All About BItcoin and Litecoin mining and other alternative crypto currencies
Earlier this month ZeusMiner has announced their next generation of Scrypt ASIC miners (X6) that are supposed to use less power than the previously available X3 miners. Thanks to MinerEU, an official ZeusMiner partner, today we have received three out of the four new X6 miners and have decided to share our first impressions with more to follow in the next few days along with detailed reviews of the Zeus Lightning X6, Zeus Thunder X6 and the Zeus Hurricane X6 with a Zeus Blizzard X6 still on the way.
If you have been following the development of the ZeusMiner Scrypt ASICs you will probably notice that the new X6 miners are essentially almost the same as the previous generation, just running at lower voltage and operating frequency of the chips in order to use less power and sill provide good hashrate. That, along with new lower prices, actually does make the new ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASICs really interesting miners to invest in even with the current market conditions. The new ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASIC miners with lowered power usage and prices in fact may offer you one of the quickest return of investment, so if you were considering investing in a Scrypt ASIC, then you should definitely do some profit calculations. Of course nobody can predict the increase in network difficulty or the fluctuations in the price, but if things remain stable you might be looking at less than 2 months to break even if mining Litecoins.
So what is different with the new ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASICs? They do come in the same boxes and use the same chips, however the difference is that the chips are now running at lower voltage and operating frequency. The result you get is lower power consumption and still a good hashrate, without pushing the chips close to their limits. We have opened up the new Thunder X6 to see that it is pretty much the same picture as we’ve seen with the previous miners. Each board has the same number of chips, we did notice a sticker that says 1.1V on the board, so this is probably the new operating voltage (down from 1.2-1.3V). There is also one less power mosfet on the board for each of the power blocks, probably removed as a result of the lowered power consumption. This however does mean that you might not be able to play much with overvolting the new units by replacing resistors or at least the headroom for that will not be much.
We could not find an official or recommended operating frequency for the new X6 miners, but we already knew that it will be lower than the sweet spot of about 328 MHz. So we’ve started going down and it seems that the new sweet spots in terms of operating frequencies for the lower power units are somewhere in between 235 and 250 MHz. This is the range where we get hashrate close to what is being advertised and at the same time the HW error level remains low, though we are going to play some more with the frequencies to narrow down what works best with the default setup and with no hardware modifications. So far we are happy with what we are seeing from the new ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASICs and you can expect more as we continue using and testing the units in the following days.
We’ve decided to do a quick comparison between the different options that you have for around 30 MHS Scrypt ASIC miners that are available on the market at the moment in order to give you an idea on how they compare to each other. We have a GAWMiners Falcon Miner (ZeusMiner Thunder X3), Silver Fish Blade Miner and Innosilicon A2Mini Miner that we have either tested already or are currently testing (detailed reviews of the last two to follow soon). On the photo above you can see the three miners on top of each other, so that you can get a good idea on how they compare in terms of size. Do note that they are all different not only in terms of size, but also in terms of power consumption and completeness, and they also do come with different prices as well.
Here is a table to compare and summarize the three miners that are all averaging about 28 MHS or slightly more in terms of actual hashrate according to their specs and what we have seen so far in our tests. The Falcon is the largest one, essentially a ZeusMiner Thunder X3 from the earlier batches as the newer units do come with a bit different design and Zeus has already announced new miners with lower power consumption, though these are not yet shipping. The A2Mini miner based on Innosilicon A2 chips is the second one in terms of physical size, however this miner differs than the other two with the fact that it contains an integrated power supply and Raspberry Pi controller all built inside the case. The smallest one is the Silver Fish Blade, an interesting open frame solution that is not very widely available and popular outside of China.
All of the miners above have their own advantages and disadvantages, but the price is probably the deciding factor for every miner when considering the return of investment expected. This is especially true now when the Litecoin network difficulty has climbed up to a level that ensures just a bit over 1 LTC per day to be mined with any of these Scrypt ASIC miners. Obviously the A2Mini is the worst choice in terms of price, though we do like the miner a lot as it comes as a complete solution ready to be used out of the box and with the lowest power usage. At the price that it is currently being sold however it is not a wise choice and A2 really does need to update their prices. The Silver Fish blade is also an interesting solution, especially with the lower power usage it offers as compared to ZeusMiner’s alternative, here however we do not like very much the not so effective for cooling open design and the Windows only software miner available for the device along with network only connectivity. The price of the Silver Fish is also quite high compared to Zeus’, and even though the ZeusMiner and the branded products from their partners such as GAW’s Falcon with the highest power consumption it is still the most interesting solution in terms of price. And with the announcement of the new lower power usage products that offer higher hashrate at lower price ZeusMiner is probably the most interesting choice for a Scrypt ASIC miner at the moment as it should be able to offer the fastest ROI at the moment.
A few days ago ZeusMiner has released a teaser video about their new Scrypt ASIC miner prototypes with 30% lower power usage. And now they have officially announced the new models with their specifications and made them available for pre-order. ZeusMiner calls the new miners Next Generation Miners and they have introduced 4 new models, claiming to have cut the power consumption in almost half compared to the previous generation of miners.
The Next Gen ZeusMiner Scrypt ASICs include:
- LIGHTNING X6 – 42-44Mh/s – 980W – 16kg – $2,199 USD
– THUNDER X6 – 18-20Mh/s – 450W – 9kg – $1,099 USD
– HURRICANE X6 – 9-10Mh/s – 230W – 3kg – $399 USD
– BLIZZARD X6 – 3.6+Mh/s – 110W – 1.5kg – $229 USD
The new miners are supposed to be shipped out within 7 days of pre-ordering, however do note that these pre-orders do require full payment. And for the first batch of the next gen miners ZeusMiner is giving away free bonus Scrypt ASIC miners from the previous generation along with your new miner. So essentially you are getting almost like between 1/3 and 1/2 more hashpower than the standard hashrate for a single new miner, and this is not a bad deal at all.
Now, if you wonder how Zeus has managed to squeeze more hashrare from the same 55nm Scrypt ASIC chips they are using or alternatively how they have managed to lower the power consumption, well the answer is pretty easy. They have apparently squeezed more chips running on lower frequency/voltage and thus needing less power and producing less heat. This makes the production price of the ASIC higher, however is the easiest way to optimize performance and hashrate without having to make new chips. In fact we have already seen other ASIC manufacturers taking advantage of the same approach and it works well for both the company and the customers, giving some extra time to develop new hardware.