Top Mining Pool 6Block Shares its Filecoin Mining Hardware Specs
What is the configuration of a USD 6,000 Filecoin miner?
Written by Xujiao, Huang, published on May 25th, 2020, on Odaily, a blockchain media for the exclusive strategic cooperation of the 36Kr Group.
Original post in Chinese: https://www.odaily.com/post/5150521
On the evening of May 21st, 6Block, one of the Filecoin’s top ten mining pools, publicly shared its Filecoin mining hardware specs. And it attracted community attention.
Filecoin was founded in 2017 with total fundraising of 257 million US dollars. It is one of the largest ICOs in the history of blockchain and also the longest-awaited star project in the industry. Mining hardware, as an essential tool for obtaining the token FIL, has also been speculated about for a long time.
As Filecoin entered the final rehearsal stage before the launch — mainnet-Testnet phase 2 — the miners also sharpened their knives and prepared to go into battle. In two months, if there are no major changes, the Filecoin mainnet will finally be officially launched, with the official estimated time is between the end of July to mid-August.
If you are interested in Filecoin mining, it doesn’t matter if you have already built up your mining rigs or not, 6Block’s hardware solution is worth looking at.
According to the live stream sharing by 6Block Chief Architect Lee White, with less than 10 mining machines, the team ranked 9th on the Filecoin hash rate list. Among them, the configuration cost of a single mining machine is $USD 6,000, and the cumulative computing power can reach 300 GB per day. Compared with some mining machines on the top miner list with only 200 GB, 6Block’s solution has optimized efficiency.
Filecoin Mining Instructions
Before introducing the 6Block solution, we need to know the basic information about Filecoin mining.
The total number of Filecoin tokens is 2 billion, of which 70% is allocated for miners, 15% to the development team Protocol Labs, 10% to investors, and the remaining 5% to the Filecoin Foundation. A total of 30% of the tokens of the team and the fund will be vested over 6 years, and investors (10%) have a lockup period ranging from 6 months to 3 years. Therefore, the early circulation of Filecoin will be mainly from mining.
Filecoin generates a block every 1.3 minutes, and each block rewards 153 tokens, with a daily output of 293,000 tokens.
Unlike PoW mining, Filecoin miners not only provide computing power, but also storage. Miners get rewards based on the scale of their storage space, the more “effective storage”, that is, the greater the “calculation power”, the greater the probability of generating blocks and obtaining rewards.
Filecoin miners are competing with their ability to store and transfer data, such as the total amount of storage, the speed of retrieval, the bandwidth of transmission, and latency.
Filecoin miner components include CPU, GPU, motherboard, and hard drive, similar to a high-end computer plus a hard drive. In theory, everyone can configure the hardware and DIY to build a Filecoin miner. However, due to the different cost and efficiency of different hardware, how to choose the right hardware is undoubtedly a big problem for many enthusiasts. Therefore, most retail miners usually buy brand name miners directly from manufacturers.
However, according to Lee, buying brand name miners is risky, because Filecoin’s mining code has not yet been finalized, and logically the manufacturers haven’t started production yet. What the retail miners buy are only futures. Also, some manufacturers’ reputation and yield have not been tested by the market. Therefore, if the miners do not do enough market research, they may encounter unreliable manufacturers and buy low-quality, high-priced miners.
Even if the manufacturer is reliable, the “brand name miner” is often accompanied by higher costs, such as operating costs, and brand premiums. In general, it is more cost-efficient and less risky to build mining rigs yourself.
Therefore, 6Block decided to publish a hardware architecture solution as a reference for both retail miners and mining facilities.
6Block’s Filecoin Mining Hardware Solution
CPU: AMD 3970x
SSD: 2TB * 2NVMe
Hard disk: 8 TB
GPU: NVIDIA 2080Ti
RAM Memory: 256 GB
Let’s elaborate on the configuration logic.
Filecoin’s consensus algorithm has two mechanisms: Proof-of-Replication (PoRep) and Proof-of-Spacetime (PoSt).
The goal of PoRep is to ensure that miners do indeed have a backup of certain data on their storage devices, and PoSt’s goal is to let storage miners continue to prove that they have stored the data within the agreed time.
Proof-of-Replication mining is divided into three stages: Pre1, Pre2 and commit. Pre1 is to encode the data, Pre2 is to calculate the hash of the encoded result, and commit is to generate a zero-knowledge proof for the encoded result in preparation for the “space-time proof” algorithm for verification.
Among them, Pre1 is a single-threaded work, and the operation time is long, Pre2 is dual-threaded, that is, the CPU will be maxed out. These features place high demands on the CPU, which requires AMD chips, and must have SHA extensions for acceleration. The CPU with SHA extension can speed up the calculation process of Pre1 by 3–4 times.
Secondly, the CPU should also have a high clock speed to speed up the calculation process.
So, there are not a few CPUs that meet the above requirements. Why choose AMD’s 3970x model?
Lee said that this is mainly based on the official Benchmark. Among the 3 officially released hardware, the best model is 3970x.
According to Lee, if the CPU has multiple cores, adding GPUs will not make much difference. If added, the performance will be improved, but the cost will increase accordingly.
If you want to add a GPU, which one should you choose? The official list also shows the most commonly used ones.
Based on 6Block’s test, one machine can run up to 3–4 sectors in parallel, in this case, choosing the 256 GB of memory is more reasonable. Besides, the hard disk must use NVMe, because it will be much faster than the ordinary set-up interface.
Network architecture is also very critical. Based on 6Block’s test, the networking structure as shown in the figure below can run stably and efficiently.
With this configuration, the time to run Pre1 will be reduced from 17–20 hours to 4–7 hours, which greatly improves the mining efficiency, and the computing power of a mining machine can reach 300 GB per day.
(Odaily Note: The computing power of the Filecoin mining machine is calculated by effective storage, and effective storage requires a certain period, such as one day of accumulation, so the Filecoin mining machine does not have a fixed computing power value, only a certain period value.)
To put the 300 GB performance in perspective, according to many industry insiders, among the top ten miners of Filecoin, some miners have a storage capacity of only 200 GB per day, which is relatively low performance, but how about the cost?
It is worth noting that recently Filecoin officially stated that it will change the SDR algorithm of the Pre1 stage to NSE, so is this solution compatible with the new algorithm?
In this regard, Lee said that even if the algorithm is changed, the demand for high-frequency CPUs in Filecoin mining will not change. Secondly, the official team has also verbally promised that it is still advantageous to be equipped with SHA expansion. So, this hardware solution will still be highly useful.
Seeing that some miners may be excited to start building the mining rig, 6Block reminds you to pay attention to the following two points:
Filecoin’s plan is still changing. If you buy it early, it will have a cost advantage for large miners, because of the estimated price surge and short of supply after mainnet launch. For small and medium-sized miners, though, there is no big difference between buying now or waiting for the mainnet launch.
Also, the coins mined in the current test cannot be mapped to the main network, but the project will prepare 1 million tokens to reward participating miners.
The article is based on Lee’s live stream. Please check the full video in Chinese here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYUMTVAZEsw&t=371s. We are also working on the English caption of this video.
6Block focuses on “Unicorn” projects in the blockchain area, providing solutions for cryptocurrency mining, including highly efficient mining programs, mining pools, hardware, cloud mining, and wallets.
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