Colorful Reveals Custom Eight Slot Motherboard For Cryptocurrency Miners

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | September 14, 2017 - 02:13 AM |
Tagged: password cracking, mining, gpgpu, cryptocurrency, colorful, ai

Colorful recently unveiled an interesting bare-bones motherboard focused on cryptocurrency miners and other GPU heavy workloads with its main feature being eight double spaced PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots. The non-standard form factor Colorful C.B250A-BTC PLUS V20 motherboard measures 485mm x 195mm (approx. 19.1 x 7.7 inches) and offers a no-frills setup that is ready for miners to attach to open racks. The motherboard is based on Intel’s LGA 1151 socket and B250 chipset.

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The majority of the board is taken up by eight PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots where the top slot is wired directly to the CPU and is electrically x16 while the rest are wired to the B250 chipset and are x1 slots. There are 16(!) PCI-E power connectors (eight 6-pin and eight 8-pin) for providing power to the GPU and two 4-pin ATX power connectors for powering the CPU and single SO-DIMM slot through what looks to be six power phases. Notably, there is no 24-pin power connector on this board to make it easier to use multiple power supplies and share motherboards between power supplies (though it’s not clear how Colorful plans to control turning all these power supplies on/off at the same time). Beyond the PCI-E slots there is not much to this motherboard. Internal I/O includes the 1151 socket for Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs, a single DDR4 SO-DIMM slot, one SATA port, one M.2 slot, and six fan headers. Around back are two USB ports, one HDMI video output, and a single gigabit ethernet port.

The board is a no-frills design that should be quite appealing for miners but also as an easy way to jump into GPGPU projects (AI research, rendering, machine learning, password cracking, etc.). The 2-slot spacing allows air cooled (hopefully blower style) cards to be installed without needing to find and test quality PCI-E riser cables. There is no word on pricing yet, and while it should be on the cheaper side based on the features and hardware it’s packing as it’s a custom design aimed at mining it may actually come out at a hefty premium for the convenience it offers them. On the bright side, it might have decent resale value to factor into the ROI calculations for the other non-mining applications I mentioned (a mean password cracking rig!). A neat board in any case, and as I mentioned previously it is interesting to see the new designs and configurations the mining craze has enticed manufacturers into exploring.

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Source: TechPowerUp

September 14, 2017 | 01:14 PM - Posted by Kommando Kodiak (not verified)

They must use the multiple 24 pin connectors on a special terminal pcb to turn all the PSUs on at once is my guess. Its very odd they wouldnt have the 24 pin on there.

September 14, 2017 | 01:53 PM - Posted by psuedonymous

The 24pin ATX connector is pretty redundant nowadays. Every high-draw component in a modern PC is running from 12V (and then using that to step down to the ~1v they need suing on-board circuitry). All the legacy voltages - 5v, 3.3v, -5v, -12V - are either not used at all, or draw maybe a watt or two. Those can be served by converting directly on the motherboard, leaving pure 12V input being all that is required.

Ideally, we could switch to all-48V internal power distribution (effectively 4x the current capacity, and thus 4x the power transmission, with the same size PCB traces), but a switch to all-12V may be more attractive due to the easy of conversion from current ATX PSUs.

September 14, 2017 | 10:02 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

Neat. But what I really want to see is an Epyc board with 12 double wide PCIe x16 slots each wired at x8. That's a real compute board spec!

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