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The lolMiner mining software was updated to optimize the “Zombie mode” option. This allows old AMD cards to do Ethereum mining again and make a good profit.
With this update, video cards such as RX470, for example, can be used again for this task. RX 480, RX 570 and RX 580, produced by AMD. All of them had been “out of service” for mining due to the arrival of the DAG Epoch 393. The DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) is a set of data that allows the miner to find the solution corresponding to each block of the chain in which it works. The DAG must be updated after a certain number of mined blocks (every 30,000 blocks), which is known as epoch.
On December 24, 2020, upon reaching a new Epoch in Ethereum mining, the size of the DAG was updated to exceed 4GB. With this change, all miners with less than 4 GB of memory on their graphics processing card are no longer profitable.
But all is not lost. To continue taking advantage of graphics cards with lolMiner, it is necessary to activate the zombie mode, which is a way of operating video cards that extends their useful life when they have reached the capacity of their memory. It is put into practice when the video card no longer supports the entire DAG file.
As noted by the CryptoMining mining blog, even though 4GB cards can still work with their current hashrate or processing capacity, profitability will continue to decline as the Epoch DAG continues to rise (current is 395). As the DAG increases and software development proceeds, the profitability of the card will decrease. Therefore, it is recommended to activate the zombie mode, but there is still a limit to it.
It must be taken into account that this new performance increase will not continue to always. Will be available only for some more DAG Epochs.
Enable Zombie Mode
Optimized Zombie Mode is activated with updates to lolMiner 1.21 for Windows and 1.22 for Linux. Specifically, 4GB video card owners, when mining ETH they will get 15-20% more hashrate compared to other miners.
For this it is taken into account, for example, that when installing a RX580 video card of 4GB directly into the PCI-16x slot, the video card hash rate will be around 27.27MH / s instead of 11-13MH / s from other miners.
But with an increase in the DAG file in future Epoch, the hash rate of the video cards will continue to decrease, although at the moment this is the only solution to continue taking advantage of the useful life of these video cards.
The challenge of epoch in Ethereum
The update of a mining algorithm in Ethereum represents a challenge for some miners of this network. Those miners that have less than 4GB of memory on their graphics processing card (GPU), must increase their capacity or they could stop being profitable.
As explained by CriptoNoticias, the DAG increases its size in 8MB for every 30 thousand blocks of the chain, in periods known as Epochs (epochs). These last for approximately 5 days or 100 hours. The DAG is stored in the memory of the video cards to enable Ethereum mining through the Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm.