Buying Ribbon-Style PCI-E Risers

These cables suck

PCI risers are a necessity for any big mining operation. Maybe you can squeeze two or three cards onto some motherboards, but you probably want as many GPUs on a single motherboard as possible. After all, the fewer motherboard/CPU/RAM combos you have to buy, the faster you will make your money back. If your farm is big enough to need risers at all, then you probably need to read this article.

Buying PCI risers can be a bit of a challenge. The obvious mind set to get into is that the cheaper the better- but that is a bit of a trap. The ultra cheap ribbon style PCI 1x risers are a pitfall that many first-time miners fall into. Here is why you should avoid them.

Avoid these PCIE risers.

Yes they may be a little cheaper, but on most rigs you’ve lost that dollar after just a few hours of down time. If you use these, you’re going to have real problems with mounting GPUs, as they present no fixing solution or support at all. The only thing that is going to hold your GPU up is the one screw above the normal IO plate. Also consider how short that cable actually is. You’re only going to be able get that card a short distance from the motherboard, which it turn will make creative mounting solutions difficult.

Another issue with these is the serious lack of insulation. All those various pins you see coming up the side under the plastic slot are carrying current, and some of them are carrying a lot of it. Now imagine what happens when one of those shorts out- and considering you wont have the GPU mounted properly if you’re using one these then that sort circuit is likley. If you’re unlucky the short circuit can destroy other system components.

The quality of construction on these risers is terrible. They are designed to be cheap and it really shows through. That strip of blue tape you see on most of them comes unstuck as the heat of mining softens the glue, and it tends to slip down the wires making everything sticky. Give the wire a wiggle and the cold solder joins will soon start to break. I bought 6 of the these for a rig in my early mining days, and only one of them actually worked long enough to see serious use.

So in conclusion, these things are:

  • Cheap to buy
  • Too short to be useful in most cases
  • Very low construction quality
  • Short circuit risk
  • Make it hard to securely mount the GPU somewhere without getting deeply creative

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