Do you mind or mine? I do.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Over the past few days, I've been totally in geek mode because I decided to start mining Feathercoin.  I didn't want to build a new machine, so I modified my existing computer.  The previous week, I was mining Feathercoin on my laptop just to get my feet wet with the CPU only miner, Minerd.  I read an article suggesting that wasn't a good idea and that I possibly destroy my laptop, not to mention my hashrate was only about 2 Kilo Hashes per second (KH/s).   This experiment led me to get a bit more serious.  I did some research and decided on purchasing the Sapphire HD 7870 XT.   The author of Feathercoin, Peter Bushnellsuggested this card  because its high number of shaders.  I had no idea what that meant, but I thought he would know since he is the founder of Feathercoin.  I purchased this card from Amazon.  In hindsight, I should have purchased the Gigabyte HD 7950 or MSI HD 7950.

My current machine has a ASUS M3A78-EM motherboard, 3GB DDR2 RAM, and a AMD Athlon II AM2+ CPU.  Upon opening the graphics card from packaging, I realized that this Sapphire card is really big.  I have a mATX case and I had to cut away part of the interior of the case just to get the card to fit.   I had not assembled a machine in a few years and I was not familiar with the new super duper graphics cards and the installation process.   I inserted the card in the 16x slot and hooked up one of the power cables and it didn't work.  I read the manual and explained that I needed to disable my integrated graphics card on the motherboard.  I did that.  Despite all of my efforts, I could not get this thing to work.  I spent a whole day trying.

The next morning, I was looking at images of mining rigs online and saw a picture of the card installed in a rig and discovered that I failed to install the second power cable to the graphics card.  I connected the second cable and the graphics card still didn't work.  Then I decided to re-read the system requirements on the graphics card box and I discovered that a 500 Watt power supply is mandatory; I only had a 340W power supply.  So I started researching power supplies and I decided on the Antec 750W power supply.  I removed old power supply and install the new one and 7870 XT card was recognized by the motherboard and started working.

Next, I downloaded a GPU miner called CGMiner version 3.2.2, because Minerd was a CPU only miner.  I could not get the executable file to install because my Avast anti-virus software indicated that it was a virus.  I finally got around that issue and ran the CGMiner.exe.  To my surprise, I was only getting about 50 KH/s.  The next few days, I read posts about tuning and altered my configuration settings for CGMiner until I finally reach 330 KH/s.  Oh, I failed to mention earlier that I'm pool mining with pool mining service.

Here are my CGMiner config settings that I put in a batch file (Windows 7):

cgminer --scrypt -o stratum+tcp:// -u -I 13 -g 2 --thread-concurrency 14208 -v 1 --gpu-engine 750 --gpu-memclock 1200

I've been mining now for about 5 days with the Sapphire 7870 XT and I loving it.  Although, I'm already considering upgrading to a 7950.

Happy Mining to you all.

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