Is CPU plotting DEAD?

Good evening everyone. I’ve just started out on my Chia venture (only small time). I bought a Dell R620 a couple of weeks ago and got it all working correctly about 1 week ago thanks to a lot of help on here. I’ve filled 46TBs so far and just ordered another 40TBs of S’hand HDDs to fill.
My question is, am I too late? As I’m just starting to get my head around Chia, it seems to be moving on! Everyone’s talking about Gigahorse and GPU plotting! Have I missed the Boat? Or am I able to continue and will others be continuing as I’m doing at the moment?
I’m currently getting 33 min plots which is not lightning fast but ok I guess (using BB disk)?
I’d be very interested to hear peoples thoughts on this.

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I know that there is a lot of buzz about compression and GPUs, but you can absolutely look at this from the numbers game. Netspace is up about 5% over the last few weeks with the price bump and Gigahorse release. Chia (XCH) Netspace Chart : History, Evolution, Growth | XCHscan

They are only taking $2-3 of your pie right now every month on 90 TiB. The gamble is whether you want to get ahead with the rest of the herd in case netspace blows up again, or if the cost of doing so just isn’t worth it. Right this second, I say it’s not worth stressing over $2, but the landscape could change over the coming months, hard to say for sure.

Also keep in mind you are leaving your personal 20%+ gains on the table though - long term outlook probably dictates you take action at some point to stay competitive.

Thanks for your input. So, if I was to expand by 40-50TB worth of plots each month (pretty much what I can afford right now) and I can comfortably plot that with my current setup, am I losing out on anything? I also get a lot of my power from solar which I forgot to mention, so energy costs are not so critical.
Will I lose out by not going to compressed plots?

Yep, at some point, you are leaving that 20%+ gain you could personally be having - it depends on your outlook.

Definitely but there should be plotting services that sell you them if you don’t want to buy the hardware needed to do it yourself. Compressed plots offer a 34.3-47% income boost right now which means your going to take a large loss if you don’t do it.

Halving comes March 2024 so people are rushing to max their incomes now before the halving.


My knowledge is limited at best so sorry if this is a stupid Q, but can I create compressed plots on my dual Xeon setup or is this GPU only?

You can, but you don’t want to. With what you wrote, you spend ~30 mins to get one plot, where you can get it done in 3 minutes. Not so much time issue, but rather I assume that your box is drawing ~400 W at the wall, so from electricity point you could be saving 90% with a GPU.

Also, I think your Xeons are v2, and from my experience, BB Disk doesn’t really work well on those. So, even before you decide on what to do about GPU, you may save ~30% of time if you switch to latest MM (and run 2 copies in parallel - if you are on Linux)

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You can definitely make compressed plots with CPU’s.

MadMax Gigahorse also included a CPU plotter for compressed plots.

No need to rush out there and buy a 300$ GPU, plus required RAM, plus required PCI 3 or 4 512 GB SSD just so you can get sub 5 min plots…

You can spend a lot on electricity before you will ever spend more on the above equipment…,

You have two choices,

Either buy said above equipment…, and plan to re-sell it after you re-plot.

Or fine tune and use your current equipment with MadMax CPU plotter for compressed plots.

Depending on how big your farm is will dictate on which path is most economical for you…

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Yes you can make compressed plots with CPU (currently only with Gigahorse) at some point in the near future…6? weeks, you should be able to do so with Chia’s plotter as well)

Like @Jacek said, it’s very inefficient compared to using a GPU though, burns much more power. But if that’s not a concern for you…then well doesn’t matter so much.

On the other hand you might be able to fit something small like a tesla p4 in that system? and drop your plot time to 10 mins at much lower power.

Personally, If I could sell the system for a good price, I would sell it and get something set up for GPU plotting with 256GB RAM so you don’'t have to use your ssd so much either. Depending on where you live that should be possible for 500-600 dollar.

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Jacek, thanks for the advice man. Unfortunately I’m running Windows. Is it not possible to plot in parallel on Windows?

Voodoo, thanks for the advice also, this is definitely all food for thought! I’m going to read up on Gigahorse, but I’m definitely interested in Chia’s plotter (6 weeks time)!

I was not able on my dual CPU v2 box. Win worked fine as long as I had just 1 CPU in it. The minute I added the second CPU plots were taking much, much longer. Maybe it was just my box, maybe me doing something really stupid, so you may want to try it, but if you go nowhere with it, that would be the reason.

Still, I assume that you already have 512 GB RAM on that box. What it means, you have more than plenty for full RAM plotter (256) and have a spare of another 256 GB that you can turn into a RAM disk for -t param. This way, you don’t need NVMe at all. So, depending on your electricity cost you can add just GPU to it and the box will run like a charm on Win.

My understanding is that @Voodoo got really fast plots with 1070 or something like that. Maybe that card is a good value to start with.

Unfortunately I don’t have 512gb RAM, only 256gb but could easily upgrade to 384gb if this would be beneficial? I don’t think I’d fit a 1070 in the box. Probably have to do what Voodoo says and go with a Tesla P4 if I decide to go this route.

SpragClutch, sorry I some how missed your reply. I will also look in to fine tuning my equip for compressed plots on MM.

256 is good enough for the MM GPU plotter. Depending how low you get with it (plot speed), you will need to see how many HDs you need to connect. In my case (~3 min plots, ~6min HD xfrs), when all goes well 2+ HDs are needed. So, that number basically dictates what RAM disk you will eventually need to avoid an extra getting an NVMe. Last time I purchased 256 GB, the total (including 10% tax) was about $135. So, instead you can buy something like 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Pro for ~50, and it will also do without flinching. The RAM is potentially preferred if you already have it on hand, or you have really a lot of TBs.

So, get your feet wet with MM CPU plotter, make it run well, and then you will have more time to think about the GPU thing.


Thanks Jacek, it’s greatly appreciated!

Jacek, is MM v1.1.8 the version I’m looking for? Timings are like 2 x slower than BB disk?

Not sure about it, as I didn’t use CPU plotter for some time. Although, this may be the place to get the latest - chia-gigahorse/cpu-plotter/windows at master · madMAx43v3r/chia-gigahorse · GitHub. I think that you may be looking at this page (what looks like is the pre-optimized version - don’t use this one) - chia-gigahorse/cpu-plotter/windows at master · madMAx43v3r/chia-gigahorse · GitHub

Well, potential problems with it:

  1. A single MM plotter looks like may not really scale well across multiple CPUs, or most likely I didn’t follow such instructions at that time (switched to Linux plotter long time ago thanks to help from @Voodoo)
  2. On Linux, we need to use NUMA control to bind plotter instances to respective CPUs to get max output.
  3. No matter what I tried at that time, my plotting speed under Win with 2 CPUs were much slower from what you reported (it was taking hours, literally).

Bottom line, my knowledge of running MM on Win is really very limited (let’s say zilch). For sure, there are other folks on the forum that could help you with that, if you want to stick with Win.

Although, as you said, if you are buying 2x HDs per month, maybe that extra workout is not needed. The eventual pain may come when you decide to go for compressed plots across your farm.

Learn Linux… Ubuntu Desktop is a good balance… still a lot of learning curve… but you will see much improved speeds with Linux vs Windows when it comes to CPU plotting…