Plotting on MacBook Air M2/16GB

Hi everyone, I have a small question, and since I couldn’t find information on this topic, I thought I’d try here. I’m new to Chia Farming and Plotting, just getting started. Yesterday, I began creating my first plots, and I’d like to share some information. I have a MacBook Air with an M2 processor and 16GB of RAM, and for temporary storage, I’m using an external 500GB m.2 Samsung 980 SSD connected via USB-C. I’m using the MadMax Plotter. I’ve already created 9 plots with different configurations, and the time taken is always the same. Does anyone have experience with M2 processors?

Multi-threaded pipelined Chia k32 plotter - 2092041
Network Port: 8444
Final Directory: /Volumes/SeagateExo/
Number of Plots: 1
Crafting plot 1 out of 1 (2023/06/15 08:33:08)
Process ID: -1
Number of Threads: 7
Number of Buckets P1:    2^8 (256)
Number of Buckets P3+P4: 2^8 (256)

Working Directory:   /Volumes/Plotter500GB/
Working Directory 2: /Volumes/Plotter500GB/

[P1] Table 1 took 40.3276 sec
Progress update: 0.01
[P1] Table 2 took 348.352 sec, found 4294880271 matches
Progress update: 0.06
[P1] Table 3 took 674.162 sec, found 4294800385 matches
Progress update: 0.12
[P1] Table 4 took 662.7 sec, found 4294799362 matches
Progress update: 0.2
[P1] Table 5 took 932.898 sec, found 4294613912 matches
Progress update: 0.28
[P1] Table 6 took 803.785 sec, found 4294168498 matches
Progress update: 0.36
[P1] Table 7 took 509.791 sec, found 4293361105 matches
Progress update: 0.42
Phase 1 took 3972.12 sec
[P2] max_table_size = 4294967296
[P2] Table 7 scan took 45.9011 sec
[P2] Table 7 rewrite took 277.396 sec, dropped 0 entries (0 %)
Progress update: 0.43
[P2] Table 6 scan took 33.059 sec
[P2] Table 6 rewrite took 215.988 sec, dropped 581378615 entries (13.5388 %)
Progress update: 0.48
[P2] Table 5 scan took 31.3252 sec
[P2] Table 5 rewrite took 196.24 sec, dropped 762108653 entries (17.7457 %)
Progress update: 0.51
[P2] Table 4 scan took 31.2211 sec
[P2] Table 4 rewrite took 163.482 sec, dropped 828933990 entries (19.3009 %)
Progress update: 0.55
[P2] Table 3 scan took 29.9828 sec
[P2] Table 3 rewrite took 185.225 sec, dropped 855057582 entries (19.9091 %)
Progress update: 0.58
[P2] Table 2 scan took 31.7211 sec
[P2] Table 2 rewrite took 195.635 sec, dropped 865574367 entries (20.1536 %)
Progress update: 0.61
Phase 2 took 1477.05 sec
Wrote plot header with 252 bytes
[P3-1] Table 2 took 202.305 sec, wrote 3429305904 right entries
[P3-2] Table 2 took 208.937 sec, wrote 3429305904 left entries, 3429305904 final
Progress update: 0.66
[P3-1] Table 3 took 141.856 sec, wrote 3439742803 right entries
[P3-2] Table 3 took 98.4143 sec, wrote 3439742803 left entries, 3439742803 final
Progress update: 0.73
[P3-1] Table 4 took 138.577 sec, wrote 3465865372 right entries
[P3-2] Table 4 took 184.746 sec, wrote 3465865372 left entries, 3465865372 final
Progress update: 0.79
[P3-1] Table 5 took 168.809 sec, wrote 3532505259 right entries
[P3-2] Table 5 took 204.66 sec, wrote 3532505259 left entries, 3532505259 final
Progress update: 0.85
[P3-1] Table 6 took 180.677 sec, wrote 3712789883 right entries
[P3-2] Table 6 took 231.846 sec, wrote 3712789883 left entries, 3712789883 final
Progress update: 0.92
[P3-1] Table 7 took 237.842 sec, wrote 4293361105 right entries
[P3-2] Table 7 took 263.848 sec, wrote 4293361105 left entries, 4293361105 final
Progress update: 0.98
Phase 3 took 2274.55 sec, wrote 21873570326 entries to final plot
[P4] Starting to write C1 and C3 tables
[P4] Finished writing C1 and C3 tables
[P4] Writing C2 table
[P4] Finished writing C2 table
Phase 4 took 363.202 sec, final plot size is 108813838411 bytes
Total plot creation time was 8086.97 sec (134.783 min)


Thanks for sharing your experience. Just so you know, you want to look into compressed plots at the moment, regular plots are on their way out and not competitive anymore. But for the sake of experiment you can also do regular uncompressed plots.

I believe @bwfree has some nice experience with Apple hardware :smiley:

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I believe the best time with those tech specs should be closer to 50mins total plot creation with ~10min for transferring the plot from the SSD onto a hard drive for more longer term storage.

There’s an assumption nothing else is running on this laptop while plotting and restarted recently/rebooted the laptop. There’s a Google doc link from @bwfree on Reddit to review after the blackout.

If your are using the GUI interface and not the terminal command line under Chia’s pooling tab in following sections:
section #1 MadMax Plotter 1.1.6-2092041
section #2 k=32
Section #3 choose number of plots and threads default=4 plus thread multiplier for Phase 2

  • For example, 1=plot, 8 threads, 2 for thread multiplier are the specs I use
    Section #4 Choose /locate your SSD
    Section #5 select SSD again or choose final destination of plot
    Section #6 should pre-populate as the name of Plot NFT

Base on the specs you listed the times should be closer to 60/70mins… the SSD might be throttling due to overheating… ideally enterprise or MLC SSDs are better than QLC and TLC for sustained sequential writes repeatedly like an enterprise SSD “Intel Optane 905P Series 960GB” or Samsung pro series like 970pro. There are others brands being utilize folks can chime in with their experiences.

Official Chia Compression plots are still in Alpha testing phase see Discord utilizing a Nvidia GPU… more Ram is better than less ram like 256RAM then eventually 128RAM or currently 64RAM w/ 3rd Party fee taken from the block rewards automatically.

The cost of high RAM options on Apple’s modern MACs platform might have you considering alternative setups in order to plot faster if that’s is a concern.

Which enclosure via USB-C are you running the SSD in?
What are the Black Magic speed test results?

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I think this is the bottle neck. If 980 is internal you can do it in about little over a hour. I have similar benchmark Xeon.


Thank you for your help, both the Mac and the external hard drive are well-cooled during operation. For testing purposes, I could try using the internal disk, as it is really fast, but ultimately I think I will abandon plotting and explore the option of buying ready-made plots. I was expecting better results; currently, it takes over two hours, and achieving 40 to 60 minutes would be acceptable. With over two hours, the electricity cost is higher than purchasing a ready-made plot.

The last test:

chia plotters madmax -k 32 -n 1 -r 7 -u 256 -v256

Same results.

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Quite interesting. Indeed buying plots can be cheap, especially if done with GPU and ram which means there’s (almost) no SSD wear.

Exactly! I just bought 5 k32 plots for $1. I’ll test them out, and if everything goes well, I might buy few more plots. Plotting time for 1 plot = 34min

Why do you say this.
Where has chia said that it’s moving to only compressed plots?
How exactly is it not competitive?
Can you even farm compressed lots with an unmodified version of chia? I didn’t think so.

The macbook is pretty low power consumption. 2 hours plotting would be much less than 1kWh

-MacBook + Cooling
-SSD + Cooling

  • HDD

not to mention disk usage

1kWh price here where I lives 0.40€ (0.44$)

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my first ever plot was on a air. few years ago now. learning. lol.
probably hard real on her, she gets warm… just really not what its designed for whatsoever lol. 24/7 plot production would roast an air eventually id think. poor thing. lets be straight your plotting on arm. :exploding_head:
what kind of experience do you need?

i like where your heads at tho. with the low energy plots.
im very curious to the exact numbers of it all.

you want to plot on one machine… and farm/harvest on a different machine… don’t do both on the same machine at the same time… especially all on a m2 chip…

Exactly! As I mentioned before, I’m just starting my adventure with Chia, but not with crypto :slight_smile: I already have several different miners, starting with ETH, going through Helium, and ending with Chia.

I love mining currencies, even if it would be more profitable to buy a particular currency instead of mining it myself :face_with_hand_over_mouth: For my Chia farm, I have 80TB of storage. I was hoping to create my own plots, but it would take me months on an M2 chip. The disk will be connected to a Lenovo ThinkCentre with a very low-power processor, and the Full Node is already waiting there :blush:

I was considering getting a Xeon, but now I’m researching GPU plotting because if everything goes well, it won’t stop at 80TB, and I don’t want to buy more plots since I enjoy doing everything myself :smile:


I don’t think macbook air TDP is very high so the electricity cost won’t be as big as you think, probably about 200wh per plot max. But your thinking is right because plotting cost SSD wear too, so it’s not free.