Frames for miners are a bit of a problem. They don’t contribute to your income at all, and depending on your willingness and creativity, there are plenty of ways to get around having to spend money on one.
That being said, if you would rather just buy one, that’s fair enough. I was building a rig that needed to be portable, so rather than just chuck it on my usual shelving, I needed to buy a frame. I headed over to Ebay, and viewed the spectacular list of rip-off options. I wanted metal, because wood can burn, and motherboards should be grounded. So, without much ado I ordered the cheapest metal frame listed, which was £35 delivered, or about $42.
About 10 days later it arrived. Not too bad a wait for something coming from China. I’ve just finished building a rig into it- and let me tell you right off the bat, it’s actually really good. In fact I was shocked by just how well thought out it was.
The building process is fairly straight forward. It does not come with any instructions, but a quick look at the photo in the product listing helps you figure out what goes where. The screw holes mostly line up (only one minor miss in my example) and the screws fit in pretty snugly. The unit itself is actually pretty good quality. There are multiple attachment points for each piece ensuring that the frame itself is solid and strong. The metal is well finished with a black powder coat, and looks quite smart. There are no rough edges, and it does not look or feel too cheap.
Figuring out where the motherboard went was a bit tricky, but with enough rotating and looking at pictures I eventually figured out which holes aligned with which. There are brass standoffs, and it all screwed down pretty easy and fit in just fine.
Attaching the PSU was less of a problem than expected. There are only actually 2 holes that align to PSU holes on the frame, which leaves it not very solidly attached. However much to my surprise the Chinese have actually included a small plate that allows you to get a third screw in there, creating a nice solid hold.
Things were not so good for the hard drive- I couldn’t find any screw holes that aligned to my hard drive at all. I ended up just attaching it down with double sided tape (number plate tape) which I’m happy will hold it down firmly. I used tape for the secondary PSU (I use server PSUs in my rigs) and once again was perfectly happy with how it all fit, and how firmly everything was held in place. The motherboard, PSUs, and hard drive all had plenty of space, while remaining low enough to not interfere with the GPUs that would sit atop them.
Fitting the GPUs on top of everything was easy. The main bar is pre-drilled with plenty of holes to allow you to screw the cards down, with two screws per card to hold them nice and firmly. The rear of the cards sit nicely on the rear cross bar, giving them ample support. A sheet of neoprene sticks over the rear bar, making sure it’s a nice cushioned rest point. Make sure you’ve plugged in everything below before you install the GPUs, as it’s pretty tough to get to the motherboard once you’ve put the GPUs over the top. As a note here- I always turn my rigs on by just shorting out the power pins for a moment. This is no longer such an easy solution with these frames as the pins are quite hard to get to. This means i’ll probably need to buy or make up some switches to make powering them up or resetting them a bit easier.
I put 4 GPUs in this rig, with plenty of excess space between them in order to improve cooling. Getting 6 into the system would have been easy. They do hang long enough to put some pressure on the USB connections into the PCI slots, but it’s not bad enough to matter. All the plugs and slots are accessible.
These frames are really good for the money. If you’re good at cable tidying (i’m not) you can probably make them look very presentable. The whole setup is easy to just unplug and move around, and so is entireley portable. The rig is running cool and stable. I’ll be going back to buy more of these for my other systems.