Best farming set for my SFF


I have an older Dell Optiplex 970 with i5-2400 4 cores 4 thread 12 GB RAM, but I use it with a noticeable load for other purposes.

Is it worth trying to farm chia?
Serious for temp files I need a very expensive SSD 2 TB nvme provided that I will have HDD disks with a total capacity of only 10 TB max 20 TB?
Do I need an SSD at all? Or would a cheap SSD SATA drive be enough?
I understand correctly that the SSD is used for one-time generation of fences on HDD disks and then I can easily disconnect the SSD?
Or is it some kind of permanent mining?

What set would you please recommend to me as a beginner who doesn’t explicitly build a mining rig, but wants to use a running PC for the purpose of farming chia? I would like to avoid very expensive SSD nvme etc. I do not plan to have an array of hundreds of TB

Thank you very much for the information.

There are two main steps with Chia, plotting and farming. Plotting is a one time (for the most part) step that is CPU, RAM, disk I/O intensive which creates the plots that are then farmed in the farming step. Farming is the step for which coin is awarded. Farming does not require much in the way of resources (CPU, RAM, I/O). It does require a lot of plotted disk space if you want to increase your chances of being awarded coin. The intent is that it could even be done on something like a Raspberry PI-4.

You can plot on your current setup but it will be slow. With 4 threads you would only want to run one or two plots in parallel. Keep in mind that each plot (at its peak) will want at least 3.6 GB of RAM so this should be factored in with the other load on the machine. You can plot with hard disk but it is slower. You can speed up HDD plotting a little by changing the the buckets parameter but this increases the RAM needed so I wouldn’t suggest this in your case. If you are only running one or two plots in parallel you could do this with a 512 GB SSD.

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Thank you karma +10000 :slight_smile: I didn’t even expect to get such a great answer. :slight_smile:

In fact, I’m just missing one piece of information. How much slower plotting is with HDD instead of SSD nvme and also how slower HDD is compared to SSD sata. Or if it works slower when I connect an external drive via USD compared to a one connected via SATA. It must also play the role of something like the USB protocol version (data transfer rate), etc.

As I understand it, the best strategy for me is:

For one-time Plotting: Dell Optiplex 7010 i3 (4 threads, 2 cores) with 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSA3 SSD for one-time plotting that needs SSD, CPU and RAM. Once the plotting is completed, I will disconnect the disks and connect them to the invoicing PC below and turn off the plotting PC again.

For Farming: Dell Optiplex 970 (4 threads, 4 cores) with 8 GB RAM, only HDD 20-30 TB, where farming requires almost no CPU and RAM. In time, I will probably only farm on an inefficient Raspberry.

Is there any calculator that would tell me how fast / profitable plotting will take place in my configuration and compare SSD sata with SSD nvme and HDD sata / usb?

Do I understand correctly that I can use one PC for one-time plotting and then farm from another PC? That’s perfect.

Best strategy for my plotting (4 threads 2 cores) is:

4x plotting on SSD 512 GB, but with a large delay. How do I know how big the delay should be so that the temp storage can be released? Or is it better to plot on only two processes or even just one process? RAM is not a problem I will add here.

Yes you can plot on one machine and harvest on another.

If you are going to plot with 8 GB RAM I doubt more than one (maybe two) plots at a time will work well. Plotting on a 512 GB SSD you probably dont want to run more than two plots simultaneously. Phasing it to make more fit will be tricky (if it can be done).

As far as I know, at this time you just have to experiment with your plotting machine to find its best performance. There several factors that go into the performance, speed of your cores (most of plotting is single-threaded), number of cores, amount of RAM (RAM speed), transfer rate to/from storage (every plot transfers over 1 TB data with storage), latency of storage, amount of storage. Given your RAM and CPU I’d try to plot two plots in parallel to an SSD.

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That’s really brilliant.

The plotting PC has 4 threads. I understand that due to the size of the 512 Gb SSD, it is not worth running more than 2-3 fence processes. So rather two for sure, so I can set each plotting process to use two threads? The CPU is not a weak link.

I can store up to 32 GB of memory that’s fine. But it’s just DDR3 1333 Mhz, so maybe it won’t be very slow. I can easily set 8 GB for each plotting process. So RAM is also not a weak link.

Of course, my old Dell Optiplex desktop does not have an M.2 nvme slot. I need nvme at all will SATA3 not be enough for me?

Manufacturers state:
HDD SATA3 = write speed 210 MB / s = 18 TB / day
SSD SATA3 = write speed 530 MB / s = 45 TB / day
SSD nvme = write speed 3500 MB / s = 360TB / day

When I think about it, it always occurs to me that the speed of the HDD is perfect for me. And SSD I wouldn’t help, SSA SATA3 is only twice as fast, which is not such a difference compared to HDD.

As I wrote, I only have space on my PC for two disks with a total capacity of 20 TB. If I use the HDD for plotting, which is almost free, I will have the plotting ready within approx. 24 hours, which is plenty for me.

I understand that for 20 GB plotting, the standard low-cost HDD is rich enough. If I’m missing some information and I’m wrong, the SATA3 SSD won’t save me, because it’s only a little faster than the nvme SSD.

You recommend me a 512 GB SSD for two processes, but you mean SATA or nvme?

If you have an available nvme slot I would go that route assuming the price of the SATA and NVME devices are similar. For two simultaneous plots I don’t believe the overall difference between SATA and NVME will be that much (my guess is maybe 10% per plot). If you have the cores and RAM to run more simultaneous plots then you would definitely want the faster NVME interface.