Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

Back in March when Nvidia introduced the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti it has also announced two upgrades – the GeForce GTX 1060 with 9 Gbps and GeForce GTX 1080 with 11 Gbps memory. These two new models with faster video memory did not get a lot of attention and they have just recently started becoming available on the market. The GTX 1060 with 9 instead of 8 GHz GDDR5 video memory is what caught our attention and more specifically the ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 OC 6GB 9Gbps and we took one for a quick spin to see its crypto mining performance.

The faster GDDR5 memory from Samsung found in this model is what makes the GPU pretty interesting for the currently quite popular and profitable Equihash and Ethash crypto algorithms. We wanted to see the mining performance with ETH and ZEC, even though the memory bus on the GTX 1060 is just 192-bit and that is a bit of a limiting factor. The big question here is how this GTX 1060 model compares to GTX 1070 that uses slower GDDR5 memory clocked at 8GHz (like the regular GTX 1060), but with 256-bit bus and comes with significantly higher number of CUDA cores.

Going for the Ethereum (ETH) mining performance with the latest Claymore ETH miner we are not that happy with the performance we see – just about 17 MHS at stock settings. We kind of expected the lower result due to the 192-bit memory bus, but had hoped that the hgiher clocked GDDR5 memory could help for a bit better results. The GTX 1070 does about 25 MHS at stock settings, but can be pushed to about 30 MHs with some memory clock. Overclocking the GTX 1060 9Gbps helps a bit, but still that can push the performance to just about 19 MHs, so not that much better.

The situation with ZCash (ZEC) is a bit better with about 300 Sol/s at stock settings using the EWBF ZEC miner for the GTX 1060 9Gbps while the GTX 1070 does of course much more at over 400 and can go up to about 450-460 with some extra tweaking. It seems that the faster 9Gbps memory on the GTX 1060 does not do it that much good for mining, tough it might be more usable for gaming. With prices for the GTX 1060 9Gbps not that much lower than the price of GTX 1070 there is actually not that much reason to go for it the faster memory instead of the faster GPU in general.

Now, if Nvidia does tweak up the GTX 1070 with the faster 9 Gbps GDDR5 video memory things might get more interesting, especially for Ethereum mining using these, because of the the problems that AMD is having with Radeon RX series availability. At the moment Ethereum mining on a decently clocked in terms of video memory GTX 1070 can bring it to about 30 MHS with 600+ MHz on the RAM and with reduced TDP. So power/performance wise the next best thing as an alternative to an AMD Radeon RX 570/RX 580 with a good video memory that can get to about 28-29 MHS after modding is in fact a GTX 1070. There are already rumors that AMD may have a couple of months with stock shortages for the RX series of GPUs, so we might soon start seeing the demand for the more interesting for mining Nvidia GPUs increasing.

We have already purchased games using Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method from Steam as the popular service has been accepting purchases made with the crypto currency for more than a year already. Steam however is not the only place where you can pay for games with Bitcoin, there are others also accepting crypto currency payments and you can even get a better deal. One such example is the G2A Game Store where you can purchase game keys for a better price, including games from Steam, but not limited (they added BTC support even before Steam). The idea here is that the website does not directly sell you games, but connects you to users selling them online and only acts as an intermediary processing the payments and helping resolve any issues if there are such.

There are many different payments methods supported by the G2A Store and Bitcoin (BTC) is only one of them. You can also pay directly with a Credit Card, PayPal as well as many others. We are however most interested in Bitcoin and the payments using the crypto currency are being processed by BitPay as a payment processor (the same one as on Steam). The checkout process is quick and easy, though you might still need to wait a bit for the confirmation of the transaction (especially wit lower fee) on the Bitcoin blockchain. Regular confirmation should just take a couple of minutes, but it can take more if the blocks are currently full and recently the number of transactions has increased and the waiting queue for transactions is bigger.

If you like the game deals available on G2A we do recommend that you activate the G2A Shield service as it can help you get even better deals and if there are some trouble with your purchases it helps you resolve them faster and easier. We are especially fond the deals like 1 Random Steam Premium CD-Key deals starting at a little over $1 USD or the 10 Random Steam CD-KEY deals for a bit over $2 USD, though there are many other interesting deals and offers available. Do note that these random game deals depend on your luck and while you may geat a very sweet deal, you may also get not so great selection of games as well… then again you can also give away the keys for games that you don’t want or need.

For more information and to get some sweet game deals on G2A paying with Bitcoin…

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
– Dual UEFI BIOS

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…


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