Showing posts with label 960T. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 960T. Show all posts


Bitcoin mining and profitability

[Updated 22/05/2013]
[Updated 24/05/2013]
[Updated 04/06/2013]

To mine Bitcoins, be sure you do your calculations first. I can only tell you my own estimates. But here I go:

What cards to mine with?

You need AMD cards. Short and simple.

Almost any AMD mid-high end card will be profitable, and the more the better.
Nvidia cards only deliver about a third to about a half of what an AMD card can do for these kinds of operations.

This is not due to bad manufacturing from Nvidia's side. This is due to the architechture differences, and can not be used against Nvidia, because these cards are primarily gaming and workstation cards and infact my GTX660 outperform my Crossfire'd dual 6790 cards.

GPU's are simply meant to render games and not do cryptography. Also, AMD has chosen a more-cores-is-better strategy, while Nvidia chose the fewer-but-higher-powered-cores strategy.

Power draw

Here is some raw data:

As you can see, the MHash/watt column speaks for itself. The 8800 GT card that many like to mine with is barey any help at all. Same with the GTX660, although it performs better per watt.

The winner is the Sapphire-produced 6790 cards, which are basically two 6770 cards baked into one. This is in truth a 4x6770 rig, but divided into 2x6790-branded monsters.

The low-end 6450 cards have the best ratio, but they simply don't produce nearly as much BTC as the other cards. They are more economic though, and also very quiet.

Based on calculations on bit, (well, I stole this formula: 0.56 USD/24h@100MHash/s), and accounting for two things, I realized how I can profit:

To mine or not to mine

If my Nvidia-based desktop is on _anyway_, then mining with Nvidia cards are _barely_ profitable. But in no way does it pay to have an Nvidia-based rig on for the sake of mining, that will negate any profit, unless you do not pay for power.

However, with AMD-based rigs, having then on 24/7 for the sake of will actually pay off. Not much in my case, but some. Currently, after 3 days of much interrupted mining, I have earned $3.236, but the next few days should go smoother. Some rigs cannot run at 100% capacity all day due to noise, but I'll post some more values later.


Of course, mining alone makes no sense. I have joined up with slush's pool and have engaged about 9 worker GPU's, at tines reaching almost 0.5GigaHash (500Mhash). Now I have a rate of about 700Mh and I am expecting an 6850 and a 4850x2 in the mail anytime now. That would probably boost me to a close 2GH. >D

CPU mining

Also, CPU mining is not worth it at all either. A Phenom X6 1100T @3.7Ghz mines about 10M/hash for about 20 Watts, so that's a no-deal.

The hard numbers and tools you need

You will need to install a so called Wallet. This is a cryptographic file that contains the data needed to store your money. Personally I am using Multibit, because it's just a bit faster to sync up.

Set up your account at the pool, I am using Slush's Pool.

You can find guiminer here. This is the easiest tool for beginners. It defaults to OpenCL renderers but you can install any mining backend.

GPU-Z - Monitor your GPU

Sapphire TRIXX - tweak your Sapphire cards

CUDA addon for guiminer, slightly increase Mh.

Optimized CGminer addon for guiminer

Mining proxy - And other tools, keep your local miners banging one internal server than your pool operator. Slight Mh increase.

Exchange rate webservice Will give you an API token to put into guiminer so you can get more currency conversions.

What is Namecoin?
Merged mining with Namecoin:
Help page here
Register a .bit NameCoin domain. (Can be synergized with BitCoin at Slush's Pool)

My current Bitcoin address is 1Fk5kGvhTPhzmgUDU8dDugB5LF122DExLY
My current Namecoin address is MyUxMoHueS1UyUrJMYUivDAfdCaquY21MR

Feel free to try to send me some coins!

Some flags to pass to guiminer:

-v (vector mode) Doesn't accept parameters in guiminer.

-w128 (worker threads)

-f60 to -f200 Desired desktop framerate, used to make sure other apps recieve proper FPS.
-s0.015 Delay each frame by this much, used to nerf capacity to reduce noise and temp.

Play around with these values to see what works best. Usually I keep one CPU core per GPU card. The 6870 actually required 2 cores to gobble enough data to fill its 1120 cores.

Some examples of what some hardware will perform:

  • AMD cards

  • Sapphire Radeon 6450 (Caicos, 160 x Stream Processors)
    Standard business-class word processing card, but does a good 30Mh.
  • AMD Radeon 6490M (Lamo)
    30Mh. This is the 'office' desktop piece of an AMD A6 3410MX APU based laptop. I has the following chips:
  • AMD Radeon HD 6520G
    The laptop switches to this for high-performance needs, like gaming. (And mining!)
  • Sapphire Radeon 6790 (Bart, 800 cores)
    180Mh out of the box, but they can do up to 196. My two 6790's are also in my wives' gaming PC and so I set them up with -f200 so she can play without notiching lag.

  • XFX Sapphire Radeon 7750 (Cape Verde Pro, 512 cores)
    Noiseless! Also, only requires 50 watts and no PCIe power cables either. 126Mh [-v -w 128 -f0].
  • Gigabyte Radeon 7750 (Cape Verde, 512 cores) ~ 120Mh [-v -w 128 -f0]
  • XFX Radeon 6870 (Bart, 1120 cores) NEW!
    Does 266Mh [-v -w256 -f100]  but with -w256, memory clocked to 340 and overclocked to 900 it did 296.6.
  • ATI Radeon 4850x2 NEW!
    250 watts.
  • Nvidia cards

  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX660 2GB (GK106, 960 cores)
    Does 70Mh [-v -w256 -f60, but wih rpcminer-mod-cuda.exe I tweaked 81.8 out of this.
  • PNY GeForce 8800GT 512 ~ 30Mh
  •  CPU Mining (regular guiminer)

1100T @ 3700MHz ~ 10Mh
960T @ 3400Mhz ~ 7Mh
Intel i5 @2900Mhz ~5Mh

Some more cards I got just for this project:

Sapphire Radeon 6870:
This card is awesome and delivers just short of 300Mh.. The 6870 has 1200 cores and are really just a rebranded 5870 - a true AMD masterpiece. Here's some stats:

As you can see, this run was made using a local proxy against slush's pool on a gigabit network. Also, all these cards promptly puts our motherboards into PCIe 8X mode. This is expected and will probably affect the total bandwidth by a few percent. I might do a single card test to see if 8X or 16X is any different.

ATI (yeah) Radeon 4850x2:
A massive beast, longer than the 6870 and draws even more power. I was struggling with the power cables so this card is untested still, but this will be interesting. Unfortunately, it seems to have been assembled in a way that makes the PCB curve i bit and it looks a bit unsettling.

Do's and dont's:

ALL gambling will set you back very quickly.
SOME free BTC faucets with captcha solvers are often a scam
DO NOT mine with a CPU
DO use a pool
DON'T mine if you aren't ready for micromanaging lots of infrastructure. Buy and sell trough regular exchanges instead.

Does this sound too complicated ? Hire me to set up a Bitcoin farm

Final thoughts

Also, to finetune your setup, you can overclock the core speeds and underclock the memory speeds.This will save you watts as well as reduce GPU wear and tear. Install your overclock and tweak tools and see how much you can reduce power draw without sacrificing too much speed.

So invest in some extra quiet fans and place your rig close to a ventilation hole to dissipate some heat. Ofcourse, as a Norwegian resident, this is just a replacement for other heater installations during the winter! During summer, power is cheap but produces a lot of heat.

Be warned that GPU's at full workload will heat some cards really well. My 8800GT was over 100C!

My two mining rigs are just a few Mh off a Gigahash/sec for about 800-900 watts of PSU and did during the test period mine just above half a Bitcoin with MANY interrupts. Daily payout: about $4 with threshold at 0.3. Probably tweakable to 5-6. (Also gaines 0.05NMC co-mining with slush, using Acrylic DNS and OpenDNS. Pretty sweet setup!)

I tried BFGminer also, which is really sweet, but I had trouble with the temperature variables. Also the 64 bit version did not work under my setup. Only the 32bit one.


Sunsway/ST Lab PCI ATA133 2P SATA-PATA cards

Updated:  May 10th 2012

This is a PCI card that basically has two IDE ports. You can upgrade the BIOS on the card and get a Medley RAID controller feature, which will give you RAID modes 0,1 and 10.

While I was experimenting with some faulty hardware, power to one of the 4 disks in the RAID must have failed, and while the disk was not missing from the Set, per se, something had happened to it.

And lo and behold, their driver software delivers (Silicon Image Software). It rebuilt two disks that had problems. While the rebuild took place, Windows complained about a faulty hard disk presemt.

Various stages during RAID rebuild

Various stages during RAID rebuild

Good drivers !


RAID monster Redux

So the first build was a lot of work and shortcuts were made. Screws not fitted, no cable management, no extra cooling, etc.

The summer is coming and that means hotter indoor temperature. Better fit those extra fans now! It will surely extend the lifetime of both the disks and the computer.

I had a whole bunch of Akasa & Noctua voltage reducers to decrease the overall noise level of all the fans.

System seemd to average at around 26 degrees celsius according to Speccy. :D Room temperature is 25.1. So that's pretty decend. That machine runs 10 hardisks, a Phenom 960T, 4 GB of 1066Mhz RAM + 10 fans. It only runs a limited 64MB old Nvidia card at the moment. This rig draws about 197 watts, So the fitting of 10 fans increased the watt usage by about 10, even after ALL of then was fitted with voltage reducers.

Work in progres! 

80mm fan attached with softmounts, diagonally :)

Rear fans & PSU fan:

  1. 2x80mm rear exhausts and a stock Phenom fan
  2. 1x80mm internal intake
  3. 1x80mm external intake

Front intakes: (Both covered with dust filters.)

1x120mm Akasa (SYSFAN)
1x80mm Somethingsomething (power siphoned from molex)

Cable managemnet done!

Custom fitted 120 and 80 mm fans blwing on the
side of the lower 6 disks trough chassis holes

Finished ! With a 8mm green led outtake in front of the CPU fan.


How to save your AMD Phenom 960T CPU with a broken pin

So I bought this Phenon II X4 Black Edition and put it into my MSI K9A2+ mobo. Then I bought a Noctua SE fan and all was going well. Until I discovered that the Promise RAID controller on the card did not work and the advertised 1Gbit ethernet port is actually just 100Mbps, that is.

Since the retailers ( are complete jerks I  had to buy a new motherboard.

So then I bougth the excellent Gigabyte 990FXA UD7 board, in which that new 960T actually fits if you have BIOS v7 on the Gigabyte board installed.

When the new board arrived, the old MSI mobo wasn't even cold before I started to pull out the *heavy* Noctua fan long before the cooling paste had changed to 'cold state' and at the same time the Noctua fan kind of had a disagreement with Newton. And WHOOPS I ripped the 960T straight out of the socket. A lot of the pins were bent but I did not see any broken pins. So far. BTW, this pocket knife is perfect and widely available to use for CPU pin straigthening. First run it sharp edge up, then sharp edge down along 'bent lanes' of pins:
Better than MacGyvers pocket knife!

I put the 960T into the UD7 board. No post, just a mystical hex value 0x88 on the mobo POST indicator (pretty fancy!). After some Googling, I figured out that code means dead CPU. So a pin must have broken.

I had already put my old Athlon X2 back in the MSI board as as backup computer and it worked. I then disassembled it, shook the mobo over some pieces of newpaper and wouldn't you know, a pin from the 960T had been in there at the same time as the Athlon X2 was running fine!

So the next project was of course to get the 960T working again in the old mobo.

Here's the AM2+ socket, and I circled in red which hole it is that corresponds to the CPU.

Here's a blurry (sorry) picture of the location of the broken pin (it's the opposite of the triangle-mark side)

And here is the CPU pin, which still is not in the socket slot. How come ?!

 I lost that 960T pin about 6-7 times and I could not find it when I had finally figured out a way to securely insert the pin into the AM2+ socket. So I gave up an said to myself, well I do have a an old Pentium 3 1.4Ghz lying around, I'll just snap off a pin and use that instead!

Poor Pentium III got it's pin cut off :(

Then after a lot of Benny Hilling around that night, my old computer finally posted!
My 960T finally posted! YAY!

 And that's the story of how a Pentium III saved a Phenom II X4 960T. If anyone needs any tips for doing this, I can safely say I have the know-how now!


Super AMD Spider platform achieved!

AMD Spider Components:
  • K9A2 Platinum
  • Phenom II X4 960T factory core overclocked to of 3.4Ghz and all four cores run at 3 Ghz.
  • 2x Sapphire Radeon 6770 in CrossFire
  • 4x1 GB Kingston HyperX PC8500 gives me 1066 DRAM speed too!

  • 1x Intel 320 SSD at 80 GB
  • 2x Samsung 160GB in SATA/Windows striped RAID 0
  • 2x Maxtor 320GB in SATA RAID on independent PCI controller!
  • 1x Corsair TX 750 Watt
  • 1x Noctua  double fanned coppercoil hybrid cooler fan

Sapphire cards are somewhat unstable at overclocking, even factory overclocked ones.   None of the 10-12 temperature sensors stays between 25 and 50!

I did a FULL overclock of both CPU and GPU (max settings CPU at 3600, GPU at 900 etc but I got artifacts in Crysis! Going to slowly overclock bit by bit until i have a stable rig!

Oh yeah did i mention i paid under $2000 (10000 NOK) for this self build project!