This post will discuss ASIC based miners. These are currently the latest technology in the ongoing evolution of mining hardware. Primarily ASIC are used to mine SHA256 based coins, Bitcoin (BTC) being the most prominent along with Bitcoin Cash (BCH). There are others, but again I am going to go over the most popular.
The largest supplier of ASIC based hardware is Bitmain. Bitmain is a huge Chinese company that not only produces miners, but runs huge mining pools as well as producing AI hardware and many other products. They are also a large backer in Bitcoin Cash which has stirred a lot of controversy, but I’ll save that drama for another time.
Previously I had explained that mining hardware is in a constant state of evolution, hardware manufacturers are always improving the hashrate (amount of work a miner can do) which in turn with an ever increasing amount of miners causes the coin network’s difficulty to go up. This reduces the miner effectiveness creating a cycle of larger numbers of miners being deployed and more powerful miners being produced. A bit of a cold war if you will, each side is constantly escalating.
At the heart of an ASIC miner is its namesake numerous ASIC chips mounted on hashboards. These chips perform the intense mathematical calculations required to mine data for the network. Again Bitmain is the leader in this area producing their Antminer S9 brand which currently rated at 13.5 TH/s. That is 13.5 terahashes or 1,000,000,000,000 per second! Bitmain manages to pack 189 BM1387 chips on to three hash cards. These little chips are based on a 16nm (nanometer) die. Rumors are Bitmain will go smaller soon to shove more chips in the same space and release even more powerful miners.
ASIC mining farm
These chips running at full tilt create an enormous amount of heat, requiring to very powerful (and loud!) fans to move enough air to keep them cool. A single Bitmain S9 creates roughly 5,000 BTU at full power and moves ~ 225 CFM of air. To put that in comparison, that’s roughly 2-3 times more airflow than a bathroom fan and outputs enough BTU to heat a 10×14 sq/ft room! All this requires an enormous amount of electricity, these miners generally consume around 1400 watts at 220v which is roughly 6.4 amps. Now imagine large commercial mining operations running thousands of these.
Being the adventurous (more like dumb) I’ve picked up several ASIC based miners as I like the technology and profitability.
To start off my mining foray I picked up a used Bitmain S7 from eBay. Then quickly followed that up with 2 new S9s from Bitmain. At the time of this writing all 3 are happily mining with 2 more Pangolominer M3s on the way.
My current miner setup
* If you want to use an exchange that offers tons of different coins Binance is a solid option