Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Litecoin Mining Rig, 4x R9 290 Edition

After the last post, quite a few people have wondered exactly how I would go about building a new Litecoin mining rig. Well, I did the plastic crate thing last time, and I decided that was a bit too ghetto. Yes, the case was cheap, but it's a pain to work with if anything goes wrong. A nice, solid metal frame would be way better, so that's what I'm going to use here. My goal was to get four GPUs into the build, which means this is going to be pretty expensive, but it's also going to crank out some serious hashing power. Here's what I put together for my price list:

Litecoin Mining Rig, 4x R9 290 Edition
Component Description Cost
Processor AMD A4-4000 $45
Motherboard MSI FM2-A85XA-G43 $85
Memory 2x4GB DDR3-1600 $60
GPUs 4x Radeon R9 290 4GB $1808
Storage 60GB 2.5” SSD $57
WiFi USB 802.11n N600 $20
PSU 1300W 80 Plus Gold $303
PCIe Extension 2x x16 to x16 Riser Cable $13
PCIe Extension 2x x1 to x16 Riser Cable $10
Case Parts 6x 12” Aluminum Tubing $29
Case Parts 2x 24” Aluminum Tubing $24
Case Parts 12” x 24” Aluminum Sheet $12
Case Parts 8x 3-way Corner Connector $35
Total $2501
Alternative Case Parts 4 x 48” Series 13 Tubing (You'll need to cut this to the appropriate lengths) $64
Alternative Case Parts 8x 3-way Series 13 Corner Connector $35

Now, obviously that's a lot of money, but let me run through the basic idea. First, we're going to go relatively low-cost on the CPU and motherboard, with enough RAM to keep the system happy. I'm using a 60GB SSD just so it boots quickly and because you need some form of storage, but any HDD would work. Add in a WiFi adapter and we've got the core of the system.

The real meat of the build is in the GPUs of course, and I've used four R9 290 cards from Amazon.com. Unfortunately, Amazon is currently price gouging (thanks to all the Litecoin miners I'd wager), so feel free to shop around. Stock is limited right now but I hope it picks up in the coming weeks. You'll need four riser cables, two x16 to x16 and two x1 to x16 (powered preferably). I couldn't find any of the latter in stock on Amazon, so you might need to resort to eBay or try unpowered connectors. I also went with a single large 1300W 80 Plus Gold PSU to power the whole shebang.

For the case, after using plastic crates, I found that the build just didn't feel very stable and I'm a bit concerned about how well it's cooling. Switching to a metal frame should be relatively easy, as long as you have a drill to work with and some stands for your mobo from a previous build. Assemble the whole thing and you end up with a metal frame with the four GPUs screwed into the frame. I'd suggest orienting the cards so that the exhaust points up to improve cooling.

The total cost for this build as listed above is around $2500, but if you find R9 290 GPUs for the $400 MSRP it would be $2300. Properly configured, we should get around 3400-3600 KHash/sec with a power draw from the wall of around 1100W. With the current difficulty having jumped up quite a bit in just the past week, estimated income is $2100 for the next month, meaning you'll pay off the hardware at current prices in just over a month, maybe two.

Of course, the price could crash and that would leave you with an expensive system that may not be paying itself off very fast. Worst-case, I would guess Litecoin could crash down to single digits again, but I suspect it will stay above $5. At the current difficulty, paying $0.10 per KWh, the break even point for mining is around $1.50 per LTC. My past experience is that even if the price drops into the single digits, difficulty will likewise scale back and so I suspect until (if?) we get Litecoin ASICs this system should remain profitable.

Here's the real trick: if you can stay in this for the long haul, LTC has hit nearly $50 once and stayed above $20 for more than a week. Right now, it doesn't look like we'll drop below $20 any time soon, though it could still happen. I bet that far more likely is LTC will eventually hit prices 10x and even 100x what we've seen right now, so if you can stash away your coins for the future, they could one day be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The power cost for running this setup is going to be $80 per month, and my advice is to never sell more than half of the coins you mine, unless you reach the point where you're ready to cash out and call it quits. (Or in other words, when you've gotten enough value and you don't want to be greedy.) Within the next two years, we should see prices reach the point where you could sell off all your LTC at more than $200 per coin. Stay the course and you could be the next cryptocoin millionaire.

Some of you are probably shaking your heads saying, "This guy is crazy. There's no way this LTC fad is ever going to be worth $100 again, let along $1000 coins!" I thought the exact same thing about Bitcoin/BTC back in 2011. I was mining and making money, but I sold off most of what I mined on the way down to $2. Then I played around and sold over 200 coins at less than $4. Now, I'm looking at $1000 BTC and realizing that some of the dreamers were right, and we're probably not done yet. Will we see $10,000 BTC in the future? Probably. It might take five years to get there, and you might need to weather some <$100 prices, but we've seen these bubbles three times now and the latest has surpassed my wildest speculation. I'm being far more bullish now and betting LTC will do the same -- maybe only 1/10 what BTC is worth, but even then that's going to be enough to pay off all my debts and then some.

Dare to dream.

Find this useful? Please donate some LTC to help me support my blogging efforts or shop via my affiliate links. Either one is greatly appreciated! Or if you have no LTC, go win some for free!

LTC: LXpEZcNJtikd263z7Ha3vrdYDcLU7hiKWv

Update: Need help? See my Toubeshooting Guide.

98 comments:

  1. Jared thank you for the valuable info.. I was just about ready to pull the trigger on this exact setup you laid out but I started playing with a ROI calculator and got spooked.. have you done any ROI analysis on this setup taking into consideration difficulty increases and power costs? I am just concerned about how long I would have to have this system running before I could see a ROI.. thank you so very much for your help I am ultra appreciative of all your hard work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Conservatively, I'd say two-three months to break even. It might be sooner, but that's a safer bet.

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  2. I just ordered parts similar to this a few days ago and I was having some concerns about power. With 4 x R9 290s are you only drawing 1100w? I figured it was going to be more than that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Each GPU should draw around 250W max, but if you overclock you could hit 300 or so. You'll need to check how much power you're using or get a bigger PSU for four cards. Note that I recommend a 1300W for this build. So the components should draw perhaps 1100W, but actual power draw at the wall should be around 1200W (90% efficiency).

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    2. Jarred I have this 4 card r9 290 sapphire powered by a 1300W gold antec PSU. I blew a capacitor in the PSU last night. Have you run this rig on a 1300w? Or should I just upsize the PSU?

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    3. From the wall, three 290X cards with a Gold PSU will draw around 1050W, so pulling around 950W. That's with overclocking, so adding a fourth GPU is going to be really pushing things. It would be easier probably to buy two 750-850W PSUs and run two GPUs off each.

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  3. Hey Jarred, do you have any images of the system put together. Or just something to reference how it should look when finalized?

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  4. Hello Jarred,
    Tahnk you very much for your articles.
    What do you think about using Silverstone Raven SST-RV01B case (http://www.silverstonetek.com/raven/products/r-photo.php?model=RV01&area=usa) for rig with two GPUs (without risers)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, sure -- if you only want one or two GPUs, you can use just about any case. Only recommendation is to get a case where the GPU slots are spaced two apart (so PCIe x16 #1, then two empty slots, then PCIe x16 #2). I have an older Raven running a couple GPUs.

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  5. Thanks Jarred! I ended up going w/a different motherboard:
    GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5 Socket AM3+
    It has 5 slots = (x16, x16, x8, x4, x4)

    What powered risers do I get?
    Do I get two x16 to x16's and one x8 to 16x?

    So, do I get

    Can you tell me how many powered risers I need with this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For that motherboard (http://tinyurl.com/am3plus-fiveslots), you can just use all x16 to x16 risers (unpowered should be fine). For five GPUs, though, you'll probably need two PSUs, with one just shorted on pin 4 (the green wire) to a black wire so that it's always on. There are other ways to do that as well, like this one: http://tinyurl.com/psu-jumpstart

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  6. Hi Jarred, have you tried this yet? I'm trying to setup this exact rig, but having 4 of these cards so close together (even with fans on) they're shutting down at 95*C and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the whole reason for the PCIe riser cables -- you don't put them in a standard case, you put them above the motherboard. With the riser cables you can separate the GPUs by at least 1.5" and they should run fine. I have a 3x 7950 setup that uses the same basic build and they run fine.

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  7. Hey Jarred, great blog!!

    It's good to find someone with the same long-term LTC philosophy as me.
    I'm about to pull the trigger on a rig like this.
    I'm starting with 2x R9 2990's and I want to scale up to 4 in Feb.
    The PSU I want (Cooler Master Silent Pro Platinum, 1000W) has the highest wattage I can find. Would it be sufficient to scale up to 4 GPU's?

    I also need to operate over a wifi network, can you recommend an adaptor that will work with Xubuntu? I was hoping the Netgear N300 would work?

    And lastly, the Mobo you recommend is out of stock in my country, can you recommend an alternative?

    Appreciate any advice Jarred.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've found this mobo (http://www.amazon.com/ASRock-DDR3-Motherboards-FM2A85X-EXTREME6/dp/B009SX5TRY)..

      Not too clued up on them and not sure if it will support 4= GPU's?

      Also a bit more expensive...

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    2. That motherboard will support three GPUs via x16 to x16 risers (or natively, though they'd run hot), and two more GPUs via x1 to x16 powered risers. Unfortunately, getting the risers will usually take a couple weeks for shipping, but if you're starting with two GPUs, that's fine -- just order the risers now so they'll be read in February! :-)

      For WiFi adapters that work with Ubuntu, I'm not quite sure what to recommend. Most adapters I've tried have worked, but I'd suggest getting something that has been around at least a year (so 802.11n rather than 802.11ac).

      Delete
  8. Enjoy reading your blog. I'm actually building the same mining rig with 4 290 cards. Do you have any specs or directions for using the aluminum tubing to build the rig? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's pretty straight forward, depending on how fancy you want to get. Use the 3-way corner connectors and the pre-cut square tubes to make the frame. A sheet of aluminum on the bottom can then have holes with motherboard stand-offs drilled into it, and the GPUs connect to the top to have them "float" above the PCIe slots. I haven't personally assembled this frame yet, but I'll take pictures when I do!

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  9. how do I do a dummy plug for 290? there is no dvi-i or vga output

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should not need a dummy plug when running CGminer directly; dummy plugs are only needed if you're running via GUIminer.

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    2. I want to run the unit completely headless ... zero monitors ... it appears that Windows 7 unloads the drivers necessary for cgminer and bfgminer to get temp and other data - which is important for fan control - if you have zero monitors hooked up. This is why a DVI-D dummy plug would be nice - since you could trick Windows into thinking a monitor was attached and get access to these stats since the driver would be loaded. Thoughts?

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    3. I've got a system with Windows 7 and three 7950 cards running completely headless in my garage, with no dummy DVI plugs or any of that nonsense required. CGWatcher and cgminer both work as expected. Granted, R9 290 cards have some issues with cgminer (still), but not because of the lack of dummy plugs.

      Delete
  10. Hey Jarred, I want to build a 6x R9 290, do you have any good motherboard recommendation for that? Are you going to make a 6x build guide? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Going 6-way can be tricky and may not even be worthwhile depending on the cost. For instance, ASRock has a mobo with six x16 slots, but it's something like $500. You could buy two moderate $150 mobos, then two kits of 8GB RAM, and two low-end CPUs and basically pay the same, without having to deal with the trouble of wiring up six GPUs. But if you want to try, look at the ASRock Extreme11/ac (http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z87%20Extreme11ac/) -- I can't find it in stock anywhere right now, unfortunately.

      If you go with three x16 and three x1, with riser cables, the theory is you just need enough power and room to cool all the GPUs. Having not personally tried it, I don't know how it works out in practice.

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  11. Hello Jarred, thank you for this post. I have a problem with my LTC miner and just thought if you can figure out what is wrong with my setup.

    I am using 4 MSI Radeon 7950 Twin Frozr with PSU of 1200watts. The Cards are connected with unpowered risers to the mobo ( 3pcs of 1x16 and 1pc 16x16). The problem is it shutsdown after 5 minutes or so.

    I tried to removed 1 card and try to fire it up again and its ok. I'm wordering if my PSU enough for this, I have a Kill-a-watt meter and the 3 cards only averaging 700 watts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shutdown after five minutes usually means one of two things:

      1) The cards are getting too hot and causing a crash, or
      2) The PSU is being overloaded and eventually shutting off to protect itself.

      Four GPUs could very well exceed the 1200W output of a PSU, particularly if it's not a super high quality PSU. Also, you might be overloading one of the rails of the PSU and causing a problem that way. What's the power draw from the wall with four GPUs installed?

      If you think you're overloading a rail, I'd need to look at the actual PSU model to come up with any suggestions.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. If you're using unpowered risers from the mobo, chances are you're going to fry the pins that connect the PSU to the mobo. Since each card draws roughly 75w from the mobo directly, it's a bit of a daunting task.

      Use powered risers or the EVGA power boost card in a free PCI-E slot (if you have one). That should help the problem.

      Delete
    4. Do I need powered risers for R9 290/290x if the card is directly connected to PSU (6 and 8 pins on-card connectors)?

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    5. Powered risers are necessary for x1 to x16 risers in my opinion; for x16 to x16 the motherboards are *supposed* to be designed to handle 75W per slot. Of course, if you have six slots that may not be the case unless you have a few EPS12V connectors on the mobo powering the PCIe slots. Anyway, I'm of the opinion that three GPUs or maybe four per rig is a safer bet. You don't want to fry a mobo and potentially kill a GPU or three in the process!

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    6. So as I understand you correctly, R9 290x needs power from all these sources:
      - 6-pin on-card connector
      - 8-pin on-card connector
      - PCI-E slot
      ?

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    7. Correct.

      PCIe x16 can supply up to 75W by spec, but x1 is limited to 10W (or potentially 25W) -- either way, not nearly enough power!

      6-pin PCIe power can deliver an additional 75W each while 8-pin PCIe power can deliver 150W. So with the R9 290/290X, you potentially have up to 300W of power delivered to the card (75W x16 + 75W 6-pin + 150W 8-pin). By my estimation, you may need every bit of that power as well -- or at least more than 250W.

      Delete
    8. Thanks, powered risers it is, then.

      Delete
  12. Jarred, thank you for this great post. I've ordered a similar setup based on your list:
    - 4xSapphire R9 290 4gb GDDR5
    - MB Gigabyte Z87X-OC (1150/Z87/DDR3) - Awesome specs: http://www.gigabyte.com/fileupload/product/2/4514/8266.jpg
    - CPU Intel Pentium G3220 (1150,3.0GHz/3Mb)
    - SSD SanDisk 64GB Sata III Ultra Plus
    - Case: Corsair Carbide Air Series 540 ATX Cube Case
    - RAM x 2 Crucial 4GB 1600 Ballistic Tactical
    - PSU: Lepa G1600w
    - WIFI Stick: OEM 802.11n
    - UPS: OEM 2000VA Line Interactive

    While I will initially use it to mine, later I plan to update the CPU to have a cool gaming station.
    I will have it running in the following weekend and will post performance, mining stats etc.

    Total Cost: ~ 2400 eur (3300$)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2.6 kh/s average after a few minutes when they get hot and reach 95-96C. When temp is lower, I saw even 3.7kh/s. At one point 1 card went off due to overheating I suppose. I am going to 4way watercool just those beasts with EK blocks or http://shop.aquacomputer.de/product_info.php?language=en&products_id=3135. Fan noise is not that bad if you place it in a room far from you, it sounds like a little hair dryer. Case has 3 fans and I am using the Thermaltake 1375w 80+ Gold PSU. I will do some more tests with a big fan and let you know.

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    2. I have 2 R9 290's in an older Gigabyte Motherboard.

      When I set any gpu or engine options via cgminer it bluescreens when you exit cgminer.

      So instead I set the fan and clock options via MSI Afterburner.

      With these cards you _have_ to tune the thread concurrency. My miner is stable with 2 r9 290s at 1.3Mhash @ 80c Fans ~90% with ambient temperature in the room at 70f.

      I have two more 290s, but the OS won't recognize them through the 1x to 16x adapters. Any help on that?

      Delete
    3. I think that you need 1x to 16x powered risers (with molex power connectors) to provide the needed power to the cards.

      Delete
  13. HI Jarred,

    I'm thinking to create a similair setup. I still have an old mobo and CPU lying around, which I think can do the trick. Only thing is that the MB is already some years old (around 6/7years).
    It is the Asus P5W DH Deluxe, and has 2 PCI x16 slots and 2 PCI x1 slots.
    The CPU is an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600.
    Will this suffice? Also, I would like to do it the USB memstick way with Linux, so I don't need any HD. Do you have any experience with that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been poking around at Linux -- guide forthcoming I think, in a few days. Short story: it takes more work to get running but may get better hash rates.

      As far as old hardware, I have a Dell XPS 400 with Pentium D 820 running a single 6950 now just for kicks. Power draw is around 330W, but it still gives 430KHash. I don't know about trying to run four GPUs off a single mobo from that era, but one or two ought to work. This isn't a CPU-intensive task, but it can put a strain on the power supply and motherboard power delivery, so tread lightly. :-)

      Delete
  14. Hello Jarred, I just bought 4*r9 290x video cards. What is the best motherboard would you recommend to go with ( preferably i dont want to use any extra pci-e extensions).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Extensions are pretty much required to run four GPUs; otherwise you have the cards all smashed up against each other and they can't "breathe" properly and thus overheat (or run more slowly).

      Delete
  15. I've got three "same" MSI R9 209x cards. One of them runs at ~950kH/s but other two gets only ~810kH/s with the same settings (I've checked them separately in the same PCI-E slot). GPU-Z reports exactly the same parameters for all of them. What could possibly be the reason for that? Interestingly, the faster was bought first, and the slower ones was bought few days later in another shop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most likely it's the default voltages. AMD and their partners bin GPUs based on how they run. Anything that can't pass the 290X test becomes a 290, but even among the 290 and 290X cards some will run at 1.1V loaded and others will need 1.25V. The cards that are set to 1.25V will generate a lot more heat and draw more power, which in turn will lead to AMD's power regulation kicking in.

      Delete
    2. MSI Afterburner for the faster reports steady 1.180V, and the slower is fluctuating at 1-1.102V. Do you think this difference could be the reason?

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    3. So the problem is the GPUs monitor temperatures and power use of various components, so even if the GPU core is doing okay, if the VRMs struggle the GPU may throttle clocks (and even lower voltages). Adding a big fan to the mix might help things out.

      Delete
  16. Hello Jarred! Thank you for your blog! Im still configuring my rig and i wanted to ask what you recommend
    6 x R9 290x or 290 ? difference os this setups is 1200$ in my country

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. seems like its better to add some money and build 2 rigs
      with 4x290

      Delete
    2. I think it will be best to build some 5 x r290 rigs
      How do you think MSI FM2-A85XA-G43 (80$) will handle 5x cards without power risers ? or its better to buy MSI Z77A-GD65 (155$) or im wrong and it does't depend on mobo?
      1200wt 80 gold plus psu is ok for 5 cards?

      Delete
    3. I think no motherboard can power 5 cards without power risers.
      5 cards will draw at least 5x300 = 1500 watt.
      I think your setup is not feasible... you're motherboard will burn up without powered risers or a better PSU.

      Delete
    4. Ok, then i will make setup with 4x cards same as Jarred's
      Thanx for advice NiekOz

      Delete
  17. I spoke to one hardware retailer who tested 290 and 280x and speaks that r9 290 very fragile as chips are hot. About noise - turbo coolers do their OVER loud work, you cant use rigs in the living room or near it.

    So maybe its better to take 5 x 280x and oc guaranteed to 1090/1500 which gives 760khs (3800total) , to spent (386$x5=1931$)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the current retail prices, I agree -- R9 280X (or 7970) will do 700-725 KHash pretty well, where R9 290 does maybe 850-900 tops with some luck (but often 750-800). For $500 per card (or more), the Hawaii chips are not worthwhile right now.

      Delete
  18. Hi Jared, Thanks for the guide.

    Could i just ask for a quick description/layout of how to assemble the case. Bought the parts but not sure what goes where.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're basically building a box, so a metal sheet on the bottom (add some mounts for the motherboard to it), then shorter posts on the four corners -- around 10-12 inches high -- with longer tubing on the width and medium tubing on the depth. At each corner is a three-way connector. Once the frame is built, you may need to cut some of the aluminum tubing to size things better, or just juryrig things into place.

      Delete
  19. Hey Jared, Im using a GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128514) and it has 2 X16 slots wired at X16, 2 X16 slots wired at X4, 2 X1 slots, and 1 pcie slot. Will running a X16 to X16 riser on the X16 wired X8 slot work -will it need to be powered? Will the X16 wired at X4, the X1 slots, or the pcie slots be the fastest if im running 4 gpus?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you can use x16 to x16 risers on any x16 slots.

      Delete
  20. Dear Jarred

    I am using a Asus P6TDeluxe V2 Motherboard with 1x Sapphire 290x and 1x 6870.
    My question is now, am i able to Add one more PCI-e Card and if witch raiser would i need? I see there are 3x PCI-e x16 ports but in the specs there is mentioned that theyre only in 16/16/8 mode what does this exactly mean?
    Could be glad if you could help me. Many Thanks
    Luca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the slot is physically x16, it should work -- it may only have x4 or x8 bandwidth, but LTC mining isn't bandwidth intensive. For other non-x16 slots, you need powered risers.

      Delete
  21. FM2-A85XA-G43 can you started and stopped directly from the motherboard, as Asrock Socket AM3 + 970

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Jarred,

    Is it possible to build this exact rig starting with only 2 x Radeon R9 290's and scale up?

    Thanks,
    Brian

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Jarred,

    I purchased both your recommended MB and the 4 x Radeon R9 290 GPUs. Can you tell me how many powered riser cables I need?

    Thanks,
    Brian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two powered x1 to x16, two regular x16 to x16.

      Delete
    2. Hi Jarred,

      This cable will work?
      Powered PCI-E Express PCIe x1 To x16 Extender Cable Riser Card With Solid Capacity

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Powered-PCI-E-Express-PCIe-x1-To-x16-Extender-Cable-Riser-Card-Solid-Capacity-/281225812345?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item417a5d5979


      Delete
    3. It should, but keep in mind that a Molex connector is really only rated for something like 25W, and you could potentially pull more like 75W over the PCIe x16 slot. I wouldn't push things too hard personally....

      Delete
  24. hi jarred,

    i am planning on trying this with my rigg i am running two card atm want to upgrade to 4.
    was wondering i have read that some CPU cant work with 4 GPU and you need a ivy bridge CPU and sandy bridge wont work.

    can you confirm this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I've used four GPUs with Celeron chips, and others have used Sempron/Athlon chips as well. You do need to make sure you have enough RAM (8GB recommended).

      Delete
  25. Hi wondered if anyone on here had any idea what may be wrong with my R9s (Sapphire)

    The plan is for 5 on one board, I have 10 in total and 2 boards.
    I am waiting for powered risers to come, so only tried 3 in one board. I used 1x risers to connect all 3.

    Now connecting one card works fine, connecting 2 cards to the 16x slots (with 1x risers) works fine too and boots to windows showing the bios screen and everything in between.

    Adding a 3rd card makes the screen blank until it gets to Windows where it appears. It does detect all 3 cards in device manager OK.

    Now with 2 cards installed I can mine with similar settings to those in these posts with about 830 KH but every time I quit CGminer I get BSOD with ati driver error. Perhaps it's the 13.12 new driver I upgraded to?

    If I install the 3rd card, CGminer opens but almost as soon as it starts, Windows goes to black screen and BSOD restart.

    I am at my wits end with it. Not sure what it could be other than these:
    - 13.12 drivers? Maybe roll back to 13.9 but do these work with the R9 290?
    - Powered riser required for 1x PCI slot and not enough power crashing the card?
    - Incompatible motherboard? I am using Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 with celeron 1155 processor and 8GB ram. Although with the same motherboards i have rigs set up running 3 x 6970 and 3 x 6950.
    Funnily enough one rig with 1 x 6950 and 2 x 6970 only shows the screen when it gets to windows and is blank before that.
    - Maybe the wire to short the 1x PCI slot, but I am using the 1st slot which doesnt usually require that wire, and also Windows does detect it as a card.
    - Maybe the R9 isnt supposed to go 3 way?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make sure you update all the Windows software as well -- I've heard that can help with the blank screen problem. You might also be pulling too much power over the x1 risers and causing a crash -- tough to say.

      Delete
  26. Hi,

    I purchased this MB Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 Rev 3.0 which has 6 PCI-E 2.0 interfaces. Do I need to use powered risers?
    Thanks,
    Brian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i wouldn't think so. only 1x PCI slots need powered risers, not 16x.

      Delete
  27. Hi, is this possible with 5 x R9 290 cards?
    I have tried, however the 5th card shows an error in device manager - "Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems. (Code 43)"

    4 cards work fine though.

    I am using AMD 13.11 beta drivers ( and have tried 13.12 drivers too ) but nothing works. I have updated with the latest gigabyte drivers too for the GAZ68AP D3 board.

    I think I read somewhere that the 13.6 drivers were the last to support more than 4 GPU, is that right? If so, then the 13.6 drivers don't support the R9 290 cards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Windows should support up to eight GPUs I think, but you need to have all the latest updates. I know plenty of people that have successfully had five or six GPUs running off a single board, though I've never done more than four personally.

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  28. I'm really interested in putting a rig like this together, but I'm wondering how much life is left in mining altcoins? How long do you see it being profitable?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably 12-18 months of profitability, though it might get to the point where you're only making 10-15% more than your power costs towards the end. Right now, my power cost is around $500 per month with an income of $2500, so I'm doing well.

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  29. Hey Jared. I have rig with just 2x R9 290 connected. I use monitor to power up machine, then I unplug it and I can easly manage it with teamviewer etc...However If I have power shortage or for some reason I got computer reset without any monitor connected..It will power-up without detecting video-cards (or drivers etc. not quite sure, bottom-line is I get just minimum resolution and default video settings), thus making minings impossible unless I connect and unplug monitor....It makes things really complicated if I want to manage things remotly and got computer reset... Did You have any problem like that? (I guess it wll only happen with new radeon cards).. R9 290 have only DVI-D outputs, thus creating standard dummy plugs is impossible for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't quite figured out the resolution thing, but it seems if you use a DVI connection to initially configure it will "stick" after being removed, whereas HDMI will not? I have had this issue with quite a few people, and it's a pain, but you can actually mine at 640x480.

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  30. Hi,

    Sorry to ask this again. The litecoin rig I'm building is on Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 Rev 3.0 MB and I will be using a Lepa 1600w psu with 3 Sapphire r9 290x gpu's( upgrading later to 4) Do I need powered risers for this MB/GPU configuration?
    Thanks,
    Brian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The x1 to x16 should be powered; the x16 to x16 do not need power (or at least *should* not).

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  31. Hi Jarred, i have a Gigabyte 970A D3P mobo, an AMD Sempron cpu, 4gb ram Hyper X ddr3, 500gb hd, 2× r9 290 with no risers. If I install another r9 290 on the pcie x 1 with a powered riser, do i have to add more ram?. The reason you rise both x16 gpus is only to make more space and a better temp?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't tried 4GB with four GPUs -- only 8GB. I don't know if there's a limit based on system RAM or not, but the memory is cheap enough that it's probably better safe than sorry. As for the risers, yes -- x16 to x16 is just to help separate the GPUs so they run cooler. If you only have two GPUs, you could put them onto the motherboard and there should still be plenty of space on most (but not all) boards -- anything with at least two empty slots between the GPUs should suffice.

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  32. Hi Jarred,

    For the OS should I use Win 8.1 or BAMT?
    Thanks,
    Brian

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hey Jarred,

    Do you think Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3 will work with 4 R9 280x together with 2 R9290? I will have double PSU's and powered risers

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  34. People should note that a PSU does not provide ALL it's power to the 12V rail. It is designed for a certain amperage for each set of rails.

    In the case of a 4x290's. My 290 pulls 218W at full mining load. 4x 218 = 872W at load @12V = 72.667 AMPS! Also don't forget that the 12V rail also is needed to power other components in the machine like fans, CPU and other peripherals like HDD's, CD drives etc.

    Now all I can say is PLEASE READ THE 12V AMPERAGE RATING on the side of your PSU. Is it 80+amps ? (CPU's tend to swallow between 65-125W so you may need as much as 85amps)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Also, YES! Thread concurrency depends on the system RAM as well as the GDDR. I know this because I pulled a 4GB stick out of my miner (with 8GB originally) and suddenly I couldn't run cgminer on a known good config. I had to half the Thread concurrency to get it to work again.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Jarrred,

    I'm currently running 3 X r290s on a GA-970A-D3P, with 4GB of RAM, Linux Bamt OS on USB, with powered risers,and a 1300W Gold PSU. I have a 4th 290; however, I've been unable to get the rig to mine when I have the 4th 290 hooked up. The rig will turn on but won't start mining (I think its a power issue). On that note, I went out and purchased an additional 700W Coolmax PSU and tried to power one card with it and the rest of the rig on the 1300W. No luck, same problem. The rig powers on but won't mine. I also tried to hook the 700W up to the mobo and run the cpu and one 290 on that PSU, and the other 3 290s on the 1300W. Unfortunately, that didn't work either. At this point, I feel stuck. If anyone out there has any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it. Also, just in case this matters, I have powered risers for the the x16 and x1 (only the x1s are hooked up right now)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure if this will help, but if you install another GPU in Linux you have to basically reinitialize the GPUs, and possibly even uninstall the AMD drivers and reinstall them. If you run the command "aticonfig --lsa" does it even detect the four GPUs? If not, focus on that aspect -- could be a bad riser cable, a bad GPU, bad slot, etc.

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  37. Have you built the actual stand yet Jarred? I just bought all the pieces that you linked but the 3 way connectors will not fit into the aluminum. I made sure I bought what you linked. Has anyone else run into this problem?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Aric, sorry for the error -- I actually went down to the local hardware store to buy the aluminum parts and connectors. Can you measure the size of the connectors and the aluminum tubing? I can't find any other connectors on Amazon (unless you want rounded corner connectors), but there are lots of tubing alternatives. I'd like to get the right size tubing for the connectors -- I added some 48" Series 13 tubing that you'd have to cut, if that helps.

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  38. Hi Jarred,

    I've got my rig almost complete. Do you recommend Win 8.1, BAMT or LTCRabbit. Also do you recommend running the rig off of a usb or the ssd?
    Thanks,
    Brian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i would use ubuntu with a usb, cheaper and easy to set up

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    2. You can use a USB if you'd like, but my experience is that it can be very slow to boot, or to install other software, or even to surf the web. I'd suggest getting a small and inexpensive SSD if you can, or even a cheap HDD is better (substantially faster) than a typical USB stick.

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  39. Hey Jarred,

    Just a quick question, have you tried 5 GPUs with this motherboard? does it work and will the motherboard support it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not tried five GPUs... the most I've had running in a single system is four, and it took some trial and error to get running.

      Delete
  40. Hi Jarred, how to mount motherboard on aluminium sheet? isn't a problem that aluminium is a conductor? do you put some plastic or wood between motherboard and sheet ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you would put spacers there -- I was basically thinking you would build your own motherboard tray, so put eight of the motherboard mounting standoffs at the appropriate locations for an ATX board. Or you could skip the aluminum plate and use something non-conductive I suppose, but in my opinion it's good to have the motherboard screwed into something so it doesn't shift around.

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