Use and Mining Performance of the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU
Yesterday we have shared our First Impressions from the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU Built for Crypto Mining and today we are going to talk a bit more about actually mining with the GPU and what to expect from it in terms of hashrate. You probably are already read that we were not that happy with the hardware implementation around the Nvidia GP106-100 GPU that Gigabyte did with this particular model. There are however a few more things that need to be noted before we move to the performance numbers…
Since the GP106-100 GPU is intended only for mining and although based on the consumer GTX 1060 it is a different product the latest official Nvidia Graphics Driver 384.76 for GeForce GPUs does not have support for the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G. Things get even weirder when you go to Gigabyte’s website and you do not find a product page for that particular model, nor a support page with the drivers you need to install. There is no driver CD included in the package either, so you just go to Asus’ website and download the driver for their GP106-100 implementation and it works just fine.
Since the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU does not have any external video outputs you will need to use it along with motherboard that has a built-in Intel GPU support (or maybe even AMD APU). You still need to be able to install the OS and configure things some way, after that you can use remote administration of some kind to control and monitor things, so not that big of an issue. There are however some motherboards that can be used for mining with 6 GPUs, however you cannot get 6x GP106-100 GPUs on them along with the built-in graphics working, so you need to be careful about that as well.
Here are the specifications for the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU according to GPU-Z. The stock settings do not seem much different than the ones of a regular GeForce GTX 1060 6GB model and performance wise there should be not that much of a difference either. That is as far as the stock settings go, but one would still hope that labeling this a mining GPU would still bring some extra benefits not only in terms of properly designed hardware for the miner’s needs, but also improvements such as better memory timings for mining for example. Unfortunately that was not the case for Gigabyte’s product in either of the two – the hardware design and the memory optimizations…
The mining performance for ZCash (ZEC) and other Equihash-based mining algorithms is pretty much the same as on a regular GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GPUs. You can expect to get around 300 Sol/s using the popular EWBF ZEC CUDA miner and overclocking the video memory does not help much in improving the hashrate, though playing with the frequencies can squeeze a bit more extra performance. Clearly while not bad in terms of performance these Nvidia mining GPUs are not intended to be sued for ZEC mining as much as for other crypto currencies.
When talking about other crypto currencies we actually mean that the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G GPU and more specifically the whole Nvidia GP106-100 product is targeted at Ethereum (ETH) miners. Using the latest Claymore ETH dual miner we managed to squeeze just about 20.9 MHS mining Ethereum with the card and unfortunately that is not very satisfying result. Still this is just the default result at stock settings, things get more interesting when you start tweaking things a bit.
Overclocking the Samsung GDDR5 video memory has produced some surprisingly good results. We have managed to squeeze +900 MHz extra form the video memory using Afterburner and the card remained stable for mining. The result was a performance of about 26 MHS at stock TDP of 120W. Lowering down the TDP to 65% or with just about 80W per GPU the result was still about 25.9 MHS, so things started looking pretty good. So clearly Nvidia is targeting the product at Ethereum miners where with some overclocking it can provide really good performance results in terms of hashrate and power consumption.
The big question here is if the slightly lower price of the Nvidia GP106-100 GPUs like this one on the retail market is worth for small home miners. Originally these were intended for large scale mining operations where the prices are probably more attractive when you are talking about hundreds and thousands units. If you are able to get similar results in terms of performance from a regular GTX 1060 GPU with full warranty, video output connectors and no other cost cutting at a slightly higher price then things are may not be looking that good for Nvidia GP106-100. Though in our experience most GTX 1060 6GB models with 8 GHz video memory max out at about 24 MHS with overclocking on Ethereum. So it is up to you to decide if it is worth it, but again we are not too happy with Gigabyte’s solution to the mining problem. Their NP106D5-6G GPU is essentially a stripped down model of a consumer product to make it cheaper, not to make it better or more useful for crypto miners.