At STH, we have a history of cryptonight mining on various server and workstation platforms such as the Intel Xeon E5, AMD Ryzen, and AMD EPYC. We also provide a full suite of Docker-based mining applications, private pools, VM images, bandwidth estimates, configuration/ performance advice, for those mining on clusters of servers. If you want to get involved, head over to the STH crypto mining and markets forum.
Recently a few readers, and the AMD PR team at a dinner this week made us aware that some of the consumer-oriented sites are extolling the virtues of mining Monero on AMD Threadripper. These articles have a similar premise to what we published with the EPYC 7601 in June 2017. We wanted to show why AMD EPYC completely obliterates Threadripper in cryptonight mining, and it is not even close.
AMD EPYC v. Threadripper Monero and Cryptonight Mining
We decided to use the AMD EPYC 7351 part for this comparison since it is also 16 cores and 32 threads and because the EPYC 7351P is similar in price to the Threadripper 1950X. We made a quick video that shows some of the differences:
The salient points are that AMD EPYC has more L3 cache and lower clock speeds. Cryptonight mining generally requires 2MB cache per mining thread. As a result, one can run twice as many threads on a 16 core / 32 thread EPYC than on the same number of Threadripper cores. Since EPYC has lower clock speeds, it is also able to use less power making single socket v. single socket more efficient. That efficiency scales in dual socket configurations to where we are seeing a fairly regular 75% efficiency gain, along with higher hash rates using AMD EPYC.
While AMD Threadripper is competitive with previous generation Intel Xeon platforms for mining, it is not competitive with modern servers, even when those servers are built using the same basic die building block.
One of the key aspects of CPU mining is that one is constantly battling those with zero hardware and power costs. If you are buying a consumer-oriented CPU, or server CPU for that matter, to exclusively mine on, you are going to get priced out of the market by those with essentially free hardware and power (botnets and some server farms.) Also, we tagged this post and video with Monero since it is the largest Cryptonight currency, but this applies to others such as Sumo, Turtle, Electroneum among others as well. Likewise, AMD EPYC is also extremely efficient at Aeon (Cryptonight-lite) mining. The smaller, less liquid, coins tend to be more profitable than Monero albeit harder to transact with.
The key here is that it is fun to mine on the desktop, but if you want power, efficiency, and stability along with servers that can mine and run other applications, AMD EPYC is a far superior choice.