Building a new industry from the ground up is pretty exciting— especially when it’s an industry with revolutionary implications for the world economy. But starting from scratch can mean a lot of trial and error. With over 26 years of cumulative mining experience, our team has compiled five lessons we’ve learned in optimizing mining farm designs.
- View mining operations holistically
It’s easy to focus on maximizing hash power and revenue and neglect other factors that come back to haunt you later on. Cutting corners can quickly become an expensive proposition in terms of damaged equipment and downtime. A balanced approach is key to achieving the best long-term performance possible.
- Avoid single points of failure
While it’s not economically feasible in bitcoin mining designs to build a redundant power supply system like traditional data centers, there are ways to establish better reliability. It’s important to design a degree of redundancy into every level of a mining farm, many are very cheap or low-cost solutions. In our design phase, we limit single points of failure by fortifying critical points in an economic fashion. This can be done by setting up mechanical loads on the same systems as unit loads, and using redundant distribution network switches at key points. Our goal is to avoid losing the whole facility (or a large chunk of it) from a single point of failure thus minimizing the size and frequency of large outages.
- Plan to scale
When establishing a new mining operation, there are a few things you can do that require minimal time and resources but make future expansion much easier and cheaper. It’s often advantageous to complete important underground work for future expansions during the initial construction phase. This can eliminate the need to shut off power to safely dig more underground feeders in the future. Completing expansion plans ahead of time, can also greatly decrease or eliminate permitting delays and costs.
- Budgeting Miners vs. Infrastructure
It’s easy to exhaust your budget on mining rigs and underestimate the cost of building out a power delivery system. While miners last 3-5 years, properly built infrastructure can be used for over a decade. An overloaded power distribution network can lead to increased downtime in a number of ways, and in extreme cases, it can even be dangerous. Running the facility at near max capacity leads to premature breaker tripping, hot cables, and general issues surrounding reliability. A failure that takes a facility down for a week costs far more than building safety buffers into the project from the beginning.
- Cooling the Hash Center
The key to a profitable mining farm is stability. The cooling side of this equation is critical. Current mining equipment entails consistent, high density heat loads, which requires a high volume of air movement. Consistent temperature range is more important than ‘cold temperatures’ for these machines. Proper air-flow engineering, filter capacity, recirculation, and automation are also important for maintaining the longevity of equipment.
Liquid cooling is a newer innovative way to deal with the challenges of cooling. With liquid cooling, chips are immersed in engineered fluid, eliminating the need for cooling fans. While the initial outlay is greater than with air cooling, superior heat dispersal allows overclocking. The cost-benefit analysis gets better further into the equipment’s lifespan, and the lifespan is longer because the miners run at a stable temperature and are not exposed to dust or moisture.
For more detailed information on optimizing your mining operations, you can download our ebook here.