The furore surrounding Bitcoin from the end of 2017 may have subsided along with the value of cryptocurrency in general, but the repercussions are still being felt. GPU prices have risen as a result of demand, although there are signs of this softening. There is still potentially money to be made from mining, despite the price of a Bitcoin being nowhere near its $19,783.21 peak, if you have cheap power and optimised hardware. Graphics supremo Sapphire aims to provide this with its new INCA CS-14 Compute System.
We discussed how you can get started with cryptocurrency mining a few months ago, but the INCA is aimed at a much more serious user. It doesn’t look that exciting, because it’s a 4U 19in rackmount chassis. In theory, you can install eight of them in a full rack. But inside it gets much more interesting – you can fit up to 14 GPUs using special dual-GPU cards. These can be either the 4GB or the 8GB versions of the AMD Radeon RX470, and we were sent seven of the latter. These are managed by an embedded AMD System-on-Chip, running Ubuntu Linux and with the Claymore mining software preloaded.
To support all seven of the PCI Express x16 slots (which actually operate in x1 mode on this rig), the onboard Gigabit Ethernet is disabled, so a USB-based Ethernet adapter is also included to provide the network functionality. With all those GPUs, the power draw is immense. To handle this, two PSUs are installed, with room for a third to provide load sharing and active redundancy.
The result is a machine capable of huge amounts of GPU-powered processing, with Sapphire claiming more than 400MH/s of ETH hashing power. This could theoretically bring in around £270 a month even at today’s prices, although how much of this you keep depends on the cost of your power. So let’s take a closer look at the INCA CS-14 to see whether it really is a cryptocurrency goldmine, or more of a money pit.
- 19in 4U rackmount chassis
- AMD Embedded G-Series FP4 SoC
- 4GB DDR4 SDRAM
- 128GB M.2 SSD
- 7 x Dual AMD Radeon RX470 with 8GB GDDR5 each GPU
- 2 x 1,600W Seasonic S1M-162CGP2 power supplies
- Option for third power supply
- Ubuntu Linux with Claymore mining client preloaded
Price for this system (at the time of writing): £5,400 (inc. VAT) and for inquiries contact [email protected]