Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

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A couple of days ago Nvidia has introduced their new lineup of GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti GPUs, entry level for gamers and the successor of the popular GTX 750 Ti and the more recent GTX 950. We got an MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4G OC video card to give it a quick test and see what Nvidia has to offer with their new GPUs in terms of performance in some of the most popular crypto mining algorithms. While the GTX 1050 Ti may not be the most powerful solution for mining, the interesting part here is the lower power consumption per board just like it was back when GTX 750 Ti was released. So while it may not be the best choice for more serious multi-GPU mining operations, it could still be a viable option for a lower power home mining rig with 6x GTX 1050 Ti for example.

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The GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti are originally intended to be used without external power and have a TDP limit of 75W (because of the PCI-E slot), though we expect that there will be some companies offering more serious models with external PCI-E power. Do note that if you plan on building 6x GTX 1050 Ti GPUs mining rig you will still need to use powered extenders in order to avoid the possibilty of damaging the motherboard as the power draw from these will be significant.

When we consider the fact that the new GPUs are based on 14nm production process (the first GPUs to go down from 16nm to 14nm for Nvidia) and apparently do have some nice headroom for overclocking. We have managed to get +195 MHz on the core and +150 MHz on the video memory with the default voltages and what was limiting us from going further was the power limiter as the card was hitting the TDP and could not boost the operating frequency that much. Still the maximum frequency of the GPU it managed to hit briefly was 1911 MHz, so with higher power limit and with better cooling such operating frequencies might be available for constant boost.

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Here are the numbers, comparing the performance of GTX 750 Ti, GTX 950 and GTX 1050 Ti using the latest NiceHash Miner software to get the hashrates of various popular GPU mining algorithms at the moment. As you can see there is a really nice improvement in hashrate between GTX 750 Ti and GTX 1050 Ti, maybe with some decent overclock the new GPU could even get to double the performance in some algorithms. Nevertheless the improvement from GTX 750 Ti is good in terms of performance and while there is also decent improvement from what GTX 950 offers, it is not that significant really. The main reason for that is the fact that specifications wise the GTX 950 and GTX 1050 Ti look pretty similar, even though they are based on different architectures it is much like the older one is just a bit slowly clocked and has somewhat higher power usage. Still the GTX 950 is pretty much in between the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 1050 Ti in terms of hashrate in pretty much all algorithms apart from Cryptonight where the weird result is most likely due to the lack of optimizations.

In the end the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is really a good improvement over the GTX 750 Ti in terms of mining performance, you could probably get the a bit higher mining performance from 4x GTX 1050 Ti as with 6x GTX 750 Ti, and the power usage will be lower. You could still build a good mining rig with decent hashrate using 6x GTX 1050 Ti GPUs and do with a 600W power supply just fine. Of course, as already mentioned it might not be the best choice for serious mining operations where GTX 1070 would perform much better in terms of performance, but for home miners it could still be a viable option… just like GTX 750 Ti did when it first came out.

More on the technical specifications and the differences between the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti..

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We have been playing around and testing the Baikal Mini Miner for a few days now and we are ready to share our first impressions from the device. First off it really works and works well with all of the six supported algorithms – X11, X13, X14, X15, Quark and Qubit. This is the first and only ASIC manufacturer (to our knowledge) to offer a dedicated ASIC miner supporting multiple algorithms (though they are not that different from each other). The device is able to deliver the promised hashrate of about 150 MHS in the different supported algorithms and does it with a low power usage also as promised in the specs. Furthermore thanks to the low power consumption is it really compact and nowhere near as noisy as we are used to get from ASIC miners lately, so the Baikal Mini Miner is actually great for a home crypto currency miner.

We are going to be talking more about exact numbers as well as technical details in a future post about the Baikal Mini Miner. This post covers our initial impressions from the device after a few days of normal mining usage to confirm it is working stable and reliable and it does indeed do that. The build quality and the overall design is probably not the best out there, but it works well and apparently allows for easy stacking up of multiple devices as we’ve seen form the Baikal Quadruple Miner that essentially stacks for of these devices together. Everything about the device looks pretty impressive so far aside from the price, the device is being sold for about $500 USD or 56 DASH coins. So it seems a bit expensive, but it is not when you compare it to the competition in terms of X11 ASIC miners that are less power efficient for the hashrate they provide and end up costing you more for the same hashrate. Not to mention that they only support X11, while this one comes with support for 5 other algorithms, so it is more usable and offers support for significantly more crypto coins.

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The Baikal Mini Miner comes with its own mini computer unit similar to a Raspberry Pi that essentially controls the device, so there is no need to actually connect it to a computer for it to work. All you have to do is connect it to your Ethernet LAN network and then open up the web interface for control and monitoring of the device through a browser, the device uses DHCP to get an IP address on your network. The web interface is a modified version of Scripta mining distribution for Raspberry Pi. The default password for the web-interface is baikal and the username and password for the console login are also the same baikal and baikal respectively. You should be able to change them for security reasons of course, though be careful when you change them to note the new passwords for access.

The Scripta mining distribution works stable and really well with the Baikal Miner, it is easy to configure and monitor the device with it. There is a temperature sensor available and it is being reported by the software, though you probably will not be interested much in it as the temperature of the miner is really low. The switching between the 6 supported mining algorithms is as easy as clicking a button after you configure mining pools for each of them of course. The software supports priority based failsafe switching between pools/algorithms. What it could really use however is some sort of automation for profitability based switching between the supported mining algorithms.

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Talking about profitability we cannot forget to do some calculation on the actual profitability of using the device as this is the factor that can be decisive in you choosing to get it or not. The Baikal Mini Miner does come with support for 6 mining algorithms, though not of them are really that popular and widely used. For example X11 is quite widespread, but there are already a lot of X11 ASIC miners on the market, yet it is still often the most profitable one to mine. Other such as X14 and X15 were never that popular, so unless there are some new coins coming out using them there are probably not that much worth mining (they use more power). Mining Quark and Qubit can also do you some good profit if you manage to catch something good. So for actual profit you will probably have to go looking for new coins or for trending ones and risk a bit more and mine them.

If you decide to go the safer way and just sell your hasrate on a service such as NiceHash for example you will have a bit more stable and reliable profit in Bitcoin, but it might not be as high as if you can get by mining the right coins at the right time. Based on our experience using NiceHash with the Baikal Mini Miner we can say that you can expect to get something like 0.0034 BTC per day with the more profitable algorithms. That is like $2.08 USD a day, fortunately the power used by the device is really very little and the cost is not much, something like up to 1 kWh per day. So making let us say $2 USD per day and $60 USD per month it would take you more than 8 months to get enough to cover the cost of the miner. Not that much, but not that little time for the crypto currency world either, and that is only if the current conditions remain for the duration of the next 8 months. Of course you can also risk it and try to get more profit than using the more safer way, though in the end the result might be either better or worse. It is up to you to decide…

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Today we’ve received our Baikal Miner ASIC supporting X11, X13, X14, X15, Quark and Qubit algorithms and we can share some photos with you. Our first impressions from the device as well as results from testing and using it will be shared in the next couple of days when we get to play around with it and see how good it will work and if it manages to deliver what is being promised by the manufacturer.

The miner is pretty compact in size and is a little less than 0.5 kilograms in terms of weight. It is well packaged, the build quality is good, though a bit strange in terms of design, and since there is not much weight there should be no trouble with the package, unless of course it gets seriously damaged during transportation. Our package has arrived in good condition and there seems to be no damage to the box that the miner was delivered into.

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It is important to know that you will only get the miner itself, there is no manual, power supply or any cables along with it, so the rest you need to provide yourself. There is no need for software as you plug directly the device into your network and control it via web interface. But the power supply is important, you need an adapter capable of outputting 12V at 5A with a 2.5mm barrel size (2.1mm won’t work). You can either use a dedicated power 12V supply or go for an adapter from molex to this type of barrel connector and use a regular computer PSU. You can find an online manual and additional support here. That is it for now, stay tuned for more details very soon.


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