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Author Topic: Planning on a new cheap PC, should also used for mining. (serious stuff later)  (Read 929 times)
ElectricMucus
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August 14, 2011, 11:33:24 PM
 #1

Hello,

I am planning on a new PC, with a total cost of about 500 Euros.
The purpose is to get acquainted with bitcoins & mining and be upgraded later on.
This should also function as g-code slicer and used for games now and then.
I have two options in mind:

AMD Llano A8-3850
ASUS F1A75-V Evo
or
AMD Athlon II X4 645
HD 6790 (would sell it that later and exchange)
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3

By my choices the system should initially be cheap but upgradeable.
My best choice is the Llano since the APU might give the best Mhash/Watt currently available and I do not want a open or loud system so I would stick to single chip cards.

I will not go for 4 cards right away and probably limit it to 2. (another point for Llano)

I guess for strict mining a semperon would be the best option.
The thing is Llano has 32nm it almost should be a no-brainer, but since AMD hasn't been too successful with power-management this is open to debate.

any suggestions welcome  Smiley

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Dargo
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August 15, 2011, 03:12:13 AM
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OK, but this will be a very non-serious miner. If you need a computer anyway, maybe it makes sense. But this isn't going to give you much of an introduction to mining or bitcoins. Have you looked for a good deal on a 5850? You will get a lot more hashes out of this card, and I think there are still some good deals in Europe if you hunt around. Without a better card for mining, I think you are better off just buying some bitcoins, and then the only thing you need to know about mining is that it will take you a really long time to get that many coins.
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August 15, 2011, 10:20:21 AM
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AMD Llano A8 chipset path should only be used if you want to do light gaming while your main graphics card is still mining Bitcoins while you play.  If you plan on stopping Bitcoin mining on your graphics card to occasionally play a game you should go with the AM3 chipset path.  I just bought a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 and I simply love it.  Has 4 PCIe 2.0 slots as well as a working PCIex1 slot which works without cable jumping.  The quality of this board is comparable to boards $50 above it's price range, the capacitors, chokes, and PCI lanes allow you to abuse this card with 5 video cards (as long as your PSU holds up Shocked )

The AM3+ path simply has better motherboards for open mining systems or for a mid-size to large ATX case system.  If you want to go more of the "energy efficient" route with less noise and smaller form factor I would go Llano since it can do light gaming on the APU.

As for the graphics card I would highly recommend this MSI 5770:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127490

This card has absolutely excellent cooling, sound, and overclocking abilities.  They are cheap, energy efficient, and give you a good bang for your buck when it comes to Bitcoin mining and for gaming they still keep up with current-gen games (minus DX11 capabilities which are a fluke anyways).  At first I thought they were just a beginner's card but the Megahash/sec is still far better than most 6000 series cards and their power consumption is comparable.  You could put a more of these together later, the hash rate is nothing to scoff at considering how incredibly energy efficient they are.

Anyways, I hoped that helped and good luck  Grin

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August 15, 2011, 10:56:41 AM
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The Llano: Well I would have a breakeven point of 5-10 years depending on the factors with the APU alone for the whole system. I would go for 2 extra cards as soon I can afford one. Money is tight right now otherwise I would just buy a highend gaming rig and go with it.
The purpose is not to get some income with this system but to see how well I do with tweaking the software to get the most MH/W.
As for speculating: I'd rather do that with silver (A better deal imho as long as one oz costs less than a card Tongue)

If you want to go more of the "energy efficient" route with less noise and smaller form factor I would go Llano since it can do light gaming on the APU.

Anyways, I hoped that helped and good luck  Grin

Thanks, this is exactly what I'm gonna do  Cheesy

As for cards, I gonna snipe them off ebay when they turn up  Wink

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mikethebodacious
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August 15, 2011, 11:51:20 AM
 #5

As for speculating: I'd rather do that with silver (A better deal imho as long as one oz costs less than a card Tongue)

Yeah, silver is still my main investment but Bitcoins sure are eating into it nowadays.

Anyways, I think a MicroATX build rocking 2 6950s would be pretty wicked, here's some parts I think are great for the price:

Case - NZXT Vulcan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146065

Case is a bit flimsy so don't manhandle it, other than that it can rock 2 full length cards in the case and has great ventilation and features (for $70 it can't be beat).

Motherboard - GA-A75M-S2V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128516

Seems like a solid motherboard (I've always had good luck with Gigabyte, great quality for the price).  The only downside is only 2 RAM slots and there's a good possibility the bottom PCIex2.0 slot won't work with this case, although it would be nice to have that extra room between your cards to draw in the air.  If this board won't work in the case I would go with this Biostar that will definitely work (you'll have to check into this for yourself):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138333

PSU - OCZ Modstream 700W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341018

Excellent semi-modular power supply that has shorter cables designed for microATX cases.  Have had this model for 5 years and works great, might want to look at lower or higher wattage depending on the cards you plan on putting in your case.

RAM - Kingston HyperX 8GB (2X4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104266

Great RAM at a great price, you could put just 4GB in your computer but for how dirt cheap 8GB is now why not?  You will probably never use more than 6GB, even under extreme circumstances though.  Up to you, no big deal.

Overall I think this would make a great build not only for Bitcoin mining but for everyday use, all at a price that shouldn't break the bank and good quality components that will last you a long time.  The CPU and video card will be the most expensive components though, that's for sure.  I would look into 5850s, 5870s, and 6950s for this build since the case will fit them (whatever you can afford).

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August 15, 2011, 12:24:26 PM
 #6

I've put my order now, I went with the Llamo

I got this case:
Rebel 9 Value Edition

As you notice it has a huge fan blowing across the Slots and is cheap.

As for cards (I want a silent system) I found this goodie:
PowerColor Radeon HD 6850 SCS3

The might be a little on the weak side but I would have 3280 units with 3 of them and the APU.
The power rating would be 480W for APU and cards (I only got a 530W Power supply so it should be a tight squeeze but since I'll undervolt it should be fine, if all else fails I'll just use 2 card instead of 3.)

Also since I really looked onto my budget I have something left so I will be able to buy my first card 1. next Month  Grin

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mikethebodacious
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August 15, 2011, 06:41:42 PM
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Could've gotten an Antec 300 for $45 w/ rebate, which looks similar but much better quality case.  The Powercolor passive graphics cards look quite promising if you're dead set on low-noise PC.  I think if you get two of these stacked in that case you're going to need a side fan to blow cool air over them, which will definitely raise the noise level when you sit next to it unless you go with an incredibly low RPM fan.  At this time Bitcoin mining is quite difficult to do effectively and at a low noise level (my whole living room hums with fans to keep the temps down for 24/7 mining).  Good luck and please do post pics in the mining rig thread, as you will have quite the unique set-up.

ElectricMucus
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August 15, 2011, 08:12:42 PM
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Could've gotten an Antec 300 for $45 w/ rebate, which looks similar but much better quality case.  The Powercolor passive graphics cards look quite promising if you're dead set on low-noise PC.  I think if you get two of these stacked in that case you're going to need a side fan to blow cool air over them, which will definitely raise the noise level when you sit next to it unless you go with an incredibly low RPM fan.  At this time Bitcoin mining is quite difficult to do effectively and at a low noise level (my whole living room hums with fans to keep the temps down for 24/7 mining).  Good luck and please do post pics in the mining rig thread, as you will have quite the unique set-up.
Thanks I will do that, I am not sure if I get exacty these cards since they are 1/3 more expensive than 5770 and 6770 version which also are available with passive cooling and seem to offer the same or even better stats.
But this version seems to be the only one which has the fins aligned in such a way that the airstream can enter the cooler straight on.

There are some very encouraging stats though...
the 6850 seem to surpass what's possible with the previous ones on the wiki... 300 MH/s, but their average is lower..

From what I've learned so far the stream processors seem to be grouped in more smaller chunks in this card, so I guess it depends on the mining software. Are there tweaks yet for the new generation?
Because on paper their Processors*Clock/Watt it should offer 7% less performance but that is not accounting for architectural benefits.

I already found a seller for a used passive 5770 btw  Cheesy

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August 15, 2011, 08:51:37 PM
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Honestly why dont you just search for used 5850s or 5830s? I mean the 6xxx seris is pretty pricey for the mhash you get. I mean i have 6870s but its definately not hte best for the price.

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ElectricMucus
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August 15, 2011, 09:19:36 PM
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Honestly why dont you just search for used 5850s or 5830s? I mean the 6xxx seris is pretty pricey for the mhash you get. I mean i have 6870s but its definately not hte best for the price.
Well, how would I get a quiet system then? (The machine will run in the same room I have to sleep)
I guess I could try to dismantle the cooler and apply my own solution to channel the 250mm fan to the cards but I haven't found any card which has a big enough metal part to do this.

I know there is water cooling but that isn't cheap and it's messy.

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Dargo
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August 15, 2011, 09:39:41 PM
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Honestly why dont you just search for used 5850s or 5830s? I mean the 6xxx seris is pretty pricey for the mhash you get. I mean i have 6870s but its definately not hte best for the price.
Well, how would I get a quiet system then? (The machine will run in the same room I have to sleep)
I guess I could try to dismantle the cooler and apply my own solution to channel the 250mm fan to the cards but I haven't found any card which has a big enough metal part to do this.

I know there is water cooling but that isn't cheap and it's messy.

Well the 58xx cards aren't all that loud. I have doubts about keeping that fanless 6850 cool while mining, unless you make a big compromise in the hash department. I think you would be better off just getting a card with a fan and running the fan at lower speed.  Will be interested to know how it works out though if you try it. 
ElectricMucus
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August 15, 2011, 09:59:48 PM
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Well thanks, I'll keep a eye open for 5850s, maybe I'll figure something out. Wink

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August 15, 2011, 10:58:38 PM
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If you need to cool the passive graphics card you got you should look at either a yate loon or Noctua fan with a fan controller (you can get PCI solt 1 fan controllers quite cheap), both can run at nearly silent RPMs which will be enough to move the heat off the passive heatsink.
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August 15, 2011, 11:02:43 PM
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Well thanks, I'll keep a eye open for 5850s, maybe I'll figure something out. Wink

I also sleep in my mining room (about 6 feet away from my rigs), you get used to the white noise of box and table fans running.  As long as you don't crank your card's fan % up (over 70%) you can still get respectable hash rate and sleep easily.  I find excessive overclocking, although it helps rake in more BTC/hr, is just not worth the added watt consumption, noise output, and heat output.  Keep your cards around 60-70C and you should have no problem sleeping in that room.  I honestly would look at that MSI 5770 I originally posted, the thing is whisper quiet at 65% fan speed (unlike reference design) and is significantly cooler due to the dual fan design than the reference/single fan cards.  I think this card is one of the best bang for your buck, Mh/$ and Mh/J wise.  I would seriously have bought more of these but I already ordered two 5850s which I am waiting on from Amazon (slipped into the last shipment).  The Sapphire 5830s are OK but the 5850 uses less energy and gives you more Mh/sec.

Passive cards seem like a great idea but they are just bulky as hell, not to mention just expensive (which defeats your purpose of your budget rig).  Just start with a 5770 and move on from there (buy a good PSU initially so you don't have to upgrade later).  Good luck!

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August 16, 2011, 06:28:51 PM
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Well as I said I found my first passive 6770 used so that is obviously cheaper. I realize that with current difficulty and prices I wouldn't have any significant profit. But if I would go after that would need 5970s anyway which is out of the question right now. So I might as well go for the most convenient solution.

I am looking for a fire and forget solution. Not that I am not willing to invest time but I'd rather concern myself with getting what's available for me and improving on that rather than monkey see monkey do competing on a hyped product only as good as the people behind using it.

Imho the oh so good efficiency of older high end cards is comparable to their viability in PC games. In this case it's the optimization to a less effective architecture. In our case the optimization of opencl code. It's more or less the same thing, but in our case we can do something about it.

Yes I am planning to get to learn the basics of opencl  Cool


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