In the post we are going to discuss a very cheap rig building guide for Chia plotting and farming computer that can easily plot more than 40 plots per day. The 40 plots per day comes out to about 4 TBs of plots per day and the cost of this system will fall only under $1000 dollars without storage. If you have been following Chia you’ll know that there are websites out there selling plots for around CDN $30 per TB and this number shows the value of the system we’ll be going over today at these prices.
Chia Plotting Services Cost
Note: These prices do not differ much on other similar Chia plotting services.
Getting The Best Value For Money
It means that more than 40 plots per day that this machine’s capable of making would be worth around 1 23 dollars per day paying for itself in the very first day or two of operation. Let’s start with our good faith in Chia as a technology. It’s a great solution to the proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining like bitcoin and other altcoins.
We all need to keep all of the plots we make and the Chia that we farm and not to sell a single one. We think that $250-300 dollar value of it today will only go up over time. If you would see closely to the core basis of Chia it’s far better to sustain its position as there’s more positivity about it.
Speeding up Chia plotting
The budget of the Chia farmer and plotter without explaining the problem we are trying to solve one of the first things you’ll realize about Chia is how long it takes to plot. Before you can farm Chia you have to plot it. And sadly the plotting is a slow process. It can be sped up by plotting on NVMe or flash storage but ultimately you are going to have to wait for each plot. The amount of time you’ll have to wait can range from between 5 to 12 hours or more per plot even with the fastest processor and flash storage. It’s not all bad news though and there’s a way to speed this up.
Budget Chia machine build and the right staggering technique
The best way to overcome this challenge is to plot in parallel. The plotting in parallel is exactly what it sounds like creating multiple plots simultaneously. The best way to accomplish this is to have fast storage that you’re plotting to and a decent amount of it. It’s hard to make generalized statements with regards to how many plots an individual NVMe or SATA SSD drive can handle. The best way is to compare your plot times with something like the swar plot manager.
When you observe in it you when tuning and graphing plots over time and it might be a helpful guide for you to make some decisions about how to fine-tune your system. There are a number of variables that you will want to balance. Each plot needs about 239 GiB bytes which is about 256 GBs of temporary space. So a single 2 TB NVMe drive with only 1.81 TB of usable capacity should only be able to do 7 plots at once. Well not exactly if you stagger your plots you can actually achieve a bit more than that.
Chia plotting does not use a static amount of space; it’s actually quite dynamic. Like the one you see in the picture below.
Like if you are throwing those 7 plots they’d all require a different amount of storage or memory. So what that means is you’ll want to stagger plots so that they aren’t all using 256 GBs of your temporary drive all at once. You also want to do this so they aren’t all in the same phase and consuming too much of your other resources like CPU or memory all at the same time.
It’s generally best to start at 60 minutes of stagger time between plots and dial it in from there. Someone at reddit by the name of BEK_AI graphed all of this.
His post which breaks down the phases and resources your mileage may vary but overall you can see that phase one tends to use the most CPU and memory phase 2 and at the beginning of phase 3 you tend to use the most temporary disk space.
Overall all of the phases use a lot of disk I/O. The following plotting results were all done on a single 2 TB Samsung NVMe Evo Plus drive
As you can see here with four concurrent plots with a staggering time of 60 minutes the average Chia plot time is 6.882 hours per plot on the testing machine. When adding a 5th plot this goes up to an average of 8.127 hours per plot.
This means that if you plot with 4 plots simultaneously you will see approximately 0.581 plots per hour or 13.944 plots per day compared to having 5 plots running concurrently and getting 0.615 plots per hour or 14.76 plots per day. You will want to increase these numbers until you see diminishing returns to find the sweet spot for your storage. Now that you can see how staggering plots and then increasing the number of concurrent plots can help.
Let’s get into some of the performance numbers for our Chia plotting build. This machine has:
- An Intel E5 2699 V3 Xeon Processor
- 2 Samsung NVMe 2 TB Evo plus hard drives.
You can get about 42 plots per day through this machine and it can be built for about under $1000 without storage for comparison’s sake. The best performance we have squeezed out of an i7 10700k build is about 16 plots per day.
Here is a breakdown of the parts used to build this system for under $1000. This is mostly a pre-built computer meaning it is mostly already put together when you buy. All you have to do is upgrade the processor, add some memory and the NVMe drives.
How to upgrade or install a Processor in Dell Precision T5810
The Dell precision T5810 or another similar refurbished model is a great value at this time and the 18 core 36 thread E5 2699 V3 Xeon processor is a real deal for its price. The Dell precision T5810 sells on amazon right now for only $425 and it comes with:
- A pre-installed GPU
- SSD for your operating system
- 16 GB RAM
- You will need to add an additional 32 GBs of RAM if you want to do more than 4-5 plots at a time.
If you are going to build this Chia machine from the Amazon links mentioned below then the total price comes out to only about $960 or less without NVMe storage. The reason we left the storage out of the total price is that there are a couple of different options that should be explained further.
SSD Drive Endurance For Chia
The two options really differ in their longevity, specifically the endurance of the drives as one linked below in the buying list is a 2 TB Seagate Firecuda. This drive has a total endurance of 2.8 petabytes. This roughly means it will be capable of sustaining 2.8 PBs of writes. The reason we say roughly is because not all writes are equal and the number varies depending on the size of the writes for instance many small writes will cause more wear on the drive than the advertised 2.8 PBs it claims.
Unfortunately plotting Chia is pretty hard on drives and causes a bit of wear even though each plot is only 101 GBs in size when finished each plotting process can cause between 1.6 and 1.8 TB of wear on your drive.
You should consider just one big thing that’s getting drives with more endurance is always a good thing when using them for Chia plotting. So what other options have more endurance out there?
Well in the list 2 we’ve included a 400 GB Intel S3700 data center SATA SSD drive. If you go this route my recommendation would be to purchase the HP SAS expander as 3700 drives have really impressive endurance characteristics making them a much more long-term solution to plotting. When we say long term we truly mean long term as these drives will likely outlast your Chia plotting computer. They have an endurance of 7.3 PBs per drive and at a cost of only $70 a drive. That’s a really great value obviously since they’re only 400 GBs each you’ll want quite a few of them. So if you grab 12 of these 400 GBs drives you’ll have a combined total capacity of roughly 4.35 TBs.
Intel SSD DC S3700 Endurance
|1 SSD Drive||400GB Intel S3700||7.3PBs||$70|
|12||4.35 TBs Intel S3700||87.6PBs||$840|
7.3PB x 12 = 87.6 PB 1 Plot = 1.8 TBs 87.6PBs = 45324 plots
Again since they each have 7.3 PBs of endurance if you combine all of the 12 drives together you’ll have 87.6 PBs of combined endurance at 1.8 TB per plot that comes out to about 45324 plots if spread across all of the drives. That is about 4470 TBs of plots that these drives can sustain compared to the 2897 plots or 285 TBs of endurance spread across 2, 2 TB Seagate Firecuda NVMe drives.
Ultimately it’s your decision to make while potting Chia and if you don’t have PBs of storage for plots then it might not make sense to buy such high endurance drives for you.
Choosing The Right Memory
The memory you pick out for your budget Chia plotting rig should be sized appropriately. As each plot consumes roughly 3,390 MBs of RAM at max. Generally uses a lot less than that we’ve tested and found that you can run 19 to 20 plots in parallel with a stagger time of 60 minutes and only consume about 50 GBs of RAM. If you give this machine 64 GBs of RAM you should be able to do the same so that’s it this machine is capable of about 40 plots per day. Probably more with further tuning and it should run long into the future without spending thousands of dollars.
We think this is a great option for both its price and performance. The systems are readily available with links and so are all of the parts. As the Chia is priced at between $250-300 dollars per Chia right now.
As a result if you do the math this machine could plot about 118 TBs per month using Chiacalculator.com you can see that at the current price after one month of plotting that comes out to around 8800 of Chia. If you’re thinking about getting started we highly encourage you to as we believe that we’re all going to see shortages of hard drives just like the shortage of Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series. Soon if you go with some of the other options out there keep in mind that you may be limited by fewer PCI express lanes for NVMe storage or network adapters, less total maximum memory and a lower overall core count which will mean less performance. So keep these things in mind when putting together builds.
Budget Chia Plotting Setup Under $1000 Buying List – Lists to build your own Chia plotting machine
Important: Please note that the prices may have changed over the time but they’d linger around USD1000.
Best For The Buck Deals With Dual CPU Power Build
Xeon Thread Choices
NVME and PCI Choices
Last update on 2021-02-07. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.