A new way of “Farming” crypto currency has emerged and there are quite a number of coins already utilising this methid, the most recognised is Chia or XCH. Instead of using Graphics Cards to mine the cryptocurrency, you effectively “Farm” or “Harvest” from hard disks where you have created plots to farm from. These types of crypto currencies rely on a Proof of Space and Time algorithm.
This is not just simply allowing the farming software to see your hard disks, you have to create plots on the hard disks in order for those plots to be farmed / harvested. Creating the plots is quite CPU, Memory and Disk intensive, but far less so than GPU Mining.
In order to start farming, you have to create the plots to be farmed, this is a lengthy process that takes up CPU Cores, Memory as well as a lot of disk activity on a fast SSD, once the plot has been created it is transferred to a slower spinning disk. There are various factors that have to be taken into account when creating plots based on Chia (XCH):
CPU Cores required per Plot: 2
Memory required per plot: 4GB
SSD Storage Space required: Circa 289GB
Amount of SSD Write I/O per plot creation: Circa 1.8TB
As you can see from the above, you do need resources to create plots, the most critical one is the type of SSD used to create the plots, most consumer grade SSDs will not have an endurance level capable of handling that amount of writes, the following table explains what endurance factor would be expected depending on the size of the storage to be used for plots:
|Capacity of Storage||Number of Plots||Disk writes to Plotter SSD|
As you can see from the above table Plot creation is quite heavy in the amount of writes to the SSD, so high endurance enterprise class SSDs are required.
Plotting also requires CPU cores as well as memory, below is a table that shows based on the amount of physical cores, factoring in an extra 30% headroom for Hyperthreading, the amount of plots you can create in parallel as well as the amount of RAM required:
|Number of Physical CPU Cores||Number of Parallel Plots||Memory Required for Plotting|
You can see from the above table that we only went to 24 cores on the CPU, this is based on the limitation of the capacity available on Enterprise Class high endurance SSDs as that also play a factor in the amount of parallel plots you can create, the largest being 4TB. Remember a single Chia plot will consume around 289GB per plot during creation.
|Size of Plotting SSD||Number of Parallel Plots|
As you can see we have a limiting factor of 13 plots which means that going above 24 cores is pointless, this is one of the main reasons our largest platform of 432TB only has 24 Cores from a CPU perspective.
Once each plot is created, it is added to the farming pool, this means that you are not waiting for a full set of plots before farming starts, farming will start the moment it has at least one plot to farm from. In our tests we can create full parallel plots in just over 6 hours, son in a 24 hour cycle we are able to create between 16 and 36 plots per platform per day.
How does farming work?
Let’s take Chia (XCH) for example. Each day the blockchain broadcasts “Challenges” of which a farmer (you) will scan their plots to see if they have the hash that is closest to the challenge. The probability of you winning a block is the percentage of the total space that you as a farmer has compared to the whole network. So in essence, the more storage you have the higher the probability you will win the block that is to be farmed.
There is a useful calculator to calculate what you expected earning would be based on yout storage ammount (Remember to change it to TiB), you can find that calulator here: https://chiacalculator.com.
At FlexiMiners we have been working on Disk Faming solutions for a number of weeks, and our Owner / Director has an extensive background in Storage and has used the knowledge and expertise to design a configuration to suit most configurations. You will see these on our store page very very soon.