Mining on a dell prebuilt PC (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer)

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
Could I just get some PCIe risers, plug them into the machine, install the GPU's in a frame, install a mining linux distro on it, and mine away, or is there anything else I need to consider? I found plenty with 3 to 5 PCIe lanes, x16 and x1, sometimes x4. Mainly from the sandy bridge to Haswell generation. Are there limits that Dell imposes on their motherboards that dont allow all PCIe slots to be filled, or not? Anything else funkyI should know?

Thank you!
 

sgrinavi

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
8,499
Could I just get some PCIe risers, plug them into the machine, install the GPU's in a frame, install a mining linux distro on it, and mine away, or is there anything else I need to consider? I found plenty with 3 to 5 PCIe lanes, x16 and x1, sometimes x4. Mainly from the sandy bridge to Haswell generation. Are there limits that Dell imposes on their motherboards that dont allow all PCIe slots to be filled, or not? Anything else funkyI should know?

Thank you!
I'd be worried about power....
 

sgrinavi

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
8,499
It'll probably work, buy a couple risers and test each slot before you make an investment in gpus and a good psu.
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
Mining motherboards have to be able to step the PCI-e slots down to PCI-E gen 1x in some cases to use all slots. Not all not motherboards, especially cheap OEM motherboards with cheap CPUs will allow all PCI-E physical slots to be active at one. There are PCI-E splitters that break out a x4 slot to four gen 1 riser cards. That might be a good option.

something like this.
https://www.amazon.com/XT-XINTE-Ris...keywords=pci-e+splitter&qid=1614130088&sr=8-2
 

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
Mining motherboards have to be able to step the PCI-e slots down to PCI-E gen 1x in some cases to use all slots. Not all not motherboards, especially cheap OEM motherboards with cheap CPUs will allow all PCI-E physical slots to be active at one. There are PCI-E splitters that break out a x4 slot to four gen 1 riser cards. That might be a good option.

something like this.
https://www.amazon.com/XT-XINTE-Ris...keywords=pci-e+splitter&qid=1614130088&sr=8-2
Dont those really reduce the bandwidth of the GPU's? or not really?
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
Dont those really reduce the bandwidth of the GPU's? or not really?
Yes. They split 4x pci-e into four 1x PCI-E. But crypto mining doesn’t require more than 1x PCI-E on any graphics card, so it doesn’t matter.

You couldn’t game on 1x, but it’s is no handicap for crypto mining.
 

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
Yes. They split 4x pci-e into four 1x PCI-E. But crypto mining doesn’t require more than 1x PCI-E on any graphics card, so it doesn’t matter.

You couldn’t game on 1x, but it’s is no handicap for crypto mining.
Oh, so each riser has that USB to 1x thing on it, I just take the PCIe 1x thing off, and plug the USB slots right into the card? And I can do this on the prebuilt PC, as long as I only add 1 of these? Where did you read that I may not be able to use all PCIe slots on a cheap oem board? Link please? Also, thank you for even saying that,I had no idea.I just assumed that PCIe slots = you can use all slots, because why would they be there if I couldnt?
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
Oh, so each riser has that USB to 1x thing on it, I just take the PCIe 1x thing off, and plug the USB slots right into the card? And I can do this on the prebuilt PC, as long as I only add 1 of these? Where did you read that I may not be able to use all PCIe slots on a cheap oem board? Link please? Also, thank you for even saying that,I had no idea.I just assumed that PCIe slots = you can use all slots, because why would they be there if I couldnt?
It’ll be in the motherboard manual. (Which may be hard to find for oem). Some motherboard and cpu combinations will do things like disable the 3rd or PCI-E slot if you have an NVME drive plugged in.

With AMD generally both the motherboard and CPU define how many PCI-E lanes you have. With Intel, historically, only the CPU defines how many PCI-E lanes you have to work with. For instance I have a x99 motherboard. (HEDT) a full frills enthusiast motherboard. I tried to plug in four graphics cards but learned my originally 6800K CPU didn’t have as many PCI-E lanes as I needed. I had to upgraded to a 6850K CPU in order to support all my lanes, and then I still had to lose one slot if I used a particular U2 SSD.

Here are two limitations on my motherboard when using a CPU that has less CPU lanes like the 6800k. You can see that here from my Gigabyte X99 Gaming Ultra manual:

Consumer motherboards/mainstream motherboards will commonly have more such limitations than HEDT boards because there are less PCI-E lanes to work with.
 

Attachments

  • CD0ECC1B-814B-4767-8CF7-645FB255CE47.png
    CD0ECC1B-814B-4767-8CF7-645FB255CE47.png
    807.1 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
It’ll be in the motherboard manual. (Which may be hard to find for oem). Some motherboard and cpu combinations will do things like disable the 3rd or PCI-E slot if you have an NVME drive plugged in.

With AMD generally both the motherboard and CPU define how many PCI-E lanes you have. With Intel, historically, only the CPU defines how many PCI-E lanes you have to work with. For instance I have a x99 motherboard. (HEDT) a full frills enthusiast motherboard. I tried to plug in four graphics cards but learned my originally 6800K CPU didn’t have as many PCI-E lanes as I needed. I had to upgraded to a 6850K CPU in order to support all my lanes, and then I still had to lose one slot if I used a particular U2 SSD.

Here are two limitations on my motherboard when using a CPU that has less CPU lanes like the 6800k. You can see that here from my Gigabyte X99 Gaming Ultra manual:

Consumer motherboards/mainstream motherboards will commonly have more such limitations than HEDT boards because there are less PCI-E lanes to work with.
Okay, so with Intel (thats all I would use for mining), the CPU defines the PCIe lanes I can work with. So if I have an Intel CPU that can have 16 PCIe lanes come out of it, I can absolutely install 4 GPU's in a dell optiplex system, if it has 4 PCIe 1x slots, and if I get risers (and a good 80+ gold/platinum PSU). Simply plug the risers into the motherboard, plug the GPU's in them, hook up the power, and il have 12 lanes left over, which is plenty.

I will never install an m.2 or a pcie storage device into a prebuilt system, too pricey. Unless in 10 years I can get a cheap $50 system with that option, then maybe.

Does PCIe gen matter with those add in usb cards you mentioned earlier? And whats the difference between using those risers, and just plugging in the cards in the back of the PC, if it has USB 3? Could USB 2 work also?
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
Okay, so with Intel (thats all I would use for mining), the CPU defines the PCIe lanes I can work with. So if I have an Intel CPU that can have 16 PCIe lanes come out of it, I can absolutely install 4 GPU's in a dell optiplex system, if it has 4 PCIe 1x slots, and if I get risers (and a good 80+ gold/platinum PSU). Simply plug the risers into the motherboard, plug the GPU's in them, hook up the power, and il have 12 lanes left over, which is plenty.

I will never install an m.2 or a pcie storage device into a prebuilt system, too pricey. Unless in 10 years I can get a cheap $50 system with that option, then maybe.

Does PCIe gen matter with those add in usb cards you mentioned earlier? And whats the difference between using those risers, and just plugging in the cards in the back of the PC, if it has USB 3? Could USB 2 work also?
You cannot plug the USB cable into the back of the computer from the riser. It isn’t actually USB data pinning. It just used a USB cord because they are cheap and plentiful.
You only need 1x PCI-e lane for each GPU.
I’ve never used one of those pci-e splitters I linked, but many have. Youtube has instructional videos on it.

Yes you should be able to run 4 GPUs on pretty much any system with a PCI-E 4x slot and one of those 4 way distribution cards
 

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
You cannot plug the USB cable into the back of the computer from the riser. It isn’t actually USB data pinning. It just used a USB cord because they are cheap and plentiful.
You only need 1x PCI-e lane for each GPU.
I’ve never used one of those pci-e splitters I linked, but many have. Youtube has instructional videos on it.

Yes you should be able to run 4 GPUs on pretty much any system with a PCI-E 4x slot and one of those 4 way distribution cards
In your mining rig, do you have SATA risers or MOLEX risers? I heard SATA provides less power than MOLEX and can melt if they are used with risers. Idk if this is true or not.

What does your mining rig consist of?
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
In your mining rig, do you have SATA risers or MOLEX risers? I heard SATA provides less power than MOLEX and can melt if they are used with risers. Idk if this is true or not.

What does your mining rig consist of?
I’ve used all three riser types. With Sata powered risers don’t put more than 2 risers per power string. Where you get into trouble is trying to power 3 or 4 risers per sata power string. The PCI-E riser can pull a little over 75 watts per, so it adds up fast. 2 is fine, I’ve done it on a half dozen different ATX power supplies with no issue. Molex type connectors are my least favorite PC connector. The molex connector wiring pins have a tendency to break/loosen/shed the pins if they are not aligned perfectly as you try to couple them. 6 pin and SATA do not.

Make sure and buy mid grade or better risers with great reviews. Don’t cheap out on the risers. It’ll make you crazy as they are prone to be defective with shoddy soldering and are sometimes hard to diagnose. I like mintcell risers as a brand. I don’t think I ever got a defective mintcell. Also look at the version number. Generally speaking later versions are better and add more connection options. Look for at least version 6 or newer.

I currently use a single mining motherboard. I sold all my others the last year. I have an Asus B250 mining expert.

A couple tips if planning to windows mine. Set your page file manually. — even in windows 10. You want it AT least the amount of all your VRAM and system RAM added together. So if you have 16GB of system memory and four 8GB cards then you would want to set your page file to >= 48GB. You might get away without doing this and have no trouble with only four cards, but I found it REALLY helped stability on my eight and 12 card mining rigs, and in my testing it was almost a requirement if I wanted my windows rigs to mine hands off for weeks at a time.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: noko
like this

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
I’ve used all three riser types. With Sata powered risers don’t put more than 2 risers per power string. Where you get into trouble is trying to power 3 or 4 risers per sata power string. The PCI-E riser can pull a little over 75 watts per, so it adds up fast. 2 is fine, I’ve done it on a half dozen different ATX power supplies with no issue. Molex type connectors are my least favorite PC connector. The molex connector wiring pins have a tendency to break/loosen/shed the pins if they are not aligned perfectly as you try to couple them. 6 pin and data do not.

Make sure and buy mid grade or better risers with great reviews. Don’t cheap out on the risers. It’ll make you crazy as they are prone to be defective with shoddy soldering and are sometimes hard to diagnose. I like mintcell risers as a brand. I don’t think I ever got a defective mintcell. Also look at the version number. Generally speaking later versions are better and add more connection options. Look for at least version 6 or newer.

I currently use not have a single mining motherboard. I sold all my others the last year. I have an Asus B250 mining expert.

A couple tips if planning to windows mine. Set your page file manually. — even in windows 10. You want it AT least the amount of all your VRAM and system RAM added together. So if you have 16GB of system memory and four 8GB cards then you would want to set your page file to >= 48GB. You might get away without doing this and no trouble, with only four cards, but I found it REALLY helped stability on my eight and 12 card mining rigs, and in my testing it was almost a requirement if I wanted my windows rigs to mine hands off for weeks at a time.
When you say sata power string, you mean the cable that comes out of the power supply? No more than 2 of those connected to the riser?

I have seen some risers with multiple connections. Either 2 6 pin connectors, 2 molex connectors, 1 PCIe 1 molex 1 sata, do i connect ALL of these or just 1 of these?

I will just use hive OS or Nicehash OS. A 4 gb flash drive is a bit cheaper than a 128gb or 256gb ssd, and those are garbage drives anyway. I would get a 512gb ssd but those are like 55 bucks. Plus windows 10 activation, around 15 bucks on urcdkeys, So $70 minimum extra for a system that I wont ever use? Plus I need another monitor, more cables, keyboard, mouse. Yes, I know I can remote into it, but Il just get into it if I ever have to, maybe like a few hours a year? Not even? For $70? Bad value, I would rather buy a better motherboard.

Hpw do I know the version of riser cards? I cheked on amazon and mintcells website and they didnt say what version it was.

Thank you for answering my questions!
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
Looks like the risers have shot up in price double since I bought mine. It's worth the price to get good risers. I've tried a lot of them. The cheapies are crap, and fail, and they'll make for a wicked experience troubleshooting. Buy at least 1 or 2 more than you need so you can toss any that give you trouble.
You can see what model number they are on the silkscreen white writing on the PCB.

I'd just sort by average customer review and buy what has the best rating with the most reviews to validate they are good.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=mining+r...iew-rank&qid=1614472090&ref=sr_st_review-rank

For the risers with more than one connection - you only need to connect one of the power connector styles. It's nice to have the multiple styles because you can use all your PSU cables without buying extra adapters.

By power string I mean most 850 to 1000 watt PSUs have 2-3 strings of SATA with 3-4 plugs on each string. Don't plug more than 2 risers into a single SATA string (even though you might have 3 or 4 plugs only use 2 per string). 2 risers can put a 150 watt load on that SATA string and that's about maxing it out. Three is 225 watts or there about and that's too much power draw.


A 128GB SSD is sufficient, but you can do Hive OS with a SD card or USB Key if that's the route you want to go. I think most people are using Hive OS for the Linux miners.

Windows 10 is free - you can download it here, and you do not need to register it to mine. The only thing it limits you on is setting the background. Who cares.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Mining profits are starting to plummet the last three days. Make sure you are watching ETH prices to see if it's even worth mining by the time you get all your equipment. Look at post 17 where I speak to this:
https://hardforum.com/threads/nvidia-1070-ti.2008108/#post-1044940582
 

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
Looks like the risers have shot up in price double since I bought mine. It's worth the price to get good risers. I've tried a lot of them. The cheapies are crap, and fail, and they'll make for a wicked experience troubleshooting. Buy at least 1 or 2 more than you need so you can toss any that give you trouble.
You can see what model number they are on the silkscreen white writing on the PCB.

I'd just sort by average customer review and buy what has the best rating with the most reviews to validate they are good.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=mining+r...iew-rank&qid=1614472090&ref=sr_st_review-rank

For the risers with more than one connection - you only need to connect one of the power connector styles. It's nice to have the multiple styles because you can use all your PSU cables without buying extra adapters.

By power string I mean most 850 to 1000 watt PSUs have 2-3 strings of SATA with 3-4 plugs on each string. Don't plug more than 2 risers into a single SATA string (even though you might have 3 or 4 plugs only use 2 per string). 2 risers can put a 150 watt load on that SATA string and that's about maxing it out. Three is 225 watts or there about and that's too much power draw.


A 128GB SSD is sufficient, but you can do Hive OS with a SD card or USB Key if that's the route you want to go. I think most people are using Hive OS for the Linux miners.

Windows 10 is free - you can download it here, and you do not need to register it to mine. The only thing it limits you on is setting the background. Who cares.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Mining profits are starting to plummet the last three days. Make sure you are watching ETH prices to see if it's even worth mining by the time you get all your equipment. Look at post 17 where I speak to this:
https://hardforum.com/threads/nvidia-1070-ti.2008108/#post-1044940582
Il probably buy the equipment when the market turns bad, so I can get it dirt cheap. I saw people trying to sell their mining motherboards for like 30 bucks a few years ago, and risers may get down to 50 bucks for 10 or 20 of them. I wont ever buy mining hardware when it is expensive, too volatile. I'd love to pick up some 3060 ti's or 3080's for $200 or $400 respectively some day, like how rx 580's went for $100 a few years ago. That would be a STEAL!

If necessary, is it okay to use sata extensions, as long as its 1 sata to 1 sata? I believe it is i just want to make sure.

Yeah im going with hive os or nicehash os.

Would those super high wattage power supplies work (the ones meant for asic mining)? The ones that are rated for over 2,000 watts, or are they too loud, or is there another problem? I probably wont go that route, I'd probably just get 1 or 2 850 watt 80+ gold units. I do live in the USA, if that helps, in terms of wattage.
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
Il probably buy the equipment when the market turns bad, so I can get it dirt cheap. I saw people trying to sell their mining motherboards for like 30 bucks a few years ago, and risers may get down to 50 bucks for 10 or 20 of them. I wont ever buy mining hardware when it is expensive, too volatile. I'd love to pick up some 3060 ti's or 3080's for $200 or $400 respectively some day, like how rx 580's went for $100 a few years ago. That would be a STEAL!

If necessary, is it okay to use sata extensions, as long as its 1 sata to 1 sata? I believe it is i just want to make sure.

Yeah im going with hive os or nicehash os.

Would those super high wattage power supplies work (the ones meant for asic mining)? The ones that are rated for over 2,000 watts, or are they too loud, or is there another problem? I probably wont go that route, I'd probably just get 1 or 2 850 watt 80+ gold units. I do live in the USA, if that helps, in terms of wattage.
The 2400 watt power supplies require 240V power.

I believe the biggest server power supplies you’ll find on 110V are rated at 1200 and 1400 watts.

A sata extension should be fine.

The server power supplies are effectively silent until you get to 50-66% power draw then the fan starts getting noticeable. At 100% power draw they are screamers. They are dirt cheap compare to other options and more reliable too according to most miners who use them.

Parallel Miner is out of stock in most everything right now, but they are a great site to explore and learn about models you can use for crypto mining. You can then search out those models and parts that are out of stock elsewhere — eBay for example.

https://www.parallelminer.com/
 
Last edited:

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
Thats very cool! Thanks for showing me!
The 2400 watt power supplies require 240V power.

I believe the biggest server power supplies you’ll find on 110V are rated at 1200 and 1400 watts.

A sata extension should be fine.

The server power supplies are effectively silent until you get to 50-66% power draw then the fan starts getting noticeable. At 100% power draw they are screamers. They are dirt cheap compare to other options and more reliable too according to most miners who use them.

Parallel Miner is out of stock in most everything right now, but they are a great site to explore and learn about models you can use for crypto mining. You can then search out those models and parts that are out of stock elsewhere — eBay for example.

https://www.parallelminer.com/
What are breakout boards used for? Cant you just connect the power supply directly to the risers/gpu's? or am I missing something?

Actually maybe I will go for the server PSU's, as long as I put sound dampening material around it (without covering the fans ofc). If they are more reliable, cheaper, can support higher wattages, seems like a steal!
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
Thats very cool! Thanks for showing me!

What are breakout boards used for? Cant you just connect the power supply directly to the risers/gpu's? or am I missing something?

Actually maybe I will go for the server PSU's, as long as I put sound dampening material around it (without covering the fans ofc). If they are more reliable, cheaper, can support higher wattages, seems like a steal!
No you cannot connect the server PSUs directly to the riser without a breakout board. Server PSUs have a single pcb output. Look at their picture. You need a breakout board to convert it to typical 6 pin connectors. Luckily breakout boards are cheap. The x8 for instance is $8.
Look at that parallelminer site I linked and it should be clear.
 

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
No you cannot connect the server PSUs directly to the riser without a breakout board. Server PSUs have a single pcb output. Look at their picture. You need a breakout board to convert it to typical 6 pin connectors. Luckily breakout boards are cheap. The x8 for instance is $8.
Look at that parallelminer site I linked and it should be clear.
Hey, just wanted to say thank you very much for answering all of my mining questions. Everything is VERY clear to me now thanks to you!
 

JoeAceJR

n00b
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
11
Hey, just wanted to say thank you very much for answering all of my mining questions. Everything is VERY clear to me now thanks to you!Attach files
Are those server breakout boards proprietary, like 1 type of board for 1 type of server psu, or are they pretty much universal? Parallel miner is like 90% out of stock of the PSU kits so I am interested in just getting an hp or dell gold/platinum PSU and getting a generic breakout board. Will that work? Anything to consider?
 

Archaea

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
10,926
Are those server breakout boards proprietary, like 1 type of board for 1 type of server psu, or are they pretty much universal? Parallel miner is like 90% out of stock of the PSU kits so I am interested in just getting an hp or dell gold/platinum PSU and getting a generic breakout board. Will that work? Anything to consider?
the breakoutboards are NOT universal.

Different server power supplies require different breakout boards. (However, certain brand PSUs are compatible with multiple breakoutboards that fit that PSU line)

Parallel miner has a great guide for this here online:
https://www.parallelminer.com/uncategorized/breakout-board-compatibility-list/

and here in PDF
https://www.parallelminer.com/wp-co...-Miners-Breakout-Board-Compatibility-List.pdf

Parallel miner is a great shop - try to support them if you can. Free shipping over $35. I wish they weren't out of stock on everything. :(

But yes, you can buy on ebay, and use their reference material to try to find in stock stuff at reasonable prices. The X8 breakoutboards are generally compatible with the common/popular 94% efficiency HP/Delta PSUs, and Parallel miner has those in stock at $8 each.
 
Top