GameFlip

Posts Tagged ‘KnCMiner Titan

knc-titan-water-cooling-1

After our not so successful experiments in trying to use immersion cooling with mineral oil for the KnCMiner Titan Scrypt ASIC we have moved to trying out different things to make the device run cooler and silent. The obvious next step would be to use water cooling and the options for this are many, so we have decided to start by trying with a pre-filled closed loop All-In-One solution that is ready to be installed just to test out things. We were pleasantly surprised that KNC has decided to use standard mounting holes for 115x Intel sockets on the PCB of the device, so the installation for a water cooling solution designed to support these sockets should not be a problem. The water cooler should be capable of dissipating about 300 Watts of power coming from the Titan ASIC chip (actually four chips in a single package). We have opted out to start with a Silverstone Tundra TD02-SLIM AIO water cooler – dual 120mm slim radiator with two silent slim fans and the results we got with it cooling the ASIC were very good. Using a larger radiator and slightly more powerful fans can help you get even better results temperature wise and still have silent operation, even thicker single 120/140mm radiators could be able to handle things well enough.

knc-titan-water-cooling-2

Whatever water cooling solution you go for you need to make sure that the top of the water cooling block is clear, so hat you can place a cooling fan on top of it. The actual problem with the Titan Scrypt ASICs is not the main chip(s), but the DCDC power modules that provide the ASIC with the needed power. The design that KNC has chosen makes it hard to cool them properly and their solution that uses very thick thermal pads is not great either. So if going for water cooling installing the water block is the easy part, keeping the power modules cool is the hard one. In fact you can cool them by just placing a powerful 120/140mm fan on top of the whole thing to blow cold air directly over them…

knc-titan-water-cooling-3

Our test with a 140mm Noctua NF-A14 iPPC-3000 PWM fan for cooling the DCDC power modules proved a success in keeping acceptable temperatures, but not in keeping the device silent. The idea to use water cooling instead of the standard water cooling is to make it run cooler and more silent. So the solution would be to do a custom set of heatsinks to fit on the DCDC power modules and have a silent fan blowing on top of them in order to make the cooling efficient and silent enough. Reusing the stock air cooling plate wit the thick thermal pads that the miner comes with will not do well, but it can give you some ideas, just make sure you use thin thermal pads or a thin layer of thermal grease. The end result will be totally worth it in making the KNC Titan run silent and effective especially for home miners with the summer heat not too far away.

kncminer-titan-scrypt-asic-miner

The KnCminer Titan Scrypt ASIC is still probably the fastest and most power efficient miner for Scrypt coins out there, but at the same time it is also one of the most problematic one to use and run. There are hardware issues resulting in dying cores and problems with the DCDC power modules, the software is also far from perfect, even though there are modifications over the last official firmware such as GenTarkin’s Custom KNC Titan Scrypt ASIC Firmware, there is still more to be desired. One of the things that is quite annoying is that the Load Balance pool strategy in the official Firmware 2.0 for the Titan is not working, so you are essentially left only with the Failover option.

Even if you run just one Titan cube you are still getting quite significant hashrate and while this is fine if you are mining for high-difficulty coins such as Litecoin for example, it is not for low difficulty coins that may have just a couple of MHS total network hashrate. Throwing your full KnC Titan hashrate at a coin with low difficulty and total network hashrate will simply increase the difficulty in very short period of time (depending on the difficulty adjustment algorithm of the coin) making it pointless to be mined. What you would want to have for low difficulty Scrypt crypto coins is to be able to split your Titan hashrate between multiple cons on a single multipool or between multiple mining pools in order to maximize your mining profit without bumping the difficulty to a level making it unprofitable for a given coin to be mined.

gentarkin-balance-pool-strategy

GenTarkin’s custom firmware has implemented support for the alternative Balance strategy in the web interface, though it is essentially something supported by the bfgminer as an alternative to the Load Balance pool strategy. Considering that the Load Balance strategy is not working properly and you cannot dedicate lets say 10% to one coin, 30% for another and the remaining 60% to a third one, you might at least try the equal spreading of hshrate that the Balance strategy should provide. The Balance strategy should split the hashrate in equal parts between the multiple defined pools, so if you have 4 pools the total KnC Titan hashrate should be equally split between them with about 25% for each. The Balance pool strategy works just fine not only on the custom GenTarkin firmware, but also on the stock Titan 2.0 firmware as both rely on the bfgminer 5.1.0 and the miner provides the actual functionality, you just need to configure it.

{
"pools": [
{
"url": "hash-to-coins.com:4444",
"user": "titan.1",
"pass": "d=512"
},
{
"url": "hash-to-coins.com:4444",
"user": "titan.2",
"pass": "d=512"
},
{
"url": "hash-to-coins.com:4444",
"user": "titan.3",
"pass": "d=512"
},
{
"url": "hash-to-coins.com:4444",
"user": "titan.4",
"pass": "d=512"
}
],
"scrypt-n": 10,
"balance": true
}

With the stock firmware you will have to go to the Manual edit mode and edit the pool configuration file by hand, what you need to essentially do is add the option "balance": true at the end of the configuration file to tell bfgminer to use the Balance pool strategy. Above is an example configuration file with four different coins and Balance pool strategy that should equally split the total hashrate to about 25% for each of the coins. GenTakin’s latest custom firmware adds support for the Balance strategy in the Normal edit mode as well, making it a bit easier for users, but the end result is the same. As we have said already, the Balance pool strategy will work just fine with the latest official Titan 2.0 firmware, so you can try it even without a modified firmware. However custom firmwares such as GenTarkin’s add a lot of other and more useful features than just making some of the things that do not work properly in the official firmware more user friendly.

kncminion-ui-for-titan

Peter af Geijerstam, a developer who specializes in computer security, has released what he calls a pimped UI for the KnCMiner Titan ASIC, called KnCMinion, as an alternative to the standard old-fashioned user-interface of the device. His more up to date interface does not replace the original Titan UI, just adds a more modern and beautiful UI with the more important information available in a graphical form, not just plain text.

The KnCMinion interface is located in a subdirectory (/kncminion) and is designed to provide a bit more information in a graphical form to the user. It creates client-side graphs of historical values as long as the page is open – it will start empty each time, as no data is stored on the Titan miner. KncMinion is built using CoffeeScript, AngularJS, D3.js, Bootstrap and jQuery and should adapt easily to different resolutions and devices such as a smaller resolution mobile phone. The top graph is the total hashrate in MHS for the miner, the smaller graphs below represent the hash-rate of each individual die for every cube on the Titan (4 dies per cube) with each graph displaying the min/max and current value for the selected duration.

What is interesting is the way that the KnCMinion interface is being installed on the miner, Peter has found out that he can easily package it as an firmware update and send it to the device. The KnCMinion does not modify any of the existing files, it only adds new files to the web-server that are needed for the proper functionality of the UI, however he expresses his concerns that this can pose a security problem. Someone may package a malicious code and trick people to install it as software update and gain access to their mining device.

For more information and to download the KnCMinion UI for the Titan Scrypt ASIC…


top