Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category

futurebit-moonlander-usb-scrypt-asic

The FutureBit MoonLander is an ASIC Scrypt USB stick miner made by jstefanop on Bitcointalk that is based on a single Alcheminer AlcheMist Scrypt ASIC chip. A small SCrypt-based ASIC miner intended to provide a hashrate between 0.4 and 1.2 MHS with a power usage of about 5W per megahash. The device is user overclockable with voltage adjustment available via a variable resistance potentiometer on the board and clock setting via the software miner. Using the device directly plugged into a USB 3.0 port you should be able to push it somewhere close to a Megahash with the available 4.5W of power, for more you will need a powered USB HUB capable of providing more power to the USB miner and probably active cooling. We have purchased a single unit in order to be able to try it out and see how well it performs, so you can expect our first impressions and test result from the FutureBit MoonLander very soon.

FutureBit MoonLander Specifications:
– Scrypt Hasrate: 400 KHS to 1.2 MHS performance
– Power Usage: about 5 watt per Megahash
– Voltage Adjustment: fully customizable core voltage range from 0.7 – 1.1v
– Power Efficiency: really efficient 5v->core voltage stage with about 95% efficiency
– Heavy duty/over speced parts were used to ensure wide range of operation (this thing can put out 20amps if you wanted to push it that far)
– Status LEDs for power, TX and RX transmission
– Uses latest bfgminer 5.4 for control and mining
– Will work with all Mac OS, Linux, and Windows based PCs

The price of the FutureBit MoonLander USB Scrypt ASIC miner is $39 USD plus shipping and you can order directly form jstefanop over at Bitcointalk or get it via some of the official resellers while they have units. There are two US resellers – Asicpuppy and HolyBitcoin and there is one reseller for Europe – Bitshopper.

Do note that these USB Scrypt ASIC miners won’t make you rich mining Litecoin (LTC) and even ROI won’t be very fast at the current moment, they are not meant for that. The FutureBit MoonLander is a handy little device that is affordable enough for people that want to experiment with Scrypt mining for fun. With that said however if you point the miner at some Scrypt altcoin with low network hashrate and difficulty, mine some coins and then sell them at the right moment you can still do pretty good.

For more information about the FutureBit MoonLander USB Scrypt ASIC miner…

ibelink-dm384m-2

The iBeLink DM384M is the first to market X11 ASIC miner and while it is a pretty good product, there are still some things to be desired. In terms of hardware the X11 ASIC miner offers a solid build and reliable performance making it pretty capable for mining in a data center even in not so favorable conditions even when the environment temperature is not the best. The power usage is at a good level for the high performance it offers of 384 MHS for X11 mining, but the noise level makes it inappropriate for home miners. Temperature wise the situation is good thanks to the powerful server grade cooling used to keep the miner operating stable as you can see from these thermal images of the device in operation. Pretty much what is missing in terms of hardware is the presence of thermal sensors and fan control available for the users, the first is not hard to implement considering that the built-in controller of the miner is a Raspberry Pi. Fan speed control and failsafe could be trickier to implement as it would also need to be able to ignore users settings if the conditions require it and even to shutdown the miner in case a fan fails. Not to mention that implementing fan speed control and monitoring would not be very usable without the miner having thermal sensors, but the current implementation with server grade fans is good enough and should provide long and reliable operating with adequate cooling.

ibelink-pool-control-software

On the software side however there is much more to be desired, even though the basic web-based functionality you get is a pretty good starting point. we have already mentioned the device uses a Raspberry Pi controller with a modified version of the MineNinja software to provide a web-based frontend to the cgminer 3.5.6 backend. The web frontend provides a lot of numbers to the users, but they do not always seem to be correct, especially in terms of the actual hashrate you are getting from the device, so you need to look at the pool reported speed. Furthermore the web-based control lacks some very basic features such as password protection for access control or the ability to use a different pool mining strategy than the default failsafe one that is available. With big and powerful ASIC miners we often see that the web-based control software offers only pool failsafe options, but no load balance strategy for example. So while this will be fine if you are mining a high difficulty coin, if you go for a low difficulty and hashrate one throwing your full hashrate you will quickly raise the coin difficulty a lot. The cgminer backend does come with support for different pool strategies, so the problem is in the functionality available in web-based interface. Unfortunately for the moment the source code of cgminer or at lest the driver for the device is not yet publicly released, so we cannot have support built in other miners and web frontends. So for the moment the iBeLink DM384M is best for use with high difficulty X11 coins…

asrock-h81-pro-btc-motherboard

With the recent spike of interest in GPU mining thanks mostly to Ether a lot of people are getting back to building GPU mining rigs using more up-to date hardware much like back in the days of the Litecoin and prior to that of the Bitcoin mining boom. Nowadays it is much easier and you have way more options for different motherboards that have the option to work with 4, 5 or even 6 video cards by utilizing not only full width x16 PCI-E slots, but also the multiple available PCI-Express x1 sots with the help of extenders. We have prepared a list of all possible candidates for use as motherboards for multi-GPU mining rigs 4-6 GPU mining from ASRock, the company that has made its name among miners thanks to their dedicated BTC-branded motherboards made especially for GPU mining rigs. Other motherboard manufacturers such as Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and others also have products that might do for a multi-GPU mining rigs, but these are not dedicated for such use and this may cause some problems.

Nowadays ASRock has a lot of BTC-branded motherboards that are designed for use as multi-GPU mining rigs for different processor platforms from both AMD and Intel. There are also quite a few more non-BTC named motherboards that could do the job perfectly and some that might also work fine, but some of the PCI-E slots might not be available for GPU use under specific conditions, so you need to be careful. What is important for a motherboard that will be used with multiple GPUs for mining is for the motherboard to have enough PCI-E slots, to be affordable in terms of price as you don’t need extras targeted at gamers or enthusiasts and to be able to be used with cheap dual-core CPUs. ASRock’s BTC-branded motherboards do come with some extra features that may help by minimizing possible issues such as the fact that they have been designed to provide extra power to GPUs and have dedicated connectors for additional power from the PSU. They do not share PCI-E lanes with external hardware such as network controllers, audio cards, storage controllers or USB controllers that may cause problems if you want to use all of the available PCI-Express lanes for video cards and so on. These motherboards are offering just basic features, but ensure stable and problem free operation even under not so good conditions that often are available with GPU mining rigs that generate a lot of heat an may not be optimally cooled.

The list below covers all possibly suitable ASRock motherboards for 4-6 GPU mining rigs, you should choose to go for the models that do have the BTC in their model nae as they will most likely be the best choice. The next are Anniversary and Pro series and then the others if you have no other choice, but with such a big list you should have a lot of options. Unfortunately the only 6 GPU capable motherboards are for Intel socket 1155 and 1150 CPUs, still no affordable options for the latest Intel 1151 platforms or AMD FM2 sockets. Sure the company has some high-end enthusiast level products that can do 6 GPUs, but these are pointless for use as multi-GPU mining rigs as they will add to much to the price of the setup and you will be better off spending the extra cash for more video cards or more powerful models. After all you need to find the right balance that includes cheap motherboard, cheap processor and powerful GPUs along with some PCI-E extenders (powered preferably) with PCI Express x1-x16 USB 3.0 Extenders being the best choice if available.

Intel Socket 1151 ASRock Motherboards

5 cards:
ASRock B150A-X1
ASRock B150 Pro4D3
ASRock B150 Pro43.1
ASRock H170A-X1
ASRock H170 Pro4
ASRock H170 Pro4D3
ASRock H170 Pro4S

4 cards:
ASRock B150 Combo
ASRock B150M Pro4S
ASRock B150M Pro4
ASRock Q170M vPro
ASRock H170 Combo
ASRock H170M Pro4S
ASRock H170M Pro4

Intel Socket 1150 ASRock Motherboards

6 cards:
ASRock H81 Pro BTC
ASRock H81 Pro-G
ASRock B85 Anniversary
ASRock H97 Anniversary

4 cards:
ASRock H81M BTC
ASRock H81M-G
ASRock B85M BTC
ASRock B85 Pro4
ASRock H87 Pro4

Intel Socket 1155 ASRock Motherboards

6 cards:
ASRock H61 Pro BTC
ASRock H61 Pro
ASRock H61DEL

4 cards:
ASRock H67DE3
ASRock P67 Pro
ASRock P67 Pro3 SE
ASRock P75 Pro3

AMD FM2/FM2+ ASRock Motherboards

5 cards:
ASRock FM2A58+ BTC
ASRock FM2A58 Pro+
ASRock FM2A78 Pro3+
ASRock FM2A88X+ BTC
ASRock FM2A88X Pro+ R2.0
ASRock FM2A88X Pro+
ASRock FM2A88X Pro3+

4 cards:
ASRock FM2A58M+ BTC
ASRock FM2A78 Pro4+
ASRock FM2A88M+ BTC


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