Mining Monero On The CPU & Ethereum On The GPU
Written by Thomas Frech in Hardware on 21 October 2017 at 12:30 PM EDT. 14 Comments
Following his recent article about Mining Ethereum With AMD Threadrippers Paired With Four RX Vega 64 GPUs, Phoronix German reader Thomas Frech is back with another guest post. This time he's talking about his adventures about mining the Monero crypto-currency on the CPU while using the GPUs for Ethereum mining.

It turns out that Mining Monero/XMR on the CPU is much more profitable than Ethereum on the Radeon RX Vega-64 if you use the closed source AMDGPU-Pro 17.30 ROCm stack.

The good part is that in the open-source driver the ROCm stack is already fixed, "Initial feedback is that latest ROCm (1.6.3) has the performance fixes, but there will be a 17.40 release soon which also includes them," recently commented by AMD's John Bridgman.

And for the people who want the closed source driver and can not wait for the 17.40 release there is a beta driver.

It turns out the xmr-stak-cpu miner is the best Monero CPU miner but it as one really bad trap: if you turn the donate-level.h donation level to ZERO it will result in very bad performance only 10-20% so the best setting if you do not want to give away the default 2% is to turn it into a 0.1% and with this setting it will not drop down to the bad result than the 0% option.

I benchmarked 4 systems with monero a 1900X a 1920X and a FX8320 and a 8xARM Cortex-A53 MediaTek MT6750 Smartphone.

The result for the 8xARM Cortex-A53 on a playstore monero mining app @ 7 threads is ~6-8 H/s
The FX 8320 with 32GB 4 DIMM DDR3-1333MHz ram @ 7 threads lands at ~130 H/s
The 1900X with 1 DIMM 16gb 2333MHz @ 8 theads comes to ~650 H/s
And the 1920X with 1 DIMM 16gb 2333MHz @ 12 threads comes to ~600 H/s

Very interesting is that xmr-stak-cpu miner is allergic to Intel's Hyper-Threating if someone uses the full 16 threats on a Threadripper 1900X the result will be very bad only 80 H/s only if you use only 1 thread per real core you will get the full performance. AMDs FX-8320's old architecture instead does not have a slowdown if you use more than 4 threads so there will not be a slowdown if you use 8 threats on this 8-integer-core cpu with only 4 FPU and SIMD units. This on Monero Intel's Hyper-Threating is a full joke.

Also very interesting is that the 12 core 1920X turns out to be slower on 1 RAMM DIMM than the 8 core I think this is the result of the very strong sensitive to latency means for 12 cores you will need more than 1 RAM DIMM to not slow down the CPU on Monero.

The mining pool is very good it has low fees and the statistic software of the monitoring system of the website is really pure excellence.

Right now with the 3 systems the output is like ~50€ per month on Monero with the CPUs and this is much better than the GPUs right now.

My GPUs on Ethereum really need the new 17.40 driver so I will write a third article with full new test on Ethereum. Right now I only get ~50 dollars per month for six Vega graphics cards. Only six because of cooling problems I can only run 3 cards per Desktop-PC with good cooling and for this I have to build in the bottom gpu cards like a cheater asland. With 4 cards per PC it is just impossible to get airflow into the 2. card from the top even not with mechanical cheating like spread the cards to get airflow.

In the future I will write about the energy consumption too but I need to buy a new power meter because my old one is broken. Some more words about the hardware I use for this project:

PSU: SilverStone Strider Gold S-Series 1500W ATX 2.3 (SST-ST1500-GS)

With my 4 years of electric professional training I can say yes this is the PSU you want for your Desktop PC.
It is ready for 4 AMD-VEGA-64 GPUs and even ready for dual socket style systems with 4*4pin/P4 12Volt lines means full 2x8-pin and you really need that for a AMD Threadripper system or a IBM POWER9 dual socket mainboard. It is fully modular and even has two more cables to plug in than you need this means if you need more SATA you can chose this cable or if you need more old-school molex 5V+12V cables you can chose the other cable.

CPU cooler: Arctic Liquid Freezer 120

The Freezer 120 is really a easy to use and cheap (57€) CPU cooler it has in my point of view a very low temperature I will not go into details in this article but my 2 ThreadRipper CPUs 1900X/1920 can stay in the highest XFR (+200MHz) modes all the time. this means for the 8 and 12 core you do not need a bigger cooling system if you do not manually overclock the system.

Case: Lian Li PC-7HA Silver

What a beauty of a case and it brings very good quality for the low price (75€). It really has many design wins. I did some modifications on a extra 120mm fan in the front in replacement of the 3 x DVD 5'25" slots to push an extra fresh air to the cpu. I also removed the Harddrive case in the inside to get better airflow and with M.2-SSDs on the mainboard I do not need silence-case for old harddrives.

Next time i will test the 17.40 driver and maybe the open-source ROCm stack too.
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