This publication will deal with important technical characteristics, compatibility indicators for mining equipment, digital software, as well as the most popular soft for the cryptocurrency production, including the most stable and flexible with respect to CGMINER settings.
The first thing is to understand the reasons why the video card is a more suitable option for mining compared to the cryptocurrency production using CPU resources:
- The CPU provides the execution of software tasks, as well as the operation of equipment and various programs;
- GPU, or graphics card, the same graphics processor, it is only possible to perform a specific task, namely the product of processing all the elements relevant to the graphics. In fact, both devices are represented by processors, but each of them is oriented to perform various tasks. This difference ensures the maximum efficiency of a video card with high performance for the mining of LTC tokens and the rest of the Bitcoin forks;
- The processor is focused on making various decisions taking into account the instructions of the software. The processor is also designed to perform a large number of other operations;
- The technological feature of the video adapter ensures the maximum effective performance of colossal volumes of tasks, which are very quickly repeated. In this case, switching to another kind of task is extremely slow. Such characteristics allow video cards to perform a large number of cryptographic calculations very quickly in comparison with the central processor.
Why AMD-graphics adapters are more effective for mining than Nvidia graphics cards
In view of the enormous and rapidly growing cryptocurrencies global popularity and their production, the complexity of mining of digital assets regularly increases. This is due to the use of more and more equipment, which is characterized by high power indicators. At present, the optimal option, which will quickly pay back the invested funds and begin to make a profit, is a mining farm with a capacity of at least 2-3 thousand kH. With such opportunities, the miner can receive revenue in the amount of 240 to 370 US dollars a month, with a round-the-clock production of digital tokens, taking into account the correction to increase the level of complexity and fluctuations in the cryptocurrency cost.
If we take into account all of the above, we can conclude, that Nvidia’s video cards, by virtue of their technical characteristics, are not able to offer effective solutions to the miner, while the equipment of the farm is much more expensive in comparison with the use of equipment from AMD.
The modern market of specialized computer equipment offers the consumer a wide range of video adapters, which are used for the cryptocurrencies production. A complete list of video cards suitable for mining is available at the main information portal http://litecoin.info/Mining_Hardware_Comparison. On this resource, you can get acquainted with the main information about the equipment, namely with technical characteristics and device settings. It is necessary to take into account the conventionality of the data since for each mining farm the settings are individual – they are affected by a large number of indicators, which are below and will be discussed.
Certain types of video cards are already obsolete – they cannot be purchased in the required volumes and the desired quality. This publication will consider those video adapters that are in the public sale, which allows the miners who want to create a farm for the extraction of digital assets, which will meet the desired performance indicators.
It should be noted that the production of crypto-currency by means of GPU-adapters and the formation of farms are not characterized by stereotyped patterns, which means that a number of factors affect the results of achieving maximum capacities, system stability, and high productivity.
The first criterion is the form of the operating system:
- Linux – provides fast installation, a small file size, the ability to support up to 8 graphics processors, no need for activation. Among the shortcomings we outline the possible difficulties in setting up for inexperienced users, the need to store bulky wallets on removable media;
- Windows 7 – among the advantages are the availability and simplicity of the system setup, out of the minuses we note the possibility of installing only 4 video cards;
- Windows 8 – among the advantages are the availability and ease of configuration and operation. Among the minuses we can note the possibility of installing only 5 video adapters.
The issue of choosing the version of the necessary drivers is relevant since the incorrectly chosen variant can provoke a decrease in the total processing power of the mining equipment. With a correctly selected driver version, the system displays a high hashrate.
If you use even a different series of video adapters or cards represented in the same series within the same system, there is a possibility of conflicts that may occur during startup or overclocking, which can affect the maximum speed and stability of the farm. The combination of different types of devices within a single farm also affects the hashrate indicators. With the right choice of the components of the mining farm, which include the motherboard of the processor and RAM, you can increase the stability and speed of mining.
For example, as already mentioned above, the absence of template solutions in the cryptocurrency may help different performance indicators with similar settings of the video card and values when changing the configuration of the farm. To implement Scrypt-Mining, you need 4 GB of RAM with careful selection of the power supply and calculation of real power. When the power of the power supply is 1000 W, the permissible maximum load is 800 W. You also need to consider the consumption of resources by the processor, hard drive, and peripherals.
The CGMINER is a flexible and customizable program that is stable, and its latest version supports the production of cryptocurrency on video adapters 3.7.2 with a minor impact of the version on the rates of mining speed.
- Setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100 – full use of video memory resources. The default is 25 percent;
- Setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1 – exclusion of mining through the processor;
- Scrypt – compatibility with the Litecoin-algorithm;
- Intensity (1-20) – control the intensity of mining, taking into account the fact that high rates can negatively affect the rates of production, as well as provoke the occurrence of a large number of HW errors and incorrect calculations. In the absence of a given intensity value, CGMINER independently regulates this indicator, which reduces the production rate of cryptocurrency;
- Shaders – an indication of the number of shader units within the video card and the possibility of selecting other parameters for setting up the video card. You should always check this parameter: Nvidia-cards differ by a small number of shader blocks, which greatly reduces the efficiency of mining. If there is no specified parameter, the CGMINER automatically selects it based on the system characteristics;
- Thread-concurrency – management of optimal indicators of the volume of calculations performed by the Scrypt algorithm. The value of this parameter should be set multiples of the number of shader units of the video adapter. With the Shaders value specified, you cannot configure this parameter;
- Lokkup-gap – regulation of the interaction of the memory of the video card and performance indicators. The maximum value corresponds to Lookup-gap 2 – there is a release of a larger amount of memory with a decrease in the speed of mining. If this value is not specified, it is determined by CGMINER taking into account the two previous parameters;
- Worksize (-w 256) – slightly affects the system, you need a multiplicity of 64, the maximum is 256.
Auxiliary settings for advanced users:
- Scrypt – compatibility with the Litecoin-algorithm;
- Auto-fan – automatic control of the cooler speed;
- Auto-gpu – automatic regulation of the clock frequency;
- Device (-d) – select the desired device for mining;
- Disable-gpu (-G) – disabling the video card;
- Thread-concurrency – allows to carry out simultaneous tasks for different shaders, creates a bin-file in the device;
- GPU-threads – streams on the GPU from 1 to 10;
- GPU-dyninterval – setting the refresh interval when using the dynamic intensity indicators;
- GPU-engine – the frequency of the core of the video card with the setting of the range;
- GPU-fan – setting the rotation speed of the cooler in percentage terms with the possibility of setting the range;
- GPU-map – the ability to manually install the transfer of the OpenCL ADL card when pairing with CSV;
- GPU-memlock – the ability to set the memory frequency. In the case of Bitcoin, this parameter is recommended to be underestimated, and when working with Litecoin it is recommended to be overestimated;
- GPU-memdiff – setting a fixed difference in the equivalent MHz relative to the core and memory;
- GPU-powertune – setting the powertune indicator for the video card in percentage terms;
- GPU-reorder – re-sorting of video adapters;
- GPU-vddc – change in the voltage of the core in the Volts equivalent;
- Intensity (-I) – indicators of intensity (aggression);
- Kernel (-k) – specify the kernel for the device to function. In the case of video card families, the choice must be made carefully;
- Ndevs (-n) – listing all devices with their numbers;
- Temp-hysteresis – the degree of difference in the temperature of the system from the target in the equivalent degrees;
- Temp-overheat – the temperature indicator of the reset of the core frequency with an increase in the cooler speed in degrees;
- Temp-target – setting the target temperature indicator of the system in degrees;
- Vectors (-v) – set the value of the width of the vectors when auto defaults;
- Worksize (-w) – setting the memory size indicator, which does not affect the performance of the system. The default value is auto. The indicator must be a multiple of 64. The recommended value is 256, which is the average.
When working with some video adapters, the parameters are indicated in order with comma separating. It should be noted that if you reduce the CGMINER stats during startup or when there are HW errors that can cause unstable GPU operation, you need to check the device parameters – at excessively high values the equipment performance can be significantly reduced.
Video card manufacturer, its model, and BIOS version
Manufacturers of some kinds of video adapters initially put in the device voltage, which indicates the presence of default frames that limit the possibility of increasing or decreasing this indicator. This does not allow the device to be accelerated to the maximum possible values. The solution to the problem may be a reconfiguration of the BIOS of the GPU, but it can be done only with certain skills and experience. With the independent intervention of an unskilled user, the likelihood of irreparable damage to the equipment is very high.
The procedure for overclocking the video adapter for the possibility of increasing the hash rate
In order to influence the rates of mining speed and the stability of the equipment, it is necessary to “play” with determining the most effective parameters of memory frequencies and graphics core – the selection of these values is made individually for each device. Overclocking the graphics card also affects the thermal performance of the graphics processor. Here the regularity works: the more overclocking parameters of the GPU-device, the more high-quality cooling is required for the farm, which implies the equipment of the system with powerful coolers.
Perspective video adapters from AMD
In connection with the release of AMD video card series R here will be considered video adapters presented in the R9 series. The products of this line are the most profitable in terms of cost indicators, energy consumption, capacity and availability within the secondary market in the right quantities.
The calculated capacity is affected by a complex of other factors, the power consumption indicators depend on the overclocking values of the video card, its manufacturer, verification and BIOS firmware. The accuracy of the readings is provided by using a special energy meter.
The cost of GPU equipment was directly affected by the rapid development of the cryptocurrencies sphere and the colossal promotion of the mining of digital assets. In the course of the evolution of the cryptocurrency world, the amount of equipment focused on the cryptocurrency production has also increased, namely, graphics processors and power supplies. The increase in demand indicators provoked a rise in prices for devices presented by a number of companies that are engaged in the production of specialized computer equipment for mining.
The top variants of video adapters from AMD, presented by GPU R290x and R9 290, have recently entered the market. Neither are distinguished by a nonrefence design, which does not correspond to previously accepted standards. The output of this product made it easier to form mining farms based on these graphics processors.
From the minuses of the equipment, it is possible to note the lack of an additional cooling system, which was necessary when the equipment was overheated during the mining process. The equipment underwent heating up to 100 degrees, which does not meet the optimal operating conditions for mining equipment. The result was a forced modification of the cooling system to ensure the normal operation of the video card, which led to the loss of ownership of the equipment warranty. Another solution to the problem was the purchase of advanced air conditioning and ventilation systems, which significantly increased the payback of equipment and the cost of organizing an effective system.
The modern market offers a wide range of non-refusive versions of the GPU to miners, which increases the popularity of R9 290x and R9 290, which allow to form powerful, compact and productive farms for the production of digital tokens.
This version of the video adapter is the golden mean and the optimal solution for assembling the mining farm, providing high power and medium dimensions of the structure.
These variants of graphics processors also allow organizing a mining farm, however, the equipment is characterized by sufficiently large dimensions and the presence of a mass of wires through which the elements of the system are interconnected. Their use involves the purchase of additional raisers, which entails additional spending.
Specifications of R9 series video adapters
Characteristics of the R9 290x model video cards:
- Stream processors – 2816;
- Power supply – 6 + 8 pins;
- The average hash rate value is 900 kH;
- The average power consumption is 375 W, which is 2.4 kH per 1 W of power.
Examples of the model R9 290x video cards:
- Gigabyte R9 290x WindForce3: the processor frequency is 1040 MHz, the memory frequency is 1250 MHz, the bus width is 512 bits;
- ASUS R9 290x DirectCU II: the processor frequency is 1050 MHz, the memory frequency is 1350 MHz, the bus width is 512 bits;
- MSI R9 290x Gaming: the processor frequency is 1000 MHz, the memory frequency is 1250 MHz, the bus width is 512 bits.
The characteristics of the R9 290 model video cards:
- Flow processes – 2560;
- Power supply – 6 + 8 pins;
- The average hash rate is 850 kH;
- The average power consumption is 325 W, which is 2.6 kH per 1 W of power.
Examples of R9 290 model video cards:
- Gigabyte R9 290 WindForce3: the processor frequency is 1000 MHz, the memory frequency is 1250 MHz, the bus width is 512 bits;
- Sapphire TRI-X R9 290: processor frequency – 957 MHz, memory frequency – 1250 MHz, bus width – 512 bits;
- ASUS R9 290 DirectCU II: the processor frequency is 1000 MHz, the memory frequency is 1260 MHz, the bus width is 512 bits.
The characteristics of the model R9 280x video cards:
- Stream processors – 2048;
- Power supply – 6 + 8 pins;
- Average hash rate – 750 kH;
- The average energy consumption is 300 W, which is 2.5 kH per 1 W of power.
Examples of the model R9 280x video cards:
- ASUS R9 280x DirectCU II TOP: the processor frequency is 1070 MHz, the memory frequency is 1600 MHz, the bus width is 384 bits;
- HIS R9 280XiPowerlceQX2BoostClock: processor frequency – 850 MHz, memory frequency – 1500 MHz, bus width – 384 bits;
- Sapphire TOXIC R9 280x 3GB: the processor frequency is 1100 MHz, the memory frequency is 1600 MHz, the bus width is 384 bits.
The characteristics of the model R9 270 video cards:
- The average hash rate is 450 kH;
- The average energy consumption is 200 W, which is 2.25 kH per 1 W of power.