You probably heard rumors about the new motherboard that can handle up to 19 GPUs. In this article, I am going to give an in-depth review to the Asus B250 Expert Mining. While this new addition by Asus has a variety of nice features to offer, it comes with some downsides, too.
ASUS B250 Expert Mining Specs
The B250 is just like any other modern motherboard with the exception that it comes with one PCIE x16 and 18 PCIE x1 slots. It is based on the B250 chipset and it supports 6 and 7 generation Intel processors.
Memory-wise, the board features two slots that can hold up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 2400 MHz. As you could expect, the mobo has four SATA 3 ports and six USB 3.1 ports.
Besides that, there are some mining-specific features worth mentioning:
- Triple ATX 12V power delivery
Situated on the right side of the board, the three ATX power ports allow you to avoid using multiple molex connectors, thus making PSU connection easier and less cumbersome. It also improves stability and reduces risks of damage to your GPUs. The board comes with three additional molex connectors.
As you can see on the picture, each ATX power slot powers its own set of PCIE ports. The color scheme on this picture helps us determine how the power distribution works.
- PCIE Slot state detection
This tool is rather unique since it allows you to check which PCIE slots are used and which ones are not. In addition to that, there is a third state that is called “error”, which means that the GPU is connected to the PCIE slot, but there is no usual interaction with the card. You can access this status window directly from the BIOS.
- Voltage stabilization capacitors
Each of the 19 PCIE slots comes with a Japanese high-end capacitor that stabilizes power coming from the power supply. This feature might save your GPUs in case of a faulty PSU and will definitely improve GPU stability.
- Mining mode BIOS optimization
Asus proudly announced that their new motherboard features a mining mode, which allows miners to “start mining right out of the box”. I am however uncertain about what does this mining mode do exactly.
Pricing and Release Date
According to ASUS, the card will hit the shelves somewhere in October. The estimated price is $140 per unit, which means that the B250 got quite good $ per PCIE slot.
If you are not new to mining, you probably already spotted some downsides of having 19 GPUs installed on one single motherboard. While the motherboard par se will more likely be able to handle the GPUs, there are side effects to having so many cards in one single rig. Let me list the most obvious ones:
GPU Availability: You saw this one coming. Mining motherboards are available again thanks to the efforts of Asus, Gigabyte and Asrock, yet mining GPUs are still in shortage. If you’re like most of the miners, you’re probably having a hard time getting any GPUs for your rig. This is why most of us operate small rigs. Now, getting this motherboard for a 6-8 GPU mining rig might be a bit of a waste.
PSU Problems: unless you’re mining with potatoes, 19 GPUs require somewhere between 2.5 and 3 KW of power. Even if the motherboard is designed to be powered by three PSUs, you’d still have to get your hand on three 1.3 kW PSU, which are rather scarce and pricey. For instance, a 500 W power supply costs $ 40 USD, while a 1500 W one costs about $ 430.
Frame: a 19 GPU mining rig requires a custom frame, one you probably won’t be able to buy anywhere. This translates to extra costs and time.
Downtime Issues: Bugs happen. There are many things that cause a rig to stop working for some time. It takes time to troubleshoot and fix the issue and you are losing money every minute of downtime. We all agree that there is huge difference between 8 and 19 idle GPUs. Having three 6-GPU mining rigs instead of a 19-GPU one might notably reduce GPU idle time in case of bugs (which inevitably happen from time to time)
Overclocking: Past weeks, I was busy trying to make my 13 GPU rig work. I’m certainly not new to mining, however it took me a ridiculously huge amount of time to overclock each of the GPUs and make them work together on my ethos system. The amount of crashes I was getting in the process of overclocking is rather frustrating. I can only speculate on how much of a hassle it will be to overclock a 19 GPU rig.
While the idea of having a rig of 19 GPUs might sound cool, you probably agree that in reality it is not. Considering the situation we are facing with GPU deficit, it might be a wise idea to opt for smaller motherboards.
That being said, I really like the idea of having three ATX connectors on one mobo. I might consider the idea of using this motherboard on a 12 GPU rig in order to take advantage of the ATX connectors. We will see.
Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.
Subscribe and stay tuned for further updates!