With a renewed interest in cryptocurrency mining, the supply of mid-range graphics cards is falling and thus, prices are rising. Motherboards could be next to suffer as manufacturers are reportedly experiencing high demand, especially for Z170 and Z270 motherboards.
The boards with Intel’s 100/200 chipsets offer a lot of PCIe and M.2 slots. That is something you would always require when assembling a cost-effective and power-efficient mining system.
Right now, almost all Z170 and 270-based models are available in retail. But if you look at the pricing, you will find that popular boards such as the Asus Prime Z270-A are being sold at higher prices. The motherboard offers seven PCIe slots and can handle up to eight graphics cards.
However, not all boards are equipped with such a setup. There are some models which successfully recognize all the attached graphics cards, but three or four of them would have exclamation marks next to them within Device Manager in the OS.
MSI has tested some of its high-end motherboards for mining and released custom BIOS updates for them. They include the H270-A Pro, Z270-A Pro, Z170-A Pro, Z170A SLI Plus, Z170 Krait Gaming, Z170A Krait Gaming, and Z170A Krait Gaming 3X .
With the appropriate BIOS applied, these Z170 and Z270 motherboards should be able to efficiently handle more than four graphics cards in parallel. MSI has recommended some specific settings and instructions for installing the new BIOS which are outlined here.
Below is a full list of MSI boards that support six (5 × PCIe + 1 × M.2 / 6 × PCIe), seven (6 × PCIe + 1 × M.2) or even eight (6 × PCIe + 2 × M.2e) graphics cards.
We hope that manufacturers’ catering to miners doesn’t mean the motherboards will be in the same short supply as graphics cards. Of course, the demand won’t be as high, considering the fact that unlike graphics cards, miners only need one motherboard for a fully loading system.