Chinese motherboard manufacturer Onda (via ZOL (opens in new tab)) has launched the brand's new Chia-D32H-D4 motherboard. The model name alone is enough to tell you that this motherboard is aimed at farming Chia cryptocurrency, which has already caused hard drive price spikes in Asia.
Designed for mining, rather than to compete with the best motherboards for gaming, the Chia-D32H-D4 is most likely a rebranded version of Onda's existing B365 D32-D4 motherboard. It measures 530 x 310mm, so the Chia-D32H-D4 isn't your typical motherboard. In fact, Onda has produced a special case with an included power supply for this specific model. The unspecified 800W power supply arrives with the 80Plus Gold certification, while the case features five cooling fans.
The Chia-D32H-D4's selling point is obviously the motherboard's 32 SATA ports, allowing you to leverage up to 32 hard drives. The B365 chipset can only provide a limited amoung of SATA ports, so the Chia-D32H-D4 depends on a third-party SATA controller such as Marvell to get the count up to 32. We counted seven SATA controllers in the render of the motherboard. Assuming that each controller delivers up to four SATA ports, the remaining four should come from the B365 chipset itself.
At 18GB per drive, the motherboard can accommodate up to 576GB of storage for all your Chia farming activities — enough for around 5,760 101.4GiB plots. Based on the current Chia network stats (opens in new tab), that would be enough for about 0.05% of the total Chia netspace, though that's likely to decrease rapidly in the coming days if current trends continue, never mind the time required to actually generate that many plots.
In terms of power connectors, the Chia-D32H-D4 comes equipped with a standard 24-pin power connector, one 8-pin EPS connector and up to two 6-pin PCIe power connectors. The latter is designed exclusively to power the hard drives.
Based on the LGA1151 socket and B365 chipset, the Chia-D32H-D4 is very flexible in regards to processor support. It's compatible with Intel's Skylake, Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake and Coffee Lake Refresh processors. The motherboard utilizes a modest six-phase power delivery subsystem, but it should be sufficient to house processors up to the Core i9 tier.
Besides the deep storage requirements, Chia farming is reliant memory as well. A single Chia splot requires around 4GB of memory. The Chia-D32H-D4 offers four DDR4 memory slots, providing the opportunity to have up to 128GB of memory in the system. On paper, you can plot up to 32 plots in parallel.
Expansion options on the Chia-D32H-D4 are limited to one PCIe x16 slot, one PCIe x1 slot and one M.2 slot. Connectivity, however, is pretty generous. For connecting displays, you can choose between the HDMI port or VGA port. There are also four USB 3.0 ports and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. A power button is located on both ends of the motherboard.
Onda hasn't listed the Chia-D32H-D4 motherboard on its website nor its pricing. However, rumor on the street is that motherboards are already in the hands of Chia farmers.