Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category

kncminer-titan-scrypt-asic-miner

The KnCminer Titan Scrypt ASIC is still probably the fastest and most power efficient miner for Scrypt coins out there, but at the same time it is also one of the most problematic one to use and run. There are hardware issues resulting in dying cores and problems with the DCDC power modules, the software is also far from perfect, even though there are modifications over the last official firmware such as GenTarkin’s Custom KNC Titan Scrypt ASIC Firmware, there is still more to be desired. One of the things that is quite annoying is that the Load Balance pool strategy in the official Firmware 2.0 for the Titan is not working, so you are essentially left only with the Failover option.

Even if you run just one Titan cube you are still getting quite significant hashrate and while this is fine if you are mining for high-difficulty coins such as Litecoin for example, it is not for low difficulty coins that may have just a couple of MHS total network hashrate. Throwing your full KnC Titan hashrate at a coin with low difficulty and total network hashrate will simply increase the difficulty in very short period of time (depending on the difficulty adjustment algorithm of the coin) making it pointless to be mined. What you would want to have for low difficulty Scrypt crypto coins is to be able to split your Titan hashrate between multiple cons on a single multipool or between multiple mining pools in order to maximize your mining profit without bumping the difficulty to a level making it unprofitable for a given coin to be mined.

gentarkin-balance-pool-strategy

GenTarkin’s custom firmware has implemented support for the alternative Balance strategy in the web interface, though it is essentially something supported by the bfgminer as an alternative to the Load Balance pool strategy. Considering that the Load Balance strategy is not working properly and you cannot dedicate lets say 10% to one coin, 30% for another and the remaining 60% to a third one, you might at least try the equal spreading of hshrate that the Balance strategy should provide. The Balance strategy should split the hashrate in equal parts between the multiple defined pools, so if you have 4 pools the total KnC Titan hashrate should be equally split between them with about 25% for each. The Balance pool strategy works just fine not only on the custom GenTarkin firmware, but also on the stock Titan 2.0 firmware as both rely on the bfgminer 5.1.0 and the miner provides the actual functionality, you just need to configure it.

{
"pools": [
{
"url": "hash-to-coins.com:4444",
"user": "titan.1",
"pass": "d=512"
},
{
"url": "hash-to-coins.com:4444",
"user": "titan.2",
"pass": "d=512"
},
{
"url": "hash-to-coins.com:4444",
"user": "titan.3",
"pass": "d=512"
},
{
"url": "hash-to-coins.com:4444",
"user": "titan.4",
"pass": "d=512"
}
],
"scrypt-n": 10,
"balance": true
}

With the stock firmware you will have to go to the Manual edit mode and edit the pool configuration file by hand, what you need to essentially do is add the option "balance": true at the end of the configuration file to tell bfgminer to use the Balance pool strategy. Above is an example configuration file with four different coins and Balance pool strategy that should equally split the total hashrate to about 25% for each of the coins. GenTakin’s latest custom firmware adds support for the Balance strategy in the Normal edit mode as well, making it a bit easier for users, but the end result is the same. As we have said already, the Balance pool strategy will work just fine with the latest official Titan 2.0 firmware, so you can try it even without a modified firmware. However custom firmwares such as GenTarkin’s add a lot of other and more useful features than just making some of the things that do not work properly in the official firmware more user friendly.

what-to-mine-x11

The first batch of 50 units of the first on the market iBeLink DM384M X11 ASIC miner were shipped at the beginning of this month and everyone that has preordered is probably quite happy at the moment. The profitability is quite good with selling X11 hashrate at NiceHash still the most profitable choice at the moment, based on our test of a unit we have purchased we can say that the miners are pretty good, even if they do lack some extra features both hardware wise and on the software side. If you re interested in the iBeLink DM384M X11 ASIC miner and you have missed our posts about different aspects of the device that we have published already, then you might want to check them out.

ibelink-dm384m-2

It seems that the company making the iBeLink DM384M miners does not have a very large production capacity and they need some time to make another batch of miners (and probably money from the sales of the first batch). The answer they give at the moment when more units are expected to be available is “we expect to have next batch around mid of May“, definitely a good news for first batch owners and not so good for people that will want to purchase an X11 ASIC now. This low number of devices available however is generally good for the X11 coins as they will not be overwhelmed by a very big wave of new hashrate pouring in pushing out the GPU miners that mine X11. Actually a lot of the GPU miners are currently switching to Ethereum mining because of the better profitability it offers, so the X11 ASIC miners could fill the gap and offer enough supply to cover the hashrate demand. We are looking at at least a few more months before mining X11 with a GPU might become pointless, unless of course we see a bunch of other companies releasing more X11 ASICs on the market. It seems that this is not going to happen in the next few months, so don’t be in a hurry to write out the X11 algorithm as ASIC only yet…

ibelink-dm384m-2

ibelink-dm384m-thermal-1

Time for a bit more in-depth look at the operating temperatures of the iBeLink DM384M X11 ASIC with the help of a thermal imaging camera. We are starting with the front and rear of the case that the mining ASIC uses, the front has four powerful Delta Electronics server fans that such cold air through the whole case where the mining blades are and the hot air exits directly through the back of the case. There are no other fans at the back, just open space for the hot air to exit the case of the device effectively cooling. The only other fan is the one of the server grade power supply that is mounted inside the case, another server grade Delta Electronics fan that is also powerful and noisy when in operation. The fans do not have power control, so they operate at maximum RPM all of the time making the device quite noisy, but also effectively cooled even in no so cool environment.

ibelink-dm384m-3

ibelink-dm384m-thermal-2

The four blades with ASIC chips are located on the side of the cooling fans and on the other side of the case is the power supply with the Raspberry Pi controller mounted over it. The side with the RPi and the power supply is pretty cold compared to the side where the four blade with 48 chips each are located. As one might expect the hottest part inside the miner are the ASIC chips, the rest remains pretty cold thanks to the high airflow provided by the cooling fans. Even the heatsink that are on the back of the PCB with the chips remain pretty cool thanks to the high airflow passing through them.

ibelink-dm384m-5

ibelink-dm384m-thermal-3

And now let us take a look at the chips themselves as the hottest element of the iBeLink DM384M X11 ASIC miners. Under the stock operating conditions they do remain with a surface temperature range of about 60-68 degrees Celsius as the temperature varies slightly depending on their position on the blade. As we’ve said already the cooling heatsink is not placed on top of the chips themselves, but instead is on the back of the PCB. This is the easier way to make things work, but not the most efficient for cooling as the chips use the PCB as a large heatspreader that then passes the heat to the large heatsink. This results in higher operating temperatures of the ASIC chips as there is no direct contact, but the temperatures are still Ok for normal operation. You should however be careful should you decide to overclock in order to get some extra hashrate as this will increase the operating temperatures of the chips. It seems that iBeLink has already chosen the optimal operating frequency for the device that results in very little HW errors while providing optimum performance. Further increasing the PLL frequency over the stock 110 MHz even with just a few Megahertz may result in increased percentage of HW errors.


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