Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category

There is some information circulating around in the last couple of days that Nvidia is making a video card specifically designed for mining as well as some speculations that AMD is doing the same as well. While are know for a fact that this is true for Nvidia, we are having some doubts about AMD doing it with all the AMD GPU shortages we are seeing lately and the news they can continue for the next few months. With the lack of AMD GPUs on the market the miners started buying Nvidia GPUs, so very soon we are most likely going to see cards such as the GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 getting harder to find on the market. Higher-end GPUs are probably going to have better availability for now, but who knows if miners will move on to these as well if there are not other options available.

We know that Nvidia is focused on gamers and not as much interested in mining and miners like AMD for example, so they do not want to have availability issues of their GPUs just like it has happened with AMD now just because of the miners. So they have apparently figured a solution to the problem – just make a GPU intended for mining and miners and sell that to miners instead of their gaming-centered products. The card that they are building is an NVIDIA Pascal GP106-100 GPU that comes with no video output connectors, passive cooler (still needs airflow for proper cooling) and much shorter warranty – just 3 months. The idea is to have a more affordable price wise option for miners that can be used only for mining (hence no video outputs) and that could make it even more interesting alternative. The crypto mining GPU from Nvidia is apparently based around the consumer GeForce GTX 1060 9Gbps model and the price should be cheaper than that of the consumer model.

The information that we are seeing about the GP106-100 mining GPUs mentions some numbers regarding mining performance, the following numbers are for 8x of these GPUs: 200 MHS for ETH, 2500 Sol/s for ZEC, 4400 H/s for XMR. These numbers translate to about 25 MHs for Ethereum, 312.5 Sol/s for ZCash and 550 H/s for Monero and only the ETH number seems surprisingly high considering what we’ve seen in our recent test of the GTX 1060 9Gbps. So while the GPU might be essentially the same as on the consumer GTX 1060, there could be some differences in the video memory… maybe 256-bit memory bus or optimized memory timings intended for better performance. With a sub $200 USD prices these mining oriented GPUs could be interesting, but the 90-day warranty period could be a bit of a setback.

We’ve left the not so great news for last. The Nvidia GP106-100 mining GPUs will not be available on the regular market to the regular users apparently, they are going to be sold only in large volume to big customers such as cloud mining companies like Genesis Mining and/or other big private mining operations. So the whole thing should not make any difference to smaller home miners as they are most likely not going to be able to get their hands on the hardware anyway. That is of course prone to changing at some point if the crypto mining business continues to grow and forms a larger part of the revenue for companies like Nvidia, so that they could actually form a separate business unit to handle it. For now however the company does not seem to think that they should change their focus from gamers and gaming and mining is more like creating issues for them than helping… something that cannot be said is the same from AMD’s point of view where the market for their Polaris-based GPUs goes mostly in the hands of miners.

The peak of interest in crypto mining in the last months has apparently sparkled the need for some interesting new products designed to help the users of mining rigs get things done in a better and more efficient way. As a result we are seeing enthusiast designed things like a power distributor board allowing the users to connect up to 4 power supplies that can be used to work together powering a single mining rig. Of course you can always go for a 2x PSU boards such as the Add2PSU, but what if you need to connect three or four power supplies? With Add2PSU you can use a number of devices to connect more power supplies together, but this will take up more molex connectors on the main power supply. Going for an optimized board that can use up to 4x power supplies together with a single molex from the main PSU is more convenient, especially if going for a 8x GPU mining rig with more powerful video cards that take up two PCI-Express power connectors.

Another commonly needed thing for multi GPU mining rigs is an easy way to connect multiple cooling fans to go along with the video cards by helping them get cooler air and eliminate the forming of hot air pockets around the GPUs. So getting an easy way to connect multiple fans, up to 6 for example via a single board powered by a 4-pin Molex power connector makes things much more simple and user friendly. Adding an easy way to select the operating voltages of the fans via jumpers and getting them to work at either 5V, 7V or 12V without the need of additional electronics is more than welcome. Of course you need not only to get good and useful functionality from a fan distributor board, but also make it affordable as with crypto mining extra costs are always considered.

While enthusiast designed products like up to 4x power distributor boards for multiple power supplies for a single computer or fan distributor boards with 6x fans and voltage control option may be interesting for regular users, however the real market for devices like these has opened with the boom of GPU mining rigs. The two boards that we are showing you here are just an example, there are other interesting products getting designed by enthusiasts for the crypto mining market as well. An interesting example of other such products is the SimpleMining SimpleRigResetter that allows for easy power cycling of multiple GPU mining rigs if they have an issue and hang up.

Miners willing to increase the number of available PCI-Express slots on their motherboards and thus get a better density with more GPUs on their mining rigs are always looking for different options. One of these options is the use of the cheap Chinese PCI-Express x1 to 3x PCIe x1 slots splitter boards that can be found relatively cheap if purchased directly from China. These boards take up one PCI-E slot on your motherboard and provide you with three x1 slots to use, so essentially they are adding up two extra slots for you to try and populate with video cards.

Now, you should be aware of the limitations of these boards. First off they do not seem to work with Nvidia GPUs, only with AMD video cards, so have that in mind depending on the mining rigs you are building. The fact that these boards add two more PCI-E slots physically does not mean that you will be able to fill them with video cards and they will all work. You may need to try multiple slots on your motherboard when plugging the splitter board as not all slots may work properly with it. We’ve seen some motherboards work with no additional cards using such a splitter board, on some only one extra card is working and on others both extra cards will function.

It is best to try what works on a particular motherboard first and then decide if you are Ok with the results you are getting. Going for a motherboard with 6 PCI-E slots to be able to install 8 video cards with the help of such PCIe splitter is a nice thing, but then again not all motherboards will work with 8 GPUs this way. Some people are suing such boards to upgrade motherboards with just 4x PCI-E slots to six in order to go for a “standard” 6x GPU mining rig. Again, there is no guarantee that the motherboard will work properly with these splitter boards and add extra two PCI-E slots, even if you are able to get the extra slots the motherboard might still have trouble working properly with more than 4 GPUs. In general we are not big fans of solutions like these as they may have varying results, but sometimes a thing like these boards can help you overcome some limitations nevertheless.


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