Participating in POW mining of cryptocurrencies means using some powerful hardware in a not really standard way. One can mine on a work or gaming PC, but using a 1 CPU/1 GPU system is not optimal for mining. Adding more GPUs means adding up heat and noise which may be impossible to alleviate in common PC cases.
Before assembling a purpose-built mining rig I will cover several actual configurations using ATX and EATX cases of various quality and indicate their cons.
Standard ATX computer cases do not allow more than 2 graphics cards (2+ slot wide) to be plugged into the motherboard and placed in the standard ATX case since it has only 7 external expansion slots. We might want to keep some space between the cards to provide adequate air flow. The space 2 slots wide is quite enough if an additional fan is used. Note that case covers are removed and not used at all.
The mainboard used is a basic mATX 1155 Socket Gigabyte with GPU #1 installed in PCIE 16 slot and GPU #2 plugged in via a riser.
With 2 PCIE slots (16x+1x) only 2 graphics cards is possible to install, so they are not really recommended to build a mining rig on.
E(xtended) ATX provide 8 expansions slots, what allows to place 3 GPU cards with minimal spacing between them (1 slot).
Here a 5 16x PCIE 890FXA-GD70 mainboard is used, providing awesome flexibility in graphics cards arrangement. Such boards along with mining edition 8xPCIE 1x slot (or more) boards are a great base for a mining rig.
There are certain limitations when using consumer ATX cases, i.e. limited size, absence of mounting holes for not-plugged-in-mobo-slot GPU cards and extra PSU(s) and lack of fan slots. Also several features are not needed, e.g. numerous 5.25" and 3.5" storage compartments.
This layout shows the limitations of a standard ATX case, where there are free 1x PCIE slots (above GPU #1 and between the cards), but there is now way to populate them in this configuration. We could use a riser with a long cable to mount several cards outside, but that would make our rig bulky and unstable.
And this is where we face building our mining rig case with our own hands (or purchasing it).
ATX mainboards use specific measurements for making a base for it. In fact, this is the only part of the ATX standard we need to stick to, because the GPUs will be plugged through risers and mounted above the mainboard in a clearly non-ATX fashion.
There is a link below on the depiction of these standards. I will include the most important diagram here.
If you want to use a smaller ATX mainboard, you will need a different set of holes, see the link.
This will be all for the introduction, I will cover the rest in the nest posts.