Home > Crypto

Motherboard buying guide for Chia plotting and farming

Disclosure:  The Techtellectual is a reader-supported website. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

So, you’ve zeroed down on a suitable processor capable of filling your Chia drives as fast as possible within a reasonable budget. Or you have already gone through the step of filling up more storage than you will ever need in a lifetime with Chia plots. Now all you need is the best motherboard for Chia plotting and farming.

Both scenarios require different motherboard specs, though, for some farmers, a plotting system can double up for farming until you need to add more disks.

In either case, a motherboard that does not hinder the plotting power of a processor or the maximum HDD capacity of your farming system is critical if you are looking to make the best bang for your buck.

Let’s take a deeper look into the best motherboards for Chia plotting and farming. We’ll be going over both separately, and you can check out each section according to your requirements.

Best motherboards for Chia plotting

Plotting can be one of the most demanding phases of Chia farming when it comes to hardware requirements. Selecting the right motherboard requires careful consideration of several factors, which we have listed below

What to look out for:

RAM support

Both the official and Mad max plotters require large amounts of system memory while plotting. Buying a motherboard that supports the maximum RAM your processor can handle will ensure that you do not miss out on maximizing your processor’s plotting potential.

A motherboard with 4 DIMM slots is recommended on consumer motherboards, allowing you to expand up to 128GB. For workstation motherboards, 8 DIMMS will net you quad-channel memory support for up to 256GB capacities depending on your processor.

M.2 slots

If you plan on using NVMe drives as your primary plotting drives, identifying a motherboard that supports several drives is necessary for maximizing your plotting potential.

While an NVMe to PCIe adapter like ASUS’s Hyper M.2 is an option for using multiple NVMes at once, having a system with several M.2 slots to start with can save you from having to populate several PCIe slots.

PCIe expansion

Buying a processor with a large number of latest-gen PCIe lanes will not guarantee support for a large number of expansion cards. The motherboard is responsible for allocating these lanes between PCIe slots, M.2 slots, SATA ports, USB, and more.

Getting a system with several PCIe slots can be great as they enable functionality such as 10Gb networking and supporting additional M.2 and U.2 expansion cards for NVMe drives. Those looking to double their system as a farmer can also use PCIe slots to connect their HDDs via an LSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID card.

Based on these factors, we have narrowed down the following motherboards that are the best for Chia plotting.

AMD Ryzen Motherboards

Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master: Best Intel motherboard for traditional plotting

  • CPU Socket: AM4
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Max Memory: 128GB (4* DIMMs)
  • PCIe Expansion: 2x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 (x16, x8/x8), 1x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 (x4), 2x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x1
  • M.2 Slots: 3 with heatsinks
  • SATA ports: 6
  • LAN: Realtek 2.5GbE + Intel 1 GbE
  • WiFi: Intel WiFi 6 802.11ax

Pros

  • Triple M.2 slots and several PCIe lanes make it possible to add several NVMe SSDs for plotting.
  • A 14-phase VRM solution makes it easy to gain additional performance through overclocking.
  • In-built 2.5Gb Ethernet makes it easy to transfer plots over a local network.

Cons

  • Expensive

If you’re looking to run multiple plots simultaneously on a processor like the Ryzen 5 5950X, then the X570 Aorus Master is the perfect motherboard to pair it up with.

It features three full-size PCIe slots that support 16, 8, and 4 lanes of Gen 4 PCIe connectivity. You can use PCIe slots for adding additional SSDs via an expansion card like the Asus Hyper M.2 in addition to a GPU like the Nvidia GT 710, which is necessary due to the lack of an iGPU on these platforms.

The three M.2 slots are great for adding multiple high-speed NVMe SSDs like the Corsair MP600 Pro 2TB. Every M.2 slot comes with an included heatsink which can improve the thermals, performance, and lifespan of your SSDs.

Gigabyte’s X570 Aorus Master also provides you with the option of using your plotting system as a farmer. Using a case like the Fractal Design Define 7XL, you can easily add 20 drives with the help of an LSI Raid card and SAS Expander.

The onboard 2.5Gb LAN also makes it easier to transfer plots out of your plotter and saves you from occupying an additional PCIe slot for ethernet.

Recommended processors:
ProcessorSpecs
Ryzen 9 5950X- 16-Core
- 3.4 GHz base
- 4.9 GHz boost

Check Price

Ryzen 9 5900X- 12-Core
- 3.7 GHz base
- 4.8 GHz boost

Check Price

Ryzen 9 3950X- 16-Core
- 3.5 GHz base
- 4.7 GHz boost

Check Price

Ryzen 9 3900X- 12-Core
- 3.8 GHz base
- 4.6 GHz boost

Check Price

Possible Configurations
Plotting BuildHybrid BuildPlotting-cum-gaming build
PCIex16 Slot 1ASUS Hyper M.2 with 4x NVMe (1 TB recommended) ASUS Hyper M.2 with 4x NVMe (1 TB recommended)ASUS Hyper M.2 with 2x NVMe (2 TB recommended)
x16 Slot 2GPU
x16 Slot 310Gb Network CardLSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID card + SAS Expander (Connected via molex)10Gb Network Card or LSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID card + SAS Expander (Connected via molex)
x1 slotGPU via PCIe RiserGPU via PCIe Riser
M.23x NVMe (2TB recommended)3x NVMe (2TB recommended)3x NVMe (2TB recommended)

Asus TUF Gaming X570-Pro: Best AMD motherboard for Mad Max plotting

  • CPU Socket: AM4
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Max Memory: 128GB (4* DIMMs)
  • PCIe Expansion: 1x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x4, 2x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x1
  • M.2 Slots: 2 with one heatsink
  • SATA ports: 8
  • LAN: Intel 2.5GbE
  • WiFi: Intel WiFi 6 AX200

Pros

  • High-quality 12+2 DrMOS power stages give excellent overclocking headroom for additional performance
  • Relatively affordable price for an X570 motherboard
  • Eight SATA ports for connecting more HDDs

Cons

  • Lesser PCIe and M.2 expansion option makes it a bad choice for traditional plotting

The Mad Max Chia plotter significantly reduces the dependence of plotting on NVMe SSDs, making it easier to use consumer hardware for plotting.

Although a well-optimized plotting schedule with the official Chia plotter may yield more TiB/day, the Mad Max plotter has the advantage of being much easier to set up.

Asus’ TUF x570-Pro offers everything you need to get started with the Mad Max plotter. We need only a single NVMe here, so there is no need to spend extra on PCIe and M.2 slots.

Another vital component to consider here is memory. As we create a ram disk, overclocking the memory to around 3600 MHz should give us high speeds while remaining stable.

You can refer to our recommended list of 128GB memory kits in the motherboard’s QVL to ensure good memory OC.

Speaking of overclocking, the motherboard’s excellent VRM solution should net you good results, though you will need at minimum a capable liquid AIO cooler like Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II 280.

For more extreme overclocks of processors like the Ryzen 9 5950X, the 420mm variant of the Liquid Freezer II will provide a decent thermal headroom.

Recommended processors:
ProcessorSpecs
Ryzen 9 5950X- 16-Core
- 3.4 GHz base
- 4.9 GHz boost

Check Price

Ryzen 9 5900X- 12-Core
- 3.7 GHz base
- 4.8 GHz boost

Check Price

Ryzen 9 5800X- 8-Core
- 3.8 GHz base
- 4.7 GHz boost

Check Price

Ryzen 9 3950X- 16-Core
- 3.5 GHz base
- 4.7 GHz boost

Check Price

Ryzen 9 3900X- 12-Core
- 3.8 GHz base
- 4.6 GHz boost

Check Price

Recommended memory kits
Possible Configurations
RAM + SSDSSD only
RAM128GB32GB
PCIeSlot 1GPUGPU
Slot 210Gb Network Card10Gb Network Card
M.21x NVMe (1TB recommended)2x NVMe (1 TB recommended)

Intel Motherboards

Asus ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming: Great if overclocking or secondary use is gaming

  • CPU Socket: LGA1200
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Max Memory: 128GB (4* DIMMs)
  • PCIe Expansion: 2x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 (x16, x8/x8, x8/x4), 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4) (PCIe 3.0 for 10th Gen Intel)
  • M.2 Slots: 4 with heatsinks (3 for 10th Gen Intel)
  • SATA ports: 6
  • LAN: 2x Intel 2.5GbE
  • WiFi: Intel WiFi 6 802.11ax

Pros

  • Abundance of M.2 slots make it ideal for plotting over multiple NVMe SSDs in parallel
  • 14 +2 DrMOS power stages combined with OptiMem technology allows for ovewrclocking, netting extra performance
  • Dual 2.5Gb Ethernet allows for easy plot transfer to a farming system

Cons

  • Expensive, not a good choice if overclocking or gaming is not a priority
  • It does not support PCIe 4.0 speeds with 10th Gen Intel processors
  • Overclocking features limited for 10th Gen Intel processors

While Intel processors may not be the ideal choice for Chia plotting, mainly due to their weak multi-threaded performance, their high single-threaded clocks and overclocking potential make them a decent choice.

Intel processors also have iGPUs, which saves you one PCIe slot. However, there are some models which have the F suffix in their model name. These lack an iGPU, so you will need to pick up something like the Nvidia GT 710 to drive a display.

The ROG Strix Z590-E is a good option for both traditional and Mad Max plotting as it features a large number of M.2 slots and good VRMs and memory traces that can aid in overclocking.

You can also use the extra PCIe slots to add additional HDDs if you’re looking to repurpose your plotting system as a farmer.

As mentioned before, picking the right set of NVMe SSDs and RAM kit are vital to ensuring the best plotting results for either type of plotting. The 2TB Corsair MP600 Pro should be good enough for plotting. We have a list of QVL certified RAM kits below if you’re looking to go the Mad Max route.

Intel chips tend to get pretty hot thanks to the company’s outdated reliance on 14nm technology, something which a decent AIO liquid cooler like the 280mm variant of the Arctic Liquid Freezer II should be able to handle easily.

Recommended processors:
ProcessorSpecs
Intel i9-11900K- 8-Core
- 3.5 GHz base
- 5.3 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel i7-11700K- 8-Core
- 3.6 GHz base
- 5 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel i9-10900K- 10-Core
- 3.7 GHz base
- 5.3 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel i9-10850K- 10-Core
- 3.6 GHz base
- 5.2 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel i7-10700K- 8-Core
- 3.8 GHz base
- 5.1 GHz boost

Check Price

Recommended memory kits
Possible Configurations for traditional plotter
Plotting BuildHybrid BuildPlotting-cum-gaming build
PCIex16 Slot 1ASUS Hyper M.2 with 4x NVMe (512GB recommended) LSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID cardGPU
x16 Slot 2LSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID cardLSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID card + SAS Expander (Connected via molex)
x16 Slot 310Gb Network Card10Gb Network Card10Gb Network Card
M.24x NVMe (1 TB recommended) [3x with 10th Gen]4x NVMe (2TB recommended) [3x with 10th Gen]4x NVMe (2TB recommended) [3x with 10th Gen]

Possible Configurations for Mad Max plotter

RAM + SSDSSD only
RAM128GB32GB
PCIeSlot 1GPUGPU
Slot 210Gb Network Card10Gb Network Card / U.2 expansion card
M.21x NVMe (1TB recommended)2x NVMe (1 TB recommended)

Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Elite: Budget Intel pick, great for a standalone plotting system

  • CPU Socket: LGA1200
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Max Memory: 128GB (4* DIMMs)
  • PCIe Expansion: 1x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 (x16), 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4), 1x PCIe 3.0 x1 (PCIe 3.0 for 10th Gen Intel)
  • M.2 Slots: 3 with 2 heatsinks (2 for 10th Gen Intel)
  • SATA ports: 6
  • LAN: 1x Realtek 2.5GbE
  • WiFi: Intel WiFi 6 802.11ax

Pros

  • Provides excellent value at an affordable price
  • M.2 and PCIe slots are enough to run either Chia plotters
  • A decent 12+2 phase VRM solution can handle overclocking
  • Realtek 2.5Gb LAN can help transfer plots over the local network

Cons

  • 10th Gen processors disable the top M.2 slot and support slower PCIe 3.0.

The Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Elite is one of the most affordable Z590 motherboards, pricing much lower than the Strix from Asus.

Unless you want to push the processor via extreme overclocking or use your plotting PC also for gaming, we would highly recommend this motherboard.

It still provides much of the M.2 and PCIe slots required for both the traditional and Mad Max plotters. Gigabyte also equipped the motherboard with a beefy VRM solution that will make it possible to overclock the processor for faster plotting.

The onboard Realtek LAN is good enough to transfer plots to a farming system connected to your local network. You can also use this motherboard if you plan on using your plotter for Chia farming.

Recommended processors:
ProcessorSpecs
Intel i9-11900K- 8-Core
- 3.5 GHz base
- 5.3 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel i7-11700K- 8-Core
- 3.6 GHz base
- 5 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel i9-10900K- 10-Core
- 3.7 GHz base
- 5.3 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel i9-10850K- 10-Core
- 3.6 GHz base
- 5.2 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel i7-10700K- 8-Core
- 3.8 GHz base
- 5.1 GHz boost

Check Price

Recommended memory kits
Possible Configurations for traditional plotter
Plotting BuildHybrid BuildPlotting-cum-gaming build
PCIex16 Slot 1ASUS Hyper M.2 with 4x NVMe (512GB recommended) LSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID cardGPU
x16 Slot 2LSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID cardLSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID card + SAS Expander (Connected via molex)
x1 Slot 32.5Gb Network Card2.5Gb Network Card2.5Gb Network Card
M.23x NVMe (2 TB recommended) [2x with 10th Gen]3x NVMe (2TB recommended) [2x with 10th Gen]3x NVMe (2TB recommended) [2x with 10th Gen]
Possible Configurations for Mad Max plotter
RAM + SSDSSD only
RAM128GB32GB
PCIeSlot 1GPUGPU / U.2 expansion card
Slot 210Gb Network Card10Gb Network Card
M.21x NVMe (1TB recommended)2x NVMe (1 TB recommended)

Best motherboards for Chia farming

Chia’s claim of being the greenest crypto comes from the minimal resources consumed to run plots in a farm. While plotting may be hardware intensive, it is only needed for the duration of creating plots.

Like plotting, there are a few points you need to note before picking a motherboard up for plotting.

What to look out for:

PCIe slots

If you look at a typical consumer motherboard, most will have 6, sometimes 8, SATA ports. Connecting additional hard drives can only be possible using a particular expansion card like this LSI Logic 9211-8i SAS/SATA RAID controller.

Each controller consumes a single PCIe 16x/8x slot on your motherboard and allows you to connect up to eight SATA drives via a Mini SAS to SATA cable. While it needs eight PCIe 2.0 lanes to operate at maximum bandwidth, you can run it in a 4-lane slot for hard disks.

Adding two of these and your motherboard’s SATA connectors will let you connect up to 22 drives. A case like Fractal Design’s Define 7XL allows for up to 20 HDDs, perfect for this type of setup.

If you are running short on PCIe slots, a SAS expander like Intel’s RES2SV240NC connected to a Molex cable for power should allow you to add up to 14 drives with an additional six connected to the internal port of the motherboard.

For those preferring to use external hard disks, a PCIe to USB 3.0 expansion card paired with Sabrent’s 16-port USB hub can be an excellent option for connecting many drives.

Dedicated farming systems will also need access to high-speed networking from a plotting system. Setting up a 10GbE local network should be easy with an add-in card like the Asus XG C100C.

ECC Memory

Having ECC memory on your farming system will ensure the stability of the system. ECC or Error Correcting Code memory reduces the possibility of data corruption by correcting random bit flips that can occur during normal operation.

If you are solo farming, then even a single crash can reduce your chances of winning a block, and with a large farming array, it becomes difficult to troubleshoot individual systems.

Although a few consumer motherboards and processors support ECC memory, we highly recommend using them for a farming build.

Intel Motherboards

Gigabyte C246M-WU4: Best motherboard for Chia farming

  • CPU Socket: LGA1151
  • Form Factor: mATX
  • Max Memory: 128GB (4* DIMMs)
  • PCIe Expansion: 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16, x8/x8), 2x PCIe 3.0 x1
  • M.2 Slots: 2
  • SATA ports: 8
  • LAN: 2x Intel 1GbE
  • USB: 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 7 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (2 internal)

Pros

  • Supports ECC memory for 8/9th Gen Intel Xeon and Core i3, Pentium and Celeron processors.
  • It has two full-size PCIe slots for further expansion

Cons

  • Expensive

Intel’s 8th and 9th Generation i3, Pentium, and Celeron surprisingly support ECC memory. Combined with onboard graphics, low power consumption, and price, these processors are the ideal choice for a Chia farming build.

Chances are that you would have already picked a processor in the 8th or 9th Gen Intel lineup that supports ECC memory. If not, you can still use this motherboard for 8/9th Gen processes as they offer a decent set of features for the price.

Recommended processors:
ProcessorSpecs
Intel Core i3-9300- 4-Core
- 3.6 GHz base
- 4.2 GHz boost

Check Price

Intel Core i3-8100- 4-Core
- 3.6 GHz

Check Price

Intel Pentium Gold G5420- 2-Core
- 3.8 GHz

Check Price

Intel Celeron G4930- 2-Core
- 3.2 GHz

Check Price

Recommended memory kits
Possible Configurations for traditional plotter
Internal Build 1Internal Build 2USB Build
PCIex16 Slot 1LSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID cardLSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID card + SAS Expander (Connected via molex)PCIe to USB 3.0 expansion card
x16 Slot 2LSI Logic SAS/SATA RAID card10Gb Network Card10Gb Network Card
x1 Slot2.5G Network Card
M.21x SATA (128GB recommended)1x SATA (128GB recommended)1x SATA (128GB recommended)

We hope you found our guide helpful. If you want to get started, we have a guide on getting started with Chia plotting in Linux, which takes you through the installation of the Chia client.

We’re coming up with a guide that will help you set up either the traditional plotter via a plot manager like Plotman or Mad Max’s latest single plot plotter, based on your hardware.

Feel free to bookmark our homepage. We regularly post informational articles, troubleshooting tips, and the latest buying guides.

About Paul Jacob

As an avid hardware enthusiast, Paul always takes the opportunity to explore the underlying technology through teardowns of the laptops, smartphones, and graphics cards he owns. He is also pretty passionate about stuff like sideloading the latest Android ROM to his smartphone or tweaking the processor clocks on his laptop to improve performance and lower temps.

Comments

guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments