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Author Topic: Motherboards: What Works w/Four or More GPUs? List Them  (Read 48765 times)
amazingrando
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August 23, 2011, 10:58:23 PM
 #21

WORKS
Motherboard Brand: Biostar
Motherboard Model & PCIe Slots: A870U3 (2x16, 2x1)
Power Supply Brand & Model: Corsair TX850 (Pulling ~615W at the wall)
Number & Model GPUs: 4x Sapphire 5830 Xtreme (Overclocked & undervolted)
Extender Cables w/Molex Power?: No

Motherboard automatically unlocks 2nd core of Sempron 140.

I'm trying almost exactly the same configuration, except with 5850's and it's not stable.  Are you using 16x->16x extenders for the two 16x slots?  Have you noticed any stability issues?

I have two 16x->16x and two 1x->16x extenders.  No pin-mod for the 1x PCI-e slots.  Rock solid stability.  Using LinuxCoin booted from 4GB USB, running headless.

Thanks pixilated8.  With that info, I think I've narrowed down my problem to a bad motherboard.  I'm have another one and will test 4 GPUs on it tonight, but it seems like the one I'm having trouble with has trouble even with two GPUs directly plugged on to the board.

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August 24, 2011, 01:25:38 PM
 #22

I've learned that it is VERY  important to first try a 4+ GPU rig at STOCK card clocks, then if that proves stable gradually OC each card until it becomes unstable then back off 10MH/z. Do this for each card until they are all running 24/7, in both mild and hot weather, without a problem. You will likely notice that some cards will OC very well and some will NOT. One unstable card can bring down the entire mining rig. Stability RULES!

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August 24, 2011, 08:45:46 PM
 #23

WHAT WORKS
Motherboard Brand: Gigabyte
Motherboard Model & PCIe Slots: 990XA-UD3  3 PCIe x16, 2 PCIe x1
Power Supply Brand & Model: Corsair AX1200
Number & Model GPUs: 3 x 5850 ,  1 x 5770
Extender Cables w/Molex Power?: x1-->1x-->x16 extender(w/o MOLEX power) for the 5770 card.

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August 25, 2011, 02:07:36 AM
 #24

WHAT WORKS
Motherboard Brand: Every Gigabyte/Asus/Intel x58/LGA1366 Motherboard I have tried (P6T/Reg/Green/Deluxe, Gigabyte UDx?)
Motherboard Model & PCIe Slots: (above)
Power Supply Brand & Model: Depends on cards used.
Number & Model GPUs: 4x 6870's, 4x 5770's, 4x 6950's *All matching, not tried mix/match*
Extender Cables w/Molex Power?: No Power, x1 & x16 passive cables

All of my Mining Rigs are X58/LGA1366 based setups, due to having a shit-ton of money invested into the platform anyways, Refurb Motherboards are often cheap from NCIX and 60w-80w Engineering Sample LGA1366 Xeons are dirt cheap in Dual & Quad-Core configuration.

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August 28, 2011, 10:02:55 PM
 #25

WHAT WORKS

Motherboard Brand: Biostar
Motherboard Model & PCIe Slots: A870U3; two x16, two x1
PSU Brand & Model: Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775w
Number & Model GPUs: 4x Sapphire 5850 (3 are Extreme model, one not)
Extender Cables: 3 1x --> 16x; 1 16x --> 16x (No Molex. Cables purchased from www.9mart.com)

Running linuxcoin 0.2b (old version). The only issue I had was that the cards in the x1 slots wouldn't mine initially, but rebooting solved this. All four cards are undervolted to 0.95 VDC using Atitweak. Currently getting about 300 Mhps from each card and pulling 450 watts from the wall. I haven't tuned the cards yet, and I'm sure I can get more out of them at the current voltage setting (I'm undervolting for efficiency).
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August 29, 2011, 06:24:42 AM
 #26

WORKING

Motherboard: GA-990FXA-UD7
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3880#ov
PCIe Slots: x16 * 6
Cards: 6* Powercolor 6770
Extenders: x16 -> x16

We've tried x1 -> x16 risers in that one and it was a nightmare. It can work, but be prepared for hell. Use x16 -> x16 extenders.

USB key can be really problematic with that motherboard. If you get the dreadful "Boot Error" with your USB key, update the BIOS. We've used the F4B and it worked for some. Still, we have some Linuxcoin key that don't work on it, and I really don't understand why.

Motherboard: MSi 890FX-GD70
http://www.msi.com/product/mb/890FXA-GD70.html
PCIe slots: x16 * 5, x1 * 1
Cards: 4* Sapphire reference 6950
Extenders: x16 -> x16

The PCI-E no 5(the second x16) seems dead on our motherboard. We can't do anything with it. Maybe its a bad configuration from our part...
Right now, we've put our 4 reference we had on the 4 remaining PCIe slots, and it works great. The x1 could be used. We didn't, those 4 cards are heating a lot, and we needed the extra space.

Motherboard: Biostar A870
http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/content.php?S_ID=523
PCIe slots: x16 * 2, x1 * 2
Cards: 3 * 5770, 1 * 6950
Extenders: x1 -> x16, x16 -> x16

This board is magic. It works. Top quality board for mining.

Motherboard: ASUS M4A79T Deluxe
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM3/M4A79T_Deluxe/
PCIe slots: x16 * 4
Cards: 1 * 6950, 3 * 5770
Extenders: x16 -> x16

Works great, a little costly compared to the Biostar, but it delivers.

From our experience, the Biostar come on top and will probably be our motherboard of choice from right now. And it's coming from a guy who bought FOUR GA-990FXA-UD7 with 6 cards on them. I can't understand how this board is sold at 250$ and it can't handle USB boot correctly.
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August 29, 2011, 06:53:34 AM
 #27

USB key can be really problematic with that motherboard. If you get the dreadful "Boot Error" with your USB key, update the BIOS. We've used the F4B and it worked for some. Still, we have some Linuxcoin key that don't work on it, and I really don't understand why.
...

From our experience, the Biostar come on top and will probably be our motherboard of choice from right now. And it's coming from a guy who bought FOUR GA-990FXA-UD7 with 6 cards on them. I can't understand how this board is sold at 250$ and it can't handle USB boot correctly.
I had similar problems with my GA-970A-D3. Some Gigabyte boards have this idiotic BIOS problem that apparently has to do with requiring a Windows "signature" in the boot record. I did much searching around and this is the best I could make out about this. I did find a tool that worked for me with Ubuntu. I have all Ubuntu systems here but I do have a WinXP VM under virtualbox on my notebook. I used this to format the usb key with a universal formatting tool and after that my key booted fine.

The "Universal USB Installer" is discussed here,
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/

I don't recall which forum thread I originally found out about this but it tool me many hours of trial and error to figure out this works. Apparently the HP formatter tool also works.

EDIT: Now that I think about, since this was a while back now, it may have been another tool that actually "fixed" the problem. I'm not sure right now but at the same time I also tried the "Bootice" program that did it. It's a blur now as I did this a month back in the wee hours of the morning. This program can be used to manipulate the MBR on the flash stick and if I recall you need to write a "good" MBR with this before you can boot.

http://www.pendriveapps.com/bootice-partition-flash-drive-edit-boot-sector/

Gigabyte are daft beyond words for having this boot problem and I'd seriously consider not buying their products again because of this. This was my first GA board after many years of buying only Asus.

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August 29, 2011, 07:57:31 AM
 #28

Thanks BkkCoins, we'll check into that when we get some courage for it. Currently, we're ok, it's just that the bug is incomprehensible. We've worked around 6 hours on it one night, on the verge of depression and ready to return everything when we found that updating the BIOS to F4B worked with some of our USB keys. Not all of them though (even if they all have the same OS on it).

I don't want to derail the topic, but this Gigabyte bug needs a sticky topic for it, or a wiki, or something with all the solutions people found for it. For those who buy those boards, it's really a major problem.
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August 30, 2011, 02:55:57 AM
 #29

What does not work:

Gigabyte P67A-D3-B3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128487

While it does work with 3, it's picky about which.

Sad, since it has 5 PCI-E slots in all - quite attractive for the price if all worked.

Confirmed on multiple boards.

If a bios flash fixes, of course I will update this.

~RdD

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September 01, 2011, 03:32:31 AM
 #30

What does not work:

Gigabyte P67A-D3-B3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128487

While it does work with 3, it's picky about which.

Sad, since it has 5 PCI-E slots in all - quite attractive for the price if all worked.

Confirmed on multiple boards.

If a bios flash fixes, of course I will update this.

~RdD



powered pci risers?

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September 06, 2011, 04:03:01 AM
 #31

Tested with powered and unpowered from cablesarus.
0, 1 and 4 work, with anything in 2 and 3 it boot loops.


I will re-test this again some time - right now the kids are all behaving, so I'm not gonna mess with them. Cool

~RdD
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September 06, 2011, 12:53:03 PM
 #32

Tested with powered and unpowered from cablesarus.
0, 1 and 4 work, with anything in 2 and 3 it boot loops.


I will re-test this again some time - right now the kids are all behaving, so I'm not gonna mess with them. Cool

~RdD


Maybe presence pins need shorting?

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September 22, 2011, 10:01:00 AM
 #33

p67 chipset only has 21 lanes.

Looking at the gigabyte website, it doesnt specifically say that the 2 16x slots will run in 8x when both are used. So assuming that it doesnt, you have 16x + 4x + 1x, we are now full. I'm guessing you could run the 2 16x slots and any of the 1x slots (total 3 cards).

Code:
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
 * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
 * When the PCIEX1_2 or PCIEX1_3 slot is populated with an expansion card, the PCIEX4 slot will operate at up to x1 mode.

If you use a 1x -> 16x riser in the 16x slot (or tape the card) i think it will work.

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September 26, 2011, 11:57:33 AM
 #34

I've come to the conclusion that the best option for dedicated miners is the Gigabyte GA-H61M-D2-B3 logic board. It's attractively priced (i.e. cheap), will take a cheap CPU and RAM but also accept a fast CPU if required later, and the four PCIe slots all work in all configurations with plain unpowered x1 -> x16 extenders.

The board seems to be pretty efficient - not wasting a ton of power internally, as proven by kripz above managing to run a quartet of 5850s from one with a 750W PSU.

On top of this, with the Sandybridge CPU installed (again, I use the cheapest one I could buy, £60 or so), it has an independent 'integrated' graphics subsystem. Lots of cheap logic boards offer this these days, so this isn't *that* special... but under Linux at least, one can boot the system with four big GPUs plugged into the PCIe slots, but configure the BIOS to use the integrated graphics first. That way, you can install, configure and run Linux off the integrated graphics, without Compiz and all the other Mac-style eye-candy getting in the way of the mining code. This doesn't even seem to use much power, either.

Obviously for you 'extreme gamers' out there who want to do some mining on the side, proper x16 connectors and triple / quad crossfire solutions on fabulously expensive 8-slot logic boards may be the order of the day. But once you go above 4 reasonable-spec mining GPUs, you really ought to be considering over 1000W PSUs, or dual PSUs.

Dual PSUs rely on your circuitry knowledge to ensure stability, and you have to also know the internal structure of each PSU to ensure that all rails are loaded to some extent (using a secondary PSU purely to power 12V loads (i.e. GPUs) leaves the 5v and 3.3v rails unloaded; in some PSUs this will instantly trip the safeties, on others the lower voltage circuitry will slowly heat up until an 'unexplained' shutdown - there are plenty of threads here about similar examples).

Single 1000W+ PSUs cost a fortune. Yes, if you're an 'extreme gamer' then you're prepared to pay large to get the best kit. But if you're building multiple dedicated miners, you don't want to be buying 'premium' kit anywhere other than where it absolutely adds hashrate.

On top of this, for packaging purposes, four GPUs is almost a sweet spot for most 'wind tunnel' type cooling systems. The board, with 4 GPUs suspended above it using extenders, fits into a cube with edges roughly the length of the logic board. This can be built into a modular system appropriate for fixing onto cheap shelving, with bathroom extractor fans at either end to channel the airflow.


There are other 4-slot boards which work well without the need for 'presence pin shorting' or any other pissing around (the Biostar board mentioned here seems a favourite), but given the PSU issue and the steep rise in price of logic boards with *more* than 4 PCIe slots, I reckon 4 is the way to go for dedicated miners.

Just my 0.0000002 BTC.

...so I give in to the rhythm, the click click clack
I'm too wasted to fight back...


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September 26, 2011, 01:02:42 PM
 #35

I've come to the conclusion that the best option for dedicated miners is the Gigabyte GA-H61M-D2-B3 logic board. It's attractively priced (i.e. cheap), will take a cheap CPU and RAM but also accept a fast CPU if required later, and the four PCIe slots all work in all configurations with plain unpowered x1 -> x16 extenders.

I certainly agree and for anyone having a hard time finding this board. For some reason a LOT of the searches for that model GA came up with 4 different board layouts, prices, etc etc.

But,  http://www.comeuro.net/webshop/product.php?productid=167014
Our price: £49.81 (€56.29, $74.72 )

Thank you everyone for all their work in this thread. Will try and add some of my testing soon.

If you're not excited by the idea of being an early adopter 'now', then you should come back in three or four years and either tell us "Told you it'd never work!" or join what should, by then, be a much more stable and easier-to-use system. - GA
It is being worked on by smart people. -DamienBlack
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September 26, 2011, 06:49:47 PM
 #36

WHAT WORKS

Motherboard Brand: Biostar
Motherboard Model & PCIe Slots: A870U3; two x16, two x1
PSU Brand & Model: Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775w
Number & Model GPUs: 4x Sapphire 5850 (3 are Extreme model, one not)
Extender Cables: 3 1x --> 16x; 1 16x --> 16x (No Molex. Cables purchased from www.9mart.com)

Running linuxcoin 0.2b (old version). The only issue I had was that the cards in the x1 slots wouldn't mine initially, but rebooting solved this. All four cards are undervolted to 0.95 VDC using Atitweak. Currently getting about 300 Mhps from each card and pulling 450 watts from the wall. I haven't tuned the cards yet, and I'm sure I can get more out of them at the current voltage setting (I'm undervolting for efficiency).


I have 12 A870 and A870U3 board.  Two of them cannot handle 4 GPUs.  One can handle only two and the other can handle 3.  I will be RMA'ing those and replacing them.  Of the 10 that can handle 4 GPUs, all are very solid.

My config is (2) x8->x16 in the x16 slots and (2) x1->x16 in the x1 slots.  GPUs vary but are mainly 5850's and 5830s.  PSU is 1000W Coolmax.  Running Ubuntu 11.04

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September 27, 2011, 10:05:28 AM
 #37

I've come to the conclusion that the best option for dedicated miners is the Gigabyte GA-H61M-D2-B3 logic board. It's attractively priced (i.e. cheap), will take a cheap CPU and RAM but also accept a fast CPU if required later, and the four PCIe slots all work in all configurations with plain unpowered x1 -> x16 extenders.

I certainly agree and for anyone having a hard time finding this board. For some reason a LOT of the searches for that model GA came up with 4 different board layouts, prices, etc etc.

But,  http://www.comeuro.net/webshop/product.php?productid=167014
Our price: £49.81 (€56.29, $74.72 )

Thank you everyone for all their work in this thread. Will try and add some of my testing soon.

Pair it with a celeron.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116410&Tpk=g440

Quote
Sandy Bridge Based Single-core Processing
 The Intel Celeron G440 processor includes one execution core at 1.6 GHz to provide basic computing performance at a low TDP of 35W. The innovative 32nm fabrication technology optimizes thermal performance for reduced power consumption and noise.

With graphics!

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September 27, 2011, 12:33:37 PM
 #38

MSI 890FXA-GD70 MSI 890FXA-GD70 MSI 890FXA-GD70 MSI 890FXA-GD70 MSI 890FXA-GD70

thats all you need to know.
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September 27, 2011, 03:30:41 PM
 #39

NOOOOOOOOOO to GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD7

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=38872.msg475736#msg475736
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September 28, 2011, 05:49:58 AM
 #40

a noob question, but windows still limited to 4 gpus?

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