Where have I got to so far

I heard about Chia ramping up, so I started messing about with my home laptop around the middle of May. I quickly decided this sounded like an interesting gamble so I bought a rack, some secondhand servers, disk shelves and drives. I have 3 machines, a Dell 515, a 620 and a 720. I have currently two 24x SFF/2.5" disk shelves, fully populated with 2TB and 1TB drives. These run from the R515 which acts as full node and farmer, all of the plot drives are connected to this machine.

The 720 runs windows 10 and is a plotter, and the 620 runs Ubuntu and is a plotter. The 720 with windows is slower plotting but I am not a Linux person natively so I manage to make up for it by it being more automated, the 620 is faster at making a plot but bottlenecked by network transfer speeds on 1G ethernet.

I have around 110 TB of space, 50TB is OG plots and I have now plotted 50 TB of poolable plots. I am still plotting and fairly sure I will replot to all OP plots in due course.

With Chia, I have had no solo farmer rewards. I have had 0.123 XCH so far from Maxiopool, who seem to be doing a great job, this will continue to trickle in, and it’s nice to see the setup “earning” something. I have recently begun farming the plots via Flax also, and although I have yet to win, the Flax GUI accepts all 100TB of plots as valid and states 5 days to win, so we shall see.

I have spent about £4500 on equipment, I still have two more disk shelves to use with drives (totalling around 35 TB more) and another coming with 24xLFF bays, which I can populate if I get a deal on cheap/bulk SAS drives from somewhere, as I did with the drives I am currently using. This was all secondhand kit. I probably overpaid for 2 of the servers (which came with large drives arrays installed, one 24TB and one 48TB) as I bought them when Chia was ramping up, but per TB its been around £10-£15 so cheaper than buying really large 4-18TB drives. That being said I may begin to consolidate some of my smaller drives into larger ones, as these become cheaper, which they should be as Netspace finally seems to have slowed down/stabilised.

Electricity is being accounted for as the rack is at my workplace and so I am paying the owner for the power. I used £90 in the first month and I am waiting to see how I did in month 2, once plotted/replotted I expect this to decrease quite a lot. Might relocate it to home in the winter, and keep the place toasty.

Obviously, I am not expecting an ROI in the short/medium term, but I have learned a great deal, enjoyed the experience, and if Chia or Flax (assuming I win some) make it big at some point then this will have been a profitable, as well as educational/horizon-expanding activity. If these currencies do not go anywhere, especially if regulation shuts things down, or if I decide to consolidate the farm to fewer large drives plus a raspberry pi or two, I am confident that give or take a few pounds, I can sell the equipment and recoup much of the cost. The only sunk cost is electricity and the one or two secondhand drives that failed.

I also have a fairly big pile of stuff I need to sell, that I bought thinking I might need it, and it was a good deal.

I hope this wasn’t a waste of time to read, if it can help that’s great and if anyone wants to point me towards a better way to do it, feel free.

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Well, I actually enjoyed reading this.
Really sounds like a lot of fun.
The only thing that bothered me, are the small drives which contribute to ur electricity-bill more than I could enjoy, but I hate running costs in general;)

Im glad, ive gone another way, but I also envy U for ur experiences.

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Sound as if you enjoy what you are doing/learning, which, for many, is (for the time being) pretty much the most benefit we’re getting from all the effort expended. You’re lucky to have a helpful employer who has been assisting too and some available equipment.

As far as 'pointing you towards a better way, looks as if you already know. Your situation meant you got a lot of small cheap drives/racks to work with and a few Dells. The downside is much more needed space/electricity management to keep it working away plotting/farming.

As an example, I have 130TiB plotted on 9x Ext. HDs (+1 int 14TB HD) next to my daily use Ryzen 3600 PC taking up 1.5 sq ft of space whilst slowing plotting an additional ~12 plots/day. Originally I’d plotted most drives on a Threadripper (some at ~30, then w/MadMax ~50 plots/day), before moving to the farm. Total is ~$20 /mo uplift in electricity cost plotting/farming over last year.

Bottom line, now you’ve had some fun, do the drive size consolidation you talked about and start using MadMax for efficiency.

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To what was said above, I’d recommend to look for sustainable solution for plotting. High efficiency processor and memory/disk draw a lot of juice and will hit your electricity bill in the long term.

Here is an interesting comparison of Ryzen 5800 and Ryzen 5800X.

You get marginally worse performance but 65W TDP instead of 105. Which makes it very efficient performance per watt solution.

I am curious about Mac M1 chip. It is touted as the most efficient performance per watt on the market right now.

With MadMax and Bladebit plotters, the plotting speed is not much relevant anymore (they are both very fast). If you can get your hands on a 128GB RAM, go for MadMax and save 75% writes on your SSD. Or if you can get 512GB, Bladebit is the way to go for 100% RAM plotting.

Also if you hesitate going Linux bare metal, try WSL virtual machine:

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Not running the Chia client cuts down power usage significantly. :smiley: Will post more about how to do this tomorrow.

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With your portable plots you’ll only get 0.25 Flax, the other 1.75 disappears in to the digital unknown. This is a problem that affects most Chia alt coins.