How to choose a riser?
Why do I need a riser?
The more GPUs you have, the higher the profit you get!
Regular computer cases can hold up to 2-3 GPUs. Such configurations produce a lot of noise and heat as video cards are stacked close to each other and lack the airflow to cool them off. Besides, many motherboards don't support multi-GPU systems at all because of having just one PCIe x16 slot on-board.
Riser acts as an extension cable allowing to put GPUs outside of the case. You can even construct a unique chassis for your cards. But be aware — your cat may find a new comfortable spot to spend its free time 🐱
Despite the overall simplicity of purpose, risers vary a lot. The market is full of different varieties and modifications. Like with every other product, manufacturers tend to exploit your inexperience — playing tricks, cutting the costs, and selling a poor quality product.
Poor quality risers and severe overclocking are the main reasons behind unstable mining, according to the Kryptex support statistics.
In this article, we will cover how risers work, which types are worth buying, and how to prevent your precious farm from bursting into flames. 🔥😳🔥
How do they work?
A riser is used to relocate PCIe slot acting like an extension cord. One side is connected to the motherboard, the other end to the GPU. That's it!
Usually, riser comprises three parts:
- A small board with a PCIe x1 plug, which goes into a motherboard;
- Another board with a PCIe x16 socket to insert a GPU in;
- A USB cable to connect those two boards.
Sometimes additional power connectors are bundled with the core package.
Which slot should I plug it in to?
Any PCI Express will do. You can use riser with any interface version: x1, x2, x4, x8, x16. The riser will always work on 1x speed, which doesn't affect the mining performance at all.
With games, you need broad CPU-GPU bandwidth handling constant data transfer. In contrast, mining requires an app to be loaded into the memory once and then only share some tiny data about hashes and jobs from time to time. Thus, even a single-lane PCIe x1 can easily handle all the stuff.
☠ Do not connect riser into a USB port. USB is used only to link parts of the riser with each other!
A "no-no" risers 🚫
There are two types of risers, which you should avoid using even if you've got them for free.
Flexible x1-x16 risers
Do not buy any kind of these. Rubber cable sleeve does not protect the cable itself from any of electromagnetic interference. Thus, any defect may affect mining. These risers also lack extra power delivery options bringing an extra load to a PCIe slot.
4-pin floppy powered risers
Old computers used this connection to power CD/DVD-ROM and 3.5" floppy drives. Those consumed much less power than modern GPUs do. Any riser using such power supply might introduce mining instability and even a risk of catching fire.
Kryptex recommends 👍
All risers, except those stated above, are safe to use. They mostly differ with power input type. Best to worst:
- Universal has multiple connection options on a single board — use any.
- 4pin Molex;
- 4-8pin PSU;
- 15pin SATA.
⚠ SATA power risers notice ⚠
15pin SATA is generally used to power low consuming HDD, SSD, ROM, etc. Thus, PSU manufacturers tend to cut costs on SATA cables, making them thinner less durable. If cable thickness or connector quality raise your concerns, use a different riser type.
What cable length to choose
Risers packages mostly come with 30 or 60 cm USB cables. Most often then not, It is enough. However, if you want to organize your rack more neatly, choose cables on the longer side.
Exotic risers 😲
Miners want to utilize all the power of their rigs available. With more than a dozen riser variations existing right now, engineers continue to introduce new types to the market each year. This allows connecting even more GPUs with less effort.
M.2 is a specification for internal expansion cards, mostly SSD. Internally, it can be connected to the SATA or PCIe lanes. If your's is utilizing PCIe, try an M.2 riser. They come in the form of direct adapters, in which you connect your typical riser, as well as in the form of a usual USB extender.
Only PCIe M.2 slots can run risers. SATA connection will not work!
If your motherboard runs out of PCIe slots, but you still need to add extra cards, you may think about buying a splitter instead of a new motherboard. Sound like a great way to save a buck, right?
Wrong. More often then not splitters do not work as they intended. They tend to glitch, losing connections with cards, and not being able to endure overclock.
Here at Kryptex, we prefer spending extra time with our friends and family instead of figuring out what GPU once again went offline because of the splitter. 😒
Where to buy
- Chinese marketplaces: AliExpress, Taobao. S&H in 2-4 weeks, low price, no guarantees.
- Ebay generally tends to have reliable sellers but returning defected ones could be a hassle.
- Local retailers usually sell at a higher price at the benefit of quick pick-up and easy returns.
- Amazon, BestBuy and other chain retailer or e-markets. Post sales service, decent price, and wide choice make this a great option.
Here are some great AliExpress deals
- 6pin PSU riser
- 4pin Molex riser
- Universal white riser
- Universal black riser
- Another universal black riser
- 15pin SATA riser
Avoiding a fire 🧯
Video cards consume much more power compared to any other PC component. It is critical to power and cool them off properly.
Follow these recommendations to be safe and sound:
- Set up your rig only after checking your risers one by one. Unfortunately, defective risers are pretty widespread.
- Do not use thin power cables. The high current may quickly burn the wires.
- Check for soft pads at the back of a riser. This pad prevents unwanted contact with chassis, mainly made of metal.
- Stick with PSU load limits specified on a special sticker on a PSU.
- Check power cables from time to time. If you've noticed cable going too hot, or it darkened/melted, change connector immediately!
Fire hazard introduced by risers may sound like an overestimation, but it's not. Here at Kryptex we have personally faced the molten cables and smoking rigs. So please be safe! 🙏🏻
Got any questions? Contact Kryptex!
Message us, and we’ll help with any issue 💪🏻 Replies are given within one day.