Category Archives: Mining

Asus to release mining motherboard with 19 PCIe slots

Asus has announced plans to release a motherboard aimed squarely at cryptocurrency miners. The new mainboard will be dubbed the B250 Expert Mining and features a whopping 19 PCIe slots. In addition to theoretical support for up to 19 GPUs, the board features a unique power setup and diagnostic tools designed to make troubleshooting initial setup easier. Sounds like ASRock’s H110 Pro BTC+ board will have a short reign as the top pick for rig builds looking to maximize GPU count.

Anandtech posted an preview of the upcoming board this morning; head over there for some more details and photos.

Asus hasn’t yet specified pricing or a release date, but are expected to shortly.

New AMD Vega GPUs yield disappointing mining performance out of the box

Reviews of AMD’s new Vega GPUs are starting to become available from reputable sources, and early mining test results don’t look great. Tom’s Hardware posted a first look of a Radeon RX 64 Vega (8GB) card yesterday, and only managed to hit 30.9 MH/sec on the latest version of Claymore’s miner. That’s comparable to performance of BIOS-optimized RX 4xx/5xx cards, and they draw considerably less power.

Keep in mind that these are out-of-the-box results, and no doubt higher speeds will be achieved once miners are able to experiment with clock speed and BIOS settings. But even if modders are eventually able to coax 40 MH/sec from Vega GPUs, they’ll probably never be a top-tier choice for miners, given their power consumption and high up-front cost ($599+ MSRP, although they’re currently selling for over $1,000 on Amazon).

Recent Ubuntu release causing issues with AMD 17.x drivers

Update 8/27: Reports are coming in that this issue has been resolved with the latest AMD drivers (17.30-465504).

Reader Zelda brought this advisory from AMD to my attention: it describes some serious issues with Ubuntu 16.04.3 and the latest (17.x) versions of AMD’s GPU drivers. Some of you have written in recently describing black screens after installing AMD’s drivers when following my Linux mining guide, and it looks like this is the culprit.

If you’re running into issues while trying to get your Linux-based rig up and running, make sure that you stick with 16.04.2 for now. I recommend Xubuntu 16.04.2 in my guide, and that’s safe to use—just skip the “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade” command at the end of step 3 to avoid updating to 16.04.3.

If you already have a Linux rig running AMD GPUs in operation, make sure that you hold off on OS/security updates until after this issue has been resolved! If you’ve already upgraded and are now experiencing problems, you can try downgrading your AMDGPU-PRO driver to version 16.x, although I haven’t been able to confirm that non-17.x drivers will definitely work on 16.04.3 without issues (edit 8/22: at least one reader has tested and reported that 16.x drivers result in the same black screen issues with 16.04.3).

Hopefully AMD and Canonical can work out a fix quickly.

TP-Link’s HS110 Smart Plug: the mining rig accessory you didn’t know you needed

Last weekend, I took a few days to visit with family in another state. Shortly after arriving, I noticed that I had an alert from nanopool.org indicating that my mining rig was offline. I didn’t pay much attention to it, as I’ve received a few false positives before, and my rig hadn’t crashed in nearly 90 days.

When I had time later that evening, I checked on my miner and found that it indeed hadn’t submitted any work in hours. I grabbed my laptop, logged into my miner remotely via SSH, and found that one of the GPUs had crashed—causing Claymore to hang (my guess is that my switch to dual-mining the previous week was enough to introduce some instability). No problem, a quick “sudo reboot now” at the prompt should be enough to get it running again, and I could troubleshoot the cause when I returned home in a few days.

Except my miner never came back online. Since I’d be away for three additional days, the missed mining time would cost me about $80. I needed a reliable way to remotely power cycle my rig in the event that something like this happened again in the future.

Enter the TP-Link HS110 Smart Plug. This simple device is exactly what I was looking for: a remotely-accessible power switch for my rig that I can control with my phone from anywhere. Read on for my mini review!

Dual mining with Claymore

Mine SC, DCR, LBRY, or Pascal alongside ETH with Claymore's miner!If you’ve followed my Ethereum mining guide and successfully set up your own rig, you may have noticed that the Claymore mining software we’re using supports a dual-mining mode. The premise of dual-mining sounds great: mine another altcoin alongside ETH, ostensibly for free. Sounds like an easy way to increase profitability without any downside, so shouldn’t we all take advantage?

Read on for the pros and cons of dual-mining with Claymore, and instructions to guide you through enabling it.

Global shortage of AMD GPUs due to cryptocurrency mining

If you’re looking to get your hands on an AMD RX 570/580 GPU, you’re probably out of luck—at least for the foreseeable future. News outlets (even mainstream media!) are reporting that AMD GPUs are basically sold out globally due to tremendous demand from cryptocurrency miners. If you’re able to find an AMD RX 470/480/570/580 GPU at all these days, it’ll probably be on the secondary market—where you can expect to pay double or triple retail price.

I initially recommended AMD GPUs in my mining guide because they were much cheaper than nVidia alternatives. But given current market conditions, consider nVidia GPUs if you’re building a mining rig today. A GTX 1070 GPU will roughly match the ETH mining performance of a RX 570/580, and they’re still available to buy at most retailers. Just remember that if you opt for an nVidia GPU and plan to follow my mining guide, you’ll need to install nVidia GPU drivers instead of the AMD ones that I’ve linked!

My Litecoin story, or the build vs buy question

“I have some money to invest—should I use it to build a mining rig, or should I simply buy [insert cryptocurrency of choice] directly?” That’s probably the most common question I hear from people looking to get into digital currency.

I was facing this same question when I decided to jump into Litecoin in early 2013. I’d done some casual single-GPU Bitcoin mining in prior years, but I wanted to make a more substantial investment into cryptocurrency this time around. I waffled a bit between building my own rig or simply buying LTC directly before eventually settling on mining. Read on for my reasoning, how things turned out for me, and how they would have been different had I taken the “buy” path.

ASRock to offer motherboard with support for 13 GPUs

ASRock is demoing a new mining-focused motherboard at this year’s Computex show in Taiwan (tomorrow through June 3rd). The new board is designated the H110 Pro BTC+ and features an incredible 13 PCIe slots (!). Click the image to the left for a preview.

ASRock has long been a favorite in the cryptocurrency mining community. Their 970 Extreme4 was a top pick for LTC mining a few years ago, and more recently their H81 Pro BTC is a favorite for ETH mining (if you can find one—they’re more or less sold out).

No word on when to expect retail availability other than “soon”.

Build your own Ethereum Mining Rig, part 5: FAQ

In this fifth and final installment of our Ethereum mining rig guide, I answer some common questions about setting up your own rig, profit expectations, and mining in general. If you’ve read the rest of the guide and still have some unanswered questions, you might find what you’re looking for here.

Hit the “read more” button for the FAQ!

Build your own Ethereum Mining Rig, part 4: Optimization

Same hardware: before (top) and after (bottom) GPU BIOS mods. Click to enlarge.

This fourth installment of our Ethereum mining guide will focus on optimizing your rig’s performance via GPU clock speed and voltage setting tweaks to achieve maximum efficiency.

The tweaks that I outline in this article are applicable whether you’re using Linux or Windows. If you’re using the hardware that was recommended in the first part of this guide (or very similar hardware), you should expect to achieve Ether mining performance gains of 20-25%, compared to stock settings! At the same time, you’ll reduce power consumption by 10-15% (and consequently, lower GPU temperature and fan noise).

More speed for less power—how is that possible? Click “read more” to find out, in our mining performance optimization guide!