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Raspberry Pi 4 Controls 160 TB Chia Farm

LithiumSolar's 160TB Chia Farm
(Image credit: YouTube: LithiumSolar)

If there's one thing that Chia has done since its inception (apart from driving up prices of hard drives) is giving birth to a number of DIY projects that aim to increase power efficiency of farming. But then again, if one is going through a personal computing project, why not make it as interesting as possible? And that's what YouTuber LithiumSolar has done, by repurposing a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4 GB of RAM as the brains for a 160 TB Chia farm.

Chia is a cryptocurrency that uses proofs of time and space, which occupies otherwise free hard drive space with proofs (named plots, as if they were plots of land) that maintain the security and blockchain cohesiveness of Chia. While the plotting process (the creation of plots) is both CPU and storage-heavy in its performance requirements, the farming element of the equation (where your plots sit idle on your hard drives until they're summoned to serve as proofs for a new Chia block generation) is extremely light in its computing requirements. This has opened up a series of DIY projects that make the ubiquitous and extremely versatile Raspberry Pi 4 as the center of their Chia farms.

The Raspberry Pi 4 is shown as being capable of handling the farming requirements for this 160 TB Chia farm whilst controlling 17 HDDs, running a full node and a farmer, and responding to the Chia network proof checks in a timely manner so as to enable an actual Chia win (even if those usually dress up as veritable unicorns in their rarity). Even if you are pooling, this project would work much the same way, whilst reducing your farmer's power consumption to one of the lowest possible ones hardware-wise. And it's a way to dip your toes in the DIY Raspberry Pi world - a potentially Alice-in-Wonderland-like world with bottomless fun and possibilities.

  • olin9
    I started chia farming because of TomsHardware and while a fun project it is not profitable. I have a Pi 4 8GB running 9 drives that equal 47 TBs 416 plots in Space pool.

    The hardware cost about $1300. More if I count the extra ram, which I look at as an upgrade that helped the systems as a whole.

    With madmax plotter and 2 WD 550 NVME 1 TB on a 2700x I could plot 31 plots a day (2 weeks to plot the 416). And the plotting used 20% of each of the drives life span.

    The farm running on the PI 4 wins about $1.5 everyday at current prices so it will only take over 5 years for ROI. On the pool right now you can get 0.00235 chia per 10TB every 24 hours.

    And the best price on HD are at Best Buy $104 for 5TB easystore. If you use the easystore they are 2.5 laptop drives that do not need additional external power other than the USB hubs. Less power cords, smaller size, lower power usage. Not sure about life span. I would assume the full size WD like the 8 TB at Best Buy for $180 would last longer since they use the WD Red 7200 drives. But the cost per GB and the power is higher.

    Because of the current price of chia ($190.94) it is not a good ideal to expand the farm by adding more space. If it goes back up to the high of $1600 I will add more HD.

    Note: The Pi farm just sits behind my monitor using very little power and making no sounds and no additional work. And all hardware can be reused if I ever stop farming.
    Reply
  • pyxle
    Is the site sponsored by the Chia company or something? This is the only place I ever hear or read about it and it seems off.
    Reply
  • escksu
    I almost started chiacoin farming after reading tomshardware..... Then went to this website.

    https://chiacalculator.com/
    160TB will only get the person USD 258 a month.... After deducting power, the earnings are really peanuts..

    160TB requires 20 x 8TB drives (actual space less). 8TB drive cost around USD 160-180 each, so 20 + other hardware cost around USD3.6K-4K.....thats 14-16 months just to breakeven (more months after deducting power).

    So, I tell myself nay.....
    Reply
  • escksu
    olin9 said:
    I started chia farming because of TomsHardware and while a fun project it is not profitable. I have a Pi 4 8GB running 9 drives that equal 47 TBs 416 plots in Space pool.

    The hardware cost about $1300. More if I count the extra ram, which I look at as an upgrade that helped the systems as a whole.

    With madmax plotter and 2 WD 550 NVME 1 TB on a 2700x I could plot 31 plots a day (2 weeks to plot the 416). And the plotting used 20% of each of the drives life span.

    The farm running on the PI 4 wins about $1.5 everyday at current prices so it will only take over 5 years for ROI. On the pool right now you can get 0.00235 chia per 10TB every 24 hours.

    And the best price on HD are at Best Buy $104 for 5TB easystore. If you use the easystore they are 2.5 laptop drives that do not need additional external power other than the USB hubs. Less power cords, smaller size, lower power usage. Not sure about life span. I would assume the full size WD like the 8 TB at Best Buy for $180 would last longer since they use the WD Red 7200 drives. But the cost per GB and the power is higher.

    Because of the current price of chia ($190.94) it is not a good ideal to expand the farm by adding more space. If it goes back up to the high of $1600 I will add more HD.

    Note: The Pi farm just sits behind my monitor using very little power and making no sounds and no additional work. And all hardware can be reused if I ever stop farming.

    Wow, thats worse than I thought. Due to finite lifespan of the SSDs, I think alot of the profits goes into funding new SSDs....
    Reply
  • olin9
    The SSD or NVMEs are used for plotting only and after plotting they are there forever on the slow HD. I am not sure about life span of slow HD that hold the plots.

    If I do not do any additional plots, my NVMEs will far outlast the 5 years with 80% write still left. NVMEs I have have a 600 TB life span each. To create 1 plot it must write about 1.2 TB.

    the chia calculator can make it look better than it is.

    Once you have the plots, they are like lotto tickets. You may win and you may not. With pools you aways win but it is real small amount. But at this point its not a project to make money. So keep your day job.
    Reply