Convert old servers to mining rigs?

windsorwindsor Member Posts: 4
Hi, new to the whole virtual currency scene so pls pardon me if this is dumb idea or the questions too basic.

Wondering about feasiblity of converting some older servers into mining rigs. The intention is to learn about etherium and make enough ether to finance my development activities. Hopefully someone can help answer some specific questions for a newbie.

1. I have a bunch of dual AMD K8/940 servers (circa 2007). They have PCI and PCI-x slots with 16GB ram and mirrored 160GB HDD. Right now they are running off DC power converters and used as web servers and the power consumption is fairly low. (less than a couple of amps each.) I have plenty of fans and noise is not an issue. Since I do have somewhat efficient cooling and power available Is it feasible/possible to attempt to convert these to mining rigs? Is it common to retrofit old servers for this purpose? If not possible, are there any recommendations for getting started on a shoestring hardware-wise. Has anyone else attempted this approach, and has any advice?

2. It seems that I would need at a minimum some GPU cards. Does anyone have a recommendation as to what brand/model of GPU might work best? Is it possible to run more than one GPU on the same motherboard? What are the practical limitations?

3. What kind of bandwidth consumption should I plan for? for example, if I am using a N. American Verizon residential FIOS network connection will that be problematic? How so?

3.Anyone interested in collaborating?

Thanks very much for taking the time to help out a fresher!


  • windsorwindsor Member Posts: 4
    Nevermind... total newbie question. After doing more research seems that the era of home-brew mining rigs is over due to dedicated (ASIC) HW and pooled farms. If the moderator(s) feel it would be in the best interest of the community feel free to delete this post.
  • GenoilGenoil 0xeb9310b185455f863f526dab3d245809f6854b4dMember Posts: 769 ✭✭✭
    Well, not too fast :). ASIC mining for Ethereum is very unlikely to ever happen. AMD R9 270/280 or 2nd hand 7xxx based cards seem to give the best bang/buck on ethash mining. Your biggest problem would be to power these cards with the existing power supplies. In that case you could consider some GTX 750ti based cards, that run without auxiliary PCI power. Hashrate isn't too exciting for those, though.
  • windsorwindsor Member Posts: 4
    well the HDAMI-I motherboards in the pic have dual powersupply sockets and each one of them has 12v rails. Since each of the DC converters can put out about 350 watts, do you think that it would be enough power to drive one or two of the R9's ? Also... if you don't mind me asking, why did you specify the 270/280 vs the newer 290 model? And what is the difference between 290 and 290x anyway?
  • GenoilGenoil 0xeb9310b185455f863f526dab3d245809f6854b4dMember Posts: 769 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2015
    Check out this sheet by @o0ragman0o

    Looks even like GTX750Ti is not such a bad choice in the long run. Note that the top cards in that sheet are al based on assumptions.
    Post edited by Genoil on
  • o0ragman0oo0ragman0o Member, Moderator Posts: 1,291 mod
    @Windsor, welcome to Ethereum... The devs made a decision to limit the mining period and technology. This means that second hand GPU's will sometimes reach ROI quicker than their higher hashing power hungry cousins.

    As Genoil noted, the Geforce 750 TI's rank right up there even though they only benchmark around 8Mh/s. They win out over something like a R9 290x on market price (~$160) and the fact they only use 60Watts (38.5W actually firmware limited). They're a very efficient card. That means you can build a 5 to 6 GPU rig on a 700W PSU. You're capital and running costs come right down.

    Compared to a rig with say 5 290x's at over $300 each and couple of PSU running up 1700W, you might get 120Mh/s but in the time limited period for mining, will those costs get paid back?

    The biggest problem though is that Ether is still pre-market so we have no idea what the value of ether will be in order to run ROI calculations. So I'm personally cautioned on the premise that Ether will have very little or volitile value for the mining preiod. From that, I'm buying the most efficient second hand GPU's I can get my hands on.

    Currently I have a GTX 750 which I initially bought to mine on my nanoITX Zotac mobo with 180W PSU. I've now got an R9 270X and will put both of them on a 5 slot PCIe mobo I'm waiting on shipping for and keep looking for more cheap cards.

    Regardless, throw whatever GPU (2gb or over) you have laying around in your server board and have a play....
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