Review of the ZeusMiner Lightning X6 Scrypt ASIC Miner

31 Jul
2014

zeusminer-lightning-x6

We have been playing with the new NX Gen X6 miners from ZeusMiner for a few days already and have already shared some interesting findings from our testing, but it is now time for detailed reviews focusing on each of the new lower power usage Scrypt ASIC miners. Beginning with the top model – ZeusMiner Lightning X6 Scrypt ASIC miner, rated officially as 40-42 MHS at 980W power consumption and being sold by ZeusMiner for $1399 USD, though you can already find it cheaper at their distributors. What Zeus did with their new X6 miners is to lower the voltage and operating frequency of their Scrypt ASIC chips and as a result we got the new lower power usage products. Now, if the reduction in power usage was not combined with new lower prices of the devices they might not have been so interesting with the continuing to increase Litecoin network hashrate. The lower power usage and the new lower price however do make the new X6 series of miner interesting option to consider if you are planning to invest in Scrypt ASICs. The ZeusMiner Lightning X6 might not be currently the most powerful in terms of hashrate Scrypt ASIC miner, however it is probably one of the best ones in terms of price per MHS from what is currently available on the market… especially if you manage to get it at sub $1000 USD price.

zeusminer-x6-chip-operating-voltage

Zeus has a strange policy of citing hashrate for their products, but not giving a recommended frequency for their products and the miner software does require the user to give an operating frequency for the chips. This is still valid for the new X6 miners, meaning that you need to find the best frequency yourself, though you should start at around 220-230 MHz for the Lightning X6 as per our tests results. With the smaller Thunder X6 and Lightning X6, and probably the Blizzard X6 as well a good start frequency seems to be 250 MHz and we have found out the reason for this frequency difference. The ZeusMiner Lightning X6 has the Scrypt ASIC chips inside operating at 1.05V and the other miners from the X6 series use voltage of 1.1V and as a result they are able to operate at higher frequency without problems. The lower voltage on the Lightning X6 was probably needed in order to bring the power usage level of the miner below 1000 Watts as otherwise the consumption could go as high as 1.1 KW or even higher and make it harder to find a suitable PSU for the device.

zeusminer-lightning-x6-power-usage

We have measured the power usage of the Lightning X6 operating at a frequency of 230 MHz and the result we’ve got was about 906-914 Watts as actual power usage and about 970W measured at the wall (taking into account the PSU efficiency). The actual power consumption measured at the wall could be higher depending on the PSU used, the 1200W Corsair 80 Plus Platinum power supply we have used does remain with high power efficiency at the measured load, so there is not much power wasted, but you can easily go above 1000W with other not so efficient one. So apparently Zeus did a good job in lowering the power usage almost two fold with just about 10-12 MHS lower power usage compared to the previous generation miners with 256 chips.

zeusminer-lightning-x6-hashrate-local

Our tests have shown that the optimal operating frequency of the ZeusMiner Lightning X6 Scrypt ASIC miner is around 220 MHz, though at that frequency the hashrate you can expect to get is slightly lower than what is being advertised – we are getting around 36-38 MHs with about 6.6% HW errors. If you increase the operating frequency of the chips to 230-235 MHz we can get about 39-40 MHS, but the level of the hardware errors does increase almost twice to about 12% which is even less acceptable. The higher the number of HW errors you get it means that you are pushing the hardware a bit too much, and even at 6.6% it is more that we would normally like to have. Zeus does advertise the Lightning X6 as a 40-42 MHS Scrypt ASIC, but we feel that a more adequate rating for the performance should be 38-40 MHS.

zeusminer-lightning-x6-hashrate-ltcrabbit

Here is the situation with the poolside reported hashrate at the LTC Rabbit Scrypt mining pool using the new fixed difficulty ports for Scrypt ASIC miners and the Lightning X6 running at 220 MHz operating frequency. We are getting an average hashrate of about 37.4 MHs with peaks to almost 38.5 MHS and drops to about 35.5 MHs. At 230 MHz the poolside result was slightly higher with an average of about 39.2 MHS and peaks going as high as 40.8 MHS and drops to about 37.5 MHs. Of course the poolside hashrate can vary a bit based on multiple factors, but the locally reported hashrate we are getting shows consistent results with what the pool is giving us out as performance data.

With the ZeusMiner Lightning X6 we see a good improvement in terms of lowering the power consumption for a 256-chip miner without too much of performance loss. The price of the miner is also very good considering that you can already find the Scrypt ASIC miner with a price per MHS of about $25 USD. We did not like very much the high level of HW errors that we are getting in order to be able to push a performance close to the one officially advertised hashrate, but the difference isn’t that huge. And only if the miner could not be so noisy, but at that power usage you can expect to have a lot of noise coming from the cooling fans used to keep the device cool.



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13 Responses to Review of the ZeusMiner Lightning X6 Scrypt ASIC Miner

Basilisk

August 1st, 2014 at 20:16

Hi my fried, Do you know any official distributor in united states? I like euminer (good prices), but do not make deliveries to my country. I was watching asicplus but they do not have in stock the Lightning X6 and other sites are very costly. Thank you

admin

August 1st, 2014 at 21:19

Basilisk, you can try with Gaw Miners (Branded), ZoomHash and Hash-Master, all are USA-based and have the new X6.

JoeFab

August 1st, 2014 at 23:11

I bought a Zeus Lightning X6 from ZoomHash and my chassis is not the wide one as seen above, but the one from the Thunder (with three fans).

I get anywhere from 37-42 MH/s with a 240 MHz clock rate using bfgminer 2.2.0.

Now that the next batch is coming in $200 less than what I paid, I wonder if I should have waited?

Diggio

August 3rd, 2014 at 23:23

Same here–purchased two from ZoomHash and both were the 3-fan case.

Internally, the stickers say 1.08v and I’m getting a consistent 43-44 MH/s from each using BFGMiner v4.3.1 running at 252 frequency (best so far at eliminating HW errors (6.6%) and rejects (1.1%).

Running 1024 difficulty at CleverMining and using EVGA 1300 G2 PSUs and poolside rate matches software rate (+86 MH/s after 3 days, 12 hours).

rabbit32

August 10th, 2014 at 23:07

Any one knows where to download BFGMiner v4.3.1 ?

JoeFabritz

August 11th, 2014 at 06:46

Nice Diggio, I’ve been running with bfg 4.6.0 at 240 and hitting 40 MH/s, will have to try your 252 and see what happens.

My boards also have a 1.08V sticker on them FYI…

Arinze Izukanne

August 21st, 2014 at 15:17

Hello,

I have the Lightning X6 and I am able to get a sustained 40-44MH/s on P2Pool pools at recommended clock of 240. Errors remained very low, less than 5% although it takes a while for the errors to drop to that level but it remains there. However on LTC Rabbit, performance is as you said. Though the remarkable thing is that errors and very low and zero rejected shares.

Dee Doublewe

March 26th, 2015 at 01:40

So, I just got hold of a used X6. Been testing it out. Does the chip count mean actual physical number of processing chips being used or is it a bit count setting as in bandwidth?
I ask because the X6 has 30 chips per card at 2 cards per heat sink – giving a total of 240 chips with 4 heat sinks in the case.
Others have been setting their Lightenings at 256 chip count. 256 chips or the actual physical count 240 chips? Chip Count means number of chips right. Not some Zeus Cryptology lingo, right?
I have tried both 240 and 256 chips with no real difference in performance other than pool side hashes being off a bit but other than that….whats the deal here? Anyone know the answer for sure?
Tanks!

admin

March 26th, 2015 at 10:36

Each board should have 32 chips per card for a total of 256 chips. The number of chips you set in the mining software is only used for the hashrate calculations side, it should not affect the actual performance of the device.

Dee Doublewe

March 26th, 2015 at 16:44

You are correct. 32 chips each…what was I thinking? wrong obviously! ;/ DOH!
Thanks for correcting my mistake and clarifying what the chip count number is actually for.
DD

Dee Doublewe

March 26th, 2015 at 16:46

Any idea why these Zeus Lightening are spitting so many HW Errors? Even at clock 222 it’s spitting like 7% bad nonces….
Chips are running cool, like 115 to 121F….
Thx!

Dee Doublewe

March 27th, 2015 at 06:56

Does anyone know what the DIP switches are for on the Zeus X6 miner cards? Each one has a 4 position DIP switch which looks to have something to do with setting the correct bits for each USB / Serial IN port.
I want to make sure mine are set correctly or re-set them if I want to test run each card separately to find which one/s are throwing the HW errors. I realize that this may not be as simple as that but I want to try it anyway as I am learning everything I can about these particular miners to maximize their performance.
Seems to me that Zeus didn’t put enough time or effort in to that very thing. Excellent engineering!
I like the X6 when it’s hashing away at less than 5% HW errors but when it spits pages of them out, that is quite frustrating and i want fo nail down the cause. I know overclocking has a lot to do with it but I am just trying to find it’s sweet spot since Zeus chose to leave that a mystery for all end users to figure out for themselves. DUMB!
Thanks!
DD

Zeus

April 24th, 2015 at 21:54

Can someone share a bat file for x6 lightning for X6 lightning thx in advance

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