Posts Tagged ‘AMD 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.

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With less than two weeks left before the official launch date of the highly anticipated AMD Radeon RX 480 GPUs that are supposedly coming out on 29th of June with a recommended price tag of $199 USD people are getting anxious to get their hands on the hardware. The speculations are that the RX 480 will be doing great for mining Ethereum while also being quite power efficient and at the announced price it could be the killer ETH mining choice for multi-GPU mining rigs. So what could potentially make the Radeon RX 480 not so great choice for mining after all when the cards start hitting the market at the end of this month?

When AMD announced that the RX 480 will be priced at $199 USD everybody was surprised by the good news, yes, it is not top model GPU offering the highest performance on the market, but for the expected performance the price was great. Unfortunately with the upcoming release on the market we are hearing some not so good news that will make the RX 480 less attractive choice for mining and it is entirely related to the price point. It seems that the $199 USD price tag was indeed too good to be true, we are hearing from different sources that the actual end user prices will be more like 20-30% higher than that. Furthermore initially the availability of the new GPUs will most likely not be able to match the high demand that it is expected, so in the end it seems not very likely that will be able to get your hands on an RX 480 on 29th for $199 USD.

A few days ago AMD has also announced two lower-end Polaris-based models – the RX 470 and RX 460 GPUs that should be even more affordable and still manage to provide good performance (for gaming that is). What you should be more interested in however is the AMD Radeon RX 470 that is expected to be slightly cut down version of the RX 480 GPU, retaining the same PCB and 256-bit memory bus. So the chances that the RX 470 might be able to perform very similar in terms of performance for Ethereum mining like the RX 480 are pretty good and with the right price it might be even more attractive for crypto miners. However while AMD says that the RX 470 and RX 460 should be available at the same time the RX 480 launches, we expect that they will be a bit late with about a week or two on the market.

The focus of the RX 480 was mostly put on the Ethereum GPU mining, but we are still on the speculation phase and nobody knows for sure how much MHS the new GPUs will be able to provide. What you should also wonder however is how well these new video cards based on the 14nm AMD Polaris architecture will perform in other crypto currency algorithms and not just buy them because of possibly good Ethereum performance. With the recent issue with the DAO and the drop of ETH price this has become even more important and you should not forget that Ethereum will be mineable for probably up to a year more and then will be switching to PoS…

amd-radeon-rx-480

AMD today unveiled the first of its upcoming Polaris architecture-based Radeon RX series graphics cards – the Radeon RX 480 at a surprising price point, surprising at is it quite affordable compared to what you will have to pay for the latest generation of Nvidia Pascal GPUs. The AMD Radeon RX 480 as well as the other upcoming GPUs are all based on the 14 nm FinFET production process that the Polaris architecture utilizes. As a result what we expect to get is more performance with a lower power usage and at a more affordable price point and AMD delivers just that with the Radeon RX 480. The full specifications are not yet revealed, but we know the cards should be available on the market on June 29th with a price point of just $199 USD for the 4GB edition. The TDP rating of the new RX 480 GPUs is 150W, but we do not know all of the specifications yet, so it is hard to estimate what is the expected performance, especially for mining.

We already know that the RX 480 uses 256-bit memory bus and will come in 4GB and 8GB VRAM models, so the big question that many Ethereum miners are probably already asking is what performance can we expect from the new cards. Since Ethereum’s Dagger-Hashimoto algorithm is memory intensive one the speculated performance for Ethereum mining for the new AMD Radeon RX 480 is somewhere in between 20 and 30 MHS, hopefully around the full performance that Radeon 280x had with 1GB DAG files or around 26-27 MHS or more, but that is pure speculation for now. So we’ll have to wait and see some real numbers, but we are not going to be surprised if the lower priced RX 480 does manage to outperform the Nvidia GTX 1070/1080 at least for mining Ethereum, making the new Radeon the better solution for mining ETH. What you should not forget however is the fact that Ethereum mining is not going to last forever, sooner or later the coin will switch from PoW to PoS and you would have to switch to a different altcoin maybe with different algorithm where the RX 480 might not be the best choice…


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