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Category Archives: Crypto Mining

Decred (DCR) Miners Should Update Their Mining Software

Decred (DCR) Miners Should Update Their Mining Software

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Published at Sun, 23 Apr 2017 20:06:23 +0000

Crypto Mining With Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition

Crypto Mining With Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition

24Apr
2017

As promised last week after the official announcement we are starting a series of reviews of the new AMD Radeon RX 5×0 series of GPUs and the first card to go through is the Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition. This is one of the top models of RX 580 from Sapphire that comes with higher factory clocks compared to most other RX 580 GPUs and some nice additional extras such as spare fans. Compared to the last year’s Sapphire RX 480 NITRO+ the new RX 580 counterparts do come with higher clocks and improved cooling solution… and a bit higher price as well. The new RX 580 cards that are more like the last year’s RX 480 from Sapphire are now called PULSE and not NITRO and hopefully we are going to soon have a PULSE card to check out, but for now let us see what the NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition has to offer…

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 8 GB Limited Edition:
– 2304 stream Processors
– 14 nm FinFET, 4th generation Graphics Core Next (GCN)
– 1450 MHz GPU Boost Clock
– 8192 MB GDDR5 Memory, 256 bit Memory Bus, 2000 MHz Memory Clock
– Display Outputs: 1x DL-DVI-D, 2x HDMI 2.0b, 2x DisplayPort 1.4
– All-new Dual-X 95 mm fans, two ball bearing
– Power connectors: 1x 6-pin PCI-E, 1x 8-pin PCI-E
– Power consumption: 225W
– Dual UEFI BIOS

The new larger cooler is a welcome improvement as are the the additional spare fans included in the package of the RX 580 NITRO+ LE GPUs, though the non Limited Edition RX 580 and the RX 570 NITRO+ also come with the same new cooler. Other notable difference however is the additional power connector found on the NITRO+ RX 5×0 series, they all feature a single 6-pin and a single 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. The extra power connector is needed due to the higher clocks and increased power consumption, however it can be a problem for miners willing to connect 6 of these cards with a single power supply. So do have that in mind as well as the fact that the PULSE series are with a single and not dual PCI-E power connectors.

Here is how things look according to GPU-Z for the GPU specs. The GPU clock is running perfectly fine at 1450 MHz and allows for some extra overclock to about 1500 MHz, though not much higher than that. The higher GPU clock comes with increased operating voltage of about 1.1750V and that also results in increased power usage, up to over 140W GPU only Power Draw according to GPU-Z. The video memory is running at 2000 MHz and we kind of expected to see Samsung GDDR5 memory used here, after all this is a more expensive top model from Sapphire of the new RX 580 and is also a Limited Edition one. Unfortunately Sapphire has opted to go for Hynix memory for this series and as a result you can expect not the best performance in memory intensive mining algorithms such as Ethash used by Ethereum or Equihash used by Zcash.

Now off to the benchmarks with some popular algorithms used by the most profitable to mine crypto currencies at the moment. Starting with Ethereum (ETH) mining using the latest Claymore Dual ETH miner version 9.2 and we are getting just about 22.5 MHS from the Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition. This is with the stock settings, no memory modifications and is definitely a disappointing result, though considering that the memory used was Hynix at 2000 MHz it seems that the default memory timings are pretty relaxed in order to keep the hgiher operating frequency. Again going for Samsung memory on this Limited Edition model is a must do thing in our opinion, so we are wondering why Sapphire didn’t do just that…

We can see similar not so great result for mining ZEC using the latest Claymore ZCash AMD GPU Miner 12.4, but this is to be expected since the Equihash algorithm is also more memory intensive. The average hashrate we are getting for ZCash (ZEC) mining with this video card is about 296 H/s. The reason for the lower hashrate than what we have seen from some lower clocked RX 480 GPUs is again most likely the Hynix memory, but also the new driver that AMD has released with support for the RX 500 series might be responsible for the not so good mining hashrates and the official AMD Radeon Crimson ReLive Edition 17.4.3 driver for the RX 500 series is a WHQL one and may not be the best performing one for crypto currency mining.

Some more benchmark results at stock settings:
– Decred (DCR): 1.220 GHS
– CryptoNight (XMR): 600 H/s
– LBRY (LBC): 0.165 GHS
– Pascal (PASC): 0.830 GHS
– X11Ghost (SIB): 8.2 MHS

As far as optimizations go, you can play around with the memory straps and get better results. Furthermore reducing the GPU frequency from the default high value will also allow you to lower the voltage and achieve significantly lower power usage, especially if optimizing for ETH, though ZEC should also be fine with a bit higher voltage. Some people also report that the RX 580 LE card can run just fine on a single 8-pin PCI-E power, though should you try that make sure you have optimized the frequency and voltages of the GPU first in order to avoid overloading the power line…

As a conclusion we can say that the Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition video cards although seemingly attractive for miners have been clearly designed for gamers and they will do pretty good for gaming with the higher operating clocks. Miners may also like the larger cooler and the extra fans in the package, but the two power connectors and the increased power usage is not something that is so great. At stock settings the RX 580 LE is a bit disappointing in terms of performance, though with some tweaking you can probably get better performance and low power usage. Then again you should be able to achieve the same result with a cheaper RX 580 or even RX 570 after you tweak the memory straps, reduce the clock speeds and operating voltages. So out of the box this is good for gamers, with some tweaking it can still become a miner friendly video card, though you should be careful what you do but the higher price of this particular model may make it not as attractive for miners as for example the GPUs from Sapphire’s PULSE series.

More information about Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition…

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Published at Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:42:53 +0000

The New AMD Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 GPUs Are Now Available

The New AMD Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 GPUs Are Now Available

18Apr
2017

Today AMD has announced their new Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 based video cards, a new series which is based on the last year Polaris GPUs with small improvements. The new RX 580 is essentially a slightly improved RX 480 and the same goes for the RX 570 which is an improved RX 470. The new GPUs are still named Polaris, but are now Polaris 20 series instead of Polaris 10 like they were named last year. AMD still relies on the GlobalFoundries’s 14nm FinFET manufacturing process, but the latest production improvements are resulting in better clock speeds for the new GPUs. As a result the new RX 580 and RX 570 based video cards have slightly higher operating frequencies for their GPUs as compared to the first generation Polaris from last year. All other specifications of the new GPUs remain the same as their predecessors RX 480/470 – 2304/2048 stream processors, 144/128 TMUs, 32/32 ROPs and 256-bit memory bus with 8GB and 4GB GDDR5 versions.

The new slightly higher operating frequencies of the Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 GPUs however are resulting in higher power usage, the TDP of the new boards is 185W for the RX 580 and 150W for the RX 570 (up with 35W and 30W from the RX 480 and RX 470). As a result of the increased power usage and higher operating frequencies and somewhat better overclocking potential of the new GPUs we are also seeing the addition of a second PCI-E power connector. This means that most of the RX 580 and some of the RX 570 will now come with one 8-pin PCI-E power and one 6-pin PCI-E power connector (especially in the case of higher-end gaming and OC models). The extra power connector may not be a problem for gamers and enthusiasts, in fact it can be considered as an advantage with better overclocking GPUs, but the increased power consumption and the extra power connector may raise some issues with the power supply for GPU miners.

The only good news is the one regarding pricing, the official recommended prices for the new RX 580 and RX 570 GPUs should be lower with $10 USD than the prices of the previous generation from last year. This means $229 USD for the RX 580 and $169 USD for the RX 570, however we are most likely going to be seeing higher initial prices instead of lower ones with no reference design boards and only custom ones from AMD’s partners. Do expect even higher prices for some Limited Edition and factory overclocked models with more serious boards and cooling solutions. So you might want to take up on your last chance to get some really sweet deals on last quantities of good RX 480 and RX 470 cards while there are still boards available on the market while they are being cleared to open room for the new model line.

The higher operating GPU clocks with the increased power usage may not be beneficial for miners, especially the ones mining crypto coins with more memory intensive algorithms such as Ethereum (Ethash) and ZEC (Equihash), though they may bring some advantage in more GPU-intensive ones. We do plan on doing some tests of the new AMD Radeon RX 5×0 series in the next couple of days, so stay tuned for more information and results…

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Published at Tue, 18 Apr 2017 17:20:19 +0000

Bitmain to Launch New AntMiner L3+ Scrypt ASIC

Bitmain to Launch New AntMiner L3+ Scrypt ASIC

11Apr
2017

The crypto currency mining ASIC maker Bitmain is getting ready to launch a new Scrypt ASIC miner with shipping expected to start a bit later this month. The new device capable of mining Litecoin (LTC) and other Scrypt-based crypto currencies is called AntMiner L3+ and should be capable of delivering a hashrate of 504 MHS with a power usage of 800W. With the recent jump in interest and the price of Litecoin we are seeing a bit of a revival of the interest in Scrypt-based coins and this is apparently also the reason why Bitmain has prepared a new more powerful device.

The new Antminer L3+ is essentially double the performance and power usage of the regular AntMiner L3 model announced earlier this year. It offers essentially doubled performance by doubling the number of BM1485 ASIC chips from the 144 units in the L3 to 288 in the new L3+. The English website of Bitmain still hasn’t got the product listed, but their Chinese one has the device already listed with a price of 1.686 BTC per L3+ device that does not include a power supply. The shipping should start sometime in between April 15th and April 20th based on the data on the website. Early May deliveries (May 1st – May 10th) are also possible with a lower price of 1.261 BTC per L3+ device.

Bitmain AntMiner L3+ Scrypt ASIC Specifications:
– Scrypt mining hashrate: 504 MHS
– Power consumption: 800W ± 10% (at the wall, with Bitmain’s APW3-1600 PSU, 93% efficiency, 25°C ambient temperature))
– Power efficiency: 1.6J/MH ± 10% (at the wall, AC / DC efficiency of 93%, 25°C ambient temperature)
– Rated voltage: 11.6 ~ 13.0V
– Chip Type: BM1485
– Chip quantity per unit: 288 chips
– Number of boards in the whole machine: 4 pcs
– External dimensions: 352 mm (L) * 130 mm (W) * 187.5 mm (H)
– Machine weight (without packaging): 4.4kg
– Operating temperature: 0°C to 40°C
– Operating Humidity: 5% RH-95% RH, non-condensing
– Network connection: Ethernet
– Noise level: 75dB

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Published at Tue, 11 Apr 2017 09:56:18 +0000

Improve Your Crypto Trading Skills with TradingView

Improve Your Crypto Trading Skills with TradingView

5Apr
2017

TradingView is a community where different people from around the world that are into trading various kinds of assets get together to get usable chart and market data, share trading ideas and generally help each other to get better in the trading business. The website comes with easy to use, but very powerful tools for analyzing different markets such as Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Currencies and the most important one for you probably – Cryptocurrencies. The website encourages its users to publish trading ideas and get better at trading and investing by seeing what others are doing.

The best thing is that TradingView is available for free for everyone to use, although you can also go pro and pay a monthly fee to get access to some extra useful features. The extra trading features are more appealing to more experienced users and traders and if you are still green at crypto trading you can start just fine with all the basic free functionality you get. The powerful charts and the tools you get access to do technical analysis of many different markets can really help you improve on your trading skills and forget about the “I have a gut feeling” when trading a crypto currency. Also have in mind that the data provided by the service can independently be used along with any crypto exchange’s trading information. You can even find some interesting and useful tips on what to look for as a new crypto currency to trade or what more established coins to watch for in preparation for a price increase or drop.

Regarding crypto currencies trading, the service provides information from many popular crypto exchanges such as – Poloniex, Kraken, Coinbase, Bitfinex, Huobi, OKcoin, BTCChina and others. Do note however that TradingView is not a service for automatic trading, you cannot use it to program and execute trading bots for example that will do the trading for you. There are other services that are available and that allow you to program your own trading bots and let them roam free trading for you based on your own trading ideas or somebody else’s. One such interesting and useful service that we have covered before is CryptoTrader, though there are quite a few more out there as well, but before going into automated trading based on technical analysis and other information you would probably want to have a better understanding of the crypto markets in general.

To check out the TradingView service and see what tools it offers to traders…

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Published at Wed, 05 Apr 2017 11:39:29 +0000

Kim Dotcom Demonstrates Bitcache on Video

Kim Dotcom Demonstrates Bitcache on Video

3Apr
2017

Kim Dotcom has posted a video on Twitter demonstrating how the upcoming Bitcache system will work for uploading and sharing content that will support payment with Bitcoin. Bitcache is supposed to be in the heart of the upcoming MegaUpload 2.0 (MU2) service that promises encrypted encrypted anonymous content delivery with built-in Bitcoin payments support. Interestingly enough, while Bitcache will be used by MegaUpload 2.0 as its first client it should also be available for other services that want to easily integrate Bitcoin micropayments.

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Published at Mon, 03 Apr 2017 11:50:29 +0000

Sharing Some Tips and Advice About PCI-E USB 3.0 Extenders

Sharing Some Tips and Advice About PCI-E USB 3.0 Extenders

30Mar
2017

pci-express-x1-x16-usb-30-extender

The defacto standard at the moment for building multi-GPU mining rigs are the x1-x16 PCI Express USB 3.0 powered extenders/risers used to connect the video cards to the motherboard and everybody is using them. Due to the high popularity and demand there are already numerous variations available and since everyone wants to save on the costs for the hardware to maximize the profits people may end up with lower quality extenders as a result. Extenders are not the thing you want to compromise with both in terms of quality or in terms of price as they are usually connected and the difference in cost is usually not that much so saving some cents or a dollar per extender may not be the wisest thing you want to do…

We wanted to share some tips and advice on what to choose as well as what are some of the more common issues with these PCI-E to USB 3.0 extenders based on our experience so far. These risers boards essentially move the video cards away from the motherboard and have enough space in between them to ensure good cooling. They consist of a couple of components – main board with the video card slot, smaller PCI-E board for connecting to the motherboard, USB 3.0 cable and an optional power adapter (Molex to SATA Power, SATA Power to Molex, PCI-E Power to SATA Power or some other variation). Starting up with the color of the PCB of the raiser board, it seems that black and blue boards are generally of higher build quality than the green ones, so go for either of the two colors if you have the option to avoid green boards.

Starting up with the main board where most things can go wrong, even though rarely there is an issue with these, you can still get into plenty of trouble. The number one problem we’ve experienced with problematic and non-working extenders is due to poor soldering of elements. So checking out the solder joints is always a good idea even before installing the extenders and not after that when there might be something wrong. Check the solder connections of the connectors and the few elements on the board – if everything is in place and makes a good contact with the PCB.

Especially check the soldering of the voltage regulator as if not properly soldered everything might seem to be working fine, but you may still not get image outputted to the display and the GPU not working properly. We’ve also seen bad batches of extenders with the wrong LDO voltage regulators soldered on the PCB, so you might want to check the markings on these as well and verify that they are with 3.3V output. These do convert the 5V power input to 3.3V output required by the GPU as you are not directly providing that voltage and the GPU does need it to function properly.

Also check for solder leakage that may be shorting things on the board, especially around the power connectors. We’ve had some cases of bad soldering where the ground pins of the Molex power connector were shorting out with the 12V pins of the empty space for PCI-E Power available on the board for the extender as these are pretty close to each other. Power shorts like this one usually do trigger the built-in protection of the Power Supply and it does not want to turn on at all or immediately shuts down when you try to power on the system.

The smaller board that connects to a PCI-E slot on the motherboard rarely has issues and if it does it is a result of bad soldering of the USB connector on it. So far we’ve only seen really sloppy soldering job on some riser boards with green color PCBs where they were literally saving on solder and some of the pins had bad connection. That is easily fixable by resoldering the pins of the connector that are actually being used (not all of them are actually used). Other than that there is not much else that can go wrong here. You can use a multimeter to check the connection points on both boards through the USB cable with a multimeter just to be sure if you are experiencing some issues.

We’ve seen a lot of different USB 3.0 cables being used with the PCI-E to USB 3.0 riser boards, but never had an issue with any of the cables, so he chances that something is wrong with the data cable are pretty slim. These cables are used for data transfer only, no power goes through them from the motherboard to the video card and that is why there is a power connector on the board of the extender. Although the name mentions USB 3.0 and we actually use USB 3.0 cables, there is no USB connectivity or support anywhere with these devices. They only use USB 3.0 cables as good quality shielded wires for extending a couple of data lines from the motherboard to the video card. You are not able to plug in a video card to a regular USB 3.0 slot with these extenders, it will not work, so do not try doing it.

There are a couple of different power connectors available on different PCI-E to USB 3.0 extenders and in order to improve compatibility the package usually contains some sort of a power adapter that usually converts whatever connector is on the PCB to SATA Power. Most modern power supplies have a lot of SATA Power connectors and not as many Molex or other power connectors. Still going for the extenders with the standard 4-pin Molex power connector is probably the best choice, even if you have to use the supplied Molex to SATA Power adapter. Just make sure that you do not connect more than two extenders to a single power line going to the power supply as even though this may not be a problem for the Molex or SATA power we’ve seen many cases where it becomes an issue for the modular power connector on the power supply side resulting in melted plastic of the connector, loose connection and issues with that. A while ago we’ve published some more useful information about power cables and power supplies that you might have missed, but checking it out may also save you some possible trouble in the future.

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Published at Thu, 30 Mar 2017 20:44:47 +0000

Looking For The Efficiency Sweet Spot of GTX 1080 Ti

Looking For The Efficiency Sweet Spot of GTX 1080 Ti

24Mar
2017

When looking for the best settings for GPUs that will be used for crypto currency mining it is often considered a good practice to optimize them for better efficiency and not for maximum performance. Going for the maximum performance often results is overclocking and thus higher power usage for the extra few hashes, not to mention the additional heat and as a result the overall efficiency may not be as good. If you are looking for the optimal efficiency you will most likely try to reduce the power usage of the GPU to decrease the power usage and heat output and not sacrifice any or at the cost of just a little performance drop. This is exactly what we are going to be doing now with the recently announced Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition video card, trying to find the sweet spot in terms of efficient (best hashrate per Watt of power used)…

For the purpose of our tests we are using the latest NiceHash Excavator v1.1.4a miner running on the Equihash algorithm used by Zcash (ZEC). Do note that other algorithms may need different settings for reaching better efficiency than the one tested here. Currently the Equihash algorithm is among the most profitable to mine on Nvidia CUDA GPUs, so we are focusing on it. Since all recent GPUs from Nvidia have both a base operating frequency and a boost operating frequency and the video card is managing the optimal one based on factors such as TDP and temperature it is easy to look for better efficiency just by lowering the TDP limit. This will essentially result in lowering the maximum boost frequency of the GPU and is an easy and very good thing to start from, if you wan to dig deeper you may also try to lower the operating voltage of the GPU in order to further improve the efficiency by lowering the power usage.

In the table above we start with the GTX 1080 Ti running at the maximum TDP level that is allowed with the +20% increase of the Power Limit meaning 250W default TDP + 50W increase or a total of 300W allowed. At this maximum allowed level you cannot expect to be anywhere near the optimum efficiency, not to mention that the GPU may not be able to reach that power usage anyway without further overclocking. We are however going to stay at the default settings and not overclock, playing only with the boost frequency of the GPU by lowering the TDP. The final result showed that the optimum efficiency in terms of hashrate per Watt is with around 60% TDP or about 150W for the GTX 1080 Ti… that is for the Equihash algorithm used by Zcash (ZEC). With that setting the operating frequency of the GPU stays at just a bit shy of 1500 MHz, or to be more precise at the 1480 MHz base operating frequency. What essentially this means is that while the extra Boost frequency may rise the performance you get, the more it scales up, the less efficient the GPU becomes in terms of performance per Watt of power used. No wonder Nvidia has chosen this particular operating frequency as the base one for the GTX 1080 Ti, and the GPU manages to keep it up with a TDP of just 150W for mining the Equihash algorithm. Do note however that other mining algorithms, especially more GPU dependent, may need more power for their efficiency sweet spot on the GTX 1080 Ti.

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Published at Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:57:32 +0000

Storj is Now Out of Beta, Get 25GB Free Decentralized Storage

Storj is Now Out of Beta, Get 25GB Free Decentralized Storage

14Mar
2017

Just about a week ago we have covered our 1 month long test of Storj while the service was still in beta and now they have announced that the Beta stage is over already. Storj, a Blockchain-based encrypted cloud storage service, allows users to get cheaper and reliable storage as compared to traditional storage solutions out there and also allows users with free space to rent it and get some extra income for the data being stored on their computers. It is an interesting concept and Storj is not the only service that is exploring the capabilities of the blockchain for that kind of usage as well as the use of a crypto token.

Since not that much has changed in the last week when we last used the service you can check the previous post linked above with some of our freedback and experience. The main concern we have at the moment is regarding the ease of use for users wiling to store their data on the Storj network… it just isn’t as easy as you’d normally expect. That, combined with the fact that Storj is offering 25GB of space and 25GB of traffic monthly for 12 months is making it harder for users that have some free space on their hard drives that want to make it usable and earn something back for renting it to Storj. Of course the service needs to attract users and their initial free offer sure does seem interesting in getting users to give it a try, but then again they also need to work on making it easier to store and access the data on the network.

If you pass the free space and traffic that you get when you sign up you will be charged at $0.015 USD for extra GB / month and $0.05 USD per GB of traffic, though the free 25GB should be enough for many users. After the initial 12 months promotional period you will need to pay for the storage space and bandwidth you will be using and unfortunately even though Storj has their own crypto token, you are not able to use any SCJX coins to pay for storage currently… you can only earn these tokens if you rent your hard drive space. So this is something that also needs more work in order to close the ecosystem and this is apparently something that is already planned in the future.

You can check out the official website of Storj for more details…

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Published at Tue, 14 Mar 2017 09:17:13 +0000

Online Demo of the xOS Interface of Minebox

Online Demo of the xOS Interface of Minebox

16Mar
2017

The creators of the Minebox NAS storage with support for SIACoin (SC) have made available an online demo of the xOS interface that their devices apparently use, allowing users to get a feel on what to expect from the devices. Minebox is still running their limited pre-order of 200 units with 138 left to go, so you can still reserve yours if you are interested in the project and also want to support it. The sale is running a bit slow with some users not liking very much the higher price of the devices, but then again getting an NAS solution with the same HDDs for storage probably won’t be much different price wise and it will not have the features Minebox has.

To check out the online demo of the xOS interface of Minebox…

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Published at Thu, 16 Mar 2017 13:28:19 +0000