I'm wondering if plugging cards into something this external pci expansion box would be effective in a mining setup.

I guess it depends on how much bandwidth is used, but I don't know how bandwidth intensive the mining process is. Has anyone here used a setup like this for mining?

  • Maybe you could go nuts with several plugged into one motherboard! – barrymac Oct 4 '11 at 10:39
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The amount of bandwidth used for mining is absolutely trivial, so bandwidth won't hurt you much here. Of course you would have to use something like this box because this one doesn't appear to be nearly deep enough for a full-length video card. Using the backplane from this box in a custom enclosure might be worthwhile.

The secondary problem you'll run into is power. This unit appears to have just enough power supply to power the communications between ports. An additional PSU will be needed for the GPUs themselves which, conveniently, typically draw most of their power from four or six pin connectors.

So in short, using this backplane in a separate enclosure with an external power supply (and a lot more airflow) seems pretty viable to me. Of course I haven't personally done this so I make no guarantees, but if someone has actually attempted this I'd love to hear about it.

  • I've updated the question to link to a box which includes a psu – barrymac Oct 3 '11 at 9:06
  • The PSU is still inadequate. Three Radeon 5830s under load, for example, draw over 500 watts combined. The 220W PSU that comes with the new unit is still grossly inadequate for the task. – David Perry Oct 3 '11 at 16:07
  • It's insane really how much they draw! – barrymac Oct 4 '11 at 10:34
  • Unless of course you used FPGA cards instead of graphics cards – barrymac Oct 4 '11 at 10:44
  • That's... That's brilliant... Where do I sign up??? – David Perry Oct 4 '11 at 14:49

Unfortunately, this particular device provides four ordinary PCI slots (not PCI-Express). There is currently no sensible mining hardware that connects to a PCI slot.

  • This NA211A one is more like it. I'll update the main question – barrymac Oct 3 '11 at 9:02
  • That one looks like it might actually fit a full-length card too. Still not nearly enough ventilation of course... – David Perry Oct 3 '11 at 14:27
  • You'd have to get power and cooling right, and you'd have an issue with double-width cards. But it looks possible. – David Schwartz Oct 3 '11 at 14:57
  • I think that one takes a single double slot card, and two other single slots, but not enough power! Top graphics cards these days are crazy – barrymac Oct 4 '11 at 10:33

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