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I want to buy a mini / midi PC with the purpose of it serving me as a general-purpose workstation as well as an XMR miner (CPU-only). The software that I'm going to use for most of the time is fairly minimalistic (Arch Linux with no desktop environment, DWM, terminal emulator, a text editor written in C, mplayer, ocasionally Bisq, Bitcoin Core, and monerod). I'm going to spend over 90% of my time reading from the Web, frequently having more than nine tabs open, or writing in my text editor. That said, I'm going to spend from one to three hours a day watching a film via mplayer or videos on youtube. Even when I write or watch something my browser would have many tabs opened.

On the other hand, I am going to switch off all my GUIs and even close my window manger when I'm sleeping and leave for this time only xmrig running. With my desktop PC rendered headless for the nighttime, I would then assign more CPU cycles for the miner so that the load averages reach the upper limit. Can then Intel's integrated graphics chip be utilized by xmrig (despite the miner having been configured to use random-X as its only mining algorithm) or will it be left unused? Put simply, does the integrated graphics chip only process graphics or can it do other tasks when needed?

In this PC I want memory to be relatively more abundant than CPU, i.e. I want to have enough memory so that when my load averages reach their upper acceptable values there is still some memory left. I am usually able to fine tune the CPU usage on my machine with cgroups, e.g. assigning 90% of CPU cycles to xmrig. Also I do not want graphics processing to compete for CPU cycles with the miner.

I am considering two options:

  • Intel Core i9-11900T (8x 1.50-4.90 GHz Eight-Core, 35 W TDP) with 64 GB of RAM in a mini box.

    or

  • Intel Core i7-10700T (8x 2.00-4.50 GHz Eight-Core, 35 W TDP) with 128 GB and with NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 passiv 2 GB GDDR5. All this a midi box.

I would only buy the second option if I knew that the first is not adequate to prevent my graphics processing competing for memory and CPU with xmrig. Should 64 GB of RAM along with the integrated memory chip of Intel Core i9-11900T be enough to prevent such situation from occurring?

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Mining Monero only requires just over 2 GB of RAM and given the other things you mention wanting to use the PC for I see no reason for you to even be considering 64 or 128 GB of RAM. Two 4 GB sticks will be more than enough for both mining and your stated other uses.

Your choice between an i7 and an i9 boils then merely boils down to cost and how much hashrate you desire. And of course, having a dedicated GPU is preferable, so as not to use your CPU resources, which you want prioritized to mining presumably.

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