So about a day into bitcoin. Im thinking about building a rig just for mining. I have a few questions.
1. Should I do a custom built rig? Buy a cheap computer and upgrade video card and power supply? or Buy a refub machine and upgrade video card and power supply?
2. What is a good pool to join?
If I go custom built, (I want to save the most power I can) can I use an Intel atom system that has PCIe x16 and use a decent video card?
The only problem with a refurb OEM box is that is very unlikely to have multiple PCI-E x16 slots, and it will cost more OOP than a custom rig, unless you find a real steal.
Although, OTOH, it's hard to argue with ripping the guts out of an EOL'd business desktop and getting one of Cablesaurus' PCI-e extenders and firing up a 6990 (Should you be lucky enough to acquire one presently) and a decent 750w PSU. Do the numbers carefully though, if you're willing to go HDD-less and get a persistently bootable Linux flavor to run, you may be able to go cheaper that you could with a refurb. Also, you should consider, Cost vs Value on the time investment to make a fully custom rig vs just gutting an OEM box. Not sure how much time you got on your hands
but I spent easily 20 hours getting my first persistent boot Linux miner up and harvesting.. An OEM box running M$ could be gutted, racked, installed and mining in an hour.
TL;DR: There are good args for going either way. Depends almost entirely on if you have more time than money.
OEM refurb: less time, more money.
Custom: Less money, more time.
For someone brand new to mining, I recommend Slush's pool. You will see ฿ trickling in almost immediately. The smaller, no-fee startups are better for when you have lots of hashwidth to diversify your mining with, or are generating enough ฿ that paying the fee becomes an actual drag on your mining. I cannot recommend Deepbit at this time because its already too big for anyone to feel comfortable with.