Crypto mining computer components

I’ve been asked a few times for complete component recommendations in order to build a mining computer, so here’s a list of parts you’d need to build your own crypto mining computer with parts that are currently available.

The main part of the rig is obviously the GPU(s). I recommended GTX1060 3GB version a while back, but now I recommend the GTX1070 GPUs due to more onboard memory, though a little pricier. The limited 3GB of the GTX1060 card will restrict which coins can be mined in the very near future (especially ETH). Mind you just because you won’t be profitable to mine ETH with a GTX1060 doesn’t mean you can’t mine other currencies that are still very profitable, so don’t get discouraged. The GTX1060 3GB cards are still great value and pack a great hash rates at a low entry cost.
Once overclocked a little, each GTX1060 will get you about CAD$4-$4.5 return per day, and each GTX1070 will return about CAD$5.5-$6.5 per day.

I would stay away from the GTX1080 GPUs as their price is double that of the GTX1070, and only provide 20-30% more performance.
As for make and model of GPUs, I’ve used a dozen different makes and models, and they all are pretty equal in mining performance, so price and availability should dictate your selection. One thing to be mindful about is the power connector on the GPU. Stay away from GTX1070 GPUs that need 2x8pin power connectors. Stick with the ones that need only 1x 8pin power connector. This will ensure your PSU will have enough cables to power more then 4 GPUs.

Shop around for the best deals, though they are getting harder to find.

 

To be as frugal with power consumption as possible, you would want to cram as many GPUs on one motherboard as possible, so you’ll be looking for a motherboard that has many PCIe slots. My current favorite mobo is the Asus Prime Z270-A since it has 7 pcie slots , meaning you can cram 7 GPUs on it. Someone has even managed to successfully cram 8 GPUs on that mobo with some trickery (using an M.2 to pcie adapter)
If you’re not planning on doing a 8 GPU rig, then any motherboard with 4, or 5 or 6 PCIe slots will do. All the slots (yes even the PCIe x1 slots) get used on the motherboard.
You won’t physically be able to mount 7 GPUs on any motherboard, so you’ll have to use some pcie riser cables, to extend the motherboard’s pcie slot to wherever the GPU will sit. The current best pcie risers are the usb3 pcie risers.  You’ll need one per GPU.
Second to the USB3 risers, are the powered ribbon cable risers, and as it seems the price for usb risers has gone from $15 to $80, the parallel cable ones for $5 are a great bargain.

Next you’ll have to power all these components, so a PSU will be your next item to choose. A rig with 6x GTX1060 3GB GPUs will pull from the wall about 750W. A rig with 6x gtx1070 GPUs will pull close to 1000W from the wall. Typically a well-tuned GTX1060 3gb GPU will draw about 90W and a well-tuned GTX1070 will draw about 140W.
The remainder is power that the motherboard/CPU/ram/HD needs, which is likely in the neighborhood of 70W-150W depending on what CPU and mobo you have.
For 6 or even 8 GTX1060 GPUs, you’ll be fine with a 1000W PSU. For 6x GTX1070 GPUs you’ll still be on the limit with 1000W PSU, but it’s very doable. For more then 7 or 8x GTX1070, you’ll want wither two PSUs (750W each), or one larger psu in the order of 1200-1300W.

 

As for CPU selection, go with a low power unit. Even a Celeron or i3 is plenty as cpu does very little.
Memory consideration is 8GB as any more is wasted.

 

All the bits don’t fit in a regular case, so you’ll have to do some google image searches to see how others have fastened multiple GPUs together. Image search for “GPU mining” or “gpu mining frame” will give you lots of ideas. I make my frames out of wood, and if you’re handy with a saw, you can make your own wood frame for very cheap, or buy an aluminum one. You can even use a milk crate if you’ve got no budget.

 

Assuming you’re mining to make some coin, at the end of the day you want to be as frugal as possible with your purchases. Don’t buy fancy water cooling systems for GPUs, or fancy motherboards, or overpowered PSUs. All extra money spent on luxury features is wasted.

Hardware List:

GPU: GTX1070
GPU: GTX1060
Motherboard: Asus Prime Z270-A
CPU: Intel Celeron G3930 51W
Memory: Any DDR 4 ram
Riser Cables: USB3 Riser Cable PCIe x1 to x16

Riser Cables: Powered Parallel Riser PCIe x1 to x16
PSU: 1000W
PSU: 1200W
Mining Frame: Wood Frames

Mining Frame: Aluminum Frames

Mining Frame: Milk Crate Frame

 

No Comments Crypto

Cooling a few GPUs

As summer is already here and plans are in motion to add more computing power to the small mining farm, i’m working on a better cooling solution for my mining computers.

The images show the work in progress of my cooling closet.

The idea was to take an ikea PAX cabinet, cut a few holes in it, and use outside ambient temperature air to do the cooling of the GPUs. The hole on the bottom draws outside air into the closet, and the inline exhaust fan at the top blows the hot air outside, creating a sort of wind tunnel inside the cabinet.
The fan up top is an inline exhaust fan that can do about 1000CFM, and I picked it up kn kijiji a while ago for a bargn. It should provide enough cfm to move quite a bit of air through the closet. I will have to seal the doors , and since there will be a bit of a vacuum inside closet, this will only serve to keep the doors closed and sealed.
The inside consists of aluminum rails which hold wooden frames. Currently working on the ideal wooden frame for this setup, and will publish the design once I’m happy.

A lot of mining equipment photos show shelves of computers and GPUs working away, but the air that the GPUs use to cool down is essentially the came air that they heat up, leading to ever increasing temperatures. The idea of what I’m doing is that the GPUs are always exchanging their heat to outside air, rather then the same air that they heat up. Maintaining the air that is used to to cool at a constant temp (outside ambient air temp) will make the GPU’s fans work less hard to maintain cool temperatures of the GPU.

One advantage of this type of cooling is that is scales very easily. Need to cool more GPUs? No problem. Repeat the process and add more cooling closets. The outside air temp will not be influenced by whatever hot air you’re dumping out.

 

No Comments Crypto

Video Workflow (May2017)

Getting into video work, requires a workflow to be efficient. This is the current iteration of the workflow, which I’m sure will change over time.

I’m still undecided if I should shoot/edit 4k, or if I should just do 1080p material. The hesitation stems from the fact that it takes a lot of computing power to render effects (especially stabilization) on 4k footage.

In camera shoot in S-log most of the time. Especially if I need to bump up the ISO. (talking about the A7Rii camera)

Bring footage into the computer and convert it to Cineform on ingest. This codec is much quicker at scrubbing through and working with then the H264/mp4 stream that comes from the camera.

WHen stabilizing video in AE using masks in the Warp plugin, make sure the Opacity of the masks is set to 0%. If’ it’s left at the default 100%, rendering time is incredibly long!

No Comments Video

Fast NAS

The concept of a NAS has always intrigued me. The shared filesystem that everyone in the house can access is great, but there’s always one downside.

It’s slow.

No, not unbearably slow, but mechanical hard drive slow. The limit of access over a gigabit network is about 110MB/s transfer rates, which is just a step down from the 130-150MB/s transfer rate that a HD can physically deliver.
Though I have a NAS now that can saturate my gigabit LAN connection, putting in a 10GB LAN would not make sense when the max I can achieve is 1.5 times my current throughput.

Some research on the max speed one can achieve with mechanical drives in some sort of an array can be hound here: https://calomel.org/zfs_raid_speed_capacity.html

A couple things surprised me. One was the speed boost one gets with LZ4 compression enabled on a raidz volume, especially for a mechanical drive! Incredible.

Second was the SSD array transfer rates. I’m not thinking about getting a few SSDs to dedicate to a new NAS just to have the high transfer speeds.
This means a LAN upgrade is also necessary to 10GB in order to capitalize on the faster NAS.

 

 

Lack of energy in pursuing projects

The month of February and March this year have been quite slow for me in terms of outputting creative content. I’m taking about work outside of the 9-5 grind. I’ve been feeling tired every evening and very unmotivated when I had time to myself. Most evenings I would just give in to the facebooks and youtubes and next thing I new, it was time to go to sleep.
It’s so easy to just let go and just float down the lazy river of life. To let go of ambitions and goals, and let oneself be drawn into the endless cavern of FB, youtube, netflix and the like. Come home from work, maybe have a glass of wine, a beer or anything else alcoholic to help relax and unwind, have dinner and then feel too tired to start or continue any personal endeavors.

Three things dawned on me (one of which wasn’t a surprise) that made a difference in my mood and snapped me out the the slums. Read More

No Comments Health

Purposely limiting my time

My search for the best way to work on my hobbies has taken me through many ways of doing things… Unfortunately, I’m still searching for a more efficient way to do things.
Looking back over the past 20 years of projects, I’ve come to notice a few trends. One trend is that my interest in any one project lasts for about 1-4 months. There have been only one I can recall that lasted just over 6 months. Once the honeymoon period passes, I move on. I can’t help it. I’ve tried to change that, but now I’m thinking; why change it? Go along with it.
Another trend I’ve noticed is that I tend to keep busy with multiple projects at the same time. This becomes hard to manage and never really dive deeply into any one project. I know what you’re thinking… I’he heard the same advice countless times to only focus on one thing at a time. The challenge for me has been that I never really knew how to do that, or how to even approach only doing one thing/one project.

Something clicked today and my thoughts drifted towards this idea of one project at a time. What I should do is limit the amount of time spent on any one project to 1-2 months. That’s the extent of my attention span anyway, so take that time and FULLY dive into that project. Once the time is up, evaluate the project, document what I’ve learned and move on. It doesn’t matter if I failed or could not achieve what I set out to do. Wrap things up, decide on closure and move on. It could be that moving on means doing something totally different, or some sort of continuation. Dragging unfinished projects for years has not done me any favors. Lets see how this new tactic works.

I think by breaking things up this way, I will maintain the drive from day to day, and make more progress then how I’ve been tackling projects in the past.

CPUs, GPUs and benchmarking

Recently bought a GTX 1060 3GB GPU to use with an HTC Vive for VR games. The GPU worked well with an AMD FX-8130 CPU and 8 GB ram. Most games needed the settings to be turned down nearly to their lowest settings to allow the game to run at 90+fps so there would be no hickups in the video in the VR headset.
Because of this limitation, I was keeping an eye out for other GPUs, and came across a good deal on a GTX980Ti. Even thought this is one generation old (Maxwell architecture, vs the new Pascal which is what the GTX1060 card is).
I bought the card, brought it home, installed it, and saw virtually zero performance improvement in the games I tried. Imagine the disappointment. I just spent a few hundred $$ to gain zero performance 🙁 Read More

No Comments Computers, VR

Ideas and Passion

Learned a lesson recently which I thought I’d document for posterity.

I have lots of ideas. We all have lots of ideas. Getting from idea to an actual product that is properly marketed and sold and money being made from it, is a HUGE chasm. An incredible amount of work needs to go into making it. I recently realized that an idea I was perusing died early on because I realized that I wasn’t that thrilled about it. If still feels like a great idea, but I’m not that passionate about it.

Lesson 1:
– Only follow through on ideas that you are SUPER passionate about. Any less passion will see you stall at the first step of hardship.

Lesson 2:
– Don’t worry about others stealing your idea. Since it is such a huge labor of love and investment of time and money, nobody else will pull this off. Nobody else will have the same excitement and see the potential of your idea the way that you feel about it.

No Comments Business

Focus, or lack there of

Feeling very… No focus this week.

There are many projects that i want to work ok but it all feels overwhelming for some reason. Do i need to plan better? Is that what keeps me on track? Identify all small tasks so i don’t have to think when needing something to work on?

Maybe the planning is more for the times when focus is list then when all is going well

This week so far (it’s tuesday) I’ve been rather scattered brained. Not able to focus, and procrastination is constantly chomping to grab my attention. I have been up late a bunch of nights last weekend, and I think I’m just tired. Regardless of the reason, this gave me an opportunity to reflect on how to deal with these types of situations in the future.
How do I manage myself so that when these times do come, I am more prepared to stay on target and avoid procrastination

I don’t have answers. Just confusion and disappointment as i can’t figure this out.