Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

As promised last week after the official announcement we are starting a series of reviews of the new AMD Radeon RX 5×0 series of GPUs and the first card to go through is the Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition. This is one of the top models of RX 580 from Sapphire that comes with higher factory clocks compared to most other RX 580 GPUs and some nice additional extras such as spare fans. Compared to the last year’s Sapphire RX 480 NITRO+ the new RX 580 counterparts do come with higher clocks and improved cooling solution… and a bit higher price as well. The new RX 580 cards that are more like the last year’s RX 480 from Sapphire are now called PULSE and not NITRO and hopefully we are going to soon have a PULSE card to check out, but for now let us see what the NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition has to offer…

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 8 GB Limited Edition:
– 2304 stream Processors
– 14 nm FinFET, 4th generation Graphics Core Next (GCN)
– 1450 MHz GPU Boost Clock
– 8192 MB GDDR5 Memory, 256 bit Memory Bus, 2000 MHz Memory Clock
– Display Outputs: 1x DL-DVI-D, 2x HDMI 2.0b, 2x DisplayPort 1.4
– All-new Dual-X 95 mm fans, two ball bearing
– Power connectors: 1x 6-pin PCI-E, 1x 8-pin PCI-E
– Power consumption: 225W

The new larger cooler is a welcome improvement as are the the additional spare fans included in the package of the RX 580 NITRO+ LE GPUs, though the non Limited Edition RX 580 and the RX 570 NITRO+ also come with the same new cooler. Other notable difference however is the additional power connector found on the NITRO+ RX 5×0 series, they all feature a single 6-pin and a single 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. The extra power connector is needed due to the higher clocks and increased power consumption, however it can be a problem for miners willing to connect 6 of these cards with a single power supply. So do have that in mind as well as the fact that the PULSE series are with a single and not dual PCI-E power connectors.

Here is how things look according to GPU-Z for the GPU specs. The GPU clock is running perfectly fine at 1450 MHz and allows for some extra overclock to about 1500 MHz, though not much higher than that. The higher GPU clock comes with increased operating voltage of about 1.1750V and that also results in increased power usage, up to over 140W GPU only Power Draw according to GPU-Z. The video memory is running at 2000 MHz and we kind of expected to see Samsung GDDR5 memory used here, after all this is a more expensive top model from Sapphire of the new RX 580 and is also a Limited Edition one. Unfortunately Sapphire has opted to go for Hynix memory for this series and as a result you can expect not the best performance in memory intensive mining algorithms such as Ethash used by Ethereum or Equihash used by Zcash.

Now off to the benchmarks with some popular algorithms used by the most profitable to mine crypto currencies at the moment. Starting with Ethereum (ETH) mining using the latest Claymore Dual ETH miner version 9.2 and we are getting just about 22.5 MHS from the Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition. This is with the stock settings, no memory modifications and is definitely a disappointing result, though considering that the memory used was Hynix at 2000 MHz it seems that the default memory timings are pretty relaxed in order to keep the hgiher operating frequency. Again going for Samsung memory on this Limited Edition model is a must do thing in our opinion, so we are wondering why Sapphire didn’t do just that…

We can see similar not so great result for mining ZEC using the latest Claymore ZCash AMD GPU Miner 12.4, but this is to be expected since the Equihash algorithm is also more memory intensive. The average hashrate we are getting for ZCash (ZEC) mining with this video card is about 296 H/s. The reason for the lower hashrate than what we have seen from some lower clocked RX 480 GPUs is again most likely the Hynix memory, but also the new driver that AMD has released with support for the RX 500 series might be responsible for the not so good mining hashrates and the official AMD Radeon Crimson ReLive Edition 17.4.3 driver for the RX 500 series is a WHQL one and may not be the best performing one for crypto currency mining.

Some more benchmark results at stock settings:
– Decred (DCR): 1.220 GHS
– CryptoNight (XMR): 600 H/s
– LBRY (LBC): 0.165 GHS
– Pascal (PASC): 0.830 GHS
– X11Ghost (SIB): 8.2 MHS

As far as optimizations go, you can play around with the memory straps and get better results. Furthermore reducing the GPU frequency from the default high value will also allow you to lower the voltage and achieve significantly lower power usage, especially if optimizing for ETH, though ZEC should also be fine with a bit higher voltage. Some people also report that the RX 580 LE card can run just fine on a single 8-pin PCI-E power, though should you try that make sure you have optimized the frequency and voltages of the GPU first in order to avoid overloading the power line…

As a conclusion we can say that the Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition video cards although seemingly attractive for miners have been clearly designed for gamers and they will do pretty good for gaming with the higher operating clocks. Miners may also like the larger cooler and the extra fans in the package, but the two power connectors and the increased power usage is not something that is so great. At stock settings the RX 580 LE is a bit disappointing in terms of performance, though with some tweaking you can probably get better performance and low power usage. Then again you should be able to achieve the same result with a cheaper RX 580 or even RX 570 after you tweak the memory straps, reduce the clock speeds and operating voltages. So out of the box this is good for gamers, with some tweaking it can still become a miner friendly video card, though you should be careful what you do but the higher price of this particular model may make it not as attractive for miners as for example the GPUs from Sapphire’s PULSE series.

More information about Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition…

A while ago we have introduced the Brave Payments Feature Powered by Bitcoin as a means for users to support their favorite websites by using the Brave browser and tipping them with Bitcoin. Now it is time to go through the Publisher side of things, guiding you through the steps required from website owners to claim any funds their users have sent them. This is an alternative way for users to support the websites they follow and like with their ads blocked by the Brave browser, because after all ads are usually the main revenue stream for most websites that do not sell products or services, but instead provide information.

Lets get started with what you need to go through in order to start using Brave Payments for your own website and be able to get supported by your readers through Bitcoin tips. You need to start by opening the Brave Publishers Dashboard to initiate the signup process and versification of your ownership of the website you want to register. Just click on the Start Verification button to initiate the website ownership confirmation process…

The first step is to enter your website URL and your contact details, after submitting that information you will receive an email to the address you have entered with a confirmation link. You need to click on that link in order to confirm you are the owner of the email address that you have entered in the contact information form.

The next step is to confirm your actual ownership of the website you are registering in the Publisher program of Brave, there are two options here – wait a couple of days to be contacted by a Brave Publisher Partner to complete the process or add a DNS record to the domain of the website in order to automatically complete the verification process in a couple of minutes. The second option is preferred if you have access to the DNS records of your domain and can add an extra TXT record to finish the confirmation process, otherwise you will just have to wait to be contacted.

Finishing the website ownership confirmation will show you if you actually have some fund pending that users may already sent your way and it also requires you to go through some more additional steps like entering your Bitcoin address where any funds you receive will be transferred on a monthly basis.

After entering your Bitcoin address you will also need to Declare IRS tax status by filling in the respective electronic tax form and submitting the information to Brave depending if you are US or Non-US based individual or a company.

That is it you are ready to get supported with Bitcoin tips by your readers if they are using the Brave browser’s Brave Payments feature and you should now focus on better content than thinking about getting advertisers. Also if you still haven’t tied the Brave browser now is probably a great time to download it and give it a try, the browser is available for Windows, Linux and Mac as well as Android and iOS mobile platforms.

When looking for the best settings for GPUs that will be used for crypto currency mining it is often considered a good practice to optimize them for better efficiency and not for maximum performance. Going for the maximum performance often results is overclocking and thus higher power usage for the extra few hashes, not to mention the additional heat and as a result the overall efficiency may not be as good. If you are looking for the optimal efficiency you will most likely try to reduce the power usage of the GPU to decrease the power usage and heat output and not sacrifice any or at the cost of just a little performance drop. This is exactly what we are going to be doing now with the recently announced Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition video card, trying to find the sweet spot in terms of efficient (best hashrate per Watt of power used)…

For the purpose of our tests we are using the latest NiceHash Excavator v1.1.4a miner running on the Equihash algorithm used by Zcash (ZEC). Do note that other algorithms may need different settings for reaching better efficiency than the one tested here. Currently the Equihash algorithm is among the most profitable to mine on Nvidia CUDA GPUs, so we are focusing on it. Since all recent GPUs from Nvidia have both a base operating frequency and a boost operating frequency and the video card is managing the optimal one based on factors such as TDP and temperature it is easy to look for better efficiency just by lowering the TDP limit. This will essentially result in lowering the maximum boost frequency of the GPU and is an easy and very good thing to start from, if you wan to dig deeper you may also try to lower the operating voltage of the GPU in order to further improve the efficiency by lowering the power usage.

In the table above we start with the GTX 1080 Ti running at the maximum TDP level that is allowed with the +20% increase of the Power Limit meaning 250W default TDP + 50W increase or a total of 300W allowed. At this maximum allowed level you cannot expect to be anywhere near the optimum efficiency, not to mention that the GPU may not be able to reach that power usage anyway without further overclocking. We are however going to stay at the default settings and not overclock, playing only with the boost frequency of the GPU by lowering the TDP. The final result showed that the optimum efficiency in terms of hashrate per Watt is with around 60% TDP or about 150W for the GTX 1080 Ti… that is for the Equihash algorithm used by Zcash (ZEC). With that setting the operating frequency of the GPU stays at just a bit shy of 1500 MHz, or to be more precise at the 1480 MHz base operating frequency. What essentially this means is that while the extra Boost frequency may rise the performance you get, the more it scales up, the less efficient the GPU becomes in terms of performance per Watt of power used. No wonder Nvidia has chosen this particular operating frequency as the base one for the GTX 1080 Ti, and the GPU manages to keep it up with a TDP of just 150W for mining the Equihash algorithm. Do note however that other mining algorithms, especially more GPU dependent, may need more power for their efficiency sweet spot on the GTX 1080 Ti.