Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category

AsRock is without a doubt the most popular manufacturers of motherboards designed for GPU mining rigs thanks to their H81 Pro BTC model, however lately the company is having trouble providing enough motherboards for GPU miners. There have been shortages of AsRock H81 Pro BTC motherboards and the demand is pretty high with new GPU mining rigs getting built a lot once more. The H81 chipset is getting old and there haven’t been more up to date BTC motherboards getting released with a newer chipset from AsRock either and this is apparently opening up some opportunities fro other manufacturers…

Entering Biostar with their new model TB250-BTC that is apparently intended for GPU mining rigs with up to 6x video cards and to additional 4-pin Molex power connectors onboard, just like on the AsRock Pro BTC series. To our knowledge this is the first motherboard intended for 6x GPU mining rigs with an up to date chipset, based on Intel B250 and supporting socket 1151 CPUs and DDR4 memory. The motherboard even has an M.2 slot available for installing onboard SSD modules, a feature that might also be interesting for some GPU miners. The only problem with Biostar as a brand is the limited availability on many markets or the total lack of such, unlike AsRock that is available on much more markets worldwide. The Biostar TB250-BTC in not the first attempt at such a solution from the company, they previously had the Biostar TB85 motherboard that also came as an alternative to AsRock’s H81 Pro BTC, but it never got too popular since it was also hard to find on many markets and was more expensive.

It is not like there are no other interesting alternatives available to the popular AsRock H81 Pro BTC motherboard with more recent chipsets, but since they are not designed for GPU mining rigs specifically they may not all work or may need some special settings and tuning. There are some interesting motherboards with the latest generation chipsets from Intel such as B250/H270 that come with 6 PCI-E slots and at a good price, though they may need some tinkering with the BIOS settings in order to make them work properly for mining. The price is important factor when building up a GPU mining rig and you don’t normally want to spend that much on a motherboard and CPU, especially if you don’t need any of the extra features or performance provided by the more expensive solutions… lower cost means faster ROI.

If you want to take a look at these alternative offers for possible good choices for 6x GPU mining rigs take a look at the offers from AsRock, Asus and MSI with B250/H270 chipsets that do have 6x PCI-E slots. On these however you need to switch the PCI-E to Gen 2.0 or Gen 1.0 and also force the TOLUD or Top Of Lower Usable Dram setting in the BIOS to 3.5 GB manually and not leave it to Auto mode as it is by default. You may want to make sure that the BIOS of the motherboard you go for has this BIOS option available, as otherwise the operating system may have issues properly assigning resources for all 6 GPUs and they many not work.

For more details about the Biostar TB250-BTC motherboard for 6x GPU mining rigs…

Another interesting piece of information about the popular ASIC manufacturer Bitmain as apparently the company is planning to launch their first Antminer L3 Scrypt Miner. Some of you might remember that back in 2014 Bitmain was planning to launch Antminer L1 Sctypt ASIC miner, but that one never came into existence. Apparently back then the company reached a stage that allowed even without launching a product to continue working and get an even more efficient solution and here comes the L3. There is some information available about the device already, even though it is not yet officially listed on the English website of Bitmain (you can find a product page on the Chinese one).

You can find some photos and even some early performance results online from peopel that managed to get some early units apparently, including a tweet from charlie Lee who created Litecoin (LTC) about getting one of these devices. More general availability is expected sometimes in February probably because of the incoming Chinese New Year, so we are going to have to wait some more time. What is the most interesting thing about the Bitmain AntMiner L3 Scrypt ASIC miner is the efficiency that the device not only apparently promises, but also delivers – 250 MHS hashrate with just 400 Watt power usage. This makes is significantly more power efficient compared to its only competitor with a recent generation of Scrypt ASIC hardware available – Innosilicon A4 Dominator (280 MHS at 1000W). The price listed on the product page is 1.825 BTC or a little over $1600 USD at the current exchange rate. Do note that the Antminer L3 ASIC does come without a power supply, but with the power usage the device has it does not require expensive and harder to find power supply, a decent 500W PSU should do just fine.

Bitmain Antminer L3 Specifications:
– Scrypt mining hashrate: 250 MHS
– Power consumption: 400W ± 10% (at the wall, with Bitmain’s APW3-1600 PSU, 93% efficiency, 25°C ambient temperature))
– Power efficiency: 1.6J/MH ± 10% (at the wall, AC / DC efficiency of 93%, 25°C ambient temperature)
– Rated voltage: 11.6 ~ 13.0V
– Chip Type: BM1485
– Chip quantity per unit: 144 chips
– Number of boards in the whole machine: 4 pcs
– External dimensions: 230 mm (L) * 135 mm (W) * 158 mm (H)
– Machine weight (without packaging): 2.5kg
– Operating temperature: 0°C to 40°C
– Operating Humidity: 5% RH-95% RH, non-condensing
– Network connection: Ethernet
– Noise level: 60dB

Bitmain has announced a new AntMiner T9 ASIC miner that should go on sale today for $1104 USD offering 11.5 THS hashrate. The new miner is based on the previous AntMiner S9, though it comes with a bit less chips that are apparently clocked at a higher operating frequency. The new T9 is a bit cheaper, but not as efficient as the S9 as based on the official specs it consumes about 1450W for the 11.5 THS while the Batch 22 of the S9 came with 11 THS at 1078W and Batch 23 was with 14 THS for 1372W. The new T9 miner comes with just 171 BM1387 chips while the S9 was based on 189 BM1387 chips. The two fans cooling the new device are the same as on S9, so you can expect similar level of noise from the device. So in short the new AntMiner T9 does not in fact seem so attractive to miners, but with the lack of new S9 miners you might not have much of a choice…

BitMain AntMiner T9 Specifications:
– Hash Rate: 11.5TH/s. A variation of +/- 5% is expected
– Power Consumption: 1450W +7% (at the wall, with Bitmain’s APW3 PSU, 93% efficiency, 25°C ambient temperature)
– Power Efficiency: 0.126J/GH + 7% (at the wall, with Bitmain’s APW3 PSU, 93% efficiency, 25°C ambient temperature)
– Rated Voltage: 11.60 ~ 13.00V
– Chip Type: BM1387
– Chip quantity per unit: 171 chips
– Dimensions: 350mm (l) x 135mm (w) x 158mm (h)
– Cooling: Two 12038 fans. Front fan: 6000RPM, rear fan: 4300RPM
– Operating temperature: 0°C to 40°C
– Network connection: Ethernet