 has been shown to run both Nvidia and AMD GPUs side-by-side.
One potential issue with this motherboard comes with its price. This actually cuts two ways: first in its initial cost and a second time with the cost of the additional components to get the most out of the motherboard. In terms of its initial cost, this is by far the most expensive motherboard that we reviewed costing nearly more than $150 more than its next closest competitor. However, that additional cost will be compounded further by the fact that this board requires 32GB or high-quality RAM to be able to effectively run all of the PCI-E slots whether you use all 19 with ASUS mining GPUs or just 12 with Nvidia or AMD GPUs.
Best Motherboard for Mining – Buyer’s Guide
This consideration will not be as difficult as it might otherwise for motherboards with other types of computers. Remember, a computer for mining cryptocurrency is not actually a “PC” which is a personal computer. Instead, much like a server or any number of other types of computers, a computer built for mining cryptocurrency is built for a specialized purpose. As such, many of the most common assumptions about PCs will not necessarily apply to this category of computer.
For instance, when it comes to PCs you often have a choice between AMD or Intel CPUs. If you were building a PC, this choice would be far more relevant, because AMD is generally significantly less expensive for the same amount of computing power that Intel provides. However, mining for cryptocurrency is all about controlling heat. In this regard, there is no CPU manufacturer that can outcompete with Intel.
Because of this, even if you save a bit of money upfront with the AMD CPU, you will ultimately pay out more over the long term having to pay for the wattage that the AMD CPU would consume. Since AMD consumes close to 100 percent more electricity when you compare flagship models of CPU, most people choose to invest a bit more in the CPU and get a more energy efficient Intel.
That said, once you get over the fact that you almost certainly will have to purchase and use an Intel CPU unless you scour explicitly for a motherboard that hosts numerous PCI-E slots as well as an AMD processor you are in some luck. Since the majority of the blockchain computations are compiled by the GPUs, you do not actually need that robust of a CPU.
This is pretty much the most important consideration when building a mining computer. Because GPUs can handle the repetitive computations of hashes better than CPUs, the more GPUs your motherboard can host the more mining you can accomplish. That being said, there are a number of variations in how a motherboard for mining cryptocurrency manages the GPUs.
One of the more common arrangements for mining motherboards is to provide a large number of x1 PCI-E slots. This is because it saves on space and allows the motherboard to pack more PCI-E slots total. The only issue with this is that it will ultimately require PCI-E risers which may need to be powered and will almost certainly require a custom “case.”
One thing to look for when judging a motherboard’s GPU capacity is if any of the GPUs will ultimately be connected by a port other than a PCI-E. One of the more common instances of this is when a mining motherboard offers an M.2 port, which is generally used to connect an SSD, with the intended function of using a PCI-E adapter instead. The benefit of this is that it provides some flexibility in terms of the mining rig’s components, giving you the option to simply sell out on the mining function or offer a bit more functionality perhaps for studying or tweaking reasons.
Much like the CPU, the RAM on a mining computer generally does not need to be nearly as robust as with a gaming computer. That said, the RAM will still generally need to be more capable than for low-level use like simply surfing the internet. In this regard, it will often come down to what you can afford and what you personally require.
The least expensive option is to find a motherboard that will accept DDR3 Ram as this is much cheaper and far more plentiful. The next step up is DDR4 RAM which is a bit more expensive, though not overly so and is still fairly plentiful. In fact, it will be easier to purchase this RAM from a brick-and-mortar store should you need to.
The most expensive arrangement for your motherboard’s RAM will be DDR5. Because this RAM is ideal for gaming or multimedia computers which will need to render high-quality images quickly, it will often be a bit more in demand. On top of a somewhat reduced availability, it is also the most expensive type of RAM used for mining motherboards.
If you are looking to jump into the lucrative world of mining cryptocurrency, chances are you will want to start small and work your way up. Once you get the hang of how mining cryptocurrency works, then you can consider larger, more expensive mining rigs.
For the beginner, we recommend the ASRock H81 PRO BTC. This is by far the least expensive motherboard we reviewed and is noted for being one of the classic starter motherboards for beginners looking to start mining cryptocurrency. With the ability to support 6 GPUs, it may not be the largest capacity motherboard, but it is more than enough to get started.
Once you have been mining cryptocurrency for a while and are looking for an upgrade, we recommend either the Asus PRIME Z270-P or the ASUS B250. The Asus PRIME Z270-P provides the best all-around value with the ability to support 8 GPUs at the second lowest price we saw, while the ASUS B250 can support 12 GPUs from any brand and an absurd 19 GPUs if you use the specialized ASUS GPU.