Choosing a motherboard for mining

Choosing a motherboard for mining

Motherboard

The motherboard is the base on which we create our farm! A bad or wrong choice will lead to the farm malfunctioning, crashing, not seeing all video cards, warming up and shutting down. Therefore, the presence of the required number of PCI-e slots on the motherboard is not yet a guarantee of the farm's performance and the absence of errors.

motherboard

We will split them by socket and the number of possible video cards in the farm. It is also desirable to have protection against voltage surges, since creating a farm of 3 or more cards, we give a load to all components, this happens 24/7, which is why protection is so important to avoid errors, failures and reboots.

Socket (connector)

There are different sockets, these are the generations of platforms that processors run on. Globally exist for the processor manufacturer AMD and Intel, for each of these manufacturers there are different platforms and these platforms do not overlap, i.e. you cannot install a processor from AMD on a platform from Intel, just as you cannot install a processor within the same manufacturer, but on different platforms.

There are sockets for Intel: 1151; 1150; 1155 (new to old).

Sockets for AMD exist: FM2 / FM2 +, AM3 +, and AM4 (new platform for Ryzen)

IMPORTANT! - The processor must fit the socket of the motherboard.

Among the manufacturers of motherboards, ASRock and Biostar can be distinguished, these manufacturers have in their arsenal motherboards that were sharpened specifically for mining, so these models are the most relevant to purchase. There are also many other manufacturers: Gigabyte, Asus, MSI - these manufacturers also have high-quality motherboards, but only a few will fit from the whole range. With the rest, difficulties, errors and crashes may arise.

Features to keep in mind:

  • The presence of 5/6 PCE-e slots does not guarantee their simultaneous operation, often, using, for example, the second PCI-e slot - the 5th PCI-e slot may be disabled, this means that more than 4 video cards on the motherboard from We will not be able to launch 5/6 slots. This feature, when using one of the slots, will disable another slot - is spelled out in the documentation for the motherboard, be sure to read it before buying.
  • Cooling - The presence of good cooling on the motherboard is visually determined by the presence of metal radiators covering the chipset and elements of the processor power subsystem. The presence of radiators and an example of good cooling for the FM2A88X Pro3 + motherboard. And also an example of poor cooling of the chipset and the absence of a radiator for cooling the power circuits of the processor, MSI 970A-G43. Of course, a poor-quality cooling system for an MSI board is not a guarantee that the system will not start, but it will affect the life of the motherboard, as well as the stability of the system as a whole.

Radiators for FM2A88X Pro3 +Radiators for MSI 970A-G43

As you can see from the example, the chipset and power subsystem of the MSI motherboard will overheat and require additional cooling. You can try to stop this problem by installing a cooler that will blow over the chipset and additional heatsinks.

Additional Power - ASRock and Biostar motherboards are equipped with additional power connectors for PCI-e lanes, which ensures stable system operation.Additional PCI-e power supply for ASRock and Biostar motherboards

Board nameNumber of video cardssocketRAM
456
Socket 1151
ASRock B150A-X1☑1151DDR4
ASRock B150 Pro4D3☑1151DDR4
ASRock B150 Pro43.1☑1151DDR4
ASRock H170A-X1☑1151DDR4
ASRock H170 Pro4☑1151DDR4
ASRock H170 Pro4D3☑1151DDR4
ASRock H170 Pro4S☑1151DDR4
ASRock B150 Combo☑1151DDR4
ASRock B150M Pro4S☑1151DDR4
ASRock B150M Pro4☑ 1151DDR4
ASRock Q170M vPro☑ 1151DDR4
ASRock H170 Combo☑1151DDR4
ASRock H170M Pro4S☑1151DDR4
ASRock H170M Pro4☑ 1151DDR4
Socket 1150
ASRock H81 Pro BTC ☑ 1150DDR3
ASRock H81 Pro-G☑1150DDR3
ASRock B85 Anniversary☑1150DDR3
ASRock H97 Anniversary☑1150DDR3
ASRock H81M BTC ☑ 1150DDR3
ASRock H81M-G☑1150DDR3
ASRock B85M BTC☑1150DDR3
ASRock B85 Pro4☑1150DDR3
ASRock H87 Pro4☑1150DDR3
Socket 1155
ASRock H61 Pro BTC☑1155DDR3
ASRock H61 Pro☑1155DDR3
ASRock H61DEL☑1155DDR3
ASRock H67DE3☑1155DDR3
ASRock P67 Pro☑1155DDR3
ASRock P67 Pro3 SE☑1155DDR3
ASRock P75 Pro3☑1155DDR3
AMD Motherboard Comparison Chart
ASRock FM2A58 + BTC☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A58 Pro +☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A78 Pro3 +☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A88X + BTC☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A88X Pro + R2.0☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A88X Pro +☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A88X Pro3 +☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A58M + BTC☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A78 Pro4 +☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
ASRock FM2A88M + BTC☑FM2 / FM2 +DDR3
Board nameNumber of video cardssocketRAM
456
Biostar TB250-BTC☑1151DDR4
Biostar TB85☑1150DDR3
GIGABYTE GA-Z270P-D3☑1151DDR4
MSI Z170-A PRO☑1151DDR4
MSI Z270 SLI PLUS☑1151DDR4
ASUS PRIME Z270-P☑1151DDR4
ASRock Fatal1ty B250 Gaming K4☑**1151DDR4
ASRock Fatal1ty H270 Performance☑**1151DDR4
AMD
Biostar TB350-BTC☑AM4DDR4
Biostar TA320-BTC☑AM4DDR4
GIGABYTE GA-990FX-Gaming☑AM3 + / AM3DDR3
ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0☑AM3 +DDR3
GIGABYTE GA-970A-DS3P☑
MSI 970A-G43☑AM3 +DDR3

* You can connect 5 or 6 video cards, but it may be necessary to configure the BIOS, disconnect a number of components.

ASRock H110 Pro BTC +

1-ASRock_H110_Pro_BTC +

An interesting motherboard tailored for mining went on sale at a price of 129,99 USD. A great solution even if you have a farm with 6-8 cards.

Features

  • Support for 13 video cards, 8 AMD + 5 Nvidia;
  • availability of additional power supply 2 MOLEX + 1 SATA;
  • power and reset buttons;
  • full protection against power surges.

Links:

Manufacturer's website page
Product Page on NewEgg - Price 129,99 USD
Amazon Product Page - Price $ 197,96

Cons

  • Windows 10 can do a poor job of supporting 13 video cards, especially if it's AMD + Nvidia, frequent driver conflicts and crashes are possible. In this case, I highly recommend using Linux systems.
  • In the case of 13 video cards, you will have to think carefully about the design of the farm, since placing all 13 cards in a row will result in a too long rack, taking into account the distance between the cards, almost one and a half meters, in this case there will be problems with the length of cables and adapters. It will be necessary to place in two rows in parallel, or in another way.

Biostar TB250-BTC PRO

BIOSTAR_TB250-BTC_PRO

A great mining solution is finally on sale with a discount of 129,99 USD.

Features

  • support for 12 video cards;
  • availability of additional power supply 2 MOLEX + 1 SATA;
  • based on Intel B250 chipset;
  • full protection against power surges and other protections.

Cons

Windows 10 might not do well with 12 onboard farm support, alternatively use Linux based systems.

It is necessary to think over the design of the farm, since it will not be possible to fit all 12 cards in one row, the optimal placement is in two rows.

Asus B250 Mining Expert

ASUS_B250_MINING_EXPERT

An incredible motherboard from Asus went on sale, it supports 19 video cards - this is a new record in this segment!

Features

  • Support for 19 video cards;
  • availability of 3 12V ATX ​​power lines;
  • BIOS Mining Mode.
  • based on Intel B250 chipset;
  • full protection against power surges and other protections.

Links:

Manufacturer's website page
Product Page on NewEgg - Price 134,99 USD
Amazon Product Page - Price $ 199,00

It should be noted that the current implementations of AMD and NVIDIA drivers do not allow using more than 8 graphics accelerators in a single farm, however, ASUS developers know that the "red" drivers are already preparing special drivers to bypass this limit, and, most likely, "green" quickly for they will catch up with their version of drivers with similar capabilities. ASUS B250 Mining Expert has a special BIOS with diagnostic tools: even when the system is turned on, it shows which slots are occupied and which video cards are functioning normally.

With a similar interface, when you turn it on, you immediately learn about the current state of the video cards.

ASUS_B250_MINING_EXPERT_2

Cons

Windows 10 can do a poor job of supporting 19 video cards on board the farm, as an option, use Linux-based systems.

It is necessary to think over the design of the farm, since it will not be possible to fit all 19 cards in one row, the optimal placement is in three rows.

It is necessary to wait for the driver update from the developer to be able to install the required number of video cards.

Conclusion

At the moment, this motherboard is the top solution in mining, with an MSRP price of $ 134.99 - it fully justifies its cost and capabilities. You can connect AMD + NVIDIA video cards to it, modern miners can work with the specified video cards, selectively, from the configuration line, which means that you can run two miners that will work, each with its own stack of video cards. Do not forget that three 12V lines will provide stable power for the entire system, no more MOLEX connectors.

conclusions

Summing up the choice of motherboards, you must remember the following:

  • Take motherboards with surge protection!
  • Additional power supply for PCI-e lines is desirable; (If we use a riser, then it is not necessary to connect these connectors)
  • Cooling heatsinks for the chip and power subsystem are required;
  • The processor must match the motherboard socket;
  • RAM must be supported by DDR3 or DDR4 motherboard;
  • It is desirable to have a double BIOS, in case of an unsuccessful firmware of the first.