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Author Topic: New member, new rig  (Read 1825 times)
iMiner
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June 07, 2011, 08:29:57 PM
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Hi guys!

Just wanted to thank you first for this incredible forum. Lots and lots of info and generally good spirit and a lot of brains. I find bitcoin fascinating stuff and after reading for a few days I decided to join the party, realizing that I am a latecomer.

My plan is to bet on two horses: buying and mining, so I have invested equal amounts in bitcoins and equipment. There are many arguments for and against, and it can turn out good or bad. But anyway, I don't really miss the money and the main reason for putting time, money and effort in this is that I see it as a learning opportunity. See if I can manage putting a rig together, configuring a linux system, joining a pool, etc. But also trying to understand the basics of cryptography, OpenCL, etc. It doesn't seem like rocket science (well, except for the cryptography and OpenCL Smiley), and as I said, this forum is awesome in case of problems.

So, this is the stuff that is arriving tomorrow:

4 x XFX 5870
MSI 890FXA-GD70
AMD Sempron 140
2GB DDR3
8GB USB Flash
Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1200W
Cooler Master HAF X

I read a lot about 5830/5850 having the best value for money, but I figured the 5870 is very valuable as well at 150GBP and may yield close to 1.6GHash/s in a single rig, if I can keep it cool enough.

Reason to buy a case is that I need it to be tidy, I just don't like the idea of having loose components lying around. The HAF X actually has great looks so could not really withstand it Smiley. The motherboard has been praised by many and I can see why, with the slot spacing.

I do not really have high expectations about this mining being very profitable for me, but at least it feels good to have the hardware. At least, I can let it work for me at times during which it is profitable. I can always get rid of it and I would have had a good time tinkering with it.

I have not been focusing at all on how to setup the software. Is LinuxCoin the easiest to start out with?
Neither have I got any overclocking-experience. I think I'll save that part for later...
I am curious about the noise and heat this is going to generate. I have a separate space for the machine but it gets hot in here during the summer....

Any advice on the 4x5870 setup,  the mining software, etc, is welcome! I might come back with specific questions when I run into them.

I will also try to help out others, despite the very limited knowledge I have at this point!
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LegitBit
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June 07, 2011, 08:33:24 PM
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Depends on if you are a GUI guy or not.

Typically it is much easier to overclock and volt on windows, plus you could use Guiminer or Phoenix GUI to get started quickly.

If you prefer linux.. go for it, though I don't have any experience with linuxcoin personally.

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June 07, 2011, 08:35:34 PM
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Linux will give you a slightly better yield I expect, due to lack of needing to draw a gui.

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Freakin
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June 07, 2011, 08:37:45 PM
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need dummy plugs for windows unless you want to switch monitor cables every time
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June 07, 2011, 08:39:06 PM
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I'm a newbie as well so I don't have too much info for you, I will say however from reading about some other rig set ups you may come across issues trying to fit 4 vid cards inside a typical cpu case.  If you've already taken this into account and yours will fit then never mind and GL!   Smiley
iMiner
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June 07, 2011, 08:40:44 PM
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Depends on if you are a GUI guy or not.

Typically it is much easier to overclock and volt on windows, plus you could use Guiminer or Phoenix GUI to get started quickly.

If you prefer linux.. go for it, though I don't have any experience with linuxcoin personally.

Thanks, had not really thought about it that way. I have a win7 licence that I could use, what overclocking software would you recommend (so I can search more efficiently for it on the forum)?

@Reikoku. Yes, good point. The mobo does not have a GPU on board, if that is of any relevance.

@Freakin. Right, thanks. At what times would you have to plug in monitors, only during card setup/initialization or al the time?

@Bitbitcoincoin. The HAF X has 8 expansion slots. One of the reasons I chose it.
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June 07, 2011, 08:45:55 PM
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All the software you may need:
Afterburner
http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm

Trixx
http://www.sapphiretech.com/ssc/TriXX/

HWINFO
http://www.hwinfo.com/download32.html

GPU-z
http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/

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iMiner
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June 07, 2011, 08:51:54 PM
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Great! Thanks! I'll check them out.
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June 07, 2011, 08:58:23 PM
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Depends on if you are a GUI guy or not.

Typically it is much easier to overclock and volt on windows, plus you could use Guiminer or Phoenix GUI to get started quickly.

If you prefer linux.. go for it, though I don't have any experience with linuxcoin personally.

Thanks, had not really thought about it that way. I have a win7 licence that I could use, what overclocking software would you recommend (so I can search more efficiently for it on the forum)?

@Reikoku. Yes, good point. The mobo does not have a GPU on board, if that is of any relevance.

@Freakin. Right, thanks. At what times would you have to plug in monitors, only during card setup/initialization or al the time?

@Bitbitcoincoin. The HAF X has 8 expansion slots. One of the reasons I chose it.

The HAF X actually has 9 expansion slots. This comes in handy for spacing the final card from the PSU. It's ridiculously expensive though, so... six on the one hand half dozen on the other.

Anyway, the set up is fine, it's a decent $/MHash set up, but it will run about as hot as 10000 suns, just so you know. The HAF X comes with this neat little clip on item that lets you install a fan pushing air onto the front of cards, except that it is only designed for a 3 GPU mobo and will almost certainly block your cards becoming useless sadly. But if you can take that concept and ziptie a fan to the front area to blow air onto the cards you may find that helpful. A piece of plastic to help force the cards apart to suck in fresher air can help too. Sadly the side fan is inferior to the HAF 932, but such is life.

Anyway as for set up, dummy plugs are relatively cheap, but if you don't want to spend more money you can just plug in a monitor to intialize the card, overclock it with MSI AB, then start your miner, and switch cards. This will continue to run fine, but if you find yourself rebooting or having an unstable overclock causing a miner to time out you will quickly find this to be an incredible hassle.
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June 07, 2011, 09:09:11 PM
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Anyway as for set up, dummy plugs are relatively cheap, but if you don't want to spend more money you can just plug in a monitor to intialize the card, overclock it with MSI AB, then start your miner, and switch cards. This will continue to run fine, but if you find yourself rebooting or having an unstable overclock causing a miner to time out you will quickly find this to be an incredible hassle.

I also hear you can get a VGA dongle and stick some cheap resistors in there to work as a dummy plug.

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iMiner
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June 07, 2011, 09:27:29 PM
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it will run about as hot as 10000 suns, just so you know.

Yeah, it was that part that I was afraid of. Well, I'll have to see how I can make it as cool as possible. I can place it in front of a window to give it fresh air. I reckoned in a well designed case it may work out quite ok. I believe I read another post from a member having a HAF X that he did not have any issue with high temps.

I think I will give Linux a go for a start, to avoid the dummy plugs and to get the most out of the cards. Is there a lot to win with overclocking?
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June 07, 2011, 11:08:00 PM
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I would get it stable without overclocking and tweak it from there. OC will make it even hotter and most go without a case especially with 4 GPU.
iMiner
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June 08, 2011, 12:09:14 PM
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Yes, that sounds like a good suggestion!
iMiner
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June 11, 2011, 12:17:40 PM
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A little update. I have built the rig and am quite happy with it. The HAF X keeps my 4x5870 rather cool. I am running Linuxcoin from a USB flash drive. Haven't figured out persistence yet, but I have an old HDD so I might just do a Linux install.

The top card is the hottest, I guess due to a temperature gradient in the case. I created space between the card by inserting plastig wedges. Cards run at 900MHz GPU / 300MHz memory clocks, which gives me 370MHash/sec for each card.

I am running phoenix with VECTORS BFI_INT AGGRESSION=9 WORKSIZE=128 and the poclbm kernel. It took me a while to figure out that the parameter DEVICE:xx should be numbered 0,1,2,3, (4 for the CPU), while the AMD tool lists the active GPUs as 0,3,6,9.

Here are the numbers:

5870 #1:   78.5 oC
5870 #2:   74.0 oC
5870 #3:   70.0 oC
5870 #4:   63.5 oC

Ambient temp is 25 oC

Any suggestions how to crank it up further? AMDOverdriveCtrl maxes out at 900MHz. I think I could set the chassi fans to 100% in the BIOS to create extra airflow, but I am not unhappy with the numbers so far.
iMiner
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June 11, 2011, 12:42:12 PM
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I read that LinuxCoin comes with SDK 2.4, and 2.1 would give better results. Anyone care to share how can I install this myself?
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June 11, 2011, 12:47:20 PM
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2.4 with the phatk kernel actually seems to be the fastest from what I've read and doesn't have the CPU usage bug, although in practice some people seem to pull better speeds from poclbm.
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June 11, 2011, 04:00:47 PM
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I get better results with poclbm, seems to fluctuate more with phatk.
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June 11, 2011, 04:37:15 PM
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cards too close. difficult to keep temperature down. especially those in the center. I have a rig using GF70 with 4x 5850 too. I might be upgrading to 6 cards later with extenders so that the temperature would be more managable and to maximize the mobo/cpu/ram cost that I initially intended to.

but if this isn't a problem for you (small fix for me, swapping one of the 5850 for my old 4850 and do minor spacing with cardboard between the cards to increase airflow) then I'd say go for it.

OS do linux. LinuxCoin is a piece of crap if you ask me, however I'm running most of my rigs on it partly due to my incompetance to install a proper Ubuntu until this point. Pardon me but in my experience, it crashes a lot, logs out for no apparent reason (and when u log back in you have to restart all the mining), can't run script (cuz no persistence, not that I know how to write one, I could get some help from the forum though). and all that have been mentioned. (Also not sure about SSH)

It's great to 'just get started', then you'll have to go for more permanent solution, Win or Ubuntu.

iMiner
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June 11, 2011, 04:58:07 PM
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If you read my post above you see that my temps are good and stable. Just want to stress this as a lot of people keep saying that quad cards in a case is impossible due to heating. I don't even need a table fan or anything. On the other hand, I did not overclock drastically, just the 900/300MHz trick with AMDOverdriveCtrl.

I won't stick with Linuxcoin either. Wouldn't say it sucks, it's very good to get going quickly but it's not very practical if you want a bit more than that.
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June 11, 2011, 11:31:30 PM
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OS do linux. LinuxCoin is a piece of crap if you ask me, however I'm running most of my rigs on it partly due to my incompetance to install a proper Ubuntu until this point. Pardon me but in my experience, it crashes a lot, logs out for no apparent reason (and when u log back in you have to restart all the mining), can't run script (cuz no persistence, not that I know how to write one, I could get some help from the forum though). and all that have been mentioned. (Also not sure about SSH)

You shouldn't bash someone's hard work, just because you have no idea how to use it. My rig has been up and running with persistence for
over 2 weeks without a single hiccup. Not to mention, It's just a beta version, Which of course will have bugs, That's why they call it
beta. The final will be available soon, according to the thread, I personally can't wait, It's an awesome distro.

All the info you need to run the beta version properly with persistence is in the linuxcoin thread, All you have to do is read it.

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