It was a pretty exciting day when I was able to get my first rig up and running, a lot of reading, tinkering, and unfortunately some smoke, but once the smoke cleared there were all these numbers, everywhere!
Learning what they all meant, how they impacted your mining rig, and then optimizing can be a little overwhelming and ultimately time-consuming. Now there may be some closet case ADD individuals out there that just like to look at the pretty numbers all day, but generally, I would guess you built your mining rig to make an extra dollar or two, and you are in good company.
There is a common thread across all mining platforms, and that is the Internet.
No matter how small or large your investment, without the internet that badass, redneck, finely tuned, highly planned, self-contained, rack-mounted, pre-ordered, multi-core, the server farm is going to generate the same amount of coins my smoking unit did. Nada!
Being cost conscience is definitely an important consideration and in building my first rig, I didn’t go all out and that included my internet connection. When I went to scoop my mining rig parts at the local electronics store, I saw they had a sale on a name-brand wireless dongle. $9.99 (SCORE!) I mean really, all that is needed is an internet connection and a low-speed one at that so this 50 Mbs device should be just the ticket.
As I have mentioned before it took me days to get my first rig running. Issues, in-experience, and smoke-filled these days, but the day arrived when my rig was up and made it through the night. Now I had to figure out all these numbers. One that caught my eye was on the Pool DashBoard. Hmmm, 92% efficiency while the Pool itself was over 99%. Further investigation revealed that I was probably pushing my cards a little much as they were running a little warm. So I backed them down a bit and achieved 96% efficiency while cooling down my cards a little. Better, but clearly I was missing something. I messed around for a few more days to no avail, till one morning I checked in and my efficiency had dropped to 85%, and a few hours later 50%. Crap! Now what. It took me a while but was finally able to get over my denial that wireless is awesome and never breaks. Ran to another local store and scooped another name brand (more expensive) dongle. Well, that fixed the problem, but still, I was sitting at 96% efficiency. One more thing to try, I ran along with Cat 5 cable from my cable modem and plugged it directly into my rig. My efficiency began to climb and for the last 60 days, that rig has been running at 99.5% or better efficiency.
So, what did I learn from this?
Just because you have a great WiFi signal, pass all your speed tests, and can cruise the internet doesn’t mean you have a connection suitable for your mining rig. You only need a minimum of bandwidth, but it must be stable.
And remember that super awesome SCORE? By electing to purchase a cheap item made with cheap parts I introduced a weak link into my system and I paid for it with days of troubleshooting, the purchase of another dongle and ultimately doing what I should have done in the first place. Hard-wire that connection.