Mad Max vs. Chia GUI for plotting. What kills hardware faster?

I’m looking at around 3.5 hours per plot using the Chia GUI. I understand the accolades for Mad Max. Yes, yes. Use it and you won’t go back. However, shaving 30 minutes or 45 minutes off a plot time when it means it’s bagging out my hardware isn’t a worthwhile tradeoff. I’ve always had the view from early days that plotting speed is much ado about nothing. It’s not like anyone is going to buy an infinity amount of hard drives. I just need to fill them up. The quest for the fastest plotting time at this point is almost laughable. Early days I suppose. I have old PC hardware to use for this and it won’t change my mind about bagging it. I’m just wondering if Mad Max is a RAM killer, CPU heat killer, etc. What I don’t mind killing is 15K sas drives. I’ll have fun bagging those with little remorse, but any insight into what costs there are for the increased Mad Max speed would be appreciated. So who here can beat 3.5 hours per plot using a 4790(K) CPU and 16GB of DDR3 RAM via Chia GUI? As I suspected…

You’re wrong. If you’re PC has proper cooling the only thing that’s going to die is the SSD, and those seem to last far longer than expected.

Madmax doesn’t run the CPU flat out either, for that you need to use Bladebit.

Oh, and I suspect quite a few could easliy beat 3.5hours with the same hardware, just overclock the CPU, and as you haven’t specified storage just whack in decent storage :slight_smile:

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RAM is not going to be killed either way. CPU will be fine if properly cooled.

The problem of using inefficient hardware is that you burn a lot of electricity in 3.5 hours. A decent budget build can make a plot in under an hour.

A single madmax plot will consume more NVMe and more CPU resources over a given period of time.

The chia executable will consume approximately the same resources, only it will take it longer to do so.

If you copy a plot from drive “A” to drive “B”… whether it takes 10 minutes or an hour and 10 minutes, the same amount of processing takes place, and doing a slower copy will not extend the life of your hard drives.

Faster processing will generate more heat, and without proper cooling, that will reduce the lifespan of whatever is overheating. But nothing should be overheating if your fans are doing their job.

A single madmax plotting job nearly pins my AMD Ryzen 9 5950X during phase 1 and phase 3.
To make the most out of the available CPU cycles, I run two concurrent madmax plotting jobs.

The only time my CPU is not pinned is if they are both in phase 2 (but that nearly pins the CPU) or if both are in phase 4 (which uses little CPU cycles) or phase 2 + phase 4.

Perhaps it is because I bump up the thread count option for madmax to utilize?

Or perhaps my NVMe drives (two of them) are fast enough to not be a bottleneck for the CPU?

Or perhaps you are using a faster processor than the 5950X?


I’m using dual E5-2699v3 Xeon’s, so not faster, but more cores and threads, 36 cores and 72 threads in total, and 512GB DDR4 2133Mhz ram.

Even running two mad Max in parallel still doesn’t max the CPU, Bladebit on the other hand will pin all threads to 100% with occasional drops then instantly back to 100%

Thanks for the insight and sharing expertise. Things to think about. I’m not using SSD, but instead using 15K SAS drives. In my honest opinion here, the responsible way to plot is with these types of SAS drives. Everyone should be doing it for the simple reason that a 300GB SAS drive is essentially EOL, landfill. As part of Chia, using old gear and making use of something like these outdated SAS drives is far more ethical. As I’ve said before, okay, so you can plot really fast. I get there is some power consumption debate to that. However, is it like a car? If I drive slow, I don’t consume as much gas. You speed? Gas consumption goes up. I feel the same way about plotting. You go fast, I’m quite sure it’s burning more power because of heat and requiring more fans, albeit fans aren’t a major power draw. But GPUs, if I run those low settings, they are not drawing near the power as when I push them. So to suggest that plotting in 1 hour vs. 2 or 3 hours is equal on power usage? I find that hard to believe but I’m open to listening.

I suppose because I’m not going traditional here and using 15K SAS drives it will be hard to know for sure unless I delve into Mad Max. When I did look at an Excel sheet from one of the Chia guys showing plot times with various high end hardware, I figured 3.5 hours using the Chia GUI and my hardware wasn’t too shabby. Considering at one point I thought 7 hours was about as good as I could do.

If I find the time to figure out Mad Max and run some comparisons I will post back. Again, I appreciate the wisdom shared here on said subject.

MM is designed to use a lot more “buckets” on a storage device, assuming that this is a block device able to handle many i/o threads (ssd, ram). For HDDs, you are probably better off with the OG chia plotter.

The answer is simple: measure your electricity consumption at the input and see what works better. My guess is that a single NVME SSD will perform better and use on an order of magnitude less energy than an array of spinners.

If you want to be “sustainable/green”, then using RAM only is the best option: it is the fastest and does not degrade. After done plotting, you can resell RAM at a good price. And there are deals you can find at home lab sales, sometimes people sell a bunch of 32GB RDIMM sticks for cheap

The reason for fast plotting is still a legit concern. In the early days it was a matter of getting to full farming capacity as quickly as possible to try to stay ahead of (or at least at pace with) the netspace growth. The netspace may have stopped climbing for now but the concern of getting to full capacity as quickly as possible is still a legit factor. But that factor’s weight is entirely up to you. How long do you want to wait to actually have all of your hard drive space active in your farm? The reality of it is that you are paying for those drives to be up and running, with one plot or 200 plots. I would rather have them full and returning my money as quickly as possible. They won’t stop using electricity because they only have 3 plots on them.

And as already pointed out, if you keep your equipment cool, neither way is going to kill any of it any faster. I have plotted over 9000 plots and haven’t had a failure yet (in plotting equipment).

Your 15K SAS VS NVME approach for plotting is a good one. It is more green as the SAS won’t degrade like flash nvme. I have a setup like that as well and use Madmax with 100GB Ram for T2 (75% of the writes). But you could do it all in the SAS as well.

You still might try using Madmax with your current setup. I’d be curious to know how much your speed increases (and I’m guessing it will). Good luck :four_leaf_clover: and plot on! :slight_smile:

All storage devices can fail.
Mechanical drives, spinning at breakneck speeds, with actuator arms flapping around without rest, eventually fail.

It is very hard to kill a good NVMe drive. They seem to last far, far, far past their manufacturer’s TBW specification.

I do not recall hearing anyone in the forum reporting that they wore out the NVMe drive. And if 24/7/365 pounding by Chia has not resulted in a wave (or any) “wear” related failures, then that speaks volumes for the endurance of NVMe drives.

Of course, since @MisterSavage is having good results with his mechanical drives for plotting, more power to him. It works well, and that is what counts. No need for him to part with $$ on NVMe drives.

I’m not so much a hardcore environmental guy. My family made money from killing trees and balding the hills as it were. In this case, I know first hand that low capacity sas drives have very little use once they show up at recycle depots. The fact you can get them for almost free, I find it a very ethical and Chia positive move. Of course it requires an HBA and cables but when the drives are essentially free? I’m not saying 300gb are free but be resourceful and you will pay about zilch.

Again, I really appreciate the feedback on this. I do agree on the RAM situation, although saving 300gb sas drives seems like a more worthy cause. There are other use cases for RAM whereas those sad little 300gb sas drives have no home to go to…

Oh, I just wanted to add that I have another 2 computers with i7-4790 and 16GB RAM that I will also likely employ. Not sure 3 computers churning out plots is better than one, but let me compare prices to a modern PC for the same purposes. A few things to experiment with in next couple days but will update the findings and post here. I don’t take in cats and dogs. I take in computers instead.

I have an r910 4 x CPUs x 10 Cores = 80 threads and 1TB of ram. I plot 2 x Bladebit and can plot 4 x 4TB SAS disks in just over 28 hours. A friend gave me the machine instead of going to landfill. Plotting is the only reason I have to use the beast since it consumes 500W idle and 1100W under load. When finished plotting I take the disks physically to my farming rig and rsync to larger drives. I have 700 plots and reinvest earnings in disks. I have never bothered trying to optimise performance but could improve it by running under Arch Linux instead of Ubuntu. I live in London in case anyone wants plotting accomplished quickly.

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I have 5 or is it 6 S3710 200GB Intel SSD drives in raid 0, they were quite cheap, likely will never wear out, and a lot cheaper to run than 15k disks. I only need to use these when running two madmax in parallel or doing K33 or larger plots. The thing with plotting faster is it use less power overall, but that has to be weighed up with the cost of buying the equipment, which has cost me far too much over the last year or so.