KNC released Neptunes with a flaw that caused their PCI-E 6-pin connectors to melt due to the enormous power draw over the much too small, industry standard PSU wires. In order to prevent the Neptune meltdown, KNC could have used more PCI-E 6-pin connectors to provide the same amount of power. PCI-E standards suggest using two 6-pin and one 8-pin connector when requiring 300W. KNC has accused customers of overclocking and not using quality PCI-E cable upgrades in a Twitter post.
Ice cream melts, but Neptunes shouldn’t
Some things are best served a little melted, like ice cream, milk shakes, or cheese, but never should a $10,000 Neptune be melting. KNC’s Neptunes use one PCI-E 6-pin connector for each of their five cubes that Neptune has. Each cube draws around 300W of power while PCI-E standard 6-pin connector only manage 75W (See page 7 of the linked document).
The comments from KNC on the Twitter picture from an angry Neptune customer suggest that people use custom PCI-E wiring with a lower gauge number (thicker wires). Using thicker wires would only prevent those wires from burning, but they would still be warm or hot to the touch, or as later you’ll find out, may not even be enough. In a private message on the KNC forums, “Pete” told me that KNC made it impossible (via their firmware) to overclock the Neptunes past 500 MHz. KNC had asked in a comment on the customer’s Twitter post, “@CryptoCoinsLtd Also, did u overclock? Your images indicate so. Your PSU should have surge & over current protection, did u turn those off?”
I’m not sure how or why a customer would shut off surge and over current protection, and I don’t even think that’s possible on a PSU. If KNC does, in fact, prevent customers from excessive overclocking, then their hardware should be able to handle the maximum overclocked speed without this happening.
In KNC’s defense (if you want to call it that), the featured picture shows a yellow wire with a camera flare next to a melted second yellow wire, not a flash of fire. The picture was not taken while the Neptune was on fire, but it melted from the intense heat. The customer was using the proper PSU when this occurred.
Another customer had their two Neptunes melt as well. The first Neptune used two 1050W 80+ Gold Seasonic PSUs, and the second one caught fire while using two 1300W 80+ Gold EVGA SuperNovas.
Want to see what “Hejja” noticed when he went to change his cables from 18AWG to 16AWG? BURN!
It’s amazing how many customers have lost their expensive hardware! If you think this is the only thing wrong with the Neptunes, guess again! Read about KNC’s struggle with the Neptune being released as well as the Super Jupiter fiasco where KNC rubber banded the Super Jupiter fans to the heat sinks.
Request for comment
I requested an interview with KNC about this situation, just like I did for my last article on them, this time KNC did reply, but they said they weren’t interested in an interview. Customers in the forums often complain about KNC being unresponsive, and the fact that the news on the KNC website is not posted very frequently. After waiting 18 days for an announcement on July 28th, KNC states that the Titans will also be modular in design. Hopefully, KNC learned their lesson and the Titans will have multiple PCI-E power connectors. From the most recent news posting from KNC: (The Neptune update section)
Our 20nm Bitcoin miner Neptune has sold like hot cakes, and we’re continuously delivering as many as we can produce.
I have to agree with the selling like “hot cakes” especially with the fact that they caught fire, and all.
With the Neptune’s modular cube design, our customers experience industry-leading power consumption at between [approximately] 0.43 – 0.57 watts per GH/s (J/GH) on average depending on power set-up and peripherals.
“Industry leading power consumption” from one PCI-E 6-pin port is not something to be proud of. Instead of pulling industry leading amounts of power from a 75W power connector, hows about adding a couple more 5-cent ports to the design to allow for the 300W power draw?
Nanok Bie wrote me the following message:
As our founders are short on time, we’ll have to pass on an interview at this time.
Regarding your question: Our hardware handles heat and power just fine. Our customers just have to make sure they are using high-quality cables and connectors, as per the instructions. [That] is true with our competitors too, and of any electrical equipment. We’ve got results from our own testing and lots of reports from customers running thousands of Neptune Cubes with no problem, also in very hot spaces (some even at [an] ambient room temperature of 50 degrees celsius or more) in the summertime. Each cube doesn’t require much more than 300 watts at its port (some a bit more, and some are also overclocked a bit). Each port is also fan-cooled.
I personally, as an original Neptune customer, have two Neptunes running in hot spaces with no problems, unattended, as have many others I know. I understand you’ll want to swing this the negative way because that is the narrative right now as we’re not an underdog anymore. However, that will also reflect on your own credibility in the long run as it is not our products that overheat, but cheap or over-used or too old peripheral equipment. Actually, most customers know that already – it is also clearly communicated from us in updates on the product, as well as in the set-up instructions.
About the lack of news; July has been a slower month than usually due to vacations, [it has been] a ”quiet” period as the Titan is in preproduction and less activity overall, but the Titan is moving forward and into fabrication, we’ve delivered a significant number of Neptunes in June and July, and we’re ramping up our 20-nm deliveries in August.
CMO | KNC MINER
Just to let you know, OCZ, and EVGA are brand name manufacturers. The OCZ 1250W PSU sells for $272.50 new on Amazon. The EVGA Supernova 1300W PSUs that Ogden was using are selling for around $180 on New Egg. (You’d be hard pressed to find outdated products on New Egg. I’ve tried when I was looking for a bargain.) These parts aren’t cheap or run-of-the-mill.
I’d like to know what you think about this. Is this really just a case of customers not using the proper PCI-E wiring as KNC sets forth in their Neptune setup information, or is KNC really at fault for not including two or three extra PCI-E 6-pin connectors as the PCI standards indicate? Leave a comment below or post a thread in the CCN forums and let everyone know your thoughts.
EDIT: The original article stated that “hejja” from KNC had his Neptune burn when he had upgraded to 16AWG wires, but he really noticed that they were burned from the 18AWG wires, when he went to replace them with 16AWG wires.
Disclosure: I have two KNC Titans on pre-order, and I own the “ReworkedScripts” account on the KNC forums.
Photo courtesy of @CryptoCoinsLtd