All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
Not long ago when Gridseed has announced the new 80-chip Blade Miner with an expected retail price of about $3000 USD we were not planning to buy any of these devices, but at the new $1600 USD price we have decided to order one and play with it. We just got our unit yesterday and have been playing with it since, so we are ready to share our first hands on experience with the new G-Blades. Soon after the announcement of the new Blade Miners we were able to do some remote testing of the performance, so you might want to check that out first if you still haven’t read the post. Now, that we finally have the device in our hands we can say it performs pretty much the same as we’ve seen from our tests.
Starting with our first impressions, the new G-Blade Miner is a bit smaller than we have expected it to be, but that is not a problem. The thing that we did not like very much is the noisy fan – a 92mm fan is being used and a quite powerful one that can produce up to about 55 dB. The cooling radiators however do seem very cool after 24 hours running the device, so the fan does its job perfectly fine, however we suspect that with a quieter fan we could have achieved the good cooling performance and much quieter operation. The fan is directly powered by 12V from of the PCBs of the miner, so there is no temperature based control for example and it runs at maximum RPM all of the time.
A single Gridseed G-Blade ASIC Miner consists of 2 PCBs that are attached into a single device, each of the PCBs has 40 GC3355 chips and has separate power and control logic built in. So essentially you get two separate miners each with 40 chips packaged in a single device.
Do note that the cooling radiators are at the back of the PCB and not directly on top of the chips, this is the easier way to do things, especially if the chips don’t get too hot, as you use the back of the PCB as a cooler as well. There is a thermal pad between the PCB and the radiator on the back and apparently with the powerful fan there are absolutely no problems for cooling the Gridseed GC3355 chips.
Now, the actual problem is with the parts of the PCB that is not covered by the radiator – the place where the power and control chips are located as well as the connectors for the power supply and the USB port for control of the miner. The weakest point in terms of cooling actually do seem to be the voltage regulators and the powerful fan is some kind of a not-so-good solution to address the issue with the VRMs getting quite hot without getting a serious airflow. Gridseed uses International Rectifier 5300 and 5302 power mosfets and while these are a bit better than the ones used on the 5-chip ASICs, they are not much more powerful to handle serious increase in the power consumption. In fact they are not capable of supporting the power consumption that the GC3355 chips would require if they are used in BTC mining mode, so that is why Gridseed does advertise the new miners only as Scrypt capable and warns users not to try to mine BTC with them.
The good news for people that are interested in voltmodding these new G-Blade miners is that the voltage control part is again controlled by UPI Semiconductor UP1509 Single-Phase Synchronous-Rectified Buck Controller with 2-Bit VID Input control, just like on the smaller ASICs from Gridseed. So you can easily increase the operating voltage by replacing a single resistor, however we do warn you to be extra careful in doing so, especially with higher value resistors as the voltage regulators will not be able to handle voltages as high as on the smaller ASIC miners. Another good news is that the resistor you need to replace here on the G-Blade is a 603 type and not the smaller 402 type used in the 5-chip ASIC devices, so you can have less trouble replacing it. We have already done a voltage mod to our G-Blade and are currently running tests on the device, so shortly we are going to publish a little more details about that, meanwhile we warn you not to be in a hurry to mod yours as you can very easily damage the device. And using a 47 or 49 kOhm resistor will most likely be a bit too much for the VRMs to handle and you can easily blow them up in a matter of seconds without the appropriate cooling or even with such!