All About Bitcoin and Litecoin mining and other alternative crypto currencies
If you remember back in December last year we have mentioned the announcement of the 150 GHS TechnoBit Dice Desktop USB Miner / Blockchain Lottery Device, based on a single Spondoolies Tech RockerBox ASIC chip. This device caught our attention as it was an affordable solution for enthusiasts and people that are interested in Bitcoin ASICs and mining to get to know things. We were hoping that it will be an affordable, small, silent and easy to setup and use device that could be of interest to home users that are not into Bitcoin mining for profit, but just for fun or out of curiosity. At the beginning of this month we have ordered one unit to try it out ourselves and write a review, it was supposed to be initially shipped on 10th, but then again the date was moved to 19th and a few days later it was finally shipped and we just got it today. Here we need to mention that TechnoBit did not let the users that have ordered it know of the delay, just silently updated the dates their website, though they are quick to respond when you contact them. Thank god that the miner was not time critical as it is not a very powerful in terms of hashrate device, so a bit of a delay is not an issue here, but what about if you order one of their other more powerful miners? And so we got the device, this is actually our first ASIC miner from TechnoBit, although they have been on the market for quite a while and have quite a lot of products that they build themselves based on ASIC chips produced from other companies. So our experience with the DICE is also our first experience with the manufacture as well, what you should know is that the company is based in Bulgaria which is in the European Union, so if you are from an EU country there will be no delivery delays as soon as the item is shipped or additional customs charges.
The DICE was well packaged, we have ordered the version that is only the miner and not the other model that includes a controller, so this one connects directly to a computer via USB and you need to run cgminer. You can of course also use Raspberry Pi or TP-Link controller with custom software if you manage to get them work which brings us to one of the important things regarding the DICE. It is no way a product that is easy to use by novice users and the reason for that is the lack of installation/setup manual and clear details about how to make things work including the miner software you need. So a bit of a disappointment on the ease of use side, here TechnoBit are not doing well at all and you need to look for information on forums, including details of the parameters you need to understand in order to tweak the performance or overclock the device. Another thing that we have noticed as soon as we turned on the DICE is that it is not very silent, though the noise coming from the cooling fan is still quite acceptable. Other than that the build quality seems to be good and the miner looks and feels like a solid product, apparently more suited for advanced users than for normal or novice users. Though once you get the hang of things there should be no more problems using the DICE, we have tried running it on the NiceHash service for a bit already and we are getting higher performance than the initially promised 150-160 GHS, the service reports an average hashrate for 5 minutes in the range of 200-250 GHS and so does cgminer locally. Also Make sure that you use a pool where you can set a fixed difficulty as due to the low hashrate that this device has if the pool you use has difficulty auto adjustment and it gets too high your performance may get lower, using 128 fixed difficulty should normally be fine.
Quick setup guide for TechnoBit DICE on Windows:
– Download the Windows version of cgminer with support for DICE
– Modify the cgminer.conf file with the pool settings for the pool that you want to mine at
– Download Zadig and run it to replace the unrecognized USB device that you get when you plug the miner with WinUSB driver
– Run the DICE cgminer and it should detect the device and start mining using your pool settings
There is no official source for cgminer with support for DICE available, you need to download the official release and apply a patch to it to add support for the DICE miner. This is for the Linux users as well as the ones that want to use a Raspberry Pi controller for the miner instead of a Windows PC. There is also an official firmware available for the TP-Link controller that you can use as a miner controller, though you probably would want to get a version of the DICE miner with the controller already packaged – this one should in theory be easier to setup and use for novice users. This are pretty much our first impressions from the TechnoBit DICE ASIC miner that we just got and plugged in to test it out if it works. In the next few days we are going to be doing some tests of the device, so stay tuned for additional details and more information in our full review of the unit.
BitMain has started selling the AntMiner U3 Bitcoin ASIC miner again with a slightly different design than the original first batch, other than that the specifications remain pretty much the same (with some minor differences in cited power usage). The new AntMiner U3 Batch 2 is available with a minimum order quantity of 20 units at a price of 38 USD (0.185 BTC) and the Batch 3 is with a minimum order quantity of just 5 units available at a price of 39 USD (0.19 BTC). The BitMain AntMiner U3 ASIC miners provide 63 GHS at about 60W with 1 Watt per GHS in the new specifications that are published by BitMain with a low noise level.
BitMain AntMiner U3 Specifications:
– Max Hash Rate: 63 GH/s ±5%
– Power Efficiency: 1Watt/GH/s on wall at 0.83V
– Voltage: DC 12V input, 6A
– Chip Quantity per unit: 4
– One 80mm fan
– Noise: ~25 DB at 25 °C ambient temperature
– Hashrate and VDD core voltage can be adjusted via cgminer command line
– USB connection
– 12V AC/DC power brick of 6A, but power line not included
– Certificate Compliance: FCC/CE
BitMain has these miners available for home users that want to have access to affordable priced and silent Bitcoin ASIC miners that want to play with them just for hobby, they are not designed to ROI due to their lower hashrate and not so great power efficiency. Since they are running batch 2 and 3 this means that there is interest in these little devices from users, though you probably would want to get a single unit to play with it and not buy a minimum of 5 or 20 units. This means that most end users will probably not be interested in directly buying AntMiner U3 from BitMain, but will look for some company reselling these at a single piece quantities.
Bitmain has announced their 3rd generation Bitcoin ASIC miner chip – the BM1384 in conjunction with its 9th product – the Antminer S5 and is getting ready to start shipping the device before the end of the year. The Antminer S5 is the successor of the S3 and the S1 before that, building and improving the design of the previous generation of miners offering higher performance with lower power consumption thanks to the new BM1384 ASIC chips. The Bitmain AntMiner S5 should offer 1155 GHS hashrate with 590 Watt power usage at the wall according to the specifications, though that value may vary based on the power supply that you may pair the miner with (power supply is not included). The first batch of the S5 ASIC miners costs $418 USD and should start shipping on December 27th, the second batch is slightly cheaper at $413 USD per unit and should start shipping on January 4th 2015 or a few days later.
BitMain AntMiner S5 Specifications:
– Hash Rate: 1155 GH/s ±5%
– Power Consumption: 590 W (at the wall)
– Power Efficiency: 0.51 J/GH (at the wall)
– Rated Voltage: 12V
– Dimensions: 298 mm x 137 mm x 155 mm
– Cooling: 1x 12038 fan
– Operating Conditions: 0 °C to 35 °C
– Certified By: FCC / CE
– Network Connection: Ethernet
What seems to be the most notable change in the latest design used by the S5 is the fact that now the miner has the aluminum heatsinks placed directly on top of the ASIC chips, unlike on the previous miners where they were on the back of the PCB and thus were not so effective. This new cooling design is supposed to provide the same cooling efficiency on the new miners that previous generation that had lower hashrate and power usage.