Gaming PCs, depending if you are an enthusiast or not, can be a good start point for any new farmer. There are some drawbacks though that I’ve discovered when using the hardware to generate plots for Chia.
Firstly, people with gaming PCs usually like to min/max the hardware to squeeze every frame per second (FPS) out of it, called overclocking. Chia is very system intensive when generating plots, almost to the point of being a benchmark itself. Overclocking raises the chance of instability, resulting in potential blue screens on a windows PC.
Usually, not a big problem. In this case however a blue screen will trash any plots you were generating. If you’re 7 hours into generating a lot of plots in parallel and then a blue screen happens, this could be a huge loss. Currently, plots cannot be restarted if there is an interruption. You have to delete all of the temp files and start over.
This was the case with me and I found out the hard way about this. Here are some of the things I needed to do to get stability back into my system.
1. Turn off CPU overclocking and return it to its OEM state. Most modern CPUs now just Boost themselves without any assistance.
2. Revert Memory timings to the XMP settings. If you have issues with XMP then set the timings to the advertised speeds but don’t mess with all the other timings.
3. Swap file location. Being that a Gaming PC usually has more than one hard drive, you may have been tempted to put the windows virtual memory file on another drive…possibly your fastest drive. Change this back to the “C:” drive and set to back to the “system managed” size. I encountered many “bad alloc” errors due to having the virtual memory file on the drive I was using as the Temp File location.
4. Windows updates. Having your computer reset because of windows updates can be gut wrenching. Either find a way to turn them off or take the time to do an update now. Debloater is a good tool to turn off updates.
5. BIOS updates. Instability can come in many forms. Memory issues due to memory compatibility with the motherboard is one. Install the latest bios version for your motherboard.
6. Chipset drivers. For the AMD users, make sure you are using the latest chipset drivers from the AMD website. This will prevent a lot of troubleshooting down the road if you experience issues.
These actions helped me eliminate all of my stability problems while trying to plot in parallel. I hope this helps you too.