Updated on June 21, 2021
Stop Chia Farming With Consumer SSDs
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Ever since cryptocurrencies have been launched, they have been complicated with some or other challenges. Continuing with the innovation, Bram Cohen launched a new cryptocurrency that is named chia. It aims to improve on more popular cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum by removing the incentives to burn massive amounts of electricity.
Since the launch, the new cryptocurrency is surrounded by the controversy of causing a shortage of hard drives. The following questions are quite often raised with the name of chia cryptocurrency:
- Why is new cryptocurrency Chia blamed for hard-drive shortages?
- How technology experts relate Hard Drive and SSD Shortages with Chia?
- Why should we use Chia instead of traditional Bitcoins?
- How do the markets deal with the shortage of SSDs due to the use of Chia Crypto Coins?
- How to minimize the cost of high-capacity SSDs and HDDs?
Well, there is no denying the fact that storage-focused Chia causes hard drive and SSD supply issues. The chia coins have created a bulrush on hard drives. The post will discuss the ways to use storage devices efficiently.
Saitech Inc is a certified IT solutions provider & managed IT services company in US. To support eco-friendly chia cryptocurrency, saitech technology is ready to serve its clients in the USA by providing high speed and ultra high capacity SSDs and HDDs . We offer wide selection of HDD Drives & components for high end data centers.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining require high-end computers to solve complex puzzles to earn coin rewards and have been criticized for generating a lot of e-waste. A ghastly amount of electricity is produced.
Whereas Chia mining requires extra hard disk space for the operation to farm Chia. The software writes a plot, which is a large chunk of cryptographic data, to the disk.
Then, the Chia blockchain software gives a “challenge” every 18 seconds or so, 4,608 times in a day. If one gets a close enough answer to the puzzle, two fresh Chia tokens are given to him.
The founder of Chia coins, Cohen tweeted last week, “At the moment there’s a huge premium on plotting quickly.”
He further added, “In this environment, there’s a huge premium on getting plotting done fast because the work difficulty is going up so quickly that the same amount of space now is worth a lot more than it will be in the future. Once work difficulty gets high enough this will settle down.”
But the current shortages show no signs of going away. Cohen emphasized that consumer hardware should not be used for the task. A separate mobile or laptop can be used for his purpose.
That is what was meant by Cohen when he asked not to use the consumer SSDs for farming and stop complaining about endurance.
Chia crypto mining could kill your SSD in 40 days. If we compare, an average consumer-grade 512GB SSD could be crashed in as little as 40 days of Chia farming process, with a 1TB SSD extending that tally to 80 days and a 2TB drive doubling it further to 160 days.
The reason for not to use consumer SSDs is because such potential SSD could crash due to their built-in endurance capabilities. An average consumer SSD typically ships with a 600 TBW (terabytes written) rating. For basic everyday use, that should provide years of reliable functionality. However, Chia farming may result in significantly increased strain on your storage, potentially trashing a typical SSD in a fraction of the time.
How to farm Chia Cryptocurrency?
Chia farming is a new concept following the proofs of space and time, allowing for underutilized storage capacity to secure the blockchain. Proofs of space are stored in plot files.
A commonly used k=32 plot is 101.3GiB (108.8 GB, or Gigabytes) which generates plot files. The big temporary storage space is required to compute along with a memory to create that creates sort, and compress the data into the final file.
This process takes an estimated 256.6 GB of temporary space, very commonly stored on SSDs to speed up the process, and approximately 1.3 TiB of writes during the creation.
The community realized early on that guidance was needed for SSD endurance. However, the chia creators already made it clear, not to exhaust consumer har drives for this purpose.
Chia and SSD Endurance
The fact remains the same that the new Chia cryptocurrency has accelerated wear-out on SSDs. When we are talking about using the same cryptocurrency on the user laptops and mobiles .then SSDs are sure to get affected as they are the preferred storage devices on modern devices.
Some of their benefits are lower latency, lower power, improved battery life, smaller form factors, and better reliability than hard disk drives.
As per the reports of Businesswire – The solid-state drive (SSD) market was valued at USD 34.86 billion in 2020, and it is expected to witness a CAGR of 14.94% during the forecast period (2021 – 2026), to reach USD 80.34 billion by 2026.
SSDs are now available in a large variety. SSDs segmentation occurs with different segments (consumer, datacenter, enterprise), interfaces for the 3D NAND technologies.
Mainstream SSDs use 3D NAND flash non-volatile memory in the floating gate and charge-trap / replacement gate technology
Now here lies the actual challenge. This type of SSD has a limited amount of write endurance or the amount of data written to a drive before wearing.
Also, Read – Chia Cryptocurrency Storage – SDD/HDD Issues
However, some SSDs are rated in TBW (terabytes written) or DWPD (drive writes per day) to show how much data can be written before wearing out.
So, the chia founders are claiming that if we check the endurance of the SSD before use then the lifespan of the SSD can be improved. Even the SSD vendors are focusing on improving the endurance of the SSDs.
When it comes to buying a high-capacity SSD, NVMe is considered one of the best drives. These disks can read/ write up to 10GB/s.
Chia plotting creates the cryptographic data stored later for the proofs of space. During the plotting, the intensive use of memory is required. Due to random data creation, sorting, and compression, the temporary memory is exhausted.
However, the Chia team and community advocate using data center-class SSDs or consumer drives meant for high-end desktops and workstations with a high TBW endurance rating for the plotting process. It is stated by the official sources of Chia that a high-endurance data center SSD, can plot for up to 10 years before it wears out. before wearing out the device during the plotting process.
Further, some people are using consumer SSDs that are optimized for light client workloads (web browsing, office work, gaming) and are not suitable for Chia plotting.
So, to maintain the stock of storage devices in the market, it is important to spread the message that the consumer SSDs, having low endurance, are not suitable for the farming process.
However, they are generally available in the market and have a lesser price. In our previous blog post, we have mentioned the hardware specifications required for Chai farming.
Fact or Fiction? Debunking Myths about SSD Data Storage
From the above discussion, we can be clear about the fact that the SSDs required for the farming process must have high endurance. The shortage of SSDs is caused due to use of consumer SSDs. Some of the fiction about SSDs have been there for many years. Let’s have a look at them:
The cost of Using SSDs is more than HDDs
Initially, when SSDs were introduced, the cost was almost equal to HDDs. However, as technology grew, there is a drastic change in quality and cost. Today, SSDs are the first choice for laptops and mobile devices. SSD storage has grown exponentially and left HDD storage behind. Today the comparison of types is just a myth not reality.
SSDs Have Less Storage Capacity Than HDDs
HDDs are now available with a capacity of 10TB that are in common use. As per the technical limitation, the capacity can go up to 40 TB. Now considering the SSDs, 16TB is already in use and it can be extended to the capacity of 100TB. This can be used for commercial purposes for several years. The advantage of SSDs over HDDs will be prevalent in the coming future.
SSDs Have Shorter Life Spans Than HDDs
SSDs indeed wear out with use. (But, of course, so do HDDs). Each time a NAND flash memory cell is written or erased, it degrades by a tiny amount. Over time, the effects of these write/erase (or program/erase) cycles accumulate to a level where the device can no longer retain new data.
With better wear-leveling and over-provisioning, SSDs now equal or outpace HDDs in reliability and longevity. According to the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), SSDs boast an MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) rate that is more than twice as good as that for HDDs. Therefore SSDs have a long way to go. Once the chia coins become a trading currency, the use of SSDs is going to increase rapidly.
SSDs Performance Gets Worse Over Time
Flash memory devices are at their fastest fresh out of the box (FOB) because SSDs cannot just overwrite previously stored data. Before a location can be written to, any previously existing data in that location must be erased.
Since the erasure process takes time, an SSD will exhibit its highest level of performance when there are plenty of never-used blocks available that don’t have to be erased before they can be written to.
As the drive fills up, the number of such blocks diminishes negatively impacting performance.
In the past, some users saw the speed of their drives deteriorate over time because manufacturers rated the product based on FOB specs rather than on “steady state” performance.
On a technical level, a process called “garbage collection” is employed to pre-erase previously used blocks in the background so they are already available when a written request is received.
Also, drives are now routinely overprovisioned beyond their stated capacity to provide more space so that fewer erase cycles are required.
SSDs Are Only Useful For High-Performance Workloads
The advantages SSDs have over HDDs in storage density and power consumption, their use can. When the factors like cost, power consumption, cooling, data center floor, and rack space, and maintenance are taken into account, the TCO for SSD storage solutions may already be less than that for equivalent HDD implementations. So, using SSDs can be a significant benefit in the longer run.
Recent Developments to Overcome SSD Shortage
Typical SSDs that are optimized for normal laptop users might cause early damage. Here are some of the reasons we are sharing which cause the damage of SSDs in regular use.
- Electronic component failure
- Controller chip failure
- Flash cell degradation from natural use
- Power surges or failures
- Damage to printed circuit boards
- Data corruption after firmware updates
When SSDs are used for Chia farming, the founders have made clear now that SSDs with TBW (terabytes capacity) must be used. By taking care of the specifications and making the changes at the manufacturing level, in a few months, we can overcome the shortage of the SSD.
Now when we are considering enterprise SSDs, the companies are quoting the price of TBW SSDs which are different from the consumer versions.
A typical TBW figure for a 250 GB SSD lies between 60 and 150 terabytes written. That means: the user won’t be able to use, write 190 GB daily.
How can storage device companies help in supplying TBW SSDs?
TBW or total bytes written is a new parameter that is referred to in the case of SSDs. Another term referring to Chia farming is expressed as data writes per day or DWPD.
The manufacturing companies and distributing companies like Saitech Technologies are focusing on increasing the manufacturing of TBW SSDs. The high endurance is good enough not only for chia farming but also to meet the requirement for gaming and AI application-based laptops and other devices.
The storage companies are seriously working to cater to the need of enterprises. The awareness in the market and improved supply of TBW SSDs have controlled the shortage of storage devices to some extent.
But still, there is a need to take precautionary measures so that the prices don’t shoot up. One of the action points can be supplying high endurance SSDs as per the specific demands of the clients.
On the other hand, Chia Team has promised to look at a more feasible solution. For now, rather than creating a panic, we can get connected with the storage devices companies and ensure that the shortage of SSDs can be overcome.
For better and high-capacity TBW SSDs, you can connect to Saitech Technologies. We supply high-quality storage devices as per our client’s needs in the USA.