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For a while now the CryptoNight algorithm used by crypto coins such as Electroneum (ETN), Monero (XMR), Sumokoin (SUMO), Karbowanec (KRB) and maybe some others have been quite profitable to be mined by AMD GPUs. That is normal since AMD GPUs are doing better than Nvidia when talking about the CryptoNight algorithm, especially the latest AMD Radeon RX Vega GPUs that are doing really great in that algorithm. Even though AMD’s latest GPUs are still not entirely problem free in terms of software support and can give you some headaches making them work for mining, when they do they work really well for CryptoNight performance wise. We have prepared a quick and easy to follow guide to help you get started and save you some trouble mining CryptoNight with Vega GPUs.

– Start by downloading and installing the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition Beta for Blockchain Compute as this is the driver that probably still offers the best performance for mining CryptoNight on VEGA.

– When you install the driver you need to go through the Radeon Settings / Gaming / Global Settings and for each and every GPU in your mining rig to make sure that HBCC Memory Segment is disabled as well as if you have Crossfire enabled for a pair of GPUs to also disable it. Reboot the system and check that all of the video cards have HBCC and Crossfire disabled before continuing further.

– Each time the system starts you need to disable and re-enable all of the GPUs in your system in order to get the best mining performance, you can do it manually via the Device Manager, though there is also an automated way to do it, so that the mining can start automatically on each boot. For that you need to download the respective version of Devcon for the Windows you are using, here is an easy way to obtain the required devcon version.

– Here is how to disable all AMD RX Vega GPUs and then re-enable them with the DevCon.exe tool:
devcon.exe disable "PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_687F"
devcon.exe enable "PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_687F"

– The next step is to overclock/underclock the GPUs so that you can get the optimal performance and power usage combination, here things may vary in terms of the settings you can use from card to card. You can use AMD’s Radeon Wattman built-in tool, but it is not very convenient, so going for OverdriveNTool might make things much easier in the process of testing GPU and Memory clock settings.

– Some people set the final GPU frequency/voltage settings in the registry after they finish with the test what works best, so that they are loaded automatically on boot. We however prefer to use the profile feature of the OverdriveNTool and load and apply the settings from a profile before starting the miner. Here is an example how you can load a profile you save as “XMR” for 6 GPUs using the OverdriveNTool, this way you can easily have different profiles for different algorithms:
OverdriveNTool.exe -p0"XMR" -p1"XMR" -p2"XMR" -p3"XMR" -p4"XMR" -p5"XMR"

– Now you can go for the CryptoNight miner software, there are number of these, but not all of them give you the best performance on Radeon RX Vega GPUs. The two choices for best performance at the moment are Cast XMR and the latest version of XMR-stak. If using XMR-stak just make sure you configure the miner with two threads per GPU, this would require more virtual memory. Both miners need quite a lot of virtual memory, so make sure you have something like 48-64 GB to be on the safe side and problem free.

Following the tips above you should be able to get 1800-2000 H/s for mining CryptoNight on a single AMD Radeon RX Vega GPU, depending on your GPU and memory settings, so the performance is quite good if you are able to keep the video cards cool enough. If using the XMR-stak miner you can also mine some coins using the CryptoNight-light such as AEON, the settings are the same, this algorithm just produces about double the normal CryptoNight hashrate.

We have recently talked about how you can Fix problematic fans of Gigabyte Windforce VGAs as the company tends to use cheaper sleeve bearing fans that are more prone to failure when used for GPU mining rigs. Interestingly enough Gigabyte does seem to use multiple suppliers for their Windforce fans and even though on the top the blades of the fans are the same, inside there could be interesting differences. So far most of the RX 400/500 series of GPUs from Gigabyte with Windforce fans that we’ve seen used 2x5x5.5mm metal bushings inside and as we have already mentioned these are easily replaced with readily available ball bearings and you can upgrade your fans to be more durable long term. It is a well known facts that sleeve bearings are much less resistant to higher temperatures and dust than ball bearing fans and as the operating conditions worsen their life span drops significantly.

It seems however that Gigabyte has Windforce fans with larger and not so standard metal bushings as well that cannot be directly replaced with ball bearings as their size is just not as standard. We have stumbled on some Everflow T129215SU fans used on Gigabyte Windforce fans that used 2x8x5mm metal bushings and there are simply no standard bearings that you can use with so small inside hole and so big outer diameter available. So fixing or upgrading these becomes a bit more trickier and you need to either do your own bushings with the right size to replace or use spacers so that you can fit 2×5 size ball bearings inside. We have actually done both of these already and have tried them, but not on Gigabyte Windforce. To our surprise Asus and their STRIX GPU fans turned out to be using crappy sleeve bearing fans instead of better quality and more durable ball bearing fans. The STRIX fans use the same size metal bushing as we’ve discovered in this particular Gigabyte Windforce fans, but we are going to get back with more details about that very soon…

Some of you might remember our guide from last year on How to Maintain and Repair Dual-X and Other Non-Serviceable GPU Fans covering the whole procedure on how you can fix the fans of old mining video cards that use cheaper sleeve bearing fans. That guide was demonstrating the whole procedure for Sapphire’s old Radeon Dual-X video cards that were very popular back in the Litecoin mining days and are still usable for mining ZEC for example or any other Equihash-based altcoin. Back then we mentioned that the same procedure works for Gigabyte’s Windforce fans as well as many other cheaper fans that find their way on a lot of video cards nowadays, even on very high-end products such as even GTX 1080 Ti. The basic procedure fro replacing the metal bushing with ball bearings is pretty much the same on all fans, though there are some specifics from brand to brand and from model to model and now it is time to talk a bit more about Gigabyte’s Windforce fans.

Gigabyte has been using the Winforce series of fans for quite some time and they have never been our favorites, especially for GPU mining rigs due to the fact that they are essentially cheap sleeve bearing fans that are less durable when used in higher temperature and dusty environment. The high temperature and dust are the two very common things for many GPU mining rigs and Gigabyte even used the same fans on their Nvidia P106-based mining GPU and we have recently checked what is the situation in just a bit short of three months of use for mining with these. We even had bad experience with Windforce fans starting to fail in just about a month of use on RX 400/500 series of GPUs as well as on GTX 1070 when used for mining, so you can imagine why video cards from Gigabyte with these fans are really not our first choice for GPU mining rigs.

With all of the above said however there is one important advantage that Gigabyte’s Windforce fans have over some other cheaper sleeve bearing fans found on expensive video cards used for mining and that is the fact that you can relatively easily upgrade them. We are talking about replacing the metal bushing with dual ball bearings thus fixing fans that are starting to show signs of the metal bushing wearing off and the fan destabilizing or the fan rotating slower due to dust buildup. The important thing here is to catch the potential problem on time and fix it promptly and not wait for the fan to stop rotating completely and then start to think about a solution as then it will be most likely too late to do anything. Sure, with fans starting to fail in a month or just a couple of months since purchase of a new GPU you can get a warranty replacement, but when used for mining this means downtime and the newly replaced card can start showing problems soon as well… imagine if you have tens or hundreds of Gigabyte Windforce, Gigabyte Gaming and even some Gigabyte Aorus cards that do come equipped with the cheap sleeve bearing Windforce fans.

The metal bushing used by the Gigabyte Windforce fans is 2x5x5.5mm in size (2mm inside diameter, 5mm outside diameter and 5.5mm height) and you can easily find the right size of ball bearings for these sizes. You will need two 2x5x2.5mm bearings as well as a single spacer with at least 2mm inside diameter and 5mm outside that has a thickness of 0.3-0.5mm that you need to place between the two bearings. If you do that you will get a perfect replacement of the standard metal bushing essentially upgrading the fan to dual ball bearing one and getting it to be like a brand new one or even better. The dual ball bearing upgrade will make it more durable and resistant do higher operating temperatures and dust and you will have more problem free time for mining without issues with the fans. The only drawback is that the upgrade procedure can or will void your warranty, unless of course you do the procedure carefully and save the metal bushings to reinsert them back should you need to return the video card for replacement due to an issue with the board itself and not the fans.


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