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nvidia-smi-p2-power-state

There is a little trick that can help you get some extra hashrate out of your Nvidia GPU when mining Ethereum or another more memory dependent algorithm, though it will most likely not affect many of the other crypto algorithms. By default when running Compute applications on your GPU it does not go to the highest Power State of the card, meaning that you might not be able to squeeze the maximum performance out of the video card and that is without overclocking anything. Thanks to the Nvidia System Management Interface (nvidia-smi) command line utility you are able to force the GPU to work in P0 state (the highest power state) instead of staying at maximum P2 when running a Compute applications such as a crypto miner software. Do note that this specific lower maximum power state is only for Compute applications, so it is not needed, not it should affect gaming performance where the GPU shuld go up to P0 power state if the conditions allow it.

The nvidia-smi utility is part of the video drivers and you can find it installed in the folder “C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\NVSMI\” on Windows, so you need to run the command line (cmd) and navigate to that folder in order to be able to issue commands. What you should start with is running the following command to check the current P-state of your GPU(s):

nvidia-smi -q -d PERFORMANCE

Do note that the P-state changes dynamically, so you need to be running Ethminer or another application when you issue the above command to see the power state active under load, otherwise you might see a lower power state being active if the GPU is idle.

nvidia-smi-p0-operating-frequencies

After you verify the maximum power state that your Nvidia GPUs use when executing Compute applications such as ones that rely on OpenCL or CUDA you need to check what are the maximum frequencies of the video card that are available for the maximum performance in the P0 power state. You can do so with the following command (make sure you are still in the NVSMI folder):

nvidia-smi -q -d SUPPORTED_CLOCKS | more

The above will list all of the supported frequencies in the different power states that your video card can use, but there is no need to check the complete list. All we need to note are the frequencies at the top of the list for the Memory and the Graphics, in this example we are using GTX 970 video card from Gigabyte and the values we need are 3505 MHz for the VRAM and 1455 MHz for the GPU. We’ll need these frequencies for the next step.

nvidia-smi-p0-power-state-activated

What we are going to do next is to force the video card to use the maximum performance operating frequencies by going to the P0 power state. In order to do that we need to run the following command:

nvidia-smi -ac 3505,1455

Note that the above command will apply the settings to all GPUs that you have in your system, normally that should not be a problem for most mining rigs as they are usually with a number of cards that are the same model, but there are cases when this is not true. So you might need to check the individual settings fro different video cards and apply the correct parameters for each of them separately. To do so you just need to add the card ID in the command line, so that the particular option will be executed only for the specified video card. This is being done by adding the “-i ” parameter to the command line where can be a number starting from 0 for the first GPU and so on. In the example shown on the screenshot above we have two different GPUs in the system, so wee need to set their P0 power states with two separate commands identifying each of the card separately:

nvidia-smi -i 0 -ac 3505,1455
nvidia-smi -i 1 -ac 3505,1392

The question that undoubtedly comes now is how we have increased the performance for mining Ethereum by following the instructions above. Well it is pretty easy to check by running a benchmark with Ethminer, or just running the miner and noting the new increased frequencies that you should now have and compare them to the ones you previously had. On the Nvidia Gigabyte GTX 970 WF3OC video card used in the guide we are normally getting about 17.31 MHS in terms of hashrate mining Ethereum when the GPU is maxing out at the P2 power state, when we force it to go to the P0 power state the hashrate increases to about 19.98 MHS. So this is a nice improvement in terms of performance that comes at a cost of just about 10W higher power usage from the video card. Do note however that while this will work with Ethereum for increasing performance due to the heavy usage of video memory in the mining process, doing it may not bring performance improvement in many other commonly used mining algorithms.

decred-stake-pool

The Decred (DCR) altcoin that has been generatijng a lot of attention lately is essentially a PoW + PoS crypto coin, however before the block 4096 it is going to be in Proof or Work mode and after that you would be able not only to mine, but also to Stake the coins you own in order to earn more DCR. The Decred block reward is divided in three parts: 60% for a mining, 30% for staking and 10% for the developers with a starting block reward of 31.19582664 DCR coins. This means that the PoW reward for a block is currently about 18.72 DCR, the total PoS rewards is going to be about 9.36 DCR (it could be divided in multiple parts) and the remaining about 3.12 DCR goes to the developers. Furthermore the per-block reward adjusts every 6144 blocks (approximately 21.33 days) by reducing by a factor of 100/101 or with other words ((31.19582664 * 100) / 101) for the first halving.

Since in a couple of hours we are going to reach the 4096 block and the PoS phase will also become active you could start staking any mined DCR coins that you have available in your wallet. Decred staking is a bit different than what most other coins use as a method for PoS and the fact that there is still no official GUI wallet and you need to use the command line wallet to activate staking makes it even harder for non advanced users. To enable staking you need to add the extra command line parameter “enablestakemining”, though there are some extra options also available that might help you such as the max price you pay for ticket or the minimum balance to maintain in your wallet.

Staking in Decred works in a similar way to a lottery, you purchase tickets with the available DCR coins you have (ticket price starts at 2 DCR), then wait for your ticket to be randomly chosen to validate a block or to be taken out of the lottery in 142 days. The coins you use for staking (purchasing tickets for the lottery) will be locked until they are either chosen and you get a reward or 142 days pass. According to the information the lottery lasts about 28 days average and the chance of a ticket not being selected in 142 days are less than 1%, but we’ll have to wait and see. Do note that in order to be successfully staking you need to have your wallet running and online 24/7 and have the wallet unlocked, otherwise you might miss your chance of winning.

The Decred team is also working on a PoS pool where you can delegate your voting rights and participate in the staking without having to run a local wallet all the time in order to stake and you don’t need to send DCR coins anywhere. There is already a test Decred Stake Pool running on the testnet, but you’ll have to wait for the staking phase to start and a pool for the mainnet to become available.

cryptochainer

One of the most annoying things when you run a wallet for a given crypto currency for the first time is the waiting for it to download and synchronzie all of the blockchain. The older the crypto currency and the larger the blockchain is, the more time it takes to get in sync and in the case of Bitcoin a full blockchain download and synchronization can literally take days. But it is not only bitcoin, there are quite a few altcoins as well that are a few years old already and have big blockchains that can take some time as well, and while some coins offer blockchain archives you can download before running the wallet to speedup the synchronization they are actually not that many.

CryptoChainer is a website that offers quick and easy access to downloads for many altcoin blockchains. Using these blockchain archives, your wallet will be synchronized quicker than it would normally take, tough it may still be a process taking quite some time. All you have to do is download the desired blockchain archive and extract it in the folder that the specific altcoin uses for blockchain storage data files. If you already have a working wallet or are restoring one from a backup, then you might have to do a resynchronization in order for your balance to appear correctly in the wallet GUI.

CryptoChainer currently has blockchain archives available for the following altcoins: 1337 Coin, 42 Coin, 8bit, AlienCoin, AnonCoin, ArchCoin, AudioCoin, Axiom, BBQ Coin, BetaCoin, BitBat, BitBay, Bitbean, BitcoinDark, BitcoinScrypt, BlackCoin, BlueCoin, Boolberry, Boolberry, Bottlecaps, BTCTalkCoin, CannabisCoin, CannaCoin, Cash, CasinoCoin, Chip, CLAM, CoinMagi XMG, ColossusCoin V2, ContinuumCoin, Crave, CrownCoin, CryptCoin, CryptoBullion, Cryptonite, Dash, Denarius, Diamond, Digibyte, DigiCube, DigitalCoin, DigitByte, DNotes, DogeCoin, DogeCoinDark, EarthCoin, Einsteinium, Emerald, EuropeCoin, EvergreenCoin, ExclusiveCoin, FeatherCoin, FedoraCoin TIPS, Fibre, Fibre, FireFlyCoin, FlutterCoin, FlyCoin, Franko, Franko, GameCredits, GeoCoin, GoldCoin, GoldPieces, Gulden, HamRadioCoin, HempCoin, HoboNickels, HTML5, Hyper, Hyper, HyperStake, IncaKoin, Influx, IsraCoin, JouleCoin, KittehCoin, LeafCoin, LGBTQoin, LiteCred, LycanCoin, MasterTraderCoin, Maza, MegaCoin, MinCoin, MintCoin, MMXVI, MonaCoin, MoonCoin, MurrayCoin, MyriadCoin, NavajoCoin, NetCoin, NeuCoin, Neutron, Neutron, NobleCoin, NovaCoin, NyanCoin, OK Cash, OKCash, Parallel, PayCON, Pennies, Philosopher Stone, Positron, PotCoin, Primecoin, Quark, Quatloo, Quotient, RateCoin, ReddCoin, RonPaulCoin, RubyCoin V2, SecretCoin, Sembro Token, SexCoin, Shadow, Sling, SmartCoin, Sprouts, Sprouts Extreme, StableCoin, StartCoin V2, Steps, SterlingCoin, Stress, Stronghands, SuperTurboStake, Sync, Synergy, Synergy, TagCoin, TekCoin, Terracoin, TruckCoin, TurboStake, UFOCoin, UltraCoin, UnbreakableCoin, Verge, VeriCoin, VertCoin, ViaCoin, Voxels, Warp, Warp, WhiteCoin v2, WildBeastCoin, WorldCoin, X-Coin, Xaurum, XCash, YellowCoin and ZiftrCoin.

For more information about CryptoChainer and to download any of the blockchain archive…


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