Budget farming equipment?

I’ve had to lately re-organize my farm from a tiny bit to looking to invest some time and money, and if this question has been repeated, I do humbly apologize, however, without going down the enterprise route, as I could not afford the money and noise, I can’t seem to find an “ideal” motherboard/cpu for the homeowner that can 1. keep it in the basement and not be outraged by the fan noise, 2. not worry about lanes and if the mobo can add additional usb drives -as i am just trying to come to grips with that now- and 3. make the little wheel on the side of my house spin like a top faster than it should. I’m wondering if there are others that have had good luck with a brand/model that they like they would like to share? I am to understand that once it becomes a fulltime harvester, it wont take a whale of a lot of electricity to run, but and low budget, future proof pieces out there you guys would recommend?

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If I understand you correctly, you want to use USB to connect all the drives?

then have a look at his:
I am new to Chia - #10 by Fuzeguy?

Not sure why you would need a lot lot of pcie lanes on your farmer? how much TB are you going for?

I’m using a M-ATX lga1151 board with a i3-6100 to farm 360 TB
One SAS HBA + a few SAS expanders, gives me 32 drives on 8 pcie lanes


I was thinking the same thing, maybe an i3 or i5 build is in your future. The CPU fan can be swapped out for aftermarket if you want something quieter with cooling.

I haven’t checked wattage comparisons lately but it might not be worth saving the 20 watts or whatever buying an entry level board (Celeron, Athlon, etc) if performance is also a concern (PCIe and other IO work).

Well, I have an i5 currently, but it’s got 6 usb ports. It’s a dell, and has a weird PSU setup where the PSU will only power 3 drives, so I tried to go the USB drive route. This is where things get odd, and I am still doing some research on this, after 4 drives- if I plug another one in, it will negate the drive i’m plugging in and the last drive plugged in. (making them both unusable) It’s the strangest thing. I’m still doing my google due-diligence to see what’s going on, and I thought it might be bad hardware, as there are so many possible spots for failure- external power supplies, usb to motherboard connections, etc. I was just looking I guess for suggestions on where to start (ground up) on investing in the hardware that has been tested by you guys. What gear is giving the best results. Other than the obvious 20TB HDDS…:slight_smile:

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I am using sabrent usb 3.0 hub and wd elements 20 tb which is for me the best and reliable disk. No problem since 2 years. But exos seagate is a nightmare. Five disks especially 14 tb were broken and exchanged by RMA (the good thing is 5 years guarantee).

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It’s possible that due to the wonky PSU setup, that there is not a lot of 5V power available.
(but this is just a guess as to the reason of the USB limit, don’t know what else is connected)
The external power supplies for HDD only supplies 12V so the 5V still need to come from the USB connector on the MB.

So in any case, you want to use powered usb hubs for connecting larger number of drives.

System wise…either go with something that is suitable out of the box like a server or workstation(much less noisy than the former) Or go with standard DIY ATX parts to get flexibility and upgradability.

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You can get old GPU mining motherboards and frames for super cheap, i got a BTC-T37 and a frame for $30, that has a dual core CPU and 8 gigs of RAM, then just use PCi-e to SATA or to SAS adapters and a modular PSU, each modular 6 pin connection can have 8 hard drives and each PCi-e port can have 8 hard drives so you can easily get 40+ hard drives on there

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Really you’re looking for best USB3 per dollar with low wattage CPU/less fan noise, right?.
So buy a cheap refurbished box(check your local dealers).
Second, install a brand new USB3 adapter card ($10.00 ??). Maybe install linux of some sort, say, Ubuntu LTS (long term support) which is 22.04 and is external drive friendly. In my neighborhood there is “Factory Direct”. I picked up 2 refurb certified systems from them with 2200G and a 3200G CPUs. One came with an HP monitor.

There are low wattage intel cpu’s . Maybe an intel guy can recommend one. There are also low wattage AMD APUs including ATHLON series which may be discounted in the shadow of Ryzen.
Raspberry Pi comes to mind if you don’t mind fussing with powering and programming… and thermal solutioning it. Not my fave, but you get boasting rights. Sort of like being Vegan.

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Lol this cracked me up good

Thank you Voodoo.

It’s an observation… sort of. : )

Is there any advantage to using a powered USB hub if the external hard drives all have their own power? Thanks!

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You never know what you may plug into that USB hub. You may get a SSD disk with an adapter that plugs into a USB hub and your already set.


Wrong question for this forum. Should have been crickets. Budgets be damned around here. ROI is never spoken around these parts. I would ask what do any of the regulars here know about ROI and “budget” anything.

you’re almost funny…

I buy all this stuff with my cigarette money :joy: :joy: :joy:

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Interesting discussion. I have been modeling costs based upon various systems (workstations up to rack mounted) and keep coming back to why would I not just purchase XCH and be done with it. Thoughts?

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Return on investment is long game going the hardware route, and coin prices (in general) are a serious gamble too (action in the last year could have Chia traders +/- 50% or more depending on on-ramps and off-ramps. For myself, I’d probably lean hardware if I had a few grand in play money - when you’re done, you still have some neat gear for other projects. I wouldn’t fault anyone for just buying in though - it’s the fastest way to get onboarded with the project if it’s something you want to be a part of.

The thing is that buying coins has a higher risk in it imo.

You buy $5000 of XCH, and XCH crashes and burns a few months later…you might lose all $5000 or at least a substantial part of it.
You buy $5000 of hardware and XCH crashes and burns a few months later, you only lose $1000 or so after selling the hardware.

This at least has been my rational for not buying coins, hardware is much more value secure than a relatively new crypto coin. Other factors are hobby, I like playing with hardware stuff and learning a bunch in the process.


No, You use that same equipment and start making MAx’s plots!!!


Hi Steveaux,
Re: and powered USB hub.

I’d say no advantage. I just bought an unpowered hub to expand type C. One of the two peripherals has its own power.

Anyway, the only advantages of the powered USB hub over the ‘parasitic’ USB hub I can think of is flexibility, cable length and fanout capabilities might be expanded.

Third thought: arguable, the powered USB hub may protect your computer’s internal hub from ESD transients as you plug and unplug from time to time due it’s local grounding and power.

Have to go there: powered USB hubs means more LEDs.