Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category

Gigabyte NP106D5-6G is a variation of the Nvidia GP106-100 GPU targeted at miners and based off the consumer GeForce GTX 1060. Originally Nvidia had plans to sell these only to large miners, but apparently big partners such as Asus and now Gigabyte among others also want to sell these to small miners as well, so we actually managed to buy one Gigabyte NP106D5-6G from the retail channel at a price that is slightly lower than that of the regular Gigabyte N1060WF2OC-6GD that it is probably based on.

The Gigabyte NP106D5-6G comes in an anti static plastic bag, no box or any accessories. It has a GPU core running at 1506 MHz Base Clock and 1708 MHz Boost Clock and comes equipped with 6 GB GDDR5 video memory running at 8008 MHz. Just like a regular GTX 1060 GPU, though there are some important differences to note. The mining card from Gigabyte does not come with any mounting plate and that can be a bit of an issue for mounting, even though there are no video output connectors available… ASUS for example has it on their version.

The PCB of the mining card is pretty small and there is no backplate like on the consumer variation of the GTX 1060 from Gigabyte. It is normal, the idea of these cards is to make them cheaper and that needs some cost cutting, though you should still be careful where you cut from and not compromise on important things for miners. There are not warranty stickers on the screws at the back, but who would worry about that when you get the mining card with just three months of warranty instead of the regular 2 or 3 years (depending on the region).

The mining card NP106D5-6G is equipped with a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector for external power, the default TDP is 120W. This means that you shoud not be having much trouble with finding a suitable power supply for connecting 6, 8 or even more of these in a single GPU mining rig.

A quick look at the cooling solution of the NP106D5-6G. There is a small separate aluminium radiator on top of the voltage regulators that are locate on the left side of the PCB. The big aluminium cooling radiator uses a single copper heatpipe that goes through the GPU and memory chips as well – they are both in contact with the cooler. The heatpipe is in direct contact with the GPU and the big surface of the cooler does a pretty good job in keeping things cool.

Here is how the PCB looks like, the GPU is labeled GP106-100-A1 and the video memory is GDDR5 from Samsung. The video memory is really important here as this is a mining oriented video card and you need good chips that can handle overclocking for improved performance and the Samsung ones manage to do quite well in that department.

The final thing we need to note about the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G, a really important thing is about the cooling fans of the card. Gigabyte is popular with their pretty good in terms of cooling capacity and silently operating Windforce fans and it is no surprise that we also find them on this board as well. These fans however are not good for crypto mining and we do not like how they handle 24/7 operation under high temperatures, so we are not big fans of these fans.

The fans are 92mm ones made by Power Logic and are model PLD09210S12HH (12V, 0.40A) and they use bushings instead of bearings (single or dual). These are cheap fans that may start failing withing a few weeks of mining, we have seen that with other Gigabyte cards using the same cooling fans. We don’t mind as much that you get these with just 3 months warranty, but at least when you are making a GPU for mining use more reliable fans that will last longer (like ASUS does on their version of the P106).

All in all we can say that we are not too happy with how Gigabyte approached the situation with their NP106D5-6G mining GPU. They just removed stuff from their consumer GeForce GTX 1060 model and did not address the specific needs and requirements of miners at all. The lack of mounting bracket and the cheap crappy fans in terms of reliability and durability are not Ok. That fact, coupled with the just 3 months warranty, no resell value apart from mining use and just 10% lower price compared to the regular consumer GTX 1060 model does not really help in making this an attractive alternative to smaller home miners.

In the next post we are going to be sharing more details about the actual use of the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G for mining as well as what kind of performance results you can expect from it, so stay tuned…

Thanks to AsRock we already have a sample of their new H110 Pro BTC+ crypto mining motherboard with 13 PCI-E slots for testing, so you can expect a review soon. The motherboard should start appearing on the market sometime later this month, so it is not yet available in the retail channel. It is a really interesting design and definitely something that AsRock had to do in order to “show muscle” after the competition in the crypto mining motherboard space started to heat up with shortages of the hugely popular AsRock H81 Pro BTC and other brands like Biostar announcing multiple new mining motherboards.

The AsRock H110 Pro BTC+ motherboard is pretty interesting with the 13 PCI Express slots available for use with video cards with the help of PCI-E extenders, but this also comes with some challenges. Initially we got information that the motherboard should work out of the box with 13 GPUs under Windows and Linux, and although that might be true indeed there seem to be some limitations. It seems that the 8x GPU limit is still a problem, however you should be able to run 8x AMD with 5x NVIDIA GPUs under Windows, but not all 13 from the same type out of the box (it could still be possible to overcome this limitation). For Linux users 13x GPUs do not seem to be a problem or at least thirteen ADM GPUs with the ethOS mining distribution.

Building a 13x GPU crypto mining rig could also bring some other challenges including problems with the power supply or to be more precise power supplies now that there are shortages and it is hard to source higher power models. Of course it depends on the type of video cards that you are using for your mining rig, but in general the new H110 Pro BTC+ crypto mining motherboard from AsRock seems to be more useful for builds that have mid-range GPUs and not high-end ones. Builds such as 13x AMD Radeon RX 470/480 or RX 570/580 that use single PCI-E power connector or Nvidia GTX 1060/1070 again with a single PCI-E power connector (sub-200W power usage) seem more reasonable.

Imagine what a challenge it will be if you want to build a mining rig with 13x Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti GPUs. At 250W for 100% TDP per card you are looking at 3250W of power required just for the video cards, there are simply not much options for dual PSU setups that can handle that, so it is more at least a three power supplies setup. In this configuration it is not just the power requirements, but also the number of PCI-E power connectors that you would need for the video cards. You would need 13x 8-pin PCI-E power connectors and 13x 6-pin PCI-E power connectors, then also 13x 4-pin Molex connectors for the PCI-E extenders. You also need to be careful not to overload any of the power lines of the power supplies by connecting too much components on to a single cable.

You can check the official AsRock H110 Pro BTC+ product page for more details…

Not a lot of details about the upcoming AMD-based Crypto Mining GPUs from Sapphire Yet, though they have been already listed for pre-order over at Overclockers UK. There are four Sapphire Mining Edition video cards listed that are based on AMD’s Radeon RX 470 GPU with different video memory configurations, all of which are without external video connectors. There is also a single AMD Radeon RX 560 GPU also labeled as Mining Edition, though it is a bit different with a single DVI connector on the back, so it can be used for other things than just crypto mining. It is interesting to note that the Sapphire Mining Edition cards do come with 1 year warranty instead of the regular two or even 3 years warranty that Sapphire cards targeted at gamers usually have (depending on the market).

Sapphire Mining Editions cards:
– Sapphire Radeon RX 470 MINING Edition 8192MB GDDR5 Samsung 7 Gbps (11256-38-10G) – 25-28MH/s ETH
– Sapphire Radeon RX 470 MINING Edition 8192MB GDDR5 7 Gbps (11256-37-10G) – 24-27MH/s ETH
– Sapphire Radeon RX 470 MINING Edition 4096MB GDDR5 Samsung 7 Gbps (11256-36-10G) – 24-27 MH/s ETH
– Sapphire Radeon RX 470 MINING Edition 4096MB GDDR5 7 Gbps (11256-35-10G) – 23-26 MH/s ETH
– Sapphire Radeon RX 560 Pulse MINING Edition 4096MB (11267-11-10G) – 12-15 MH/s ETH

It is interesting to note that the store lists the type of memory on different models and what mining performance they will be able to offer for mining Ethereum (ETH). There are two values that apparently represent the stock and the modified BIOS result, though it is not yet clear if the dual BIOS comes with modified settings, or Sapphire has just left that part to the miners. Unfortunately the prices listed for pre-order are not making these very attractive alternative compared to the regular models, though with the current shortage miners may not care that much as long as there is stock of these new Mining Edition cards from Sapphire available.

Something that is important regarding the warranty of regular Sapphire GPUs that are not originally intended for mining, the website of the company has some additional terms listed about mining usage, here is a quote below.

Warranty may vary from Country/Region, the customer must verify directly with the SAPPHIRE Authorized Dealer/Reseller from where the product was purchased as to the specifics of Warranty provided.

Warranty also varies for products used in Industrial , Block chain and crypto currency mining applications and the customer must verify with the SAPPHIRE Authorized Dealer/Reseller from where the product was purchased for more information.

So make sure you check the warranty information of the seller whether you are buying regular gaming GPUs or any of the Mining Edition cards to make sure about the warranty period you get with each. We have already received reports form users that some retailers are selling GPUs without any mention about warranty getting void on their websites if they are being used for crypto mining and you get that told to you after you purchase the cards and have them shipped to you.