All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
The new AMD Radeon RX 470 GPUs are supposed to start hitting the market in a few days and since their bigger brother – the RX 480 has turned out to be a good choice for Ethereum mining, although it did not perform that good in other algorithms, people are interested in how well the RX 470 does. We got a tip from a reader that apparently has an RX 470 8GB video card in his hands already and along with the information that was sent there was also a screenshot included to show the Ethereum mining performance he is getting.
The hashrate at stock settings for the GPU shows 24.5-24.6 MHS mining with Claymore’s Dual Miner (only for ETH) and this is pretty much what the Radeon RX 480 does with the default settings. So it seems that the slightly lower number of Stream Processors in the RX 470 did not result is drop of hashrate at least for mining Ethereum (ETH) as it is a more memory intensive algorithm, do note however that it should affect performance in other more GPU-intensive algorithms. Unfortunately we don’t yet have any information regarding the performance of the RX 470 in other algorithms, but we should in a couple of days when we manage to get our hands on the new AMD video cards.
Do note however that there is a catch in this result being the same as on Radeon RX 480, the reason for the same Ethereum mining hashrate hides in the video memory. As we mentioned the results shown on the screenshot are from an 8 GB model of RX 480 that apparently has the video memory running at 8 GHz (the same as on RX 480 8GB models), so the same performance is to be expected. There will however be AMD Radeon RX 470 GPUs with 4GB of video memory where the operating frequency could vary between 6.6 GHz and 7 GHz and these should have lower performance for Ethereum. The expected hashrate in mining Ethereum is more like around 20 MHS for the 6.6 GHz video memory and about 21 MHS for the 7 GHz models.
So should you buy RX 470 8GB models with 8 GHz memory instead of RX 480 8GB models with 8 GHZ video memory if you are interested in mining Ethereum, Ethereum Classic or another crypto currency that uses ethash-based algorithm? Don’t be in a hurry to do so, because while most RX 480 cards with 8 GHz video memory could easily hit 8.8 GHz or 9 GHz with overclock it is highly likely that the RX 470 cards could be more limited in their overclock capabilities. Another thing to note is the price difference between the RX 470 and RX 480 for the 8GB models with 8 GHz video memory, if it is not big enough the 480 could remain the better choice.
We have already covered the performance of the new AMD Radeon RX 480 GPUs for mining Ethereum, so it is time to see how the GPU performs with other popular algorithms. We have already mentioned that the RX 480 apparently has some issues running sgminer (at least under Windows), so we were not able to run tests with many of the currently popular algorithms, but it seems that many people missed that part. The good news is that there is now an updated version of the NiceHash Miner that apparently adds support for GTX 1070/1080 and RX 480. So we have downloaded it and ran the built in benchmark and you can see the results above as well as the fact that some algorithms still have issues apparently hence the 0 MHS results, but it is much better than before. We have noticed that the sgminer that is being packaged and used for RX 480 now has some pre-built binaries for Ellesmere (RX 480) included. So even if you are not planning on using the NiceHash Miner on Windows, you still might get the sgminer-5-4-0-general from the bin folder and use it on Radeon RX 480.
Here is a chart comparing the performance of a reference design AMD Radeon RX 480 from ASUS in the other algorithms apart from Ethereum to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, namely a Gigabyte WindForce OC model and a reference design Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 from ASUS. The benchmark did not produce results for NeoScrypt, WhirlpoolX and Blake256r14 as you can see, so it seems that some algorithms may still have issues running on RX 480. Also do note that the RX 480 has been around for just a few days, so there have not been any specific optimizations for the new Polaris architecture that it uses and further performance increases might be possible. The X11 Evo algorithm is not yet supported by the sgminer for of NiceHash, so there are no results as the dedicated miner is having trouble runnign on the RX 480 on Windows (we have not yet tried Linux).
The pleasant surprises are in Blakecoin and the X-based algorithms where the result of the RX 480 beats with a bit what the GTX 970 manages to provide in terms of hashrate. Unfortunately in the others the GTX 970 turns out faster than the RX 480 for the moment and the AMD card can definitely use some improvements in algorithms such as Lyra2REv2 and Quark for example. The GTX 1070 however manages to provide a significantly higher hashrate compared to the RX 480 and with a lower power usage than the AMD card. Again the RX 480 could get some tweaks and fixes and it definitely needs some and will most likely manage to catch up to the GTX 970, but reaching the GTX 1070 is probably too much to expect.
We should not forget that the GTX 1070 is a significantly more expensive GPU than what the AMD Radeon RX 480 sells for, but still we did not expect doubled or almost doubled hashrate provided by the GTX 1070 in most algorithms. It seems that the benchmark results we get for crypto mining and the ones when using the RX 480 for gaming are pretty much the same (apart from memory intensive mining algos such as Ethereum) where the new AMD card manages to be on par or a bit faster than a GTX 970 in some of the cases.
If you have checked our publication Testing the AMD Radeon RX 480 for Ethereum Mining you should already know that at the moment you are a bit limited in your capabilities of reducing the power usage of the new RX 480 GPUs. The pretty much only way to lower the power usage for mining Ethereum with Radeon RX 480 is to use the Power Target reducing it below the 100% value (150W TDP) and thus forcing the GPU to lower its operating voltage and frequency in order to still fit in the allowed TDP. Using a lower operating frequency and voltage for the GPU with the power limiter set at the right value should lower the power consumption, but not change the performance you get while mining Ethereum. Further lowering it below that optimum spot and you will start seeing a drop in mining performance, so our goal here was to find the sweet spot where the hashrate will not be affected.
We have started with the default settings of the RX 480 for both the GPU (1266 MHz) and the VRAM (8000 MHz) and started lowering the Power Target slider until we have reached the 83% – the value at which the power is getting reduced, but the hashrate remains the same. Going below 83% percent of the 150W TDP started lowering the hashrate below the regular value at 100% power. The result was 149 Watt drawn at the wall, taking in consideration the PSU power efficiency that should be about 130W actual power usage. This is down from 177W at the wall with default settings with pretty much the hashrate unaffected and the temperature also went down from 68 to about 60 degrees Celsius.
Repeating the same procedure as above, but with the video memory set at 9000 MHz and the Power Target set a bit higher at 85% we saw a very slight decrease in performance with just about 5W extra power usage at the wall (155W). The performance we got with this setting was about 27.8-27.9 MHS and the operating temperature was down from about 72 degrees to about 63 degrees Celsius, so definitely a good improvement. For the moment the only way to reduce the power usage without a drop in performance is by lowering the TDP limit under the default value of 100% and you can easily reduce the power consumption with something like 30 Watt at the wall (if using 80 Plus Gold PSU). You can experiment by further reducing the power target slider under these recommended values, however with the additional power savings you should also start noticing reduction of the hashrate you are getting. Still if you are looking for optimal efficiency you might try going lower and if you already have Radeon RX 480 and use it for Ethereum mining you are welcome to share your settings in the comments below.