Bros, me no computer expert. Has been Learning and experimenting hard on Chia since March. Want to share some thoughts with you.
I started with a new Lenovo PC 10th i3 10100 8GB 1TB (mechanical). I use this website for CPU benchmark comparison. PassMark - Intel Core i3-10100 @ 3.60GHz - Price performance comparison
All those passmark websites give difference numbers. For comparison purpose, I look up CPU performance at this website only.
10th i3 10100 benchmark is 8829. This computer costed $320. Soon after I got that office depot deal. HP Ryzen 7 5700G 16GB 256GB (NVMe). This one costed $550. Back ordered. It took two month to ship.
In the mean time, I acquired some NVMe and SATA SSD. And some used mechanical HDD also, 7200 rpm, 10K rpm, 3.5 and 2.5, all those stuff. Also I got an HP Z210 off eBay for $130. Started with Chia build-in GUI plotting, to SWAR, now I do all by Mad Max. Here are the plotters I am running now. All are running full power to make NFT plots, replacing those OG plots.
Plotter 1. Ryzen 7 5700G (CPU benchmark 23663) one 500GB NVMe as -2 and one 1TB NVMe as –t. Cost is $730. 50 – 55 minutes / plot.
Plotter 2. i3 10100 (CPU Benchmark 8834) one 1TB NVMe as -2 and one 1TB SATA SSD as –t. Cost is $570. 95-100 minutes / plot.
Plotter 3. XEON E3-1230 (CPU Benchmark 5010) one 500GB NVMe as -2 and one 500GB SATA SSD as –t. Cost is $250. 120-125 minutes / plot. –d is 4x500GB 7200rpm mechanical hard drive as RAID 0, write speed can be 400MB/s. I inserted –w in the Mad Max line. Plot file dumping is very fast.
Plotter 4. Thinkpad L430 my very old working laptop. CPU is i5-3210M (CPU Benchmark 2434). Computer itself is no value. I added a $100 1TB SATA SSD. 255-260 minutes / plot.
After several months of experimenting. I think I can forget about using mechanical hard drive. Yes, those old hard drive is cheap. Unless you can get them for free, old hard drive still cost money. I paid $8 each for Seagate 500GB SATA3 7200 rpm. With chia plotting those hard drives are slow. If I do RAID 0, two hard drive RAID 0 doesn’t produce 2x speed. For plotter 3, I tried a RAID 0 (2x 10K rpm 2.5 WD veloraptor SATA, $25 for two) as –t and NVMe as -2. Mad Max plot time became 180 minute.
And, can’t do Mad Max with mechanical hard drive. CPU load was never high and all those hard drive became heating bricks.
So, $50 a 500GB NVMe is the best from cost / performance point of view.
I am keeping looking at $100 old computer with CPU benchmark 6000 or so to build more plotter. Adding solid state NVMe or SATA to make it a $200 machine, making 12 plots a day.