Posts Tagged ‘Gigabyte mining

It seems that Gigabyte is getting more serious in trying to get more of the mining market share for motherboards after they have left AsRock to dominate the mining motherboard market for a long time. They even lost positions to their main competitor – Asus and many other smaller manufacturers that entered the mining market. Gigabyte has been trying to get back on track with the last year’s release of the affordable Gigabyte GA-H110-D3A 6x PCI-E GPU Mining Motherboard and now it seems the company is also targeting the market for more than 6/8/9 GPUs on a single motherboard as well with their new Gigabyte GA-B250-FinTech motherboard for up to 12 video cards.

The new mining motherboard is based on the Intel B250 Express Chipset and is meant for use with Intel LGA1151 processors and DDR4 system memory. It comes with DSUB and DVI video outputs for the built in Intel graphics inside the CPU and there are two extra onboard 4-pin Molex power connectors for use if you don’t rely on powered PCI-E risers (not a very wise idea for 12 video cards), so you may skip them and just stick with powered risers. The rest is pretty standard configuration, though we should note that the motherboard does not seem to have an M.2 slot, so no option for extra 13th GPU or the ability to use an M.2 SSD drive and cut on extra cables.

The key selling point for Gigabyte with their GA-B250-FinTech 12x PCI-E mining motherboard is the cost savings you get when you use 12 video cards on a single board compared to two rigs with 6 cards each. While this is true, it is also worthwhile noting that 12 GPU mining rigs are larger and harder to maintain and support in case of trouble such as failed cheap Gigabyte Windforce fans for example.

Gigabyte is providing the so called Mining Kit with the GA-B250-FinTech motherboard that consists of a Front Panel Switch Card that comes with Power and Reset buttons. While this seems usable and convenient, it is actually not that functional as the board plugs into the Front Panel connector on the motherboard, so it will most likely still end under a GPU or near a PSU and it will not be very convenient for use. Getting a power button or even a power and reset button would be useful if they are with a decent length cable and you get the ability to position the button(s) in a convenient position on your rig. There are number of different mining rig designs, so adding useful flexibility with a power and/or reset buttons might be really useful, but not that much in the case of the Gigabyte Front Panel Switch Card. Sometimes one would think that these companies just don’t know what they are doing with their products, but then again they can always ask for help and support some miners to give them advice on what and how to do.

The other piece of hardware, if we can call it like that, that you get with the mining motherboard as a part of the Mining Kit is the 3-in-1 PSU Power-On Adapter. It is essentially a cable that allows you to power on one or two extra PSUs as soon as the main power supply turns on and this one is actually useful to have, especially if you build 12x GPU mining rig as you will most likely need more connectors than a single or even two power supplies can provide (depending on the GPUs you are using of course). So good job on this one Gigabyte, but you still might want to rethink the idea you have for the front panel switch card or actually make it more useful and functional for a wider number of users.

The last probably useful feature in the new Gigabyte GA-B250-FinTech motherboard for miners is the Mining Mode in the BIOS. A setting that should in theory make it easier for miners to setup the motherboard for use in mining rigs without having trouble when using more video cards, up to 12, though you can still use this motherboard with a smaller number of GPUs as well. The Mining Mode in BIOS has been available for a while on some Gigabyte motherboards that were not designed especially as mining motherboards, but have been proven to work well as such, so it is nothing that new anyway. People that have used Gigabyte motherboards for building mining rigs are probably already familiar with using that mode in the BIOS.

For more details about the Gigabyte GA-B250-FinTech 12x PCI-E Mining Motherboard…

The chances are not many of you have heard about the Gigabyte GA-H110-D3A motherboard that is intended for 6x GPU mining rigs and the reason for that is probably the fact that Gigabyte hasn’t been promoting this product much as a mining motherboard. Gigabyte is a bit late on the GPU mining front with a motherboard designed for mining rigs with the GA-H110-D3A, even though the motherboard comes with up to date specs. That however does not mean that the company hasn’t been offering other higher-end products that are good to go for use for crypto mining, there are quite a few of these already and we have been using some of the models ourselves. The GA-H110-D3A however is still new for us and we are going to be giving it a try and sharing our experience with the motherboard pretty soon anyway.

The key thing about the Gigabyte GA-H110-D3A is that it comes at an attractive price and has all the features you need in order to build a regular GPU mining rig with 6x video cards. It is a basic motherboard with 6x PCI-E slots (single x16 and five x1 slots) that needs to be durable and reliable and be cost effective, so no shiny extras that you won’t be needing anyway for mining. The motherboard comes with a M.2 slot allowing you to use SSD in that format and save some extra space and cabling, especially power cables as they may be a problem in some situations. There are also a couple of things to make the product more attractive marketing wise, though you probably won’t benefit much from them such as USB 3.1 Gen1 support, high quality onboard audio design or a Realtek Gigabit LAN with cFosSpeed internet accelerator software. Some of the extra features might be actually helpful however such as Humidity Protection Glass Fabric PCB, High ESD Ethernet & USB Port Protection or High Temperature Protection Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs Design as often mining rigs are not working in the best possible conditions.

Gigabyte has an interesting microsite for mining that is centered on the H110-D3A motherboard, but also has some more useful information for other of the company’s products that can be used for mining. The most interesting part is probably the table listing 12 different Gigabyte motherboards with information on what BIOS version to use for mining and how many GPUs can be used on the specific model. Do note that there are some motherboards that do require the use of additional M.2 to PCI-E adapter in order to reach the listed number of GPUs. For example the Z170-Gaming K3 is one of the board that we have used a lot for 6x GPU mining that did not have support for more than six video cards up until BIOS F22, but now Gigabyte seems to be saying that it will work with F23a using an additional M.2 to PCI-E adapter (something we need to test). There are even some motherboards for up to 9x GPUs with dual M.2 adapters like the Z170X-Gaming 5 and Z170X-Gaming 6, though you might actually have a problem using all 9 under Windows for example.

Here is the Gigabyte microsite with some information and tips regarding mining motherboards…

Yesterday we have shared our First Impressions from the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU Built for Crypto Mining and today we are going to talk a bit more about actually mining with the GPU and what to expect from it in terms of hashrate. You probably are already read that we were not that happy with the hardware implementation around the Nvidia GP106-100 GPU that Gigabyte did with this particular model. There are however a few more things that need to be noted before we move to the performance numbers…

Since the GP106-100 GPU is intended only for mining and although based on the consumer GTX 1060 it is a different product the latest official Nvidia Graphics Driver 384.76 for GeForce GPUs does not have support for the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G. Things get even weirder when you go to Gigabyte’s website and you do not find a product page for that particular model, nor a support page with the drivers you need to install. There is no driver CD included in the package either, so you just go to Asus’ website and download the driver for their GP106-100 implementation and it works just fine.

Since the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU does not have any external video outputs you will need to use it along with motherboard that has a built-in Intel GPU support (or maybe even AMD APU). You still need to be able to install the OS and configure things some way, after that you can use remote administration of some kind to control and monitor things, so not that big of an issue. There are however some motherboards that can be used for mining with 6 GPUs, however you cannot get 6x GP106-100 GPUs on them along with the built-in graphics working, so you need to be careful about that as well.

Here are the specifications for the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU according to GPU-Z. The stock settings do not seem much different than the ones of a regular GeForce GTX 1060 6GB model and performance wise there should be not that much of a difference either. That is as far as the stock settings go, but one would still hope that labeling this a mining GPU would still bring some extra benefits not only in terms of properly designed hardware for the miner’s needs, but also improvements such as better memory timings for mining for example. Unfortunately that was not the case for Gigabyte’s product in either of the two – the hardware design and the memory optimizations…

The mining performance for ZCash (ZEC) and other Equihash-based mining algorithms is pretty much the same as on a regular GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GPUs. You can expect to get around 300 Sol/s using the popular EWBF ZEC CUDA miner and overclocking the video memory does not help much in improving the hashrate, though playing with the frequencies can squeeze a bit more extra performance. Clearly while not bad in terms of performance these Nvidia mining GPUs are not intended to be sued for ZEC mining as much as for other crypto currencies.

When talking about other crypto currencies we actually mean that the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU and more specifically the whole Nvidia GP106-100 product is targeted at Ethereum (ETH) miners. Using the latest Claymore ETH dual miner we managed to squeeze just about 20.9 MHS mining Ethereum with the card and unfortunately that is not very satisfying result. Still this is just the default result at stock settings, things get more interesting when you start tweaking things a bit.

Overclocking the Samsung GDDR5 video memory has produced some surprisingly good results. We have managed to squeeze +900 MHz extra form the video memory using Afterburner and the card remained stable for mining. The result was a performance of about 26 MHS at stock TDP of 120W. Lowering down the TDP to 65% or with just about 80W per GPU the result was still about 25.9 MHS, so things started looking pretty good. So clearly Nvidia is targeting the product at Ethereum miners where with some overclocking it can provide really good performance results in terms of hashrate and power consumption.

The big question here is if the slightly lower price of the Nvidia GP106-100 GPUs like this one on the retail market is worth for small home miners. Originally these were intended for large scale mining operations where the prices are probably more attractive when you are talking about hundreds and thousands units. If you are able to get similar results in terms of performance from a regular GTX 1060 GPU with full warranty, video output connectors and no other cost cutting at a slightly higher price then things are may not be looking that good for Nvidia GP106-100. Though in our experience most GTX 1060 6GB models with 8 GHz video memory max out at about 24 MHS with overclocking on Ethereum. So it is up to you to decide if it is worth it, but again we are not too happy with Gigabyte’s solution to the mining problem. Their NP106D5-6G GPU is essentially a stripped down model of a consumer product to make it cheaper, not to make it better or more useful for crypto miners.