Investment is less risky, as if you get bored of mining you can always play games on it

While any hardcore cryptocurrency miner these days will use application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to chug through the proof-of-work calculations need to "discover" blocks of bitcoins, dogecoins, litecoins, etc. (or in a pinch use field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) flashed with similar purpose-built hardware), there's still plenty of casual miners who aren't necessarily looking to get rich quick and are just looking to have a bit of fun.

If you fit in that crowd you might want to consider the newly announced iBuyPower MINE system, a just announced rig tuned towards mining.

The base Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) branded rig gives you:
  • FX-6300 CPU
    • hex-core Vishera chip
    • 3.5 GHz
    • 4.1 GHz turbo
    • 95 watt
  • 2x Radeon R9 270X
    • 2 GB GDDR5
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500 GB hard disc drive (HDD)
  • 1000 watt AZZA Titan
    • 80+ Bronze power efficiency rating
  • Gigabyte Technology Comp., Ltd. (TPE:2376) GA-970A-D3P motherboard

Just the power supply, the processor, and the pair of video cards will set you back about $640 USD, if you were to build it yourself, so this is a pretty decent deal -- even more so when you factor in the scarcity and shortages of AMD cards that hit at times.

The iBuyPower MINE

The Intel Corp. (INTC) variant comes with a slightly more aggressive base spec for $1,559:
  • Core i3-4130
    • dual-core Haswell
    • 3.4 GHz
    • 54 watts
  • 2x Radeon R9 280X
    • 2 GB GDDR5
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500 GB hard disc drive (HDD)
  • 1000 watt AZZA Titan
    • 80+ Bronze power efficiency rating
  • Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 motherboard

Applying the same formula as before (processor + GPUs + power supply) you arrive at a cost of around $1,090.
AMD Asus
The ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II Top [Image Source: AnandTech]

Both machines are fully customizable with up to three GPUs, and up to the Radeon HD R9 290X, if you want to go all out.  If you're not buying the rig solely for mining and you go Intel's way you might want to upgrade the CPU as well, as the i3-4130 is a pretty anemic chip, which lacks even turbo-clocking.

As for the kind of performance you can expect, remember the GPUs are doing all the work.  Here's a quick reference chart:
  • Avalon ASIC #1 mining rig

    Avalon mining asic
    Avalon mining ASICs, in the wild. [Image Source: Motherboard]
  • 66,300,000 khps
  • 620 watts
  • $1,499 USD (discontinued)
  • Terasic DE2-115 from Altera Corp. (ALTR)

    Terasic DE2
    • 80,000 khps
    • ~5 watt
    • $595 USD
  • 3x AMD R9 290x
    • 2126 khps
    • 1200 watts
    • $1,620 USD
  • 2x NVIDIA Corp. GTX 780 Ti (compute edition)
  • 2x Radeon R9 280x
    • 1,400 khps
    • 620 watts
    • $840 USD
  • 2x Radeon R9 270X
Even, today AMD still retains a healthy lead over NVIDIA in mining rigs.  Based on the above you should recognize that iBuyPower's rig won't be the fastest on the market, but it will give you some of the best performance you can get without jumping to an FPGA or ASIC.
One clear advantage of the iBuyPower system is that if you get bored of mining you can still play games on it.  The same cannot be said of the ASIC or FPGA (well, the FPGA can, but not in a traditional Windows gaming sense).
Also you don't have to worry about the scams that are littering the coveting ASIC market (for example some have suggested that the Germany-based Xtreme Miners may be a scam, as they have yet to ship their upcoming ASIC-product.

Source: iBuyPower

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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