Octominer X12 & X8: The Perfect Choice for Our UK GPU Mining Rigs
thes fryOpen air vs enclosed case GPU rigs
We’ve experimented with many different hardware options for crypto mining, including:
- Open air rigs (custom assembled) – from custom-made wooden frames to premade metal frames – you name it, we’ve tried to build it at some point
- Enclosed case rigs (custom assembled) – using the MineStation Project X Flatpack case from X-Case
- Enclosed case rigs (prebuilt) – including the MineBox 8L and Octominer X12ULTRA and X8ULTRA
In this article, we’ll focus primarily on the Octominer case/hardware and why we feel this is the best available in the market right now.
That’s not to knock any of the other options mentioned above as they are all great in their own ways depending on your requirements and budget and they are definitely worth more than a small mention here, so we’ll explore the pros and cons of each at a later date.
Aren’t open air mining rigs better for cooling?
The one point that’s worth tackling head on, is that we are not massive fans of open air rigs, certainly not in the B2B space that we operate in.
Open air rigs have their place, particularly for users starting out with GPU mining. They’re relatively cheap to buy and allow users to experiment with building their own rigs piece by piece. We often hear fans claim that they are much better for cooling – this one we simply can’t agree with, but that’s le for another day.
Our largest concerns with open air rigs (and this comes from experience) are:
- Physical space needed – they take up more space than your average enclosed rig and aren’t easily stackable for miners with aspirations to expand and grow their own mining farms.
- Heat management – due to the size and nature of open air rigs, the heat can be more challenging to manage.
- Exposure to the environment – being “open air”, these rigs (and your expensive hardware) are exposed to the environment and subject to dust and other air particles.
- Technical issues – as any user will know that has tried building an open air rig from scratch, the potential technical issues are almost endless and they can be very hard to diagnose – from issues with risers to power supply issues and even motherboard/bios settings, we’ve lost countless days trying to solve seemingly random problems.
Why we choose enclosed cases and Octominer for our GPU mining rigs?
Now on to our experience with the Octominer X8ULTRA and X12ULTRA.
As anybody will know who has started out trying to build their own GPU mining rig, even for those seasoned IT professionals, it can be a painful experience trying to get everything to work together seamlessly.
So, back when we decided that enclosed cases were the way to go, we searched long and hard for a case that we were happy with. There were very few suppliers in the UK offering enclosed cases suitable for GPU mining, and even fewer who were offering GPU-ready cases with built-in hardware.
The true beauty of the Octominer cases is that they come prebuilt with everything apart from the GPUs. Not only that, the quality of these cases and the hardware is exceptional. The cases come from China but don’t let that fool you. Over the years, we’ve had some good, bad and downright terrible hardware from China, but these Octominer’s really are amazing quality.
Let’s take a look at the dedicated hardware…
The Octominer mining motherboard not only looks slick, but it rules out the need for risers and allows the GPUs to be connected directly. This can save a great deal of stress trying to connect up risers and then troubleshoot problems when GPUs stop working.
Hot-swap server power supplies (PSUs from Dell or HP)
One of our favourite features are the hot-swap HP or Dell server power supplies.
The Octominer hardware comes in different options. At the time of writing, you can get the X8ULTRA with 4 x 750W PSU’s, 3000W in total. Or, the X8ULTRA comes with a lower cost 2,250W option or a more powerful 3,600W option.
Each PSU is connected to a custom-made breaker board, meaning you don’t need to worry about connecting different ATX PSUs together and you can tap into the full combined power of each PSU and use this across your GPUs.
LCD display panel and environmental data
You get a fancy but handy little LCD display which can be configured to present operational data about your rig (e.g. mining algorithm, hash rates, IP address, power consumption, bad shares, fan speed, temperature, and more.
The LCD display is nice, but the environmental sensor also means that one of our Octominer rigs can send additional data to HiveOS and allow a greater degree of control through the hardware watchdog and smart fan controller, which provides automatic fan speed control and automatic system reboots.
Compatible with HiveOs out-of-the-box and extra features
For those of you who know and love Hive, you will notice some extra features thanks to Octominer.
As well as the normal rig data, you can see the external case fan speeds, overall rig intake and exhaust air temperature, humidity and the PSU intake and exhaust temperature.
Why not just build an enclosed mining rig?
This is of course possible and we have and still do build our own enclosed rigs from scratch. Setting aside delivery costs, GPUs and other factors, you might be included to think this would be cheaper, but it’s not (and we’ve done the maths).
- Equivalent (used) server powers supplies will put you back around £150-200
- A basic (probably used dual-core) CPU and 8-12 slot Chinese mining motherboard will cost around £180
- The case/chassis would be around £150
- You’ll also need the RAM, hard drive and case fans which will cost around £100-£150 for good quality components.
Straight away, we can see that the costs are around the same, if not more to custom build an enclosed rig, and you won’t be getting all of the same features.
There are cheaper options if you opt for a used open air frame and cheaper components, but even then you won’t save much. Even high-power Chinese ATX power supplies will cost around £100 and you will need to account for risers, which can set you back around £50.
Have we had any issues or concerns with Octominer?
We would be lying if we said the Octominer experience was 100% perfect, but it’s close.
The only issues we’ve encountered to date are those listed below:
- Customer service – Customer support can be slow and we have heard reports of other users not being able to get in touch with Octominer at all.
- Delivery – The goods come from China and can take several weeks to arrive, so patience is required especially right now due to the Chinese New Year.
- Bulk orders only – The cases can only be purchased in bulk and the shipping fees are expensive from China, meaning they may not be the best choice for individual miners who are looking to get started.
- GPU connectors – The Octominers that we have received only support two 8-pin connector GPUs, typically 12 wires with 24 connectors come with the X12s. This is fine for most GPUs, but some 3080 and 3090 GPUs require three plugs. I understand the latest Octominers are shipping with three 8-pin connectors so this may have been resolved.
- Tripple slot GPUs – The fitting can be a bit snug on the thickest GPUs, but this may have been resolved as I can see the current listings show that both the X8 and X12 come with triple slot widths as standard.
- Refurbished server PSUs – The server PSUs are not brand new, they come refurbished. We didn’t realise this until we noticed that some PSUs were clearly older than others. When we spoke to Octominer about this, they explained that the brand new server PSUs would be too expensive for them to sell at their advertised prices but they were much better quality than the cheaper Chinese-made ATX PSUs available and would most likely last 20 years or more.
- Loose wiring – We’ve found the occasional issue with loose and faulty wiring and PSUs overheating. That said, Octominer have been amazing and offered free/additional components under their 1-year warranty.
In the grand scheme of things, we consider the above issues to be minor given the overall quality and standard of these products.
Conclusion: Is Octominer the right choice for everybody?
Octominer cases certainly aren’t the right choice for everybody, but they are for most.
They’re relatively expensive, especially when considering shipping costs and that they need to be purchased in bulk. This is why most individual miners at home will be put off by the Octominer. They’re not easy to come by in the UK. If you look on eBay or other marketplaces, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to find one of these. This is most likely because they aren’t well known in the UK and those who do own these don’t want to let them go. For this reason, we have decided to stock these great cases and you can now buy the Octominer X8ULTRA from us directly.
For us and other businesses, however (i.e. those who wish to run multiple rigs), they are a perfect choice! Due to the exceptional quality, these rigs will last longer than most. Their slim design and powerful case fans mean they can be stacked whilst maintaining good heat efficiencies (subject to the environment), which means they are perfect for building small or large mining farms. They are subject to fewer technical issues and incompatibility problems. And the customer support from Octominer once you’ve purchased one of these rigs is very good.
Overall, we highly recommend Octominer and will continue to use them for our more powerful mining rigs without hesitation.
Last modified on: May 28, 2022
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