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Posts Tagged ‘AMD GPU Mining

With the recent craze with the price of Bitcoin as well as many altcoins rising up there is a huge wave of new GPU mining rigs as well as new crypto miners getting into the game. We already know that there are shortages of the very popular AsRock H81 Pro BTC motherboard for 6x GPUs for a couple of months now, but even more recent and more expensive motherboards with 150 and 250 series of Intel chipsets that support up to six video cards are also disappearing from the market. Next are probably the high-end gaming motherboards with 6x PCI-E slots that will work with six video cards if the trend continues. The Pro BTC motherboard from AsRock is hugely popular as it was designed for GPU mining and works out of the box, for other motherboards you need to usually do some tweaking of the settings and not all models have the right settings available in the BIOS or may have some specific issues. Another serious advantage of the Pro BTC series is the price, no extras not needed for mining means lower price point, though at the moment the demand and speculation has risen the price of these boards as well (if you manage to find one).

It is quite interesting why when there are shortages of H81 Pro BTC motherboards AsRock still hasn’t found a solution such as releasing a version of their mining motherboard with more up to date Intel chipset such as B150 or B250 for example. It seems that the competition is also trying to take advantage of the situation and grab some of the market that was up until recently dominated by AsRock. Such an example is the recent release of the Biostar TB250-BTC motherboard. The problem with Biostar however is that the brand has a much limited distribution when compared to AsRock and thus is harder to find, not to mention impossible for many markets around the world, so this is actually not a solution to the problem.

AMD’s new Ryzen motherboards are showing some potential for possible use for GPU mining rigs, however there is one serious issues with that platform using the new AM4 CPU socket and that is the lack of cheap low-end processors. That is precisely why Intel is the preferred platform for GPU mining – cheap Celeron processors that do the job well and not so expensive motherboards, though with the lack of AsRock H81 Pro BTC boards the expenses for a motherboard have risen as well. Maybe when AMD introduces lower-end Ryzen APUs things might get more interesting for the miners as well, especially if things with the availability of cheaper Intel motherboards that work for six video cards do not improve meanwhile. Even the cheapest AMD Ryzen 5 CPU at the moment, namely the 4-core/8-threads AMD Ryzen 5 1400 is too expensive for miners when compared with Intel Celeron G1820/G1840 for Socket 1150 or Intel Celeron G3920 for 1151 for example.

With the switch from Radeon RX 400 series of GPUs to the new (rebranded) RX 500 series AMD has also gotten into a bit of trouble with the increased demand from miners. The older RX 400 series of video cards are quickly disappearing and there may not be enough RX 500 series on some markets to cover the demand until the company manages to deliver steady supply everywhere. As a result we have seen some markets that end up with higher priced RX 500 series of GPUs when compared to their RX 400 counterparts when there is actually not much of a difference. Smaller markets are also experiencing serious shortage of video cards due to the increase in demand. Nvidia on the other hand has plenty of GPUs available, however miners are not that much into mining with Nvidia-based video cards due to the higher price, even though they generally are more powerful and use less power in most algorithms. The higher price of Nvidia GPUs combined with the not so great Ethereum (Ethash) mining performance however is driving the demand for AMD GPUs and the recent spike in ETH price has made things even worse in terms of Radeon GPUs availability. Guess we’ll have to wait and see how things will go, but if the price of crypto currencies continues to rise like it has been recently things may get even worse.

amd-fiji-fury-gpu-hbm

There is already a lot of speculation about the new AMD GPUs that are supposed to be announced in the next week or so and among all of the unofficial information there is probably a lot that will end up being the truth. So far it seems that apart from the new high-end Fiji GPUs that will use High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) all others will be a refresh of the currently available generation with maybe a bit more shaders or a bit wider memory bus, so you should probably not expect too much out of the net 300 series. The big question is about what level of performance the new AMD Fury video cards based on the Fiji GPU with HBM will be offering. AMD has been hinting that they are targeting a level of performance comparable to that of Nvidia Titan X, but it is not only abut performance, but also about power usage when talking about crypto currency mining and then there is also the cost of the video card. So if the Fiju GPUs that are to be used in the AMD Fury video cards are able to achieve similar performance with a bit higher power usage, but at a significantly better price they may end up be quite interesting. Especially if they do come with a water cooling solution already installed on them, ensuring cool and silent operation – perfect for GPU mining.

However we doubt that the price will be much lower than that of a Titan X and that will make it a bit too expensive for use for crypto mining, just like is the case with the Titan. On the other hand Nvidia has recently released the more affordable and slightly stripped down version of the Titan X in the form of GTX 980 Ti. The good news based on our initial testing was that the GTX 980 Ti was offering a performance very close to that of the Titan X at a much better price making it the more interesting choice for crypto currency mining, especially if you get the card as a gaming / crypto mining solution (mining while not using it for gaming). There is also already some talk that AMD will have two models based on their new Fiji GPU with HBM memory available, so the possibility to get one that will compete with GTX 980 Ti and one that will compete with the Titan X is actually quite high. Based on past experience with AMD GPU mining however it may take some time and maybe some tweaks to optimize the existing OpenCL miners to take full advantage of the new GPUs (not the refresh models). That is especially true considering that the open source miner development for AMD GPUs hasn’t been that active lately, unlike the developers of open source miners for Nvidia GPUs that are doing great job in optimizing and fixing issues constantly. Hopefully the new releases from AMD will finally spark some recovery in the AMD GPU mining ecosystem, well we are going to see pretty soon…

nicehash-control-tool-111

We have updated our NiceHash Control tool package with sgminer for use with AMD Radeon R9 280X or 7970 GPUs to the latest NiceHash Control version 1.1.1 that adds up some new useful features. The idea for this tool is to sell your hashrate at the NiceHash service making the highest possible profit by switching to the most profitable mining algorithm all the time. Our ready to use package supports the X11, X13, X15 and NIST5 algorithms as we consider that these are currently the most profitable ones as well as the ones that will use less power and generate less heat. The update available here also introduces backup pools for each algorithm, so that when NiceHash is down you will move to the TradeMyBit pool as a backup (you need a registration there and to setup the backup pool’s user and password to your own).

What you need to do in order to use our AMD Radeon 280X mining pack is to edit the config file and set your BTC address, edit the backup pool settings in the MINERS.bat file and then just start the AUTOSTART.BAT file to fire up the software. What is left is to monitor your earnings on the NiceHash website, and you can check the log.txt file for information what algorithm was switched to and when. This version of the package does take advantage of the failover pool feature that sgminer supports, something that is still not available in the ccMiner for Nvidia, where we have to use a workaround to provide a backup pool support. If you like this tool and our AMD Radeon 280X mining pack based around it, don’t forget to send a tip to the author of the NiceHash Control software. Another important note, make sure to use the latest AMD beta video drivers in order to maximize your hashrate.

To download the NiceHash Control 1.1.1 Radeon 280X ready to use pack for Windows…


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