Explainer Side Notes

A Personal Blog from Joe Rodgers

Mining Rig Update 5 - I spoke too soon

After 12 hours of running with all the cards loaded, I experienced continuous crashing and BSOD.

I troubleshooted to the best of my ability by reloaded drivers, swapping cards on PCI slots, and even botting 1 card at a time to see where the problem was originating.

After all that work, my conclusion is that my power supply (1000w Platinum) can't handle all the cards under 100% load.

On a side note, I ordered a XFX Vega 64 today.... pretty cool shit. Awesome hashrates from my research.

I am now considering my next move... is it an additional rig or scale out this one.

Also, I am not sure how the Vega card is going to play with my 1070 ti's.

We'll just have to wait and see.

My dream rig would be to have a proper frame with an all Vega build out but I don't know how I can get my hands on that many cards.

I will keep you posted.

P.S. So you're probably asking yourself what I'm doing with that extra 1070ti... I loaded it in my personal desktop and my 43" 4K TV is running games at ultra without hesitation. Not sure if i will load up Claymore to run over nite but that probably makes sense.


Mining Rig Update 4

It's been one hell of a holiday. I have not done any newsletter posts and I feel a bit guilty about that but it's not like I didn't think about cranking out posts. I did manage to pick up a few more graphics cards and after 12 hours of troubleshooting the rig, I have it running decently.

I'm seeing 178 Mh/s on Claymore Dual miner after adding thge two new GPU's.

I purchased (2) NVIDIA GTX 1070ti straight from NVIDIA's website. They set me back quite a few bucks but it's been a learning experience.

For one, the NVIDIA cards required no additional "bios flashing" out of the box. I downloaded drivers, plugged in cards, and booted and everything was recognized. I hopped in MSI afterburner and cranked up memory and BAM! I'm getting 31+ Mh/s per card.

Here's the bad part, I can't get the AMD cards back up to 30 Mh/s. I've played with every setting I can get my hands on but i get BSOD whenever I start mining.

I'll figure it out because I need to see 180 Mh/s on this rig because it's so close.
I think I want to max out this board for my next step, but I need additional risers and power supply. My frame will easily accomodate 4 additional cards but 6 will probably be pushing it. I think I'll push it to the max just to say i did it.
Cable management is not a word in this rigs vocabulary.


Mining Rig Update 3

Like a drug addict, I wanted more. Every moment I was awake my mind was on it. My dreams were filled with desire, I wanted what I did not have.

I gave in.

I went to Microcenter and got a couple more GPU! I need that Mh/s BUMP!

Monday I went picked up (2) of the MSI RX 580 8GB OC Armor. I read good things and MSI is a reputable brand. They set me back $300 per card + I bought the 2 year protection plan. I brought them home and had no problems installing the first card into my rig.

Then I added card 2. Radeon recognized it and I thought I was ready to continue mining. I fired up Claymore and was getting 19 Mh/s on the new cards. Fine I thought. After a minute or so my PC crashed.

I started questioning what I had done wrong. I only messed with basic OC in Radeon control panel, I hadn't touched the BIOS.

I restarted the rig and watched the new cards in Radeon. One of the new cards fans wasn't spinning faster than 139 RPM. This was causing the card to overheat and when that happened the rig crashed.

I called into tech support at Microcenter and after fiddling around with them we determined the card's fan motor wasn't reporting back to the chip properly. I was advised to return it.

BUMMER.

Back to Microcenter last night.

I still didn't have my fix. I wanted more power. Chris @ Microcenter pointed me towards the PowerColor Red Devil RX 580 8gb. He said they've been around a long time and will do well in my rig. So I bought two. They cost $29 higher each than the MSI Armor cards.

When I got home and unboxed the Red Devil's I was blown away at how massive and heavy these cards were. The MSI Armor cards looked like little baby farts compared to these big red giants.

They installed with ease. Both good cards, Radeon recognized them and I was getting 19 Mh/s out of the box. Not too bad.

Now something I've been wanting to do but too scared to do is flash new BIOS onto the cards. After hours of YouTubing and forum reading I downloaded the necessary SW and found .rom's that were respected in the community and flashed all my cards.

Now all my cards average 29 Mh/s. FUCKING UNREAL. This means faster time to value and I will be adding more cards to the rig on the next paycheck!

My next goal is to learn about "undervolting".It helps you significantly reduce power consumption. We have very low power costs here in TX but I still haven't received a utility bill post mining rig activity. I will keep you posted.

Here are some pics of the new cards and a screenshot of the new Claymore results.

a16z on crypto

This is one of the best explainers on crypto. No pun intended.


Building the Rig

I finally built a rig. It’s a personal goal that’s been lingering since last fall. I learned quite a lot in this process. Multi GPU setups and mining software can be challenging. Cryptocurrency is tough, this Ethereum wallet is hard to wrap your head around. But it’s been fun. I will probably pick up some more GPU’s from Microcenter over the next couple months just to fill this bad boy up. 

Here’s the unofficial order of operations for this whole thing:

Parts List:

  • ASUS 19 GPU motherboard
  • Pentium processor
  • (2) XFX RX 580 GTS Black Edition
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • 120GB SSD
  • 1000 Platinum Power Supply
  • WiFi Adapter
  • USB Boot Drive
  • Thermal Compund
  1. Went to Microcenter and purchased all components for mining rig.
  2. Got home put parts together and no boot. I googled the mobo and apparently this thing was rushed to market and there have been many complaints of the drivers. I couldn’t get this thing to boot. Here is my first big goof up, I didn’t purchase a power switch. I had an old case sitting in the corner wo I attached the power switch connectors from the case to the ASUS mobo and it still wouldn’t boot. After a couple hours I gave up, repackaged the mobo and moved on.
  3. Now that I couldn’t build my rig I was sitting here starting at my shiny new RX 580 graphics cards… so I slapped one in my desktop PC and I was off to the races. Once the HW was installed, pulling the drivers down from AMD’s website was a breeze. I setup the cryptocurrency mining software and let it do it’s thing. After tweaking the settings in the GPU management SW, I was able to mine an average of $45 USD per month in ETH. Pretty damn cool.
  4. I returned the ASUS mobo to Microcenter with no trouble and ordered an alternate mobo off Amazon. This time I opted for a more stable mining board, the ASRock H110 Pro BTC+. Definitely the best mobo name I’ve ever heard. I picked up a power switch and a DVI to VGA display adapter too.
  5. That same day, I stopped by ACE hardware to gather supplies to build a chassis. This called for 1x1 wood for the frame and a bunch of angle frame supports. I used a handsaw for the wooden pieces and let’s just say that cutting a right angle is not my strong suit. The frame got built.
  6. I began installing the components and eventually had a PC mounted in the frame. It looks like shit. I powered it up with a single GPU and guess what, it booted right into the Windows installation screen. I plugged in my key and began installation. Then it asked me where to install windows. Oops again, I forgot to install the SSD.
  7. Reboot
  8. Now I am getting black screen. Nothing is showing up. I try using the GPU for display, nope. I go back to mobo display out, nope.
  9. Power down
  10. Uninstall GPU
  11. Reboot, nothing.
  12. Reboot again. Finally Windows installer comes back and I enter key and make sure SSD is installed.
  13. Now I am in Windows. There is no wifi.
  14. Go back to desktop PC and download drivers for TPlink WiFi adapter and install them on rig.
  15. BOOM, now I have WiFi.
  16. Reboot for safe measure and now install Windows critical updates.
  17. Back to the GPU. Get a single RX 580 installed but the drivers are giving me serious heartburn. It’s not showing up in device manger. I search for a solution and can only find articles saying to pull down a legacy AMD software called Catalyst that manages old HW. It works. Now Device Manager sees the GPU.
  18. Reboot.
  19. Install Claymore mining software and fire it up.
  20. It works. I am getting 15 MH/s. I was getting 18.5 MH/s on my desktop. WTF is going on here.
  21. Go to sleep.
  22. Wake up and try to install GPU 2. It won’t show up in device manager. I am so frustrated. This is the GPU that was in my desktop so I know it works. I have Catalyst installed too and it is recognizing the other GPU. Nothing is working.
  23. Download AMD Uninstall program that wipes all AMD SW and Drivers.
  24. Start from scratch. Install AMD Relive and it works. I am prompted to update the AMD SW and do it but get errors. I try this 3 times but the update will not take. So I am stuck on the old version.
  25. Change GPU bios from Graphics mode to Compute mode, and then overclock memory and cpu.
  26. Reboot.
  27. Launch Claymore.
  28. Now I’m getting 40+ MH/s on the rig.

 

It’s ugly, cable management is nonexistent, but damnit, it’s mine and it’s running and for now, it’s generating money. So weird. Here’s a final pic too.  



Building my rig, but there's a delay


I bought all the components yesterday, built it last night, and the fucker wouldn't boot. I spoke with Microcenter tech support and we think it's the motherboard. 

It's the Asus B250 Expert Mining board. 

It has 19 slots for GPU which is bonkers. 

I am returning it and have an Asrock H110 Pro BTC+ on the way from Amazon. Next Wednesday is delivery so I'm tabling the project until then. 

I don't have a chassis for the components so this delay will give me time to build it. 

Mining

Still not convinced my GTX960 is going to change the world but it’s still cool to see it cranking on algorithms.

 

Nice hash is by far the easiest way to get mining on your own PC but it has some drawbacks that I’m learning about. For one, you can’t withdraw your earnings until you reach a minimum contribution. For me, I will have to mine until late spring in order to make a withdrawal to my personal BTC wallet.

 

I’ve been researching ETH components for a personal rig but I am scared of this thing called POS, not piece of shit but Proof of Stake. This means average crypto miners will not be able to participate in ETH mining. I am trying to understand when this will happen and if an ETH rig can be repurposed for other coins.

 

There’s so much to know.

 

I got a couples wallets installed last weekend which was a long task and I’m waiting on a commission check to go to Microcenter to buy components for a rig.

 

I’ll keep you posted.

 

Also, here is a screengrab from Nice Hash. It is such a “cute” interface.

 

I ran a BTC miner all night and got 36 cents.

I setup a BTC wallet online and installed Awesome Miner to my PC. It cranked on algorithms all night and tells me ill make $.90 by end of day. I'm not sure how I feel about all this. Part of me wants take my next commission check and build a rig but another part of me, the more sensible part, wants to just buy crypto and hold it. What's with my fascination of mining? Is it the inner geek? Is it the greedy speculator? Is the romantic that wants to be part of something bigger? I think it a little bit of all the above. I'll keep you posted. If I build a rig, I'll post updates.