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Author Topic: Is "casual" mining still sustainable? Is buying a new rig stupid?  (Read 6463 times)
geek-trader
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July 22, 2011, 04:55:39 AM
 #21


I wouldn't recommend that much cheaper of a board.  It's pretty minimal and it's going to be taking a lot more heat punishment than normal.  If you don't want to fry your board in a year, ECS and Foxconn and all those crappy ones are out.  I'd go with an ASUS with solid capacitors across the whole board or an MSI military class II board with solid caps across the entire board.  Those can take some serious heat because they have ceramic outsides and non-liquid insides.  Basically any board you get that's worse than that one would be saving $5-10 and totally not be worth the significantly reduced lifetime.

By the way, you forgot some sort of case or case-like object, the hard drive, and at least temporary optical drive to install the OS in that build...and the OS lol.  Linux is a pain to set up and I've done it twice but who doesn't have windows XP licenses laying around?  I've got like 40 activations worth cuz I recycle and refurb and repair computers Cheesy And they haven't cared about the "non-transferrable" part of XP licenses since 2007 when they stopped selling them.


* I'm getting a case.  I have a small house and a wife, so fan noise must be minimized.  However, there are several How-Tos on this board about running caseless. I recommend MeatBall's: http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=27496.0
* I plan to run off a USB drive: http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=29021.0
* Writing software to run on Linux is my job since 1998, so I'm pretty comfortable with it. Smiley  I think it's WAY easier to set up than Windows, but to each his own.
* I ordered a MSI 870-G45 for $70.  Good to hear the "Military Class" components are decent.

Thanks!  Constructive criticisim is always welcome.

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July 22, 2011, 05:40:34 AM
 #22

 Linux is a pain to set up and I've done it twice but

hahahahahahh oh man. You are killing me!

LinuxCoin takes 10-15 minutes to install in persistent mode from the livecd. Admin time is far far less than Windows as well. I think you may forget that a lot of miners are also sysadmins. If you took a couple of hours to learn how to use it you might be surprised that it's more flexible, stable, cheaper, and easier to use than wasting your time click click clicking around with the mouse.

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July 22, 2011, 05:56:43 AM
 #23

Hello, all.  I'd like to get the opinion of this forum.

If I were to spend $700 on a mining rig and get 600 MH/s out of it, and get it online in a week from today, would it pay for itself eventually?

The mining calculators say no, because they assume the difficulty will forever go up.  But the difficulty has to stop and level off at some point, right?  At some point, new miners will stop coming in, or current miners leaving, or shutting down part of their rigs will match new miners coming in.  Right?

I suppose the $ value of BTC could shoot up, and that would definitely help.  It could also go down.

Is it just stupid to buy a $700 new rig now?  I just want to break even, without factoring in selling the used hardware later.

BTW, I currently run 1 5830 at 300 MH/s.  But that was easy, I just stuck a new 5830 in my existing computer.  I'm proposing buying a whole new rig.  And the $700 comes from what I specced out at NewEgg.  Closed case system.  I can't have TOO much fan noise and hardware just sitting out.

Thanks for your opinion.

You can find your mainboard, CPU and RAM in second hand market, some are dirt cheap.

My rig:

Random Mainboard (PCI 1x x 2, PCI 16x x 1) + CPU (fan included) + 512 MB RAM from secondhand market: CN¥210 (US$32.55)
PCI-E 1x to 16x extender cable x 2: CN¥30 (US$4.65)
Sapphire Radeon HD5850 Xtreme x 3: CN¥2940 (US$455.55)
4GB USB Stick: CN¥45 (US$6.95)
Xilence 700W Power Supply Unit: CN¥195 (US$30.20)
Two more random 300W power supply units from secondhand market to power the 2nd and 3rd HD5850's 6pins: CN¥50 (US$7.75)

Hashrate: 362 Mhash/s * 3 with phoenix and the latest patched phatk kernel, overclocked to 900 MHz core freq = 1.086 Ghash/s
Total cost: CN¥3470, or US$538, or US$495/Ghash

bcpokey
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July 22, 2011, 07:16:14 AM
 #24


I wouldn't recommend that much cheaper of a board.  It's pretty minimal and it's going to be taking a lot more heat punishment than normal.  If you don't want to fry your board in a year, ECS and Foxconn and all those crappy ones are out.  I'd go with an ASUS with solid capacitors across the whole board or an MSI military class II board with solid caps across the entire board.  Those can take some serious heat because they have ceramic outsides and non-liquid insides.  Basically any board you get that's worse than that one would be saving $5-10 and totally not be worth the significantly reduced lifetime.

By the way, you forgot some sort of case or case-like object, the hard drive, and at least temporary optical drive to install the OS in that build...and the OS lol.  Linux is a pain to set up and I've done it twice but who doesn't have windows XP licenses laying around?  I've got like 40 activations worth cuz I recycle and refurb and repair computers Cheesy And they haven't cared about the "non-transferrable" part of XP licenses since 2007 when they stopped selling them.


* I'm getting a case.  I have a small house and a wife, so fan noise must be minimized.  However, there are several How-Tos on this board about running caseless. I recommend MeatBall's: http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=27496.0
* I plan to run off a USB drive: http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=29021.0
* Writing software to run on Linux is my job since 1998, so I'm pretty comfortable with it. Smiley  I think it's WAY easier to set up than Windows, but to each his own.
* I ordered a MSI 870-G45 for $70.  Good to hear the "Military Class" components are decent.

Thanks!  Constructive criticisim is always welcome.

"Military class" components are actually total garbage. The 870-G45 mosfets are some of the lowest quality inferior junk items around. The only goodnews is that if you are running a low power sempron processor, that this won't really be a problem as far as I know. But those boards are notoriously junky boards. The caps might be better, but I suspect that they aren't and that's all just marketing hype nonsense.
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July 22, 2011, 01:41:59 PM
 #25

By the way, you forgot some sort of case or case-like object, the hard drive, and at least temporary optical drive to install the OS in that build...and the OS lol.  
You technically could just lay it on some cardboard or the boxes it came in so thats free. You don't need an optical drive you can just boot with a flash drive and I guess you could include 10 15 dollars to his price for the flash drive. Other then that though everything he showed was fine.
shotgun
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July 22, 2011, 04:17:58 PM
 #26


"Military class" components are actually total garbage. The 870-G45 mosfets are some of the lowest quality inferior junk items around. The only goodnews is that if you are running a low power sempron processor, that this won't really be a problem as far as I know. But those boards are notoriously junky boards. The caps might be better, but I suspect that they aren't and that's all just marketing hype nonsense.

The military just uses Sun Netra, Sunfire, and various HP and DELL servers. They certainly aren't buying any MSI motherboards. The 'milspec' marketing term has been around forever and it rarely means the military uses it or even that the product is up to 'military specification'.

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Rob P.
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July 22, 2011, 05:49:05 PM
 #27

By the way, you forgot some sort of case or case-like object, the hard drive, and at least temporary optical drive to install the OS in that build...and the OS lol.  Linux is a pain to set up and I've done it twice but who doesn't have windows XP licenses laying around?  I've got like 40 activations worth cuz I recycle and refurb and repair computers Cheesy And they haven't cared about the "non-transferrable" part of XP licenses since 2007 when they stopped selling them.

Why buy a case?  I run practically that same exact rig, sitting on it's motherboard box, without any external fans, and the cards run right at 69C at 70%.  Putting it in a case is silly and just jacks up the costs because you'll need a more rigorous motherboard (like you pointed out) due to heat, and buying a case and additional fans.  Open air is the way to go for a mining rig.

As for the OS.  You already have a computer, right?  Linuxcoin is free and will boot it from a $5 USB stick.  Again, optical drives and Windows are a waste of money and resources for a mining rig.  Takes 15 minutes to setup the USB stick, boot it, install Smartcoin, and you're done.

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shotgun
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July 22, 2011, 06:11:06 PM
 #28

Why buy a case?  I run practically that same exact rig, sitting on it's motherboard box, without any external fans, and the cards run right at 69C at 70%.  Putting it in a case is silly and just jacks up the costs because you'll need a more rigorous motherboard (like you pointed out) due to heat, and buying a case and additional fans.  Open air is the way to go for a mining rig.

Open rig works great until you run out of table space and actually need to organize more than a couple open air rigs. Density efficiency is important for large operations. Just ask Dimitri.

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AngelusWebDesign
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July 22, 2011, 06:23:33 PM
 #29

How do you use PCI-E extender cables with an open air rig? That's why I use cases.
Usually the PCI-E x1 slot(s) are in the middle, and most extender cables aren't very long...
mike678
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July 22, 2011, 06:37:14 PM
 #30

How do you use PCI-E extender cables with an open air rig? That's why I use cases.
Usually the PCI-E x1 slot(s) are in the middle, and most extender cables aren't very long...

Ive seen pictures of ghetto rigs with 5 dollar towel/dish rack that they place the gpu's on. I'm not sure I would do this though.
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July 22, 2011, 06:40:47 PM
 #31

How do you use PCI-E extender cables with an open air rig? That's why I use cases.
Usually the PCI-E x1 slot(s) are in the middle, and most extender cables aren't very long...
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July 22, 2011, 06:43:15 PM
 #32

How do you use PCI-E extender cables with an open air rig? That's why I use cases.
Usually the PCI-E x1 slot(s) are in the middle, and most extender cables aren't very long...


Like this:
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=29729.0

I'd also argue that this is WAY more dense of a system than a bunch of cases with extra fans loaded into them.  That's 5 two-slot cards on one motherboard.  Four of those in a line would be 20 cards, by making some slight modifications you could easily stack another row on top for 40 cards.

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mike678
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July 22, 2011, 07:16:34 PM
 #33

How do you use PCI-E extender cables with an open air rig? That's why I use cases.
Usually the PCI-E x1 slot(s) are in the middle, and most extender cables aren't very long...


Like this:
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=29729.0

I'd also argue that this is WAY more dense of a system than a bunch of cases with extra fans loaded into them.  That's 5 two-slot cards on one motherboard.  Four of those in a line would be 20 cards, by making some slight modifications you could easily stack another row on top for 40 cards.
I'm assuming you've actually made this? I'm planning on trying this what temp do the cards get to and what temp is the room?
Rob P.
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July 22, 2011, 07:38:47 PM
 #34

How do you use PCI-E extender cables with an open air rig? That's why I use cases.
Usually the PCI-E x1 slot(s) are in the middle, and most extender cables aren't very long...


Like this:
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=29729.0

I'd also argue that this is WAY more dense of a system than a bunch of cases with extra fans loaded into them.  That's 5 two-slot cards on one motherboard.  Four of those in a line would be 20 cards, by making some slight modifications you could easily stack another row on top for 40 cards.
I'm assuming you've actually made this? I'm planning on trying this what temp do the cards get to and what temp is the room?

I haven't done this yet.  However, I run an open air rig and my cards are right at 70C running with 70% fans (I think).  The room ambient temp is around 25C (because of the rigs).

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AngelusWebDesign
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July 22, 2011, 07:50:35 PM
 #35

To each his own, I guess.

Some people like to have 2 cards per PC; others like 5. 

It's really a matter of opinion.  It's less hassle to set up 2/3 card machines, but you need more machines.
As far as cost goes, I think it's about the same. If you go to 4/5 card machines, you need to make special arrangements (greater time cost) plus you need a 1200W PSU instead of a 650 or 750. And most mobos only have 2 PCI-E with 1 or 2 PCI-E 1x.

The mobo in the link Rob posted was certainly not $60.

On the other hand, sometimes it's easier to run 2 big rigs instead of 5 smaller ones.
Unless a component fails, then all your eggs are in one (broken) basket.
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July 22, 2011, 08:33:34 PM
 #36

To each his own, I guess.

Some people like to have 2 cards per PC; others like 5. 

It's really a matter of opinion.  It's less hassle to set up 2/3 card machines, but you need more machines.
As far as cost goes, I think it's about the same. If you go to 4/5 card machines, you need to make special arrangements (greater time cost) plus you need a 1200W PSU instead of a 650 or 750. And most mobos only have 2 PCI-E with 1 or 2 PCI-E 1x.

The mobo in the link Rob posted was certainly not $60.

On the other hand, sometimes it's easier to run 2 big rigs instead of 5 smaller ones.
Unless a component fails, then all your eggs are in one (broken) basket.

If you plan to go big (more then 5 gpu's) it is very waisteful to make rigs of 3 gpu's or less because of the space taken and the cost of the extra components. To keep it simple lets do 15 gpu's.

So you would need 5 rigs of 3 gpu's or 3 rigs of 5 gpu's.

Ill set up the cost for a rig with 5 gpu's.

68 - open case as rob has link to.
145 - mobo (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130274R)  -- This is an amazing deal at the moment I highly recommend as it is usually 195.
130x5 - 5830's
30 - cpu (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130274R)
10 - ram (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148368)
219-psu(after rebate http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171055)
9 - flash drive(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171398)
15*5 risers
totaling to $1,206

Now 3 gpu rig in a case.
130x3-5830's
30-cpu
10-ram
9- flash drive
127 - mobo(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157207)
50 - case(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119068)
110 - psu (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006)
totaling to $726

726*5   =$4356
1,206*3=$3618

That means the 3 gpu rig costs 20% more.
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July 22, 2011, 08:46:30 PM
 #37


That means the 3 gpu rig costs 20% more.

You can get 2x (58xx or 6xxx using a total of 300 watt PCIe power connector) and 2x5770 (150 watts of PCIe) cards into one case. I know this because I'm doing it. That keeps the cost down significantly because you can run a 600-700 watt PSU depending on CPU. And when you get over the 3 box hump you can't realistically (unless you feel like spreading parts around on a large table or baking rack and filling the room with oscillating fans) put them in one location without looking like a degenerate that doesn't care about consistency and stability.  Roll Eyes

4 cards per box is the best use of space when you're dealing with 3+ boxes. There's also the power distribution, networking cables, environment cooling and heat exhaust systems, and administrative work to consider. Having all of your gear in an orderly arrangement keeps you sane. I know a lot of people here love open cases but coming from a datacenter work environment it just makes me think you're playing with toys when you could be approaching it in a serious manner.

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July 22, 2011, 09:34:00 PM
 #38

You can get 2x (58xx or 6xxx using a total of 300 watt PCIe power connector) and 2x5770 (150 watts of PCIe) cards into one case.

First 4 5830's always will beat a set up like this in megahash/(server cost) unless you get insane deals which I have never seen. Secondly I chose 3 because that was the amount argued.

And when you get over the 3 box hump you can't realistically (unless you feel like spreading parts around on a large table or baking rack and filling the room with oscillating fans) put them in one location without looking like a degenerate that doesn't care about consistency and stability.  Roll Eyes

If you read I said using the open case set up that rob linked to. This is still a case with a frame just completely open and spreads the cards out significantly. Here is the link since you didn't bother looking up a couple posts.
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=29729.0

4 cards per box is the best use of space when you're dealing with 3+ boxes. There's also the power distribution, networking cables, environment cooling and heat exhaust systems, and administrative work to consider. Having all of your gear in an orderly arrangement keeps you sane. I know a lot of people here love open cases but coming from a datacenter work environment it just makes me think you're playing with toys when you could be approaching it in a serious manner.

Again see the case I linked to above.
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July 22, 2011, 09:34:52 PM
 #39

Yes, there's resale value.

If you had to resell any of it, as in the oft-quoted, "...and I'll have several PCs and graphics cards that I could always re-sell..."
it would certainly be easier if it had a case.

Barebones components such as Motherboard/Sempron combos are much harder to sell. For one thing, they only appeal to a small segment of the population --techies -- who tend to know about things like NewEgg and how they're wiser to spend $20 or $30 more for 3X the processing power Smiley

I often wonder how well all these "mining rigs" people put together (myself included) are going to sell on Craigslist someday.

Also, a case provides more protection against things like beverages, pets, children, and earthquakes.
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July 22, 2011, 09:40:23 PM
 #40

Yes, there's resale value.

If you had to resell any of it, as in the oft-quoted, "...and I'll have several PCs and graphics cards that I could always re-sell..."
it would certainly be easier if it had a case.

Barebones components such as Motherboard/Sempron combos are much harder to sell. For one thing, they only appeal to a small segment of the population --techies -- who tend to know about things like NewEgg and how they're wiser to spend $20 or $30 more for 3X the processing power Smiley

I often wonder how well all these "mining rigs" people put together (myself included) are going to sell on Craigslist someday.

Also, a case provides more protection against things like beverages, pets, children, and earthquakes.


I agree resale for a case I just listed would be an absolute bitch but if you think you have to rely on the resale to make a profit then you shouldn't be investing in bitcoins. I also agree an open case like the one listed could be damaged easily but as long as you realize that then you should be able to use common sense and keep it in a safe location.
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