GPU Mining Benchmark Tool: NVIDIA Only

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Overview:

  • How To Properly Set Up PG Bench
  • Step 1: Download and Install
  • Step 2: Configure Pools Tab
  • Step 3: Download and Install Miners
  • Step 4: Configure App settings Tab
  • Step 5: Configure Parameters Tab
  • Step 6: Details Tab: (Start Testing
  • Other Tabs
  • PG Bench Known Bugs

If you been looking for a GPU mining benchmark tool to help find the best overclock settings for mining rigs then you might be in luck. Finally, after months of testing, Crypto Miner Tips is proud to be one of the first mining blogs to cover this amazing software.

Just to be clear this is not technically my software and I’m in no way shape or form affiliated with it nor is CMT paid to endorse it. With that said I felt compelled to help the developer out with a guide as I’m a huge fan of this awesome tool after months of being a beta tester.

PG Bench is an automated multi-algorithm GPU Mining benchmarking application. Developed specifically to help GPU miners find the most stable overclock settings without having to do all the guesswork manually.

Not only can you find the best OC settings, but PG Bench also allows you to compare each GPUs approved shares vs rejected, temperatures, and even wattage(select cards only) to maximize mining efficiency.

Current release only supports NVIDIA cards(Geforce Series Only) but future development to support AMD and RTX cards is currently being discussed. PG Bench also only supports Windows 10 operating systems.

The software is free to download and use but comes with an 18 minute, for every 24 hours of use, Dev fee which I think is more than fair considering the value it offers. So please don’t go disturbing the dev complaining about it as he has bills to pay as well. Besides I know firsthand how hard it is to learn to code so I’m more than happy to pay it.

The only real downside to this software is it can be difficult to set up and configure your first time. So in this guide, I’m going to teach you exactly how to best use this software to find the most stable overclock settings. This way you always know you’re getting the most hashes from your GPU mining rigs.

How To Properly Set Up PG Bench

Step 1: Download and Install

To get started benchmarking with PG Bench download the installation using the link below.

PG Bench ZIP

After your download is completed create a separate desktop folder to unzip the downloaded folder into.

Once you have the files unzip inside the desktop folder go ahead and left-click on the PGBench.exe to begin installing.

Now you’ll be asked to agree to the software’s EULA terms so go ahead and click Agree.

Click Agree to the functionality as well.

Go ahead and click Run setup to complete the installation.   

After the installation is complete PG Bench automatically closes so you will need to left-click on the PG Bench.exe to restart the program. By now, if you did everything right, you should see a configuration panel with five main tabs in the upper left-hand corner(example image below).

Step 2: Configure Pools Tab

Now it’s time to begin configuring the miner so if you haven’t done so already create a Bitcoin wallet to receive payouts while running tests.

Select the Settings tab to pull up the settings menu. Inside the settings menu is an additional seven tabs to choose from but to get started select the Pools tab.

Under the Pools Tab is a list of all the pools enabled to run on PG Bench. To enable a pool to select it by left-clicking on it, paste in BTC wallet address, set coin symbol to BTC, and check the Pool enabled box. Once complete select save and close before enabling the next pool.

I recommend you enable them all or at least Blazepool, A Hash Pool, Blockmasters, and Hash Refinery. Additionally, I’d like to add you can enable or disable algorithms under the Pools Tab but for now, leave them all enabled.

Step 3: Download and Install Miners

Next, select the Miners Tab under Settings which gives you a list of all the miners available to use in PG Bench. To enable a miner left-click one of the miners available in the left-hand column to begin. If the miner has multiple versions select one(preferably the newest one) like in the example image below.

Once the miner version is selected check the box Version enabled and then select Add to download. Now you can check the box Miner enabled (located middle column above miner versions) and then hit save. Repeat for every miner and miner version you wish to enable but I recommended at least enabling T-Rex, Cryptodredge, and Z-Enemy to get started(PLEASE READ WARNING BELOW).

WARNING: Please take note of the Cuda version and Min driver version required to run each miner which can be found in the right-hand column of each miner version. Which is why I recommend updating to Cuda 10 with the latest drivers to avoid any miner software issue. However, if you want to get started without updating the drivers then select a previous miner version compatible with your current installed drivers.

Before we can install the miner we have to download the miner versions we just enabled. To do this select the Download Tab under the Settings Tab then click Start Download(example image below).

Once the miners start downloading you might be required to enabled exceptions inside your antivirus before they can finish downloading. PG Bench can auto-detect the antivirus and offer to enable exceptions for you. If the screen pops up hit yes.

Step 4: Configure App settings Tab

Next, under the Settings Tab select Appsettings. This is the main configuration panel which allows you to control how the overclocking test runs. Let’s go over these settings one by one so you can get a better idea of what each one does.

Rigname: Give your rig a worker name Ex: Rig1

Round 1 runtime: Controls the runtime of each test for the first round(some algos like x16r require longer runtime tests than others). Please keep in mind that the longer the test runtime is the longer it takes complete, however, the longer test will have a better chance at finding stable overclock settings.  

Round 2 runtime: Controls the runtime of each test for the first round. After the first round is complete the software takes the best settings and retests them again. Typically these tests should be much longer than the first round. The longer the round runtime the better chance the software has in finding stable settings.

Round 2 runtime: Controls the runtime of each test for the second round. These should be longer runtimes in comparison to the first round runtimes as round two retests only the best settings from round 1. Remember the longer the runtimes are set, especially on algo’s like x16r, the better chance you have in finding stable overclock settings(two examples below).

  • Let say I wanted to test Phi2 to mine Luxcoin, however, because this algo isn’t constantly disrupting the hashing algorithms, like x16r, we can use lower runtimes. Example of Phi2 runtimes:  Round one runtimes of 7 minutes and round two runtimes of 15 minutes.
  • Whereas  x16r has a more disruptive hashing algorithm so it requires longer runtimes. Example of x16r runtimes: 1 hour for round one runtimes and 9 hours for round two runtimes.

Use the same parameters: If you want to use the same parameters across all your GPUs in your mining rig then check this box. However, I like to leave it unchecked when I’m comparing two different miners but for the sake of this guide leave this box checked for now(mess with this setting later when you better acquainted with the software).

Power target increase steps: Controls the rate at which the software will increase the power target of each GPU after each successful testing round. If you want you can leave this for now but I like to set mine in steps of 2.

Base Clock Offset increase steps: Controls the rate at which the software will increase the base clock of each GPU after each successful round. For now, I recommend adjusting setting this to 5.

Mem Clock Offset increase steps: Controls the rate at which the software will increase the Mem Clock of each GPU after each successful round. For now, I recommend adjusting this setting to 25.

Intensity increase steps: Controls the rate at which the software will increase the intensity of each GPU after each successful round. For now, I recommend adjusting this setting to 1 as some miners don’t allow you to adjust the intensity in decimal increments ex: 1,1.2,1.4 vs. 1,2,3,4. To know for sure check each miner’s ANN on bitcointalk for exact details on intensity settings.

Mine with best results after completion: If you want the software to use the best results and continue mining when the test is complete then leave this box checked.

Round 1 retries: Controls the number of retries for all first-round testing. The main reason to use these settings is to rule out any chance of a random crash unrelated to overclocking.

Round 2 retries: Controls the number of retries for all second round testing. For now, I would recommend adjusting both round 1 and 2 settings to 2 retries each.

Round 2 runs: Controls the number of rounds to run on each parameter tested in round 2. For now, I recommend adjusting this setting to run only 1 round per setting. You may find it beneficial to run more than one test for each round but it most cases redundant.

Skips seconds: Controls the amount of time after each successful round to wait before the software starts calculating. For now, I recommend adjusting this setting to 45 seconds as some miners take that long to start mining.

Use TP-Link smart plug(HS110): This allows you to connect an HS110 smart plug to the software and see the mining rigs total wattage draw reporting from the smart plug. To enable this feature you will need to enter in the smart plugs IP address and check the box.

Logic: PG Bench has two logics you can run tests on, Thorough and Random. Each test operates differently so I will do my best to explain.

  1. Thorough: Thorough, runs through all possible combinations(set under the parameters tab) starting with lowest settings. If a test fails then it is retested by the number times specified in Round retries setting. If the setting continues to fail it then it is marked as failed and all settings above it get marked as failed. If it is successful than the software increases the settings by the number specified in the increase steps settings that I mentioned earlier. Depending on your settings thorough tests can take a while to complete as its a more thorough and precise test.
  1. Random: Random selects its own settings combination from the database to start testing. If a test fails the round is retried by the number of times specified by the Round retries setting. However, if it continues to fail then this logic assumes all settings above it will fail as well. Additionally, if the test is a success then the software assumes all settings below are successful settings and the software will begin testing those as well. Although this logic is not as precise as thorough it’s quicker to complete and can be very resourceful in finding out whether the algo is even stable for your GPUs. If it’s stable then refine the settings by conducting a thorough test.

As for my thoughts on this, I prefer to use thorough as I only want to find the absolute best overclock settings for my cards. Again the only drawback is the tests can take a day or two to complete depending on the algo.

Enable Hash Auger Integration: This allows you to automatically integrate overclock settings found by PG Bench into Hash Auger which is a multi algo miner similar to nicehash. This way you can optimize your miner’s overclock settings for multiple algorithms and get the most out of automated profit switching mining.

Hash Auger   

Save Settings: Be sure to click on save settings to apply any changes you made under the App settings Tab.

Step 5: Configure Parameters Tab

Next, select the Parameters Tab under the Settings Tab. Once selected you will see all the GPUs on your mining rig. Notice how we can only change the settings of GPU 0 because we checked the box “Use the same parameters” under appsettings. This means that any setting we apply to GPU 0 will also be applied across all the other GPUs.  

Inside the Parameters Tab, we have several settings we can change so let’s go over them one by one.

Algo: Select the algo you want to test.

Pool: Select a pool to mine on while running tests.

Miner: Select a miner or version of a miner to test(Make sure you have the correct drivers).

These next set of settings have low and high parameters to set the ranges in which you want the software to run tests on.

Based on the example image above you will see my Power Target is set with a low of 72 and a high of 84. Meaning the software will only test the power settings between 72 and 84. Now we could at this point adjust the Base and Mem clock as well but I find it better to break things up into smaller tests.

One of the reasons for this is the tests can take really long if you don’t break it down into smaller tests. Notice in the example image above, after I hit save(see image to locate the save button) that testing the power target by itself would take 1 hour and 11 minutes to complete. Adjusting the mem and base clock at this point to run with the Power target settings could days or weeks to complete depending on the settings.

So to break this up I like to run PG Bench in 3 separate tests as follows:

  1. Test 1: Set the power target and run to find the best power target settings. Additionally, I like to set the base clock offset low/high boxes both to 50 especially when testing certain algos like x16r. Running the default settings of a 0 base clock I found to be very unstable for testing(test were on 1050ti 4gb series).

Example of Test 1

  1. Test 2: Take the best Power target results from test 1 and reapply it to both high and low power target settings boxes. This way the setting is now set to remain at the best target setting for all the remaining tests. In case I lost you on this I will give an example. Say I ran the test exactly like I have it set in the example image above and the result revealed that a power target of 80 was the best result. So now before I go an adjust my base and mem clock to run test 2 I also want to now set both high/low power target boxes to 80. This way I can now set high low parameters for mem and base clocks and run them as test 2(example below).

Example of Test 2 settings

  1. Test 3: Take the best Mem and Base clock results from test 2 and apply them to both of their high low boxes. So now I can take the best Power, Base, and Mem and run them while I go for test 3 which is intensity. Remember some miners intensity range can be 1-8(Cryptodredge) while others might be 19-20(check each miners readme or ANN to know for sure). To enable intensity testing you will need to check the intensity box first(again its half hid) then set the high low ranges before you save the settings.

Example of Test 3 settings

Explaining the breaking up the test may be getting too far ahead of ourselves just yet, but I wanted to give a quick briefing on how to run the software more efficiently. These next steps will tie it all together for us.

WARNING: Make sure you save your settings after adjusting any of them. If you disabled the “use same parameters across all devices” then you will need to select save on each GPU before you can start testing it.  

Step 6: Details Tab: (Start Testing

Select the Details Tab on the Main Tab Menu. This allows you to start and stop the test for each GPU you want to run benchmarks on along with monitoring your hardware temps, the wattage(only for the 1060s card or higher)and many other metrics like accepted shares submitted.

To start the test left click on each GPUs Start button and vice versa to stop a test. Once the test is started you should start to see each GPU begin running tests based on the settings you adjusted in the Parameters and Appsettings Tabs(example image below).  

As you can see in the example image above the tests are now beginning and hashrates are being reported by the software. Be sure to make note of the time left in the upper right-hand corner. Once the test is complete for a GPU you’ll see its metric bar color change to green(example image below) which means its time to look at the results.

Step 7: Results Tab: (Analyzing the DATA)

Now select the Results Tab in the main menu. This is where all the data is collected from each successful round in which you can easily analyze what settings work best for you.

These are the results after running a Test 1 style benchmark in which you can see a power target of 84% and a static Base Offset setting of 50 resulted with the highest hashrate of 2.338 Mh\s on GPU0. Please take note of the other seven GPU tabs to access the results for all the other cards.

SIDENOTE: To give you something to think about from the results above I would honestly choose the second highest setting as it appears to have a higher Acc(approved shares). Just to be clear I have no solid evidence yet that this is the better route to go but it works well for me.

Remember to break the tests up into smaller tests to by starting with the Power Target first, Mem and Base second, and then test Intensity.

Once the software has successfully found stable settings for your GPUs you have two choices in which you can go with.

  1. Download the same version of the miner and transfer the stable overclock settings over to afterburner. Don’t forget Intensity gets transferred into the miners Batch File.
  1. Download Hash Auger, enable its API and create a password and Port number. Then renter the same password port number into PG Bench under Appsettings. This allows you to double click on any results you like and bake those exact settings into Hash Auger. As stated before HA is a multi-algo miner very similar to nicehash.

Other Tabs

Under the Settings Tab, you may have noticed two other tabs in which I purposely failed to mention.

Monitor Output: Displays the monitoring data within the app and is not needed for most cases.

Algos: Enable and Disable Algorithms which isn’t needed for most cases.

However, back under the Output Tab is where you can view each GPU while it testing each benchmark.

Please make note of the other GPU tabs to access their outputs as well.

The last setting is the Dev Fee Tab which allows some options on when the Dev Fee gets taken out. Some miners like to run the Dev Fee session all at once, in the beginning, to avoid any interruptions during the benchmark tests.

PG Bench Known Bugs

One thing you might notice if you’re using a lower end CPU(Celeron or Pentium) is that the software will sometimes stall or freeze up. As a workaround, I found that I can avoid this issue by setting its priority to high and making sure no other programs are running.

Back under the Details Tab, you may also notice sometimes one or two GPUs stopped at the end of a round. To fix this just press stop then start again and it should restart where ever it left off in the tests.

If for some reason you get stuck or have any issues then be sure to drop into our discord. I’m not always there to respond right away but leave a message and I will gladly help you.   

Discord: Crypto Miner Tips

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