There has been a lot of news lately about the release of Cryptocurrency-specific graphics cards from both NVIDIA and AMD add-in board partners. While we covered the currently cryptomining phenomenon in an earlier article, today we are taking a look at one of these cards geared towards miners.
It's worth noting that I purchased this card myself from Newegg, and neither AMD or Sapphire are involved in this article. I saw this card pop up on Newegg a few days ago, and my curiosity got the best of me.
There has been a lot of speculation, and little official information from vendors about what these mining cards will actually entail.
From the outward appearance, it is virtually impossible to distinguish this "new" RX 470 from the previous Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470, besides the lack of additional display outputs beyond the DVI connection. Even the branding and labels on the card identify it as a Nitro+ RX 470.
In order to test the hashing rates of this GPU, we are using Claymore's Dual Miner Version 9.6 (mining Ethereum only) against a reference design RX 470, also from Sapphire.
On the reference RX 470 out of the box, we hit rates of about 21.8 MH/s while mining Ethereum.
Once we moved to the Sapphire mining card, we move up to at least 24 MH/s from the start.
Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2017 - 11:06 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: video, Vega FE, thermalright, Spirit 140, Samsung, radeon, prorender, podcast, mining, mini ITX, microcode, logitech, GTX USB, gigabyte, galaxy s8+, G433, amd, AM4
PC Perspective Podcast #456 - 06/28/17
Join us for talk about Radeon Vega FE, Intel SSD 545S, GTX USB, Mining Specifc Cards, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Jeremy: Cheap drone with 720p video
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 26, 2017 - 11:29 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, nicehash, mining, gp106-100, gp104-100, cryptocurrency
In addion to the AMD-based mining graphics cards based on the RX 470 Polaris silicon that have appeared online, NVIDIA and its partners are launching cryptocurrency mining cards based on GP106 and GP104 GPUs. Devoid of any GeForce or GTX branding, these cost controlled cards focused on mining lack the usual array of display outputs and have much shorter warranties (rumors point at a 3 month warranty restriction imposed by NVIDIA). So far Asus, Colorful, EVGA, Inno3D, MSI, and Zotac "P106-100" cards based on GP106 (GTX 1060 equivalent) silicon have been spotted online with Manli and Palit reportedly also working on cards. Many of these manufacturers are also also planning "P104-100" cards based on GP104 or the GTX 1070 though much less information is available at the moment. Pricing is still up in the air but pre-orders are starting to pop up overseas so release dates and prices will hopefully become official soon.
These mining oriented cards appear to be equipped with heatsinks similar to their gaming oriented siblings, but have fans rated for 24/7 operation. Further, while the cards can be overclocked they are clocked out of the box at reference clock speeds and allegedly have bolstered power delivery hardware to keep the cards mining smoothly under 24/7 operation. The majority of cards from NVIDIA partners lack any display outputs (the Colorful card has a single DVI out) which helps a bit with ventilation by leaving both slots vented. These cards are intended to be run in headless system or with systems that also have graphics integrated into the CPU (miners not wanting to waste a PCI-E slot!).
|Base Clock||Boost Clock||Memory (Type)||Pricing|
|ASUS MINING-P106-6G||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6 GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||$226|
|Colorful P106-100 WK1/WK2||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||?|
|EVGA GTX1060 6G P106||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||$284?|
|Inno3D P106-100 Compact||1506 Mhz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||?|
|Inno3D P106-100 Twin||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||?|
|MSI P106-100 MINER||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||$224|
|MSI P104-100 MINER||TDB||TBD||6GB (GDDR5X) @ ?||?|
|ZOTAC P106-100||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||?|
Looking at the Nicehash Profitability Calculator, the GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 are rated at 20.13 MH/s and 28.69 MH/s at DaggerHashimoto (Etherium) mining respectively with many users able to get a good bit higher hash rates with a bit of overclocking (and in the case of AMD undervolting to optimize power efficiency). NVIDIA cards tend to be good for other algorithms as well such as ZCash and Libry and Equihash (at least those were the majority of coins my 750 Ti mined likely due to it not having the memory to attempt ETH mining heh). The calculator estimates these GPUs at 0.00098942 BTC per day and 0.00145567 BTC per day respectivey. If difficulty and exchange rate were to remains constant that amounts to an income of $1197.95 per year for a GP106 and $1791.73 per year for a GP104 GPU and ROI in under 3 months. Of course cryptocurrency to USD exchange rates will not remain constant, there are transactions and mining fees, and mining difficulty will rise as more hardware is added to the network as miners so these estimated numbers will be lower in reality. Also, these numbers are before electricity, maintainence time, and failed hardware costs, but currently mining alt coins is still very much profitable using graphics cards.
AMD and NVIDIA (and their AIB partners) are hoping to get in on this action with cards binned and tuned for mining and at their rumored prices placing them cheaper than their gaming focused RX and GTX variants miners are sure to scoop these cards up in huge batches (some of the above cards are only availabe in large orders). Hopefully this will alleviate the strain on the gaming graphics card market and bring prices back down closer to their original MSRPs for gamers!
- Mining specific cards are real - ASUS and Sapphire GP106 and RX 470 show up
- First look at Pascal-based GPU cryptocurrency mining station @ Videocardz
- ASUS, COLORFUL and MSI showcase their mining graphics cards @ Videocardz
- Riding the Crypto wave @ TechPowerUP Forums (links/info on mining cards collected here)
- Donate to the PC Perspective Mining Pool! A NiceHash How-to
- Let's Talk About Mining - Cryptocurrency Revisited
- Computex 2017: ASRock Launching H110 Pro BTC+ Motherboard With 13 PCI-E Slots
What are your thoughts on all this GPU mining and cryptocurrency / blockchain technology stuff?
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 26, 2017 - 12:21 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, nvidia, mining, geforce, cryptocurrency, amd
It appears that the prediction of mining-specific graphics cards was spot on and we are beginning to see the release of them from various AMD and NVIDIA board partners. ASUS has launched both a GP106-based solution and an RX 470 offering, labeled as being built exclusively for mining. And Sapphire has tossed it's hat into the ring with RX 470 options as well.
The most interesting release is the ASUS MINING-P106-6G, a card that takes no official NVIDIA or GeForce branding, but is clearly based on the GP106 GPU that powers the GeForce GTX 1060. It has no display outputs, so you won't be able to use this as a primary graphics card down the road. It is very likely that these GPUs have bad display controllers on the chip, allowing NVIDIA to make use of an otherwise unusable product.
The specifications on the ASUS page list this product as having 1280 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1506 MHz, a Boost clock of 1708 MHz, and 6GB of GDDR5 running at 8.0 GHz. Those are identical specs to the reference GeForce GTX 1060 product.
The ASUS MINING-RX470-4G is a similar build but using the somewhat older, but very efficient for mining, Radeon RX 470 GPU.
Interestingly, the ASUS RX 470 mining card has openings for a DisplayPort and HDMI connection, but they are both empty, leaving the single DVI connection as the only display option.
The Mining RX 470 has 4GB of GDDR5, 2048 stream processors, a base clock of 926 MHz and a boost clock of 1206 MHz, again, the same as the reference RX 470 product.
We have also seen Sapphire versions of the RX 470 for mining show up on Overclockers UK with no display outputs and very similar specifications.
In fact, based on the listings at Overclockers UK, Sapphire has four total SKUs, half with 4GB and half with 8GB, binned by clocks and by listing the expected MH/s (megahash per second) performance for Ethereum mining.
These releases show both NVIDIA and AMD (and its partners) desire to continue cashing in on the rising coin mining and cryptocurrency craze. For AMD, this allows them to find an outlet for the RX 470 GPU that might have otherwise sat in inventory with the upgraded RX 500-series out on the market. For NVIDIA, using GPUs that have faulty display controllers for mining-specific purposes allows it to be better utilize production and gain some additional profit with very little effort.
Those of you still looking to buy GPUs at reasonable prices for GAMING...you remember, what these products were built for...are still going to have trouble finding stock on virtual or physical shelves. Though the value of compute power has been dropping over the past week or so (an expected result of increase interesting in the process), I feel we are still on the rising side of this current cryptocurrency trend.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 17, 2017 - 09:23 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: nicehash, mining, cryptocurrency
Over the last several weeks, we have been experimenting with the most recent GPU-shortage-inducing coin mining craze, with Ken's article as a jumping off point. On a recent podcast, I mentioned the idea of running a community coin mining group that would be used as a way for individuals to contribute to PC Perspective. I received several requests for the wallet and setup information to make this happen, so I thought it would be worth while to gather all the necessary links and info in a single location.
We have been running a Patreon campaign for a couple of years now on the site as a way to provide an avenue for those readers and viewers that find PC Perspective a useful resource to the community and directly contribute. It might be because you want to keep the PCPer staff stable, it could be because you use an ad blocker and are looking for a way to even things out, etc. But there are always some that don't have the ability or desire to sign up for a new service so contributing your empty GPU cycles is another option if you want to donate to the PCPer team.
How do you do it? Ken has created a step by step guide below - thanks for your support in this and all of our previous endeavors!
- Bitcoin: 1HHhVWPRpCUst9bDYtLstMdD7o5SzANk1W
- Ethereum: 0xa0294763261aa85eB5f1dA3Ca0f03E1B672EED87
For those of you who may be curious to try out this mining stuff on your personal computer, we would recommend looking into the NiceHash application.
For those of you who haven't read our previous article, NiceHash is a service that connects buyers of GPU mining power to sellers who have spare hardware that they are looking to put to use.
As a warning, if you are planning to mine please be aware of your power consumption. To get a good idea of this, you can look up the TDP of your given graphics card, multiply that wattage by the hours you plan to mine, divide by 1000 to translate from watts to kilowatts, and multiply that by the rate you pay for electricity (this can be found on your power bill in cents per Kilowatt/Hour in the US). (So it's watts*hours*days/1000*kw/hr rate - Thanks CracklingIce)
Given the current rates of value for these cryptocurrencies, power is a small portion of the gross profit made by mining, but it is important to be aware of this before you are presented with a huge power bill that you weren't expecting.
First, download the latest version of the NiceHash miner application from their website.
After your download has finished, extract the ZIP file and load the NiceHashMiner.exe program.
Once the application has been launched and you've accepted the terms of the EULA, the NiceHash Miner will start to download the appropriate mining applications for your given hardware.
Note: during this installation process, your antivirus program might detect malware. These miner executables that are being downloaded are safe, but many antivirius programs flag them as malware because if they are found on your PC without your permission they are a telltale sign of malicious software.
After the installation process is completed, you be brought to the main screen of the application.
From here, choose the server location closest to you, add the Bitcoin address (in this case: 1HHhVWPRpCUst9bDYtLstMdD7o5SzANk1W), and choose a unique worker name (up to 7 characters long).
From here, hit the benchmark button, select the devices you want to mine on (we would recommend GPUs only, CPUs don't earn very much), and hit the Start button.
Once the benchmarking is done, you'll be brought back to the main screen of the application where you can hit the Start button.
Once you hit the start button, a command prompt window will launch where you can see the miner at work (this can be hidden from the NiceHash setting pane), and you can view the stats of your computer in the original NiceHash application window.
And that's it, your computer will now be mining towards the PCPER community pool!
Astute readers of the site might remember the original story we did on Bitcoin mining in 2011, the good ole' days where the concept of the blockchain was new and exciting and mining Bitcoin on a GPU was still plenty viable.
However, that didn't last long, as the race for cash lead people to developing Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) dedicated solely to Bitcoin mining quickly while sipping power. Use of the expensive ASICs drove the difficulty of mining Bitcoin to the roof and killed any sort of chance of profitability from mere mortals mining cryptocurrency.
Cryptomining saw a resurgence in late 2013 with the popular adoption of alternate cryptocurrencies, specifically Litecoin which was based on the Scrypt algorithm instead of AES-256 like Bitcoin. This meant that the ASIC developed for mining Bitcoin were useless. This is also the period of time that many of you may remember as the "Dogecoin" era, my personal favorite cryptocurrency of all time.
Defenders of these new "altcoins" claimed that Scrypt was different enough that ASICs would never be developed for it, and GPU mining would remain viable for a larger portion of users. As it turns out, the promise of money always wins out, and we soon saw Scrypt ASICs. Once again, the market for GPU mining crashed.
That brings us to today, and what I am calling "Third-wave Cryptomining."
While the mass populous stopped caring about cryptocurrency as a whole, the dedicated group that was left continued to develop altcoins. These different currencies are based on various algorithms and other proofs of works (see technologies like Storj, which use the blockchain for a decentralized Dropbox-like service!).
As you may have predicted, for various reasons that might be difficult to historically quantify, there is another very popular cryptocurrency from this wave of development, Ethereum.
Ethereum is based on the Dagger-Hashimoto algorithm and has a whole host of different quirks that makes it different from other cryptocurrencies. We aren't here to get deep in the woods on the methods behind different blockchain implementations, but if you have some time check out the Ethereum White Paper. It's all very fascinating.
Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 04:02 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asrock, H110, Skylake, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, mining, storj, computex, computex 2017
ASRock showed off an upcoming motherboard at Computex that features 13 PCI-Express slots and is aimed squarely at crypto currency miners. The new H110 Pro BTC+ is an ATX board based on Intel’s H110 chipset and LGA 1151 socket (Skylake CPUs). The board is dominated by 12 PCI-E x1 slots and a single PCI-E x16 slot (I suppose for mounting a SAS card and Burst mining or running Storj heh), but it also has slots for two DDR4 DIMMs, a single M.2 port, and four SATA ports. The board also supports Intel Gigabit Ethernet, ELNA audio, USB 3.0 and DVI and HDMI video outputs for the Intel iGPU.
The upcoming board is powered by a 24 pin ATX, 8 pin EPS, and two Molex connectors for the PCI-E slots. The H110 Pro BTC+ appears to have a decent power phase setup for an H110 motherboard as well. ASRock showed off the motherboard running eight GPUs on Windows at Computex, though with Linux it is possible go beyond that and run all 13 GPUs. The H110 chipset does mean that miners would need to spend money on a newer CPU and DDR4 memory, but they would save money by buying fewer motherboards and/or port multipliers.
Exact specifications along with pricing and availability are still unknown, but expect the mining crowd to jump on this so if you are interested in it be sure to set up email alerts for when it will become available so that you can get in before the miners make it go out of stock everywhere like the RX 580s! (heh)
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 1, 2014 - 09:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: corsair, mining
When mining some form of cryptographic coin, very few components in the system are utilized. A GPU is basically a self-contained massively parallel cruncher with its own memory and logic. The host system just needs to batch the tasks which leads to PCs with dirt-cheap CPUs, a very modest amount of RAM, and quite literally a half-dozen high-end graphics cards.
If you thought that gaming machines skew a little too much towards GPUs, you should see a mining rig with five R9 290X cards fed by a Sempron.
As you can guess, since many GPUs are double-slot, it might be difficult to fit seven of them in a seven-slot motherboard with a limited number PCIe lanes. To get around this limitation, miners attach their graphics cards to extension cables. Thankfully (for them), mining does not pass a lot of data across the bus to the host system. Even a single PCIe fails to be a bottleneck, apparently.
Anyway, the Corsair blog created an open-air rack which hangs six graphics cards (five HD 7970s and a R9 290X) above a motherboard housing an Intel Celeron G1830. For air, a quartet of Corsair fans suck air upwards and around the graphics cards. For power, of course they use the Corsair AX1500i because why not mine with an arc welding torch. It apparently had more power capacity than the breaker they originally hooked it up to. Whoops.
While ridiculous, I do hope to see systems with multiple (even mismatched) graphics processors as we move toward batches of general mathematics. PhysX was not entirely successful in teaching users that GPUs do not need to be in SLi or Crossfire configurations to load balance. It is just finding an appropriate way to split tasks without requiring a lot of bottlenecks in setting it up.
I might not mine coins, but I could see some benefit to having 35 TeraFLOPs across seven compute devices. I could also see Corsair wanting to sell me a power supply for said PC.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 20, 2014 - 05:45 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: nvidia, mining, maxwell, litecoin, gtx 750 ti, geforce, dogecoin, coin, bitcoin, altcoin
As we have talked about on several different occasions, Altcoin mining (anything that is NOT Bitcoin specifically) is a force on the current GPU market whether we like it or not. Traditionally, Miners have only bought AMD-based GPUs, due to the performance advantage when compared to their NVIDIA competition. However, with continued development of the cudaMiner application over the past few months, NVIDIA cards have been gaining performance in Scrypt mining.
The biggest performance change we've seen yet has come with a new version of cudaMiner released yesterday. This new version (2014-02-18) brings initial support for the Maxwell architecture, which was just released yesterday in the GTX 750 and 750 Ti. With support for Maxwell, mining starts to become a more compelling option with this new NVIDIA GPU.
With the new version of cudaMiner on the reference version of the GTX 750 Ti, we were able to achieve a hashrate of 263 KH/s, impressive when you compare it to the performance of the previous generation, Kepler-based GTX 650 Ti, which tops out at about 150KH/s or so.
As you may know from our full GTX 750 Ti Review, the GM107 overclocks very well. We were able to push our sample to the highest offset configurable of +135 MHz, with an additional 500 MHz added to the memory frequency, and 31 mV bump to the voltage offset. All of this combined to a ~1200 MHz clockspeed while mining, and an additional 40 KH/s or so of performance, bringing us to just under 300KH/s with the 750 Ti.
As we compare the performance of the 750 Ti to AMD GPUs and previous generation NVIDIA GPUs, we start to see how impressive the performance of this card stacks up considering the $150 MSRP. For less than half the price of the GTX 770, and roughly the same price as a R7 260X, you can achieve the same performance.
When we look at power consumption based on the TDP of each card, this comparison only becomes more impressive. At 60W, there is no card that comes close to the performance of the 750 Ti when mining. This means you will spend less to run a 750 Ti than a R7 260X or GTX 770 for roughly the same hash rate.
Taking a look at the performance per dollar ratings of these graphics cards, we see the two top performers are the AMD R7 260X and our overclocked GTX 750 Ti.
However, when looking at the performance per watt differences of the field, the GTX 750 Ti looks more impressive. While most miners may think they don't care about power draw, it can help your bottom line. By being able to buy a smaller, less efficient power supply the payoff date for the hardware is moved up. This also bodes well for future Maxwell based graphics cards that we will likely see released later in 2014.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 29, 2014 - 03:00 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: R9 290X, r9 290, r9 270, mining, litecoin, dogecoin, amd
I know we have posted about this a few times on PC Perspective and have discussed it on the PC Perspective Podcast as well, but if you are curious as to why the prices of AMD's latest generation of R9 graphics cards have skyrocketed, look no further than this enterprising consumer and his/her Dogecoin mining rig.
What you are looking at are six MSI Gaming series R9 270 cards running through the aid of PCI Express to USB 3.0 riser cards.