Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

Yesterday we have posted some first impressions and initial results from AMD Radeon RX VEGA 64 with Ethash and Equihash and now it is time to get some more results. We ran a quick benchmark using the latest NiceHash Miner Legacy version 1.8.1.1 Pre-release 3. While the VEGA 64 may not perform outstanding for more memory intensive algorithms like the ones used by Ethereum (ETH) and Zcash (ZEC) it does perform very well in more GPU intensive algorithms. As expected dual-mining does work well and provides a nice bit of extra profit when compared to single Ethereum or Zcash only mining. As you can see however some of the miners included in the NiceHash Miner Legacy pack are having trouble working on the AMD Radeon RX VEGA 64 for the moment as not all of them apparently support properly the new GPU.

AMD’s new Radeon RX VEGA 64 GPU is now officially out in the wild and we have some first impressions from it to share regarding crypto mining. There were various pieces of information and rumors regarding the mining performance of the new AMD VEGA, but since we got out hands on one we are going to share what are the actual out of the box results that we got from it. The new HBM2 memory used in the AMD VEGA GPUs is probably the most interesting part in the new product line, but unfortunately out of the box it does not do great in memory intensive algorithms. Of course we all know from AMD’s Polaris range that with some tweaks and modifications extra performance will most likely be available to miners, but that could take some time.

Probably the most important performance that people what to know about is the hashrate for mining Ethereum (ETH) and other crypto coins based on the Ethash algorithm. Unfortunately the out of the box performance from Radeon RX VEGA 64 using the latest Claymore Dual Eth miner that comes with official support for Vega is just around 31-32 MHS. We’ve seen claims of much higher performance being theoretically possible, but we are yet to confirm if it is and if these claims are actually real or just speculation. The not so great thing is that this hashrate is achieved with pretty high power consumption and the higher the temperature of the GPU goes, the lower the performance drops and it is really easy for the air cooler VEGA 64 to get hot.

Here is the situation with Zcash (ZEC) mining using the new Radeon RX VEGA 64 GPU from AMD, just about 475-480 H/s. The not so great performance in these two more memory intensive algorithms, even with HBM2 memory is not what is the most concerning thing however. What we are more concerned with AMD’s new Radeon RX VEGA 64 GPUs is the fact that they are power hungry GPUs and quickly get hot, so cooling them properly for 24/7 mining might be a bit of a challenge, at least for the air cooled model. The amount of power used does not justify the level of performance we get for mining out of the box at this point…

You can say that the new Radeon RX VEGA 64 GPU out of the box at stock settings does manage to perform very similar in terms of performance to what a well overclocked Nvidia GTX 1070 can also deliver for ETH and ZEC mining. The AMD GPU however does it with significantly more power used when compared to what the Nvidia card requires to provide very similar performance for mining (double the power for the VEGA). As far as gaming goes, the Radeon RX VEGA 64 is apparently closer to GTX 1080 in terms of performance, but then again it still consumes more power than the Nvidia card.

What remains to be seen is what the initial availability is going to be and what the actual pricing of the new VEGA GPUs will be considering the fact that the demand from miners might not be that high, though you never know… with market prices of Polaris GPUs at the level they are available now the official recommended price of the VEGA 64 does seem unreasonably low, so expect higher initial prices for sure. On the other hand the Radeon RX VEGA 64 could also do better in more GPU intensive algorithms than it is doing for memory intensive ones. The option for dual mining with one memory-intensive and one GPU-intensive algorithm may also turn out to be pretty attractive alternative, even wiht the not so great performance in memory-intensive mining algorithms alone.

We have been playing around with the AsRock H110 Pro BTC+ motherboard for crypto mining with support for up to 13x GPUs and we can already share some feedback based on our experience with it. So far we have tried running the motherboard with thirteen Nvidia GPUs of the same model – namely GeForce GTX 1070 under Windows and Linux. AsRock recommends that you use a mixed combination of 8 + 5 GPUs under Windows and we can confirm that we were not able to make more than 8x GTX 1070 GPUs work properly under Windows. Adding a 9th or more video cards makes Windows unstable and even if the driver gets properly installed as soon as we run a miner the system freezes, running multiple instances of miners on just a few cards each does not help. With Linux-based mining distributions however we had no trouble running the motherboard just fine with all 13x Nvidia GPUs out of the box.

Running 13x GPUs on a single motherboard brings up a lot of potential problems with you connecting everything up and making it work. It does require more space than a regular rig designed for just 6 to 8 GPUs, even though we actually managed for squeeze 12x GTX 1070 GPUs in such a rig for the sake of testing only, the last card was a bit too much however, so it remained on the top of the frame. Again this setup was just for testing things up and not for a production mining rig that will run 24/7, so make sure you have a larger frame for 13x GPUs when using the AsRock H110 Pro BTC+ motherboard.

AS expected the power supply is one of the biggest issues with 13x GPU mining rig and more specifically the number of available connectors that are needed to provide power to the GPUs and the PCI-E extenders. We have used a 2000W Leadex power supply that has plenty of connectors and even then they were not enough for all the GPUs. 12 of the GTX 1070 cards were with a single 8-pin PCI-E power and only the 13th was with a single 8-pin and 6-pin power connector…

Even the 2000W Leadex PSU does not have that many 8-pin PCI-E power connectors, not to mention the need of SATA/Molex power connectors for the extenders per power line to be on the safe side. You are looking at minimum two power supplies with enough power connectors and try to avoid using power splitting cables, apart from maybe a second 12V CPU line that can be safely used for provide one or two extra PCI-E power connectors (depending on the PSU). Going for video cards that have two PCI-E power connectors or need more than about 150W of power is not a wise thing for this motherboard as things will get even more complicated.

There were some concerns regarding the PCI-E connectors on the motherboard placed too close to each other and possibly shorting when you insert the PCI-E extenders in them. It seems however that this is actually not an issue, even with connectors being dangerously close and pushing them by hand they are still not shorting – the USB connectors are saving the day by touching each other and preventing shorts. Still with the varying type and size of USB cables used with PCI-E extenders it will still be wise to put some insulation tape on the back of the small PCI-E boards that go into the PCI-E slots just to be on the safe side.

AsRock H110 Pro BTC+ comes pre-configured in the BIOS and is ready to start mining without any additional changes needed from the users. Of course you might still want to enable the automatic Power On function after power loss for example and do some minor tweaks yourself, but even if you just install the GPUs and turn on the power it should work out of the box. This is really important thing for mining motherboards to make the life of miners easier and not to have them go through many settings and change them in order to make thing work properly for more GPUs.

As already mentioned we were not able to get more than 8x Nvidia GTX 1070 GPUs work properly under Windows and at the same time we did not have any trouble with some Linux-based mining distributions we have tried. So 8 + 5 GPUs of different kinds (Nvidia/AMD) under Windows, but no 13x of the same kind seems to be possible for the moment, at least not out of the box and with any of the tweaks we have tried to make things work. With Linux no problems with just 6 or 8 or the full house with 13x GPUs, all worked just fine and mined without problems. You can try the KopiemTu Linux mining distribution, or the more recent nvOC distribution. While for Linux-based 13x AMD GPU mining rigs you might want to try the ethOS Mining OS or the more recent rxOC distribution.

We are yet to try using the AsRock H110 Pro BTC+ motherboard With 13x AMD GPUs, but we are expecting to see the same problem under Windows as with the Nvidia GPUs and a problem free experience when using a Linux-based mining distribution or if you manage to install Linux yourself and make it usable for mining (this usually requires more advanced users). While a mixed setup of AMD and Nvidia GPUS user Windows may seem like an interesting idea we are not that much fans of such setups as in our opinion they are more prone to potential problems. Still feel free to experiment and try it out yourselves even with a mixed setup of GPUs if you insist on staying on Windows and using 13x GPUs.

The use of the AsRock H110 Pro BTC+ crypto mining motherboard seems to present more challenges and with the shortages of GPUs and other hardware it can be even more difficult to build properly a 13x GPU mining rig. Still it offers an interesting opportunity for miners that are building AMD Ethereum mining rigs or Nvidia ones with the mid-range cards such as GTX 1060 or GTX 1070. The only problem at the moment with this particular motherboard is that it is nowhere to be found at the recommended prices and at the places you can buy it is at speculative price that is pretty much double than what it should normally cost. The speculative high price can be a deal breaker as well for many users that are considering using this motherboard for 13x GPU mining rigs.


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