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Author Topic: Newbie lessons learned after building first mining rig  (Read 731 times)
Dargo
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July 10, 2011, 06:30:07 PM
 #1

Just thought I'd share my thoughts on my first build:

GPUs: 2x 5850 ($298)(I was really lucky to find these at such a good price)
CPU: Athlon II 250 Regor ($60)
RAM: 4G Gskill Ripjaw ($38)
PSU: Thermaltake XT 775w ($70 - w/ rebate offered on Tigerdirect)
Mobo: Biostar A870U3 ($65)
Case: AZZA Helios 910R ($80)
Lian Li External PCI Cooler ($38) (The PCIe x16 slots on the Mobo are very close together and this really helps cool the upper card)
Edimax EW-7811Un Wireless USB ($15)
1 4G USB stick ($8)
Linux (free)
Total: $672 (not including tax and shipping)

I'm currently getting ~725 Mh/s on this rig, and am very happy with it, but if I had the chance to do it over, here is what I would change:

1) No case, with PCIe extenders to get the GPUs further apart. Yes, it would look like crap, but the advantages in terms of better cooling
and $ saved on a case and extra fans outweigh this IMO. With a trip to Home Depot, I think I could build a frame for $30 or so. I may end up
doing this eventually anyway, since my Mobo has two PCIe x1 slots, so I can run up to 4 GPUs on this Mobo.

2) AMD Sempron. This is $22 less, but more importantly uses about 20w less. Initially the Sempron seemed too spartan, but now that I've
gone OCD about the wattage I pull from the wall (about 400 watts now - measured with Kill A Watt), I'd prefer the lower power CPU. My
newbtuition suggested that I could deactivate one core on the Athlon II and end up with about the same power usage as the Sempron. But
deactivating one core had almost no impact on power. (Another newbtuition bits the dust!) 

3) Corsair HX850. More expensive, but the efficiency is about 90%, compared to about 85% for the Thermaltake. This would save about
15-20 watts (and like I said I'm a bit OCD about power now). If I actually get the $30 rebate from Thermaltake, then maybe it was the better
buy, but it is somewhat doubtful I will (many have complained that Thermaltake doesn't honor rebates). Plus, the Corsair is a better PSU,
and offers more room for expansion.

For anyone looking for a modest and fairly inexpensive mining rig, I can definitely recommend something similar to what I have, especially
with the suggested changes. If you don't already have a spare copy of Windows, I say just go with Linux. With all the helpful info on this
board, it really isn't as hard as you might think for a Linux newbie to set up a mining rig. And yes you *can* clock those GPUs past default
limits without reflashing the bios!
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NathanEO
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July 10, 2011, 07:29:51 PM
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Hi Dargo,

your tweaks seem legit but they are still a bit flawed. Why?
Because you use the wrong mainboard!

With the MSI 890FXA-GD70 you can use THREE graphics cards and you still have one free slot space between the cards.
No need for the Lian Li external cooler.

Additionally with a 800W PSU you can easily manage 3 high-end single GPU VGA cards.
I've got Coolermaster SilentPro Gold 800W running with 3x Ati HD6950.

Also you do not need any special kind of RAM. Just get some standard 2 Gig OEM quality from Kingston, Samsung etc.
4 Gig of RAM is more then you need.

Greetings,
NathanEO
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July 10, 2011, 07:33:32 PM
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No point using GD70 just because ou get the cards on motherboard. Just buy cheapest mobo with enough pci-e ports and use extenders.

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July 10, 2011, 07:42:00 PM
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Also, you could always undervolt and underclock the 250.

The way I figure it, the 250 will have uses after you get done mining with it, a 145 wont.

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lynxua
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July 10, 2011, 07:45:00 PM
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gigabyte 770t-d3l - 70$
5 graphics cards with pci-ex 1x risers...
NathanEO
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July 10, 2011, 08:01:46 PM
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No point using GD70 just because ou get the cards on motherboard. Just buy cheapest mobo with enough pci-e ports and use extenders.

Yap that is true if you do not want/need a case!
Dargo
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July 10, 2011, 08:22:30 PM
 #7

Good points about alternative motherboards. I did consider the GD70, but decided to go with something cheaper. But since I had to pay an extra $38 for the external cooler anyway, the the GD70 might have made more sense. Actually, the external cooler wasn't totally necessary, but my upper card does run a bit hotter without it (6-8 C or so), and I can push the card better this way. The gigabyte might be even better for a cheap option, especially if the slots are further apart. The A870U3 is not a bad choice, but given how close together the PCIe slots are, it is best with PCIe extenders. I still have to try undervolting/underclocking the cpu -it's on the to do list. Still, probably should have gone with the Sempron. Thanks for the replies!
cinos11
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July 11, 2011, 12:43:51 AM
 #8

What i found out best to do, (For hardcore miners)
Is to make it all bare minimum.

Only have things plugged in that you will be using for mining.
(Things such as monitors unplugged, and a dummy plug on it)
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