Eth hash rate: ~119MH/s
Today I can finally post about my rig update. I decided to move to 1 rig after selling a few of my cards which left me with 9x 1050 Ti cards.
Since I have no current plans to add more cards, I decided to build a single rig for all these cards and ended up selling my motherboards (MSI Z97 Gaming 5 & Asus Z270-P Prime) to fund an ASRock H110 PRO BTC+.
ASRock H110 PRO BTC+
I wont go into the spec in detail but the features that I care about are:
- 13x GPU support
- Mining rig bios set by default! (Yay!)
- On-board power and reset switch (trust me this is a god send)
Initial install + Setup
Firstly – since I couldn’t be bothered to re-install Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, I decided to boot with only 1x GTX 1050 Ti plugged into the 16x slot on the motherboard. It’s always a good idea to start with 1 card and then to gradually connect each card to make sure it gets detected without issues.
- ASRock H110 PRO BTC+
- Intel Celeron G3900 51W TDP
- 8GB DDR 4
- Western Digital 300GB Velociraptor
- 850W Evga Power supply – 80 Plus Gold rating
- 8x Zotac GTX 1050 Ti Mini (single fan)
- 1x Gigabye GTX 1050 Ti OC (dual fan)
- Linux Debian 9 + GNOME
- Claymore miner 9.8
- nvidia-settings & nvidia-smi GPU Overclocking / power management
- Latest Linux Nvidia drivers
Rig Problems galore
1st problem – my fault
The system booted and Windows seemed to have loaded OK at first but then I was hit with random freezing and restarts. I decided to go for a clean install which seemed to have done the trick with solving the random freezing and restarts.
2nd problem – PCI Riser issue
Firstly I started the 1+ card installation approach, when I got to 3+ GPU, I couldn’t boot into Windows as I was greeted with this warning on the monitor:
That was remedied by plugging in both 4-pin molex connectors:
Now that I was able to boot, I continued connecting the remaining GPUS – I hit my first problem with riser #4 – Windows would not detect the additional GPU plugged in – bear in mind all my risers were working with my other motherboards. I eventually overcame this by changing the riser since I had some spares to boot.
This process went on for the remaining 4 risers where in total only 2 risers needed to be replaced.
Low and behold, I had 9x GTX 1050 Ti cards appearing in Windows 10.
3rd problem – Windows 10 Nvidia GPU Limit
Despite all 9x GTX 1050 Ti cards appearing in Windows 10 device manager, Claymore would only detect & mine with 8 cards. After doing some research online, apparently this is a Windows 10 & Nvidia GPU limit, However, if you’re mixing cards, i.e. 8x Nvidia cards and 5x AMD Cards, you’ll be able to mine with 13x GPUs in Windows 10 without problems.
In light of this I decided to go down to the Linux route (I avoid linux for mining because from my experience I’ve always yielded higher hash rate in Windows with better and easier overclocking).
4th problem – Ubuntu Desktop
Before you ask, I don’t use EthOS or any other “Crypto” OS. I went for Ubuntu 16.04.3 Desktop. However that ran into problems. It would literally FREEZE half way through install (copying files). I tried the following to remedy this:
- re-downloaded the Ubuntu Image
- tried different bootable USB sticks
- removed all cards except for one
- tried different cards with no success.
- 3 different hard drives!
I simply couldn’t install Ubuntu Desktop on this system. (I even tried Ubuntu 16.04.1 since I had a copy handy). It was as if Ubuntu was saying “f’off noob-miner, you smell…”
5th problem – Ubuntu server
Okay this isn’t really a fail, but Ubuntu server worked like a charm. I was able to install Ubuntu server, connect all the 9x GTX 1050 Ti cards and run Claymore in Eth only mode. The only issue here is the lack of support for overclocking.
When it comes to overclocking Nvidia cards on Linux – you need to use the nvidia-smi / nvidia-settings tool. The latter being a gui based. So trying to run the command nvidia-settings on a headless Linux system created problems for me since I had no desktop environment installed.
It’s worth mentioning I didn’t record the overall hash rate when I was mining briefly, but per a card I was getting the low hash of around ~11 / 12 MH/s per card.
That sucked since I’m used to seeing at least 13 to 14MH/s on Windows!
Again, since I had no patience to install GNOME via command line, any other desktop interface or even get nvidia-settings to work, I proceeded with the sledgehammer approach to get a Linux instance running with a desktop interface – I decided to install Debian that has GNOME included. Debian installed a breeze with all cards still plugged in.
6th Problem – overclocking
Now that I had a desktop instance running, I was able overclock all the cards with nvidia-settings and set all the power limits with nvidia-smi to 70% (52.5W) on all the GTX 1050 Ti cards.
When I tried using the same overclock settings I used in MSI Afterburner in Windows 10 for my previous rigs (+650MHz on memory), this new rig was restarting / freezing endlessly
In the end, I settled with a mild +500MHz memory overclock which resulted in around ~13.3 MH/s per card.
7th problem – PSU 6-pin connections
Since I am running all these cards off a single EVGA 850W PSU, I was lucky to have enough 6-pin connectors for the risers (8 risers). The PSU has 4x GPU power connectors that split into 2 at the end (resulting in 8x 6-pin connectors).
This meant I had to keep the last GTX 1050 Ti plugged into the motherboard.
It’s worth noting that you definitely need at least 2x PSU’s if you want enough connectors for your 6pin risers and any additional 6pin/8pin connectors for other GPUs (i.e. GTX 1060/1070/RX 470 etc).
My biggest concern with the hardware installation on the ASRock H110 PRO BTC was the proximity of the 1x PCIe connectors.
They’re insanely close! Almost to the point where they are touching one another. This isn’t a problem if the connectors don’t touch, but the pins / soldering 1x PCIe on the USB boards can potentially make contact with anything plugged behind it.
I’m wondering if this shorted the riser’s that weren’t being detected previously? I haven’t double checked.. but who knows?
Note: since I’m not an electrician I can’t offer professional advice on this matter if you have questions. Please ask around on reddit or ASRock directly.
I’ve seen videos on Youtube where people have plugged these in fine (and it looks like they’re touching) without problems. Hmm.
Being me, I decided to add masking tape at the back of each USB riser just in case:
System power consumption
|Power (9x 1050 Ti)||Idle||Load||Claymore|
|@ The wall||100W||495W||9.8|
The ASRock H110 PRO BTC+ is great in the sense that you can now build a single rig that can run up to 13x GPU. The idea is great especially if you think about the money saved by not having to build two rigs – this means you only need 1x CPU, 1x HDD, 1x Memory and less space.
The only major concern I have is the proximity of the 1x PCIe connectors – they’re far too close for my liking. God knows why they didn’t space them out like the Biostar TB250 BTC Pro.