Alternative folding support idea - mining for coins to fund F@H

Handruin

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#41
Time to cash in, do you have an account with an exchange to sell your ltc?
Not yet. I haven't figure out that part yet so I guess it wasn't a full end-to-end. My understanding is that it's best to convert from LTC to BTC, then to $USD. I can also just wait and see what happens. If the price goes up to $1000/LTC then I got a decent payout...though that's wishful thinking. :)
 

timwhit

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#42
Unless you plan to keep mining, it doesn't make a lot of sense to sell the small amount you have. I have an account on Mt Gox, but I can't trade LTC there yet. Mt Gox may eventually be able to trade LTC, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

Handruin

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#43
Unless you plan to keep mining, it doesn't make a lot of sense to sell the small amount you have. I have an account on Mt Gox, but I can't trade LTC there yet. Mt Gox may eventually be able to trade LTC, but I'm not holding my breath.
Can you exchange LTC to BTC somewhere else then sell them as BTC on Mt Gox? Were you mining LTC and/or some other cryptocurrency (altcoins) or just Bitcoins?
 

Handruin

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#44
I found me a pair of Gigabyte R9 290X GPUs and took the plunge. I'm building a dedicated mining rig to see what comes of all this. Let's see if I can break even on the cards which has been the point and goal of this thread to start with.
 

timwhit

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#45
Can you exchange LTC to BTC somewhere else then sell them as BTC on Mt Gox? Were you mining LTC and/or some other cryptocurrency (altcoins) or just Bitcoins?
I've never mined anything. I just opened the account to do some trading a few months back.

You can trade LTC/BTC on BTC-e.
 

timwhit

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#46
I found me a pair of Gigabyte R9 290X GPUs and took the plunge. I'm building a dedicated mining rig to see what comes of all this. Let's see if I can break even on the cards which has been the point and goal of this thread to start with.
I hope the price of LTC doesn't drop through the floor. If it does, your F@H contributions might increase dramatically.
 

sdbardwick

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#47
I found me a pair of Gigabyte R9 290X GPUs and took the plunge. I'm building a dedicated mining rig to see what comes of all this. Let's see if I can break even on the cards which has been the point and goal of this thread to start with.
Better buy some earplugs as well - those are loud!
I've been waiting for 3rd party coolers to arrive before replacing my 7970. Asus apparently has one coming out soon.
 
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Handruin

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#48
I hope the price of LTC doesn't drop through the floor. If it does, your F@H contributions might increase dramatically.
Yup, it's a risk. Worse case I try to sell them used to recoup some of the cost or I move to another altcoin and see where that takes me. This rig should also fold just fine since AMD cards don't need much CPU for folding @ home unlike nvidia. I'm putting an AMD Sempron 145 processor in it this rig. :-D
 

Handruin

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#49
Better buy some earplugs as well - those are loud!
I've been waiting for 3rd party coolers to arrive before replacing my 7970. Asus apparently has one coming out soon.
It's going in the basement in a milk crate! I also have a possible alternative plan in the works with a friend of mine whose house is 100% powered by solar. We discussed me running this at his house which will also heat his basement. I'm working to subsidize the cost of power by negotiating with him. I might see faster ROI if I can negotiate maybe 0.09 kW/H energy costs.
 

sdbardwick

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#50
Basement might be far enough away :)
[evil mode] Some of the cheaper kill-a-watt type power meters are fooled by active power-factor correction (APFC) power supplies (will under-read the PSU's draw, calculating out to over 100% efficiency), so you could do really well at your friend's solar powered house! [/evil mode]
 

Handruin

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#51
Basement might be far enough away :)
[evil mode] Some of the cheaper kill-a-watt type power meters are fooled by active power-factor correction (APFC) power supplies (will under-read the PSU's draw, calculating out to over 100% efficiency), so you could do really well at your friend's solar powered house! [/evil mode]
Oh man...that bad with the noise eh? I don't know how the power rating will be captured but I know this friend does have a decent monitoring setup which tracks the power production and consumption for the entire house. He's also a long-time good friend who I'm not looking to take advantage of. I appreciate your insight with the APFC though, that's good to know in case we do see incorrect values. :) Do you have an specific references to learn more about what causes that with a kill-a-watt? For a power supply, I went with the SeaSonic Platinum-1000 1000W to try and squeeze the most efficiency I can out of this setup. I added the parts and cost into the spreadsheet I linked above.
 

timwhit

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#52
Yup, it's a risk. Worse case I try to sell them used to recoup some of the cost or I move to another altcoin and see where that takes me. This rig should also fold just fine since AMD cards don't need much CPU for folding @ home unlike nvidia. I'm putting an AMD Sempron 145 processor in it this rig. :-D
Or just hold the LTC you mine as a long term investment. I doubt anyone ever thought BTC would hit $1200 when they were worth less than a dollar.
 

Stereodude

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#54
I found me a pair of Gigabyte R9 290X GPUs and took the plunge. I'm building a dedicated mining rig to see what comes of all this. Let's see if I can break even on the cards which has been the point and goal of this thread to start with.
What's the math say is your approximate time to pay back the $1750 the machine costs (after accounting for electricity costs)? Also, why didn't you get ASIC's?
 

Stereodude

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#56
I don't think there are any ASICs available for mining LiteCoin (scrypt). Even if they are developed, I don't think the gain will be nearly as big as what was gained for BTC. Additionally, GPUs can be repurposed much more easily.
Yeah, I found that out in subsequent searching. This article was interesting. The graph on the difficulty of Litecoins is going near asymptotic, so it might be too late to make money with Litecoin.
 

Clocker

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#57
What is the CPU load during the GPU mining you are doing and what 'intensity' level are you using?
 

Handruin

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#58
Yeah, I found that out in subsequent searching. This article was interesting. The graph on the difficulty of Litecoins is going near asymptotic, so it might be too late to make money with Litecoin.
I'm well aware and even read that article last night. I've done a lot of reading of the difficulty forecast and how it plays on this. This same scare happened to people who were mining with lesser equipment and the value was $4-$5/coin...they had the same scare. I know I'm taking a risk, but I feel it's minimal. At the end of the day i still have to beefy GPUs and a nice PSU. Even if I subsidize the cost of the hardware by selling some LTC, it still benefits my underlying cause which is to help F@H (which is the point of this thread). I have no expectation of getting rich quick from this.
 

Handruin

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#59
What is the CPU load during the GPU mining you are doing and what 'intensity' level are you using?
Almost next to nothing which is why I bought a Sempron 145 with a 45W TDP. The CPU will only be managing the OS...which in my case will be some distribution of Linux (undecided yet). I don' know the intensity level yet because I don't have the hardware yet to experiment.
 

Handruin

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#60
What's the math say is your approximate time to pay back the $1750 the machine costs (after accounting for electricity costs)? Also, why didn't you get ASIC's?
I don't think there are any ASICs available for mining LiteCoin (scrypt). Even if they are developed, I don't think the gain will be nearly as big as what was gained for BTC. Additionally, GPUs can be repurposed much more easily.
My math is a huge guess because of the varying difficulty factor and unknown price increase/decrease. My hope is no more than 90 days for a full return.

As timwhit suggested I don't think Scrypt is subject to ASIC mining which was part of the reasons why Litecoin exists today. Someday if this continues, someone may develop an ASIC chip to do this kind of work but it will take some decent VC to fund that and make it affordable.
 

Clocker

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#61
I plan on trying this on my WHS box. Since it's a file server first, with only a Corsair 80 Plus Bronze 400W PSU, I'm wondering if any of it's 'serving' activity will be affected by the GPU workload. If you notice anything relative to overall system load while you're working on yours please post.

As long as I'm not maxing out my FX-8320, I think my PSU will be fine with the 150W max power usage of my graphics card. But I guess I'll find out.
 

Handruin

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#62
I plan on trying this on my WHS box. Since it's a file server first, with only a Corsair 80 Plus Bronze 400W PSU, I'm wondering if any of it's 'serving' activity will be affected by the GPU workload. If you notice anything relative to overall system load while you're working on yours please post.

As long as I'm not maxing out my FX-8320, I think my PSU will be fine with the 150W max power usage of my graphics card. But I guess I'll find out.
From the articles and research I've found, there should be minimal to no CPU usage for Litecoin mining, specifically with AMD GPUs. The same is not as true with nvidia because of how CUDA functions. It requires more CPU than AMD GPUs do.
 

sdbardwick

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#63
Oh man...that bad with the noise eh? I don't know how the power rating will be captured but I know this friend does have a decent monitoring setup which tracks the power production and consumption for the entire house. He's also a long-time good friend who I'm not looking to take advantage of. I appreciate your insight with the APFC though, that's good to know in case we do see incorrect values. :) Do you have an specific references to learn more about what causes that with a kill-a-watt? For a power supply, I went with the SeaSonic Platinum-1000 1000W to try and squeeze the most efficiency I can out of this setup. I added the parts and cost into the spreadsheet I linked above.
Re: Noise
Yes, they are probably the loudest consumer (that is, not a server with 9K RPM 40MM fans) computing product I have heard - I returned mine and decided to stick with my 7970 for a while longer. The current cards are thermally limited, so you need to run the fan at 100% for maximum performance; indications are that the newer thermal solutions will allow for either higher clocks or quieter operation at normal clocks.

Re: APFC PSUs
Only a few APFC PSUs exhibit this behavior, and the reviewers (@ Jonnyguru.com and hardwareinsights.com IIRC) made note of the discrepancy. I don't recall the exact models, but it is far from a widespread problem. My speculation is that anything better than a low-end meter wouldn't be fooled.
 

Handruin

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#64
Re: Noise
Yes, they are probably the loudest consumer (that is, not a server with 9K RPM 40MM fans) computing product I have heard - I returned mine and decided to stick with my 7970 for a while longer. The current cards are thermally limited, so you need to run the fan at 100% for maximum performance; indications are that the newer thermal solutions will allow for either higher clocks or quieter operation at normal clocks.

Re: APFC PSUs
Only a few APFC PSUs exhibit this behavior, and the reviewers (@ Jonnyguru.com and hardwareinsights.com IIRC) made note of the discrepancy. I don't recall the exact models, but it is far from a widespread problem. My speculation is that anything better than a low-end meter wouldn't be fooled.

I have a spare case sitting around. Maybe I'll install them both in a case vs a milk crate to dampen some of the noise. I was aware the newer cards would cool better and offer better noise but I can't wait for those to come out for this project. One alternative if the noise is really that bad might be the NZXT Kraken. This review suggested 50C cooler temps on the R290X. That's a huge drop (44C max load vs 94C!). The one small benefit identified was a reduction in wattage used by the GPU when cooled more effectively likely due to less internal leakage (146W vs 171W). When I do the math, I think the wattage savings might net me $10/month for two cards when figuring in my current power costs.
 

Handruin

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#66
There's no RAMsink in that Kraken cooler kit. I'd be worried about the lifespan of the graphic card's BGA RAM in such a setup.
I wondered about that too. I saw their solution was to put a 120mm fan over-top. Their setup works for multiple GPUs so I'll have to research and see if people had earlier failures due to the RAM not being passively connected to a heatsink.
 

Handruin

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#67
There's no RAMsink in that Kraken cooler kit. I'd be worried about the lifespan of the graphic card's BGA RAM in such a setup.
How about this one!?

I stopped by microcenter today to pick up the motherboard. It's a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5. After opening the box and taking a look, it looks and feels very well made. I haven't bought an AMD setup in a long time, but Gigabyte did a nice job with this board. It's a shame a lame Sempron 145 is going into it. Perhaps down the road I'll put a better CPU in it. It has 1 PCI-E x1 and 5 PCI-E 2.0 x16 interfaces with a config of x1 / x16 / x4 / x16 / x4 / x8. If this mining pans out, I can add a bunch more graphics cards to this board with the PCI-E riser cables I bought.
 
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#69
There are issues you will have to deal with if you are going to fill a single MB with multiple high-end video cards. The first is your power supply: make it big enough with enough connectors. Then there is cooling: water cooling to improve cooling and also it slims down to card to fit a single slot (except for extra sockets on the bracket. Next is making the double-wide bracket into single-wide cards by cutting off sockets followed by and making your own custom bracket (typically by cutting it in half) or removing it and running with no bracket.
 

Handruin

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#70
There are issues you will have to deal with if you are going to fill a single MB with multiple high-end video cards. The first is your power supply: make it big enough with enough connectors. Then there is cooling: water cooling to improve cooling and also it slims down to card to fit a single slot (except for extra sockets on the bracket. Next is making the double-wide bracket into single-wide cards by cutting off sockets followed by and making your own custom bracket (typically by cutting it in half) or removing it and running with no bracket.
Regarding the power supply: my plan was to buy more than one rather than one huge one. I've only done a small amount of research but this add2psu plug was recommended for using multiple PSUs. I would buy another of the same Seasonic.

I'm not worried about slimming the card down. My research suggested I could use PCIE riser cables which I ordered a couple of to move the GPUs away from the system. I will need to get some that allow for external power so that they are all properly powered. This rig will likely live in a storage/milk crate with a basic custom mount to hold the GPUs away from the board and space them out.
 

Handruin

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#72
I decided to stuff all these parts into an Antec P183 I had laying around anyway. With some tuning, I've got this thing cranking at some serious hashing at 1.962 Mh/s!!

mining_better.jpg
 

Handruin

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#75
Did the lights dim when you turned it on?
They didn't which I was surprised. The power conditioner where I have it plugged into says it's pulling 8 amps. The fans can get noisy when they ramp up. I don't think I'll notice while it's in the basement.
 

Handruin

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#77
:) And the crew at the power plant ramping up the power. The timing works out good. We ran out of oil yesterday so this will help give a little bit of heat until they can come to deliver.
 

Handruin

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#78
Some quick math based on the current rate that this rig is running at suggests after paying for my power (@800W), it's generating about $17/day or $530/month. Of course that won't be a static number because difficulty will increase, there may be downtime, and hopefully the coin price increases. Let's see what happens in about 3.5 months. Either I'll have this rig paid for, or I'll still be mining coins for longer (or it'll go bust altogether). This is the gamble I'm playing.
 

CougTek

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#80
So it's done ; I'm in too. I've configured both my Radeon HD 7870 and my Radeon HD 7950 to mining Litecoins. The 7870 did ~325KH/s while the 7950 reached ~620KH/s when I checked a minute or two after I've configured them. I could add both my GeForce GTX 580 too, but at ~250KH/s each, I'm not sure I want to sacrifice the Folding@home production they bring me (about 35Kppd each). We'll see hoe worthy this adventure is in a few days and then, maybe I'll reconsider converting my GTX 580.
 
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