Power and plotting - the end of speed?

Okay, so now that netspace really has plateaued, at least for the time being, plotting fast has become unnecessary, the race to stay ahead of the netspace increase in order to keep up the frequency of your rewards has come to an end, or at least is taking a well-earned break.

So what strategies do we have for plotting using as little power as possible? If replotting OG plots to OP plots, in which there is no rush, what is the best way to do this without going CPU crazy? Should we be returning to using the in built chia plotting software? MM seems to be about speed, even if I allocate very few cores it still plots fast using a lot of CPU time.

I’ve pretty much replotted now, all I did was shut down what I know to be the least power-efficient plotter, and leave the others running. Assuming all other things equal, I’m not sure that it makes much difference to run cheaper for more hours or more expensive for less hours, would need quite detailed metrics to be able to work it out.

If you had some energy tariff where it’s cheaper during certain hours I can see some value in scheduling around that, otherwise seems like anything gained would take more effort than it’s worth - for things like that I tend to calculate as if my time has an associated cost.

I’d still use Madmax and max out my cpu since you’ll end up probably consuming more power in the end if you don’t. The only reason I see to plot on low power is avoiding the heat generated by the computer, especially when you have two 3900x plotting in your bedroom (as it is in my case). It ends up being really uncomfortable in summer.

I think you will find that once this lull is over, the netspace will pick up speed again. Trust me, I wish it wouldn’t. But it will. It’s coming. I think this is just a combination of the price drop and replotting. It may take a couple months for it to start building again, but it will.

As for saving power. I finally maxed out my capacity last week. The majority still on Hpool. But once I filled my space, I took one of my plotters offline and moved a few things around. I’m now only using two plotters to replot (about 70 per day). They will run until I’m off of Hpool entirely. That will take about a month and a half. Looking forward to just farming.


Thank you all for your ideas. I am looking forward to the reduced energy bill when just farming, but in another sense it will be less hands on and therefore less engaging.

I’m about done plotting. Maybe 1 more 10 plot round of MadMax left to go before I max out all my drives on my farming server. I can’t take my now former plotter completely offline, because I plan to return it to full time gaming and media consumption in my home office… But I can turn back on deep sleep and hibernate for when I am out or at work to save power. That will leave just my server consuming most of the power (besides my 2 laptops).

I said a long time ago that slow very low power plotting is the way to go. I have used a single RPi4 to both plot and farm at the same time. For more details see How to Farm and Plot Chia Coins with just one Raspberry Pi It uses about 10W plotting and farming. Very small capital investment, and very low ongoing energy costs. On top of this, it is a set-and-forget setup. It just runs and runs, adds plots, farms, no maintenance, no noise, no heat. Every now and then I add a HDD. The rest is all automated.


And how much have you made from this low power setup?

I’m not sure that is low power though - if your RPI4 uses 10W and makes 1 plot in 24 hrs that’s 240Wh per plot, whereas with my Ryzen rigs, lets say they take about 180W and make about 28 plots in 24 hours, then that’s only 154Wh per plot.

I used this to estimate power usage, it shows that it was a good thing I shut down my dual X5670 rig, it can make an extra 24 plots per day, but at an energy cost of over 300Wh per plot, I knew it was more power hungry, but I didn’t realise it was that much more power hungry. Power Supply Calculator - PSU Calculator | OuterVision

Are the Ryzen rigs really running at 180W though? Did you measure it? My Dell r620 and r720 run around 280-370W depending on processor usage, churning out MM plots at about one every 2700 seconds/45 minutes. So far I have plotted around 1200 plots and farmed them and used about 1300 kWh of electricity. This is going to drop a good amount when I switch to farming only, but its been a lot so far.

No, I used that calculator linked in the edit. At one time I had a watt meter on, but I haven’t had it on for a while, might check again at some point - but would still caution against assuming that low power slow is going to be better than high power fast.

Does your full spec come up close enough in that calculator or is it well off?

The 10W is an estimate, not measured. It is probably closer to 5W, but don’t forget that this includes farming, a wallet, and a full node. In order to farm at low power, you are anyway best served with an RPi. The plotting on top of this is essentially free, except the little bit of additional power the RPi draws plotting while farming. I have yet to see anything more power-efficient than this setup.

My Farming/plotting machine runs at around 300W while plotting on full power with madmax and having 19 HDDs attached to it. Removing the 5W per HDD, that would be around 210W for a system based on a 3900X doing 52 plots per day → 97Wh per plot.

I plan to resell both 3900X I have after I am done filling my drives and getting some 2200g or so if I notice that the 3900X haw a high idle power consumption.

You never answered my question. How much have you earned with that low power setup? I think it is important since earning is what it is all about in the end. If you are running a “low power” setup but have earned nothing, all it is doing is costing money. If a higher power setup earns XCH, then that offsets the cost.

Still pretty sceptical that a RPi is really a low power solution when thinking about Wh/plot, generally the best power efficiency (not the same as lowest absolute power usage) is almost certainly going to be in the newest, highest grade (most expensive) CPUs, with the latest generation of memory. I’d expect the lowest Wh/plot to be something like a Threadripper Pro or Xeon Platinum with enough DDR4 to run BladeBit, but would be interested to see something that proves otherwise, with real measurements, and in terms of the metric that matters (measured Wh/plot).

As far as I can see from pictures Pi4 has only two usb ports. Do you use some usb port multiplier adapter to add more thsn teo usb drives?

Similar setup as yours! I have a R520 LFF, 2 R720xd LFF’s and a R720 SFF. Similar power consumption plotting ~130 TiB w. MadMax. Currently optimizing space by re-plotting ~10% to K-33 plots.

What I’ve done to lower power consumption is to remove 2nd. CPU and RAM (leaving 8GB) on harvester only systems. When space is optimized, I’ll turn off 10Gb NICs as well.

It will still be around 130W-150W / hour w. 8-12 disks.

I’ve been lucky (statistically), and with the current XCH value, my ROI is positive.

Happy farming!

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A simple USB3 hub will do. Or purchase a JBOD box with a USB3 port.