Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

We have beeing playing for a couple of days with one of the new reference design Nvidia RTX 2060 video cards and tried how well it performs for crypto mining using various miners and mining algorithms and as expected with new GPU releases there is more to be desired, but more on that in a moment. We like the design and implementation of the whole cooling solution from Nvidia on their GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition cards, though there will be a lot of custom partner designs as well. The later should be available in a couple of days as well and start hitting the market pretty soon by the time Nvidia starts delivering FE cards in a couple of days. One thing that we don’t like very much with the latest RTX 20×0 series is the fact that the Founders Edition cards are only being sold directly by Nvidia and only available in a limited number of countries worldwide and the same goes for the RTX 2060 FE.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition is equipped with a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector (up to 150W power) plus the maximum power provided by the PCI-E slot (max 75W) which should offer enough headroom for additional overclocking over the stock 160 W TDP (100%). You can go up to 118% TDP or about 189 Watts with a tool like MSI Afterburner on the FE. We are yet to play a bit more with the overclocking capabilities of the video card’s GPU as well as the onboard GDDR6 memory, even though the memory bus on the RTX 2060 is just 192-bit the fast 14 Gbps GDDR6 video memory still manages to provide pretty high memory bandwidth. The cooling solution and the fans are doing good job at keeping the video card at below 60 degrees Celsius operating temperature even under 100% load with 160W TDP with 30 degrees ambient temperature. The cooler is well built with high-quality and durable fans, so this should ensure long lasting and problem free operation as we are used to with FE cards unless there is some factory issue or a design flaw, something that unfortunately can always happen.

In the table above you can see some of our initial tests with various miners and using some of the different algorithms they support. As expected with the GPU releases the miners are not yet optimized or may even not support the new GPU at all like in the case of Bminer that spits out an error regardless of the algorithm. Other miners tend to crash on certain of the supported algorithms when ran on the RTX 2060 with the default settings. Since it is a new GPU after a bit of time we can see additional performance boost when the new video cards hit the market and miner developers get access to them and start playing around. For now the new RTX 2060 does not seem very attractive for crypto mining, but hopefully soon it will be better supported and offer even better hashrates. Until we also see some more positive move and the crypto market starting to recover however the demand for the new RTX 20×0 series and not only for the RTX 2060 probably won’t be big for sure.

Seems like Bitmain is resorting to tactics we do not like for their Bitmain Z9 Mini ASIC miners in order to push the sales of the new bigger Antminer Z9 SIC miner, like removing the options to overclock the newer batches of the devices. The initial Z9 Mini miners had a drop-down box that allowed you to easily select the operating frequency of the miner’s chips and since the Z9 Mini do overclock pretty well and work 100% stable with 50% increase in their mining performance it is something that you should do right after you get the device out of the box. The 10 K/sol Z9 Mini at 250W of power usage at the default 500 MHz can easily do 15 K/sol when overclocked to 700 MHz without problems at 350W and maybe even more if it manages to be stable at 725 MHz or even 750 MHz, though not every unit manages to do so.

How do we overclock the new Antminer Z9 Mini miners from the web-based interface when under Miner Configuration, Advanced Settings all we see under the Frequency drop down menu is Balanced that represents the default frequency of 500 MHz? It is actually really easy as what Bitmain seems to do in order to limit the overclocking functionality was to remove the options from the HTML code of the page, so you just have to edit the source code of that page and add the options yourself in order to be able to set the clocks higher. There are number of ways you can do that, but the easiest one probably is to just edit the page code on the fly using Chrome or Firefox and Save&Apply the settings directly, so the device starts to operate at the higher frequency. What you have to do is hover the drop-down box where only Balance is available and right click on it selecting Inspect or Inspect Element. You will see that there is a commented option for Turbo set at 550 MHz as a value, you can edit this one by removing the commenting brackets at the start and end of the line or even just change the frequency of the Balance option to let us say 700 MHz. Just select the line of code and right click on it choosing Edit as HTML from the pop-up menu and do the needed changes.

When you finish editing the line you just apply the changes and you will see them active on the webpage immediately, do not worry, the change is just temporary, so that you can click on Save&Apply to get the new operating frequency saved in the miner’s config file. After the page reloads the changes you have made to the code will be gone as they are not permanently saved. Our advice is to start at 700 MHz as everything should be stable there and you might have to manually increase the cooling fan speed to have thing run cooler and stable as you overclock. Then you can try increasing the operating frequency further to 725 MHz and 750 MHz in order to see if you can squeeze some extra performance with the device remaining stable.

The Bitmain AntMiner Z9 Mini running at 700 MHz should be able to produce about 15 K/sol average hashrate without any problems and continue to run without errors 24/7, so you an get 50% performance increase with just 100W of power usage extra for free. You can guess that Bitmain doesn’t want you to have that bonus and that is why they probably have removed the option from the web interface, though again it is really easy to still overclock your miners despite that. The interesting question here is if the new bigger and more powerful AntMiner Z9 ASIC miner will be just as easy to overclock and as overclockable at the Z9 Mini, or maybe Bimain will have it overclocked already when they ship the device…

Download an older Antminer Z9 Mini firmware that works with the OC trick if your mini comes with newer locked firmware…

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.