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Improve Cooling for Better Chia Plotting Speed

by Brian Beeler
Chia Cooling Photo

Using an SSD for Chia plotting is ideal, but even with no moving parts, SSDs can get hot. This is especially true when considering the Chia plotting workload is almost entirely write-centric. In a server, drive cooling is native and designed to meet the needs of an SSD. For most PC rigs though, cooling might get a little dicey under these conditions, causing the drive to slow down in an act of self-preservation, hurting your Chia plotting speed. When it comes to Chia farming, cooling is also important, as we’re seeing some HDDs being used in very creative ways, including within our own lab.

…and safer Chia farming. 

Using an SSD for Chia plotting is ideal, but even with no moving parts, SSDs can get hot. This is especially true when considering the Chia plotting workload is almost entirely write-centric. In a server, drive cooling is native and designed to meet the needs of an SSD. For most PC rigs though, cooling might get a little dicey under these conditions, causing the drive to slow down in an act of self-preservation, hurting your Chia plotting speed. When it comes to Chia farming, cooling is also important, as we’re seeing some HDDs being used in very creative ways, including within our own lab.

Chia Plotting and Farming – Getting Creative

Users all over Reddit are trying their best to set up Chia rigs. We prefer a well-built server, even in cheap Chia rig builds. But many testing their luck with Chia Coin are going an entirely different route. Some have turned to 3D printing HDD shelves (32 bay plan, 8 bay plan) as a quick and easy way to get farming capacity online quickly. Others have gone completely bespoke, like /u/Brave-Jellyfish7787.

chia plotting speed

This fella has taken adaptability to the next level with custom drive enclosures that are laser-cut acrylic. He’s using a custom power setup and then connecting a ton of cables to an HBA in the system. The drives are spaced out some in those racks to allow for airflow and extra air can be circulated easily with a basic box fan. It’s important to allow for spacing between farming hard drives, stacking them without spacing will definitely lead to high temps and drive failure.

Chia cooling chia SSD plotter

/u/Drwsh has found out about keeping the SSD cool and answers the problem with a most basic solution. It doesn’t take much to introduce airflow to the drive, which is just enough to take the edge off when it comes to overheating a Chia plotting SSD. Here a little clip-on fan ($15 at Amazon) will reduce an SSD’s thermals and keep it operating at full Chia plotting speed. Some SSDs come with a nice heatsync on top, but even so, a little extra air movement won’t hurt.

We’re Not Immune

Even though we operate a data center, Chia plotting and plot migration are making us get creative too! We don’t have many native server platforms with support for 3.5″ hard drives these days. Creativity and insanity have had a hand in getting those HDDs attached.

This is especially true when we look at one of our 1U servers, which supports a lot of 2.5″ NVMe SSDs, but no dense hard drives. To experiment with how to get around this problem we’ve used a SAS SFF-8643 to four SATA connector cable ($10-20 at Amazon), with an external power supply to power the hard drives. We’ve then used a repurposed old PC case fan to create some airflow across the drives.

Chia HDD Cooling

It’s not pretty but it seems to work while we explore Chia and create content pieces around it. The main takeaway really needs to be that first and foremost, make sure you keep your hard drives cool so your farm stays online. The last thing you want is your 12TB, 14TB, 16TB, or *gasp* 18TB HDD to die because it was running too hot.

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