Cracking passwords offline needs a lot of computation, but we’re living in an era where mining is becoming very popular and GPU power is helping us, as security professionals, to get all the support that we need to build a powerful machine.
Recently, I built my cracking machine with 5 GPU on board and I thought I’d share it with you. In this article, I will be showing you my equipment so you can build your own as well.
The Goal of this rig is to save money and have good results at the same time. It’s still going to cost some money but you will see that the components that I’m using are very basic.
(Prices may change over the time)
|CPU||Intel Core i5-7500 LGA 1151 7th Gen Core Desktop Processor (BX80677I57500)||188 USD||On Amazon|
|RAM||Ballistix Sport LT 8GB Single DDR4 2666 MT/s (PC4-21300) SR x8 DIMM 288-Pin Memory - BLS8G4D26BFSEK (Red)||87 USD||On Amazon|
|Harddisk||DREVO X1 Series 120GB SSD 2.5-inch Solid State Drive SATA3 Read 550M/S Write 400M/S||55 USD||On Amazon|
|Motherboard||MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 DDR4 HDMI USB 3 SLI ATX Motherboard (Z270 SLI PLUS)||125 USD||On Amazon|
|PSU||EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3, 80 Plus Gold 1000W, Fully Modular, Eco Mode with New HDB Fan, 10 Year Warranty, Includes Power ON Self Tester, Compact 150mm Size, Power Supply 220-G3-1000-X1||190 USD||On Amazon|
|VGA Cards||EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC GAMING, ACX 2.0 (Single Fan), 6GB GDDR5, DX12 OSD Support (PXOC), Only 6.8 Inches Graphics Card 06G-P4-6163-KR||260 USD||On Amazon|
|Power Switch||SoundOriginal Refit Desktop Computer Case Motherboard Power Supply Reset HDD Button Switch (63inch 160cm)||9 USD||On Amazon|
|Rig||A Rig for 8 GPUs (bought from Amazon but is out of stock)||130 USD||N/A|
|PCIE Risers||YIKESHU 6 Pack PCIe PCI-E 16x 8x 4x 1x Powered Riser Adapter CardCard w/ 60cm USB 3.0 Extension Cable & 6 Pin PCI-E to SATA Power Cable - GPU Riser Adapter Extender Cable - Ethereum Mining ETH||40 USD||On Amazon|
|Screws||VAPKER PC Computer Screws Standoffs Set Assortment Kit||20 USD||On Amazon|
|Power Meter||RioRand Plug Power Meter Socket Energy Watt Voltage Amps Meter with Backlight Reduce Your Energy Costs||17 USD||On Amazon|
|Tweezers||PIXNOR Tweezers 7-Piece Precision ESD Anti-Static Stainless Steel Tweezers for Electronics||8 USD||On Amazon|
Pricing and Budget
The total cost of this machine is 2134 USD$, but of course, you need to add taxes (depends on the equipment vendor) and shipping fees as well. The cost of it is still very low for such a powerful machine like this one and it’s kind of affordable comparing to a more powerful machine with a high-end graphics card, and Xeon processors cause that can get easily to 6K-7K USD$.
Here are some basic tools that you need to have before we start assembling this machine:
First, you will need some screws for this workshop.Now don’t count on these screws to finish the job, you will need some additional screws collection for building computers like this one.
You can find the links to most of these tools in the “Hardware List Table”.
Then, you will need a screwdriver for the assembly of this rig and a collection of bits for the flexibility of having multiple choices, you can get these from your local hardware store.
The next tool that you need is an Anti-Static Tweezer that you will use for picking up small objects like screws when they fall down during the assembly process.
Also, you will need a small garbage container and a cutter for opening boxes or you can use a home knife as well.
I got the Rig that we will use for this computer from Amazon (but unfortunately it’s out of stock at this moment).You can get any rig from the internet but make sure that you will have some space to allow the air to flow easily.
We will install the Graphics cards in the top area and we will screw them in the holes and we will install the motherboard in the bottom area and the PSU on the side of the bottom area for this rig.
For the disk drive, we will use a DREVO X1 Series 120GB SSD 2.5-inch Solid State Drive SATA3 Read 550M/S Write 400M/S, a nice quite drive while it’s working.
To turn on the motherboard, we will need a power switch.I got this one from Amazon.I was skeptical about it at first, but it has an alien look, and it looks like a good quality, again you can check out the parts list in the description you have in this text.This switch has all the functionalities that you need: the power and reset switch and the leds adapters as well.
In the end, all we need is to attach a sticker on the back, and then we stick it to the rig.Of course, you will need to connect it to the motherboard, and you’re ready to power up your machine.
The VGA Card
The 6 GB EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 is a very high performant card when it comes to complex calculations. Without any overclocking, this card can compute 2500 MH/s and you need to multiply this by 5 and you will get 12500 of MH/s, this is insane!
You have to check the VGA for this project, the piece that will be responsible for the password cracking.
Probably you’re asking yourself, but why did you choose this one?
Well, I wanted a powerful GPU, and I wanted power efficiency at the same time, and in the end, you will notice that the 5 cards together will consume around 600 watts when they are in the peak state while cracking hashes.
The Power Supply
The important rule about this one is, don’t go cheap! and that’s why I’ve chosen the EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3.
You’re probably asking yourself if 1000W is enough for this setup, and the answer is, of course, yes, when the rig is at full power, it will consume 500W and that’s around 50% of the total power.
Now, what about the core of this Power Supply, you will be amazed at how many power cables it can handle.
In fact, It has 1 ATX Motherboard cable, 5 VGA cables, isn’t that awesome! 4 SATA cables and 2 CPU cables, it’s a monster, and we need something reliable like this for our project.
In fact, what you will use is a maximum of around 600 Watts in a peak state, and that’s because of the engineering of the graphic cards.
What does it contain?
First, you have the power cable for this PSU. Then you have the motherboard cable. Also, you need to get a set of the strips for cable management.
You have a small bag for the screws. Next, you have VGA cables, some of them will support 6 pins, and others will have extensions that support 8 pins VGA cards.
For the CPU, there’s a one-piece end that will go into the PSU, and the two pieces end will go into the motherboard.
Next, there’s the SATA cable and it will be used for the hard drive and for the PCIE risers.
It’s important to know a fact and it’s that we will not connect more than two PICE risers to one cable, please don’t use the three ends because you don’t want to have heating and burning issues.
The head where it’s written SATA is the one in which you will stick it in the power supply.
Next, we have the sexy MSI Pro series Z270 motherboard.
I’ve done a lot of research and finally, I’ve chosen the MSI Pro Series Intel Z270. Of course, you have better motherboards but the ones that are superior to this one are server motherboards with dual Xeon Processors and tons of RAM.
This motherboard has 6 PCIE slots, but after a lot of tests, I realized that it kinda behaves crazy when I use the 6 of them, the best option is 5.
Another one that you can’t go cheap with, make sure that you buy the latest and greatest check this one for example, YIKESHU 6 Pack PCIe PCI-E 16x 8x 4x 1x Powered Riser Adapter.
This tricky hardware piece will allow us to connect the five VGA cards to the motherboard without installing them directly to it. I don’t think that you can put 5 VGA side by side on the motherboard, right?
The assembly is straightforward, you will use one cable for the SATA connection and you will connect this cable to the power supply.
Next, you will attach the second USB pin straight to the PCIE slot on the motherboard using a USB cable.
On the other end of this cable, you will attach a special adapter that connects directly to the PCIE slot.
An important information here to know while assembling your own rig:
The cable gives you the option of connecting 3 PCIE risers on it, but we’re going to use only 2.
Why? Because 3 is too much and we want to avoid accidents, and this PSU has plenty of them so why worry about cables anyway!
RAM and CPU
For the Memory, I’ve chosen the Ballistix Sport LT 8GB Single DDR4 2666. Beleive me 8 GB of RAM is more than enough for this kind of setup.
For the processor, we will use an Intel i5, a processor isn’t necessary for hashcat, so an i5 for the operating system operations is fairly enough.
Also, you will not need to buy a fan for this CPU because it already has one in the box.
Tests: during the peak of Hashcat the memory will consume 30% of the total 8GB size.
I will list all the important steps that you need know to assemble this rig successfully:
- Assemble the motherboard with the CPU and RAM;
- Install the PSU and Screw the motherboard to the rig;
- Install the CPU Fan and the hard drive (make sure it’s powered and the SATA cable is connected);
- Start plugging the power wires to the motherboard and the CPU;
- install the power switch (check the manual);
- DO NOT INSTALL ANY GPU YET!!!
Drivers and Tools
The first driver to get is the one for the VGA card, browse to evga.com/support/download and make sure that the Graphics Card tab is selected then from the family drop-down menu, select the 10 series.
My OS is gonna be Windows 10, check to show the latest driver and click on the submit button to download the executable.
Next, we need to get the latest BIOS update for our motherboard, so browse to the link that you see in the browser then scroll down to the BIOS section.
In my case, I’m using the latest version 7A59v17.
Finally, click on the red arrow button to download it locally to your machine and from there, you will copy it to a USB stick.
Last but not least, I used a tool called 3DP NET, you will need this application to install the drivers for the network card offline.I tried to use the drivers that came with the motherboard installation CD, but they didn’t work.In fact, I had to run the 3DP NET tool first then drivers installed with no issues.I’m trying to give you some hints here because Hardware drivers can sometimes be a pain in the neck!
BIOS UPDATE AND CONFIG
Before anything else, we have to boot up this monster and update the BIOS.
From here on, you need to be very patient.
The first boot will take few minutes, so patience is your secret to successfully get this machine to work.
To get inside the BIOS, you need to keep your finger on the Delete Key and proceed from there to get to this window that you see here on the screen.
Next, Hit F7 to get into the advanced screen mode. After that, click the M-Flash Button and a pop-up message is going to show that your system will reboot in flash mode.
Once booted, you will choose the USB stick drive from the list and browse to the update file to select it; the BIOS will take few minutes to update, and it will boot up once more.
After BIOS update reboot, we have to get into the BIOS because we need to update some configuration items before we boot into the Windows operating system.
We have to Hit F7 and then Click on the settings button.
The first thing we need to change is the PCI Subsystem settings.
This is important folks, you need to change the first setting PEG0 and the Second one PEG1 from AUTO to GEN1.
Also, set the last setting, the 4G memory crypto to enabled.
Next, you have to go to the Integrated Peripherals settings and disable the Audio controller because we don’t need an audio controller for this type of machine, keep it on if you’re willing to use audio in your own setup.
After this, go to the IO configuration and open the Serial COM port 0 config and disable it as well.
Do the same for the parallel LPT port and disable it.
The final setting to change is the Windows OS configuration.
Since I will be using Windows 10 for this machine, I will enable the first option and disable the Windows7 option.
Now Go back and click on the Close the “X” button on the top right of your screen and you should see this popup window that displays all the changes that you committed, click on yes to accept the changes and reboot your machine.
First Windows Login
After this step, let your windows operating system boot. Of course, I’m assuming that you already installed windows OS on your disk drive.
An important note here: Graphics cards have not been installed yet.
If your windows machine has logged-in successfully, then install your network drivers.
After that, update your windows OS to the latest and greatest and make sure that all your drivers are working by going into the Device Manager of your computer.
You should have clean drivers without warning messages, so if that’s the case, then we can proceed further and start installing your first GPU card.
Moreover, you can use the Motherboard drivers CD by copying its contents into a USB drive and then try to use it to update and install the drivers in the Device Manager.
First GPU Installation
Alright! It’s time to install the first GPU card, let’s bring this Monster GeForce GTX 1060.
At this point, the power adapter is already connected at the top, and the PCIE riser is also already connected at the bottom of this card.
Next, before we start any work on this card, we need to fix it on the top of the rig.Now, we have to connect the other end to the Power supply and then, take the power cable from the riser and plug it on the motherboard too.
After that, I will unplug the HDMI cable from the built-in card and plug it into this GPU card.
Finally, don’t forget to connect the USB adapter from the Riser to the PCIE slot on the Motherboard.
Wait! Do not install the second GPU yet, at this stage, just try to login to the Windows machine and make sure that you install the driver that you downloaded previously as I already mentioned it in this article.
After making sure that your VGA works, then you have two options:
- The first one is to install each card by itself, and you will need a lot of patience to do so but it’s rewarding at the end, why? Because you can identify the problem after the installation of the GPU.
- The second fastest option is for the people who have less patience, you can install all the 4 GPU at once, but it will be hard to know which one is failing after logging in to your OS.
- Remember, the first boot you will use is the built-in GPU;
- After that, you can start installing only one GPU;
- Install the rest of the GPUs;
- Avoid PCIE slot number 2 on the motherboard, you will surely thank me for this one because you will avoid kicking your head in the wall;
- Do not get excited and use the 6 PCIE slots; use only five of them by excluding PCIE slot number 2.
Congratulations folks! Now you have your 5 GPU’s installed.
Next, we need to install hashcat and this is where all the fun starts!
Browse to Hashcat.net, and on the top of the page, you will see the Download section.
Pick the Hashcat binaries section and hit the download link to download it locally to your machine.
If you scroll down on this page, you will see all the powerful functionalities of this tool.
The next interesting tool that you need to download is the Hash cat GUI version, and you can get the latest version of this application on hashkiller.co.uk/hashcat-gui.aspx.
This application is going to be very useful.
I’m assuming you’re a big boy, or girl and you were able to install the applications by yourself.
Here are the afterburner settings that I’m using for this machine:
- I’ve set the Power limit to 100
- The Core Clock to 100 as well
- And the Memory clock to 400
I don’t recommend you to push this too far, believe me, I tried it before, and you don’t want to have a blue screen on your PC!
Isn’t this beast machine amazing! Oh yes, it is! I hope that you enjoyed this article folks as much as I did.
I also hope that by watching the video related to it, you will be able to learn something new or it will help you build your own special cracking PC like the one I built.
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