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Author Topic: Mining: Questions, Problems & Questions...  (Read 1314 times)
ATC777
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April 03, 2013, 04:38:55 AM
 #1

Well... how to begin? I sold my holdings in BTC into these high prices and I've begun making significant investment into mining -- particularly for Litecoin mining, as I think the the LTC/BTC ratio is about to begin tightening up quickly and that Litecoin will be bubbling up violently in price. I really want to capture some of that action. So my partners and I here in Baton Rouge have begun accumulating lots of hardware and a respectable amount of hashing-power (at this point mainly high-end GPUs for LTC/Scrypt mining). And quite soon I plan to write completely new software for venture, though that's beside the point. Anyhow, I've been having some trouble setting up and configuring some of this equipment and I've lost a lot of time fighting with it (and thus I'm missing out on my profits for this first frame of time). So some help here would be greatly appreciated -- I am known to be generous with my coin when someone takes their time to help out with technical problems.  Wink

1) Overheating Problems

The first major problem I'm having is with my main work desktop. The problem is that it keeps overheating and crashing during mining. It was fine when I was just running 1x ASUS HD-6970, which was giving me ~500KH/sec for LTC mining running in "top gear". But I just added a new XFX 7850 into my second (and last) PCI-E slot, and the two cards together seem to be heating each other up and killing themselves. There is only an inch or so of space between them, and they are two very different cards and seem to have very different temperature ranges/tolerances. I've tried taking off the side panel of my case (I have an Apevia Telstar case) and putting a small desk fan blowing directly onto them at full speed but that only helps a little, and I have to keep my entire apartment cooled to <= 70 F... this is a fairly big apartment and that is of course too wasteful in terms of energy consumption, so I need a solution for this... I have a few questions/ideas concerning this:

A) Are there any ways I might be able to keep the temperature lower and cool my system?
B) Are there any ways to better configure my miners to help with the heat?
C) Are there any products or "things" I can buy to solve the problem?

2) Fighting with Linux... sigh...

Yesterday we went to "PC Heaven" here in Baton Rouge and bought all the components needed to build a new machine to serve as a mining platform. I finished the build within a few hours last night, and it's a very nice machine. Right now there's just a single HD 7850 in it as a "place-holder", but it will soon be running something like 3x HD 7970s. Since I don't have an installation DVD for Windows handy, I went ahead and installed Ubuntu Linux. But I've had nothing but problems...

For starters, Ubuntu likes to just suddenly freeze for absolutely no reason. Mind you this is a clean install that hasn't been tampered with running on a brand-new machine in pristine condition. The UI shell misbehaves quite frequently (e.g., you try to maximize a minimized window and it pops up as a transparent frame). Sometimes it will get very slow/laggy for no reason (nothing running in background). It also will not connect to the internet directly when I plug an ethernet cable into it. Thus far I can only connect by using a USB wireless adapter and connecting to the router I just set up. Sometimes the mouse, keyboard and all other USB devices will suddenly just turn off and stop working. I've tested the hardware and I'm positive it's not the machine -- it's the OS. Since my experience with Linux is very limited I would like to chalk it up to "newbie mistakes", but that is not the case... still a fresh installation (just reformatted and reinstalled it clean again) and I haven't tampered with system confirguations whatsoever.

The main problem, however, is that I cannot get the AMD drivers to install for the HD 7850. I run the installer (which is a total pain in the ass in Linux lol) and it immediately halts and says I do not have the proper "tools" to complete the installation. It gives no error codes, no exception message(s) and no other explanation. It doesn't even explain what these "tools" are, nor does it offer any alternatives other than using the "-force" option which it warns may cause system instability. What the hell is going on here, and how can I get these damned drivers installed so we can mine? Time is of the essence...

3) Mining Rig Builds

I'm thinking about how to build better and more efficient mining rigs and GPU farms, but have some questions about it:

1) Are there any decent alternatives to building an entire desktop machine to run a GPU farm? I'm interested in smaller, more efficient and lower-cost systems...
2) Would it be of great benefit to buy PCI-E extender cables and run our GPUs externally? I see an immediate benefit in terms of cooling (i.e., can use water-cooling)...
3) I have been told that PCI-E bandwidth (e.g., x16 vs x8) is less important in mining... how much truth is there to this? I've been told even x1 is good enough for mining.
4) I've found a few places that sell PCI-E "splitters" which enable you to connect more GPUs to your mobo. Would it be safe/practical to use these, and what limitations are there?
5) Any other helpful ideas/advice on building good machines to serve as miner platforms would be great!  Cheesy

4) cgminer Configuration

It's taken a lot of work to figure out how to configure cgminer and get everything working. But it seems people have wildly varying/conflicting ideas on what parameters to use for the same GPUs. The settings that concern me most are thread concurrency, GPU threads, worksize, intensity/aggression, etc. I've found a few guides on where to derive the values of these parameters but everyone seems to have wildly different ideas about it. Some settings people use seem absolutely outrageous (trying some immediately crashed system lol), whereas others are way too weak...

Are there any truly reliable sources of information on this subject? Or is this a hit and miss affair? It seems to me that each GPU would have an optimal range of settings based on its specifications, architecture and capabilities... but as of yet I've found no concrete formula for figuring this out and have just had to do wild and whacky experiments until finding values that seem to work...

4) Miner Networking

This is perhaps the most important thing to me... I'm currently solo mining for LTC, and I want all of my machines to work together and make the most effective use of their hashing-power. On my main work desktop I'm running Litecoin-QT in -server mode and have both of its GPUs running in tandem solo mining. But I'd like to point my other machines at it too and have them all work together and share work. So what is the best way to accomplish this? As of right now all the machines are in my office on the same network, but by tomorrow we will also have machines running in neighboring apartments on the same T-3 network and others running in other locations. How do we configure the network settings so that they all work together?

Are we going to need to create our own private pool that all the miners/slaves connect to? If so, what's the best mining pool software that is currently available and where can I get it and instructions on how to use it? Eventually, once I get my bearings in mining, I will write new software to perfectly fit our needs but for right now I'd just like something that will get us started.

As for the miners running in my office on the same network, couldn't I configure them to work together without going "all-out" and creating a private pool?

Any help with this is GREATLY appreciated... I know it's a huge wall of text and a ton of questions, but unless I ask I'll be losing days or weeks of time figuring it out on my own the hard way. If anyone is kind enough to assist us during this early setup phase I would be more than happy to share a bit of our block rewards.  Smiley

Regards,

--ATC--

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MashRinx
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April 03, 2013, 07:26:56 PM
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Sorry don't have time to fully comment, but I'll try to help a bit.  To answer your #1, I look at your additional questions in #3.  All of my mining rigs but one are all completely open.  No 'standard' cases at all.  I found a thread here months ago where someone used some metal tubing to create some really nice open-framed rigs and took the concept and made my own using 1 x 2 pieces of wood and something else flat and sturdy for the base.

Originally I was using a PCI-E extender for each card in each machine, but found that I got similar results extending only the middle card on a 3 card machine, or ever other card if you have more than 3.  I can assure you that 1x to 16x PCI Extenders do work fine for mining, but I don't believe 1x to 1x do.

VERY basic #4 - Litecoin-QT is going to be listening on a certain port.  The LAN you are on is, in general, going to be able to hit that machine on that port pretty easily.  Anything on a different subnet is going to need to get to that machine through some form of router/gateway and that router is going to need to know how to forward the traffic on that port to the machine running Litecoin-QT.  I'm not going to even try to cover what the security risks might involved be in this scenario.

Have you considered mining on one of the LTC pools and just pointing all of the machines you intend to use to the same account on that pool?  I understand wanting to avoid the fee related to pool mining, but that is a much easier option to configure and maintain, IMO, and without having to worry about opening inbound ports on a router/firewall, dealing with any security issues that may or may not create, etc.

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April 22, 2013, 12:24:13 AM
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The main problem, however, is that I cannot get the AMD drivers to install for the HD 7850. I run the installer (which is a total pain in the ass in Linux lol) and it immediately halts and says I do not have the proper "tools" to complete the installation. It gives no error codes, no exception message(s) and no other explanation. It doesn't even explain what these "tools" are, nor does it offer any alternatives other than using the "-force" option which it warns may cause system instability. What the hell is going on here, and how can I get these damned drivers installed so we can mine? Time is of the essence...

I am experiencing a similar problem with the HD 7850. Did you ever figure out how to install the drivers?
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