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Posts Tagged ‘Nvidia mining

There is a new Linux-based distribution for Ethereum (ETH) mining for Nvidia GPUs available called XMOD that you might want to check out if you are using Windows as a mining OS. XMOS fully supports Nvidia GPU including overclocking and although it might work on AMD GPUs as well, it lacks overclocking support included, so probably not the best choice for mining on AMD GPUs as you will not be able to optimize them effectively for ETH mining. Currently XMOS only supports Ethereum mining using the official ethminer (supporting both AMD and Nvidia GPUs) and there is no developer fee included. The mining distribution is based on Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS and all should fit on a single 8GB or larger USB flash drive, so you can use that directly to boot and start mining. There is no graphical interface, everything is being controlled via a terminal windows and you can SSH to the mining rig to monitor it, so this may not be very convenient for larger mining operations for monitoring and control. Still it might be interesting to check out and try, especially for people that are not much into Linux for mining and if it continues to be developed further it could turn up into an even more interesting alternative to what is already available as Linux-based mining OSes.

For more details about the XMOS Lightweight Linux-based ETH Mining OS for Nvidia GPUs..

There is some information circulating around in the last couple of days that Nvidia is making a video card specifically designed for mining as well as some speculations that AMD is doing the same as well. While are know for a fact that this is true for Nvidia, we are having some doubts about AMD doing it with all the AMD GPU shortages we are seeing lately and the news they can continue for the next few months. With the lack of AMD GPUs on the market the miners started buying Nvidia GPUs, so very soon we are most likely going to see cards such as the GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 getting harder to find on the market. Higher-end GPUs are probably going to have better availability for now, but who knows if miners will move on to these as well if there are not other options available.

We know that Nvidia is focused on gamers and not as much interested in mining and miners like AMD for example, so they do not want to have availability issues of their GPUs just like it has happened with AMD now just because of the miners. So they have apparently figured a solution to the problem – just make a GPU intended for mining and miners and sell that to miners instead of their gaming-centered products. The card that they are building is an NVIDIA Pascal GP106-100 GPU that comes with no video output connectors, passive cooler (still needs airflow for proper cooling) and much shorter warranty – just 3 months. The idea is to have a more affordable price wise option for miners that can be used only for mining (hence no video outputs) and that could make it even more interesting alternative. The crypto mining GPU from Nvidia is apparently based around the consumer GeForce GTX 1060 9Gbps model and the price should be cheaper than that of the consumer model.

The information that we are seeing about the GP106-100 mining GPUs mentions some numbers regarding mining performance, the following numbers are for 8x of these GPUs: 200 MHS for ETH, 2500 Sol/s for ZEC, 4400 H/s for XMR. These numbers translate to about 25 MHs for Ethereum, 312.5 Sol/s for ZCash and 550 H/s for Monero and only the ETH number seems surprisingly high considering what we’ve seen in our recent test of the GTX 1060 9Gbps. So while the GPU might be essentially the same as on the consumer GTX 1060, there could be some differences in the video memory… maybe 256-bit memory bus or optimized memory timings intended for better performance. With a sub $200 USD prices these mining oriented GPUs could be interesting, but the 90-day warranty period could be a bit of a setback.

We’ve left the not so great news for last. The Nvidia GP106-100 mining GPUs will not be available on the regular market to the regular users apparently, they are going to be sold only in large volume to big customers such as cloud mining companies like Genesis Mining and/or other big private mining operations. So the whole thing should not make any difference to smaller home miners as they are most likely not going to be able to get their hands on the hardware anyway. That is of course prone to changing at some point if the crypto mining business continues to grow and forms a larger part of the revenue for companies like Nvidia, so that they could actually form a separate business unit to handle it. For now however the company does not seem to think that they should change their focus from gamers and gaming and mining is more like creating issues for them than helping… something that cannot be said is the same from AMD’s point of view where the market for their Polaris-based GPUs goes mostly in the hands of miners.

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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