A Cheap Chia GPU Plotter and Farmer in HP Z420
The HP Z420 is a great option for a budget build as a Chia GPU plotter and farmer. This also could be an excellent value for a lot of chia farmers as it very cheap and can even with the punny GPU we used with it, perform surprisingly well. While the GTX 1070 is certainly not a hard recommendation, it is an interesting card that many folks will have already laying around or be able to find locally for very cheap. Like $385 with GPU cheap. Do keep in mind if you want to farm and plot chia at the same time, you need to get a 12GB gpu like a 3060 that has enough VRAM to do both at the same time at a C level that is attractive. Check the sheet for more information on that.
Here is the list of parts in the build and the prices I found for them in case you are sheetd out.
E5-2650 V2 7
GTX 1070 120
256GB DDR3 ECC 110
240GB Boot SSD 20
480GB Temp SSD 35
You likely have or can find the GPU and SSDs already, so this is a cheap package to get a full ram plotter in.
HP Z420 Issues
The Z420 has more then a few “quirks” that you need to be on the lookout for. Here are some of the ones that WILL hit you if you are trying to install 256GB ram.
You need to get a E5-26XX V2 CPU so that you can access the 256GB ram. I dont know why, but you will have a blinking red light with a E5-16XX chip.
You need to get a 6 to 8 pin cable. That will allow you to run a single GPU off this PSU however….
You need to have a 600w PSU in your unit. I have heard there is a lower wattage PSU so be on alert for that.
The BIOS may be out of date by a lot. Use caution in attempting to update it.
Im not sure if the 8 sata ports are all able to run at once. Im also unsure if they will work at full SATA 6GB speeds.
You will get a fan warning if you dont have the fan cover that goes over the ram plugged in and running. Its annoying.
The best parts of this workstation aside from it being really cheap, is that it has a LOT of PCIe lanes. 40 total with a V2 CPU and that is great as you could run multiple cards easy off one. A SAS External HBA, GPU and NVMe could all happen. These still pack a lot of punch also, so dont write it off as a good platform for using for virtualization and other tasks if your interested. Overall for a very cheap base package, especially if you have drives and a GPU/SSDs already. Overall this is a great old workstation and I fully expect it could hit PCIe 3 speeds on the bus with a faster GPU like a 3060 if you want to go that route as well. I am still sold on MadMax Gigahorse C8 plots also and do check the end of this video to get the numbers behind why.
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