For those deterred by Skylake/Z170 builds (5 GPUs stable so far)

Jotun70Jotun70 Member Posts: 107 ✭✭
edited June 2016 in Mining
I just got into eth mining about a week ago and I am a complete noob to mining in general. However, I do know my way around computer hardware and I needed an excuse to work on a new project. Before I started, I read up as much as I could in about a 72 hour time period (not enough time...) before I bought my hardware. Of course I somehow missed the 3-4 threads with people complaining about the skylake chipset and how it is basically trash for mining with 4+ GPUs. My heart sunk when I found this information out, but I have been determined to make it work...

First, here's my build:

i3 6100
Corsair DDR4 LPX 2x4GB
EVGA 220-P2-1200-X1 (1200w Platinum rated)
4x R7 370 (3 XFX, 1 Asus)
1x Sapphire Nitro R9 380 (had it laying around and have another on the way)
X16 --> X1 Powered Risers (USB type)

AMD Driver: 16.6.1 (latest)
Windows 10
Claymore's Dual Miner (solo Eth mode)

The rig started with 3x 370s and 1x 380. It was essentially plug and play, minus the fact that I went ahead and changed PCIe to Gen2 in bios before hand. The only issue I ran into were crashes as the result of a faulty riser. Changing the riser out solved the problem immediately. As far as where I plugged the cards in, I just populated the main x16 slot (the one closest to CPU) with the 380, then filled out the 3 slots below that with the other 3 cards.

When I received my 5th gpu the other night, I ran into issues. First, it wasn't being detected at all. I lowered PCIe to Gen1 in bios. It was detected. Next, it was "GPU FAIL" errors in Claymore. 1 GPU would drop out after ~5 minutes every time. Clocks back to defaults, switched drivers around (15.12, 15.11, etc), tried a couple parameters in Claymore (-ethi, -gser) to no avail. GPU would continue to drop out. I tried rotating the GPUs around into different slots, still the same problem. I ran out of ideas, so I set the -wd to 0 and called it a night. The closest I got in any of those changes was maybe getting an extra 15 minutes of run time with all 5 GPUs up... and it was random so I considered it a fluke.

Finally, last night I decided to check bios again. The MSI Z170 SLI Plus bios is VERY limited imo... but there was the PCI Latency Timer setting. It was at default of 32. I set it to 64 and haven't had a GPU drop in nearly 24 hours now.

TLDR; Fiddle with the PCI Latency Timer setting. Maybe it is just something that just works with this particular board, but with that simple change from 32 --> 64, and she's been stable for nearly 24 hours. I even cranked the clocks up mid-day today while it was still running. Zero issues!

I look forward to continuing on with this experiment in the coming weeks/months. I will have a 6th GPU arriving Tuesday, at which time I will update with progress if anyone cares. I am only sharing this because it seemed most have dismissed the Z170a chipset as being viable. Perhaps the cost is still prohibitive, but I feel pretty good about sticking the board into a decent gaming rig or selling it down the line, especially over something like the H81 BTC boards.


  • lazylordethlazylordeth Member Posts: 6
    Hi, Im working with a MSI Z170-A Pro which is really stuborn, Im gonna follow your suggestion, so thanks for this post, would you care to share your experience after all this time using the 1151 chipset? because the asrock h97 anniversary seems to be discontinued, and the latest ones that i have bought only work with 5 GPU (I had bought over 30 of those MB and they worked with no problem using 6 gpu) and I really need a cheap Replacement
  • iamnoobplzhelpiamnoobplzhelp Member Posts: 191 ✭✭
    Thanks for posting this! I have this exact same board but I can't even get the 5th card to be recognized. I will play around with the PCI Latency Timer!
  • iamnoobplzhelpiamnoobplzhelp Member Posts: 191 ✭✭
    I haven't been able to get 5 cards to work with this motherboard no matter what =(. Is there a custom bios for this like there is the Pro Carbon version?
  • GethskyGethsky Member Posts: 9
    Ill give this a try. So far I've hit nothing but a brick wall with the Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard. This process is painful.
  • iamnoobplzhelpiamnoobplzhelp Member Posts: 191 ✭✭
    Gethsky said:

    Ill give this a try. So far I've hit nothing but a brick wall with the Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard. This process is painful.

    This is an old post. With the Gaming M5, you should easily be able to get 7 cards working.

    Update to most recent bios provided by manufacturer.
    Set PEG1/2 to GEN1
    Set 'Above 4G Encoding' to Enabled
    Disable onboard graphics

    If you have installed Windows in UEFI mode, then your cards should all be recognized, but initially install one card at a time until all 7 are recognized.
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