Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category

It seems that Asus is upping their mining motherboard game with a successor of their Asus B250 Mining Expert Motherboard with 19 PCI-E Slots. The new mining motherboard is called Asus H370 Mining Master and comes with support for up to 20 GPUs using direct PCIe over USB connections. The presence of USB connectors directly fitted on the motherboard simplifies connectivity by letting USB riser cables plug directly into the PCB and this direct connection is sturdier than using a PCIe card, with less chance of inadvertent disconnects, and it also reduces the total number of parts in your rig.

You may notice that aside the 20 USB 3.0 connectors on the motherboard there is also a single PCI-E x16 slot, however this does not mean you are able to have a 21st GPU. The PCI-E x16 slot and the first USB 3.0 connector are labeled A01 and that share the same PCI-E lane, so you can have only one of them working with a GPU, not both at the same time.

The Asus H370 Mining Master motherboard includes a suite of diagnostic features designed to make your farm easier to diagnose and manage in case of problems. A very useful one is the GPU State Detection (available in the Asus B250 Mining Expert as well), which scans the system at boot and indicates whether each riser port is empty, connected to a functional graphics card, or experiencing problems. The updated State Detection GUI clearly identifies the location and status of each port along with the alphanumeric code that identifies it. To further streamline troubleshooting, the board will ship with matching alphanumeric labels to stick onto corresponding riser cards. You’ll be able to quickly look at the labels to find flagged GPUs instead of being forced to trace the path of cables connected to affected ports.

Asus H370 Mining Master Specifications:
– Size: ATX, 12″ x 9.1″
– Socket: LGA 1151 for Intel 8th Gen Core, Pentium, and Celeron processors
– Memory: 2 x DIMMs (max. 32GB), DDR4 2666/2400/2133MHz, Non-ECC, unbuffered memory
– Slots: 1 x PCIe x16
– Storage: 2 x Serial ATA 6Gbps
– Networking: 1 x Intel Gigabit LAN
– GPU riser ports: 20 x PCIe over USB (vertical)
– USB ports: 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 4 x USB 2.0/1.1
– Other: 1 x COM header

Efficient mining also requires a few UEFI tweaks that are consolidated in a special Mining Mode on the motherboard. The PCIe lanes are set to run at Gen 1 speeds to improve compatibility and stability with USB riser cards, the Above 4G Decoding is enabled, which is critical for supporting lots of graphics cards, and Launch CSM is disabled, which lets the motherboard and graphics UEFIs synchronize with each other. Mining Mode is activated by default, so you’re ready to go right out of the box, without having to mess around in the firmware interface… after all this is a dedicated mining motherboard and it should be ready out of the box.

Just like the predecessor B250 Mining Expert the new H370 Mining Master comes with a trio of 24-pin primary power supply connectors, so you can connect to up to three PSUs simultaneously. Each one is tied to a separate bank of riser ports, allowing you to scale up the number of GPUs gradually and add more power as needed. Some motherboards require modifications and special startup sequences to run on multiple PSUs, but the Master is tailored for the task. All that’s required is for the PCIe power connector on each graphics cards to be plugged into the same power supply as the corresponding riser port.

There is no information yet about pricing and availability of the motherboard, just that Asus plans to have it be available later this year. However Asus H370 Mining Master will be demonstrated running at full capacity in a custom mining rig being unveiled at Computex 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan from June 5-9.

We got our hands on a Bitmain Antminer X3 CryptoNight ASIC miner for a few days and have decided to give this soon-to-be or already way too expensive paperweight a quick test to see what you can expect from the device as they have been shipping for a week or two already to customers. The Antminer X3 is capable of delivering 220 KHS at 550W of power usage as per specifications and the device kind of manages to actually deliver on these numbers. The kind of part is because we’ve experienced some weird results trying to actually make the ASIC miner work properly on some popular pools and services such as NiceHash for example. When you point out the X3 to NiceHash’s CryptoNight (not CryptonightV7) stratum you get the device to connect and report extranonce support, but all you get are rejects and 0 as hashrate. So apparently the Antminer X3 does not work properly on NiceHash at the moment, even after flashing the latest available firmware that seemed a day newer than the one on the device we have tested. No go on NiceHash which seems as the best option for the moment considering that there are not that many CryptoNight coins left that offer good profit as most of the serious coins have already switched to the new ASIC-proof (for now at least) CryptoNight V7 algorithm.

Moving to a quick test on Nanopool’s Electroneum (ETN) mining pool as the next best thing after NiceHash in terms of profitability kind of worked, but not as we have expected. Here the miner connects and apparently works on the pool side, but the pool reports only about 20 KHS hashrate and not the full 220 KHS that it should. Locally the miner seems to work fine and the locally reported hashrate is also fine with a bit over 235 KHS average reported. People have reported success on some smaller ETN pools with the X3 ASIC miner, but even if you manage to make the device work properly on Electroneum you will not have a lot of time before ETH also forks and becomes unmineable with this miner.

The next thing to try was going for AntPool and Monero Classic (XMC) where with no surprise thins worked great out of the box, after all this is Bitmain’s mining pool, where they probably also test all the miners before shipping them to customers, so no surprise that it all works. The problem however is that you only get to mine XMC there and it is traded on only two exchanges according to CoinMarketCap, but at least it works and you can probably make a coin and a half to about two XMC coins per day at the moment or roughly maybe about $15-18 USD at the current rates and difficulty.

Here is how the situation looks profitability wise for the Antminer X3 ASIC miner on CryptoNight according to WhatToMine. The other possibly interesting coin to try mining with AntMiner X3 is ByteCoin (BCN) that has recently seen some boost in interest probably tied to the availability of the X3 ASIC miners in the hands of miners. So do you think that the BitMain AntMiner X3 is a soon-to-be or is already way too expensive paperweight? We definitely do not like the fact that it is not working properly on services like NiceHash or big pools like Nanopool out of the box, Bitmain should’ve had enough time to make sure possible issues have been resolved… and they can always release an update to fix problems like these while the devices are traveling to their customers. Can’t say we are happy for the short time we had with the X3 miner to give it a try and would definitely not recommend it at the moment, not that we did when they were announced either.

We already knew this was coming, but ow it is official Bitmain’s Antminer Z9 mini for the Equihash mining algorithm used by ZCash (ZEC) and quite a few other crypto currencies is going to start shipping around 20-30th of June. Bitmain is taking pre-orders for these new ASIC miners for Equihash at $1999 USD without power supply and shipping cost and they are able to deliver 10000 Sol/s at 300W, so not that much faster compared to a powerful GPU mining rig, but at lower price and power usage… similar to what the upcoming Ethash ASIC miners from Bitmain are offering at the moment. One more mining algorithm is going to slowly move towards ASIC miners apparently, though for now it will remain viable to be mined with GPUs and may as well be in the near future as well… at least for a while.

It is interesting to see what will be the reaction from different crypto coins that use the Equihash mining algorithm including, but not limited to ZCash (ZEC) as the first one to introduce the algorithm and the largest in terms of network hashrate one using it at the moment. For instance Bitcoin Gold (BTG) apparently has plans to fork in order to remain ASIC resistant or at least it seems that way from their recent tweets. There are already quite a few more Equihash crypto coins out there and there will be a discussion on ASIC miners for Equihash for sure, the other interesting and important question however is if these Antminer Z9 minis are already produced and Bitmain is “testing” them before starting to ship them out to customers at the end of next month.

More about the upcoming Bitmain Antminer Z9 mini ASIC Miner for the Equihash algorithm…