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Mining motherboards notes

March 7, 2018

Some random notes on mining motherboards

First of all, I’m an open source geek so I use only AMD cards, because AMD is trying to put together an open source stack and it turns out to be really useful in this situation.

I had problems with more than eight RX570 cards on my linux machine using the  ASUS B250 Mining Export motherboard.  However, I found the people from AMD extremely helpful and after some back and forth

https://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/amd-gfx/2018-February/019100.html

They were able to track down the problem to a BIOS issue with the ASUS motherboard, but at that point I’m stuck, because even though I know what mailing list to contact in order to get to the AMD engineers, I don’t know who to talk to at ASUS.

So I to test out if this is the problem, I wanted to get a new motherboard.  I went to Wai-Lai computing in Wai Chai and wanted to get an ASRock 13 card motherboard.  The manager there told me that people had been complaining about BIOS issues for that motherboard and suggested the GA-B250-Fintech board.  Information like this and the fact that I can get the board immediately is why I buy a lot of my parts from a retailer even though I had to pay about USD 30 more than mail order.

My first efforts at getting multiple cards running maxed at 6.  However, it wasn’t clear whether it was a cabling problem or not.  One thing that is really nice about the ASUS motherboard is that it has this power-on display of what cards are working, whereas I didn’t know if there was a limit in the motherboard or if my cabling was bad.

So I reinstalled everything back into the original ASUS motherboard, got everything working then very careful switched back to the new motherboard making sure that I didn’t disturb the cabling.  And I was able to get 9 cards working.

Also I got my power bill and was pleasantly surprised, because it turns out that my electric bill wasn’t higher.  The reason for this is that it’s been cold in Hong Kong, so the power that is going into my ethereum mine would have gone into space heaters otherwise, I end up getting coins for essentially free.

Sometime next week, I’ll head up to Shenzhen to buy some more mining cards.  The reason I want to buy those in Shenzhen, is that they’ll sell you generic no-brand RX570 cards, whereas the retailers in HK (who cater to gamers) will only sell branded products.  It does turn out that the branded products are noticeably higher quality than the generic cards and you can overclock branded GPU cards to get higher hash rates, but the cost factor works for generics.  For motherboards its different, because different brands have different nice features.

One thing that I liked about the Gigabyte boards is that they have a nice power button switch that makes things a lot easier.

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