Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category

zeusminer-blizzard-1

The ZeusMiner Blizzard Scrypt ASIC also available as the GAWMiners Fury is a nice little device that comes at a really attractive price for the hashrate it offers. They are the ideal choice for smaller miners that want to get a Scrypt ASIC miner, but don’t want to spend too much for it… and quite a lot of people like that already have purchased these devices. Being so attractive with their current prices and performance of about 1.3-1.4 MHS it is no wonder people are also interested in modifying them for even higher performance. The simpler thing that you could do is to try to improve the cooling with the addition of some heatsinks directly on top of the 6 ASIC chips to get a little more headroom for increasing the operating frequency with lower number of HW errors. The more complex thing is to try to do a voltage modification in order to allow for the chips to have no trouble operating at higher frequency.

People that have used or still use the smaller 5-chip Gridseed Scrypt ASICs and have done a voltage modification to them knwo that these small miners were able to handle a significant performance increase without trouble. The reason for that was the fact they they were originally designed to be used for mining both LTC and BTC, thus they could handle higher voltage and operating infrequence easily if you only used them for Scrypt mining. The case with the ZeusMiners however is not the same, it seems that their miners are already pushed quite high in terms of power usage and operating frequency not leaving you with much headroom for experimenting. Voltage modification of a ZeusMiner Blizzard or GAWMiners Fury is possible and can be done with the replacement of resistors just like on the Gridseed ASICs, however the advantage you can get in terms of hashrate increase is not going to be that attractive so that a lot of people would be willing to do it. There is a topic on the Bitcointalk forum where people are trying to modify their devices and are reporting some useful information and their experience and results, so you might want to check that out if you are interested.

To see the topic at the Bitcointalk forum about Fury/Blizzard tuning and mods…

gawminers-falcon-scrypt-asic-miner

Today we did took thermal images in order to be able to see how well does the GAWMiners Falcon Scrypt ASIC miner deal with the heat, since we have an unbranded Falcon unit it is essentially the same as the standard ZeusMiner THUNDER X3 inside. With a power consumption of over 900W you might worry a bit about the thermal performance of the device, or at least be a bit curious how good is the cooling and if you are able to possibly improve it would that bring the level of HW errors down a bit.

gawminers-falcon-thermal-image-1

As you can see from the thermal images on the outside the Falcon is pretty cool with the hottest areas barely getting up to about 42 degrees Celsius. The device uses two large 120mm fans that pull the hot air through the case of the miner over the large aluminum coolers inside the case, these fans are very powerful and a bit noisy. In fact they are so powerful that they cause some vibrations of the whole case of the miner and since there are no rubber feet at the bottom of the case the miner might sound noisier if the surface it is placed on picks up the vibrations and amplifies them. Not that the fans are that cool, they are a bit noisy, butt they do their job very well in keeping the device cooler and operating without heat problems of any kind. Actually what you should be more careful with is the cables from the power supply that go to the miner as they may get hot due to the significant power being transferred through them. If they are cool or just slightly hot to the touch they are most likely fine, but if they start to get hotter after you turn on the miner, then you might need to think about getting a better power supply.

gawminers-falcon-thermal-image-2

Opening the case of the Falcon Scrypt ASIC while it is operating may not be the wisest thing to do, especially for longer periods of time as it may permanently damage the device due to overheating. The fact that you have fans pulling air from inside the case means that when you open the top the efficiency of the cooling of the device drops a lot and everything starts to get hotter and hotter very quickly. We did it remove it very quickly just to take the thermal photos and put back together the case in order to measure the temperatures as close as possible to the actual ones while the miner is working normally. As you can see on the left image the four big aluminum heatsinks remain very cool at about 30-35 degrees Celsius while the fans are pulling a lot of air though them. Looking at the boards with the ASIC chips on them things do seem a bit hotter as to be expected, the chips are pretty hot as the design of the miner uses the back of the PCB to transfer the heat to the heatsinks and the chips do not have coolers placed on top of them. Temperatures of about 60-70 degrees Celsius are apparently something that is not a problem for them, though you should be careful not to get the temperatures much higher like for example leaving the miner to work open for some time. The power modules of the boards do seem cooler than the ASIC chips, though they do get a bit hot as well. So there is the possibility for some improvements to the cooling of the device to be improved further and now that we have some thermal images we know where we should focus on, you are also welcome to use these images to work on improving the cooling and possibly the performance of the device.

zeusminer-blizzard-scrypt-asic-power-usage

We’ve read some comments about people complaining from the stock ZeusMiner Blizzard Scrypt ASICs’ like them being crappy and getting too hot. From our personal experience we can also confirm that the 60W power adapters provided with the miners do get hot, but this is to be expected with a power draw of the device of about 44W at 300 MHz and 48W at 328 MHz. Our unit that we are currently testing is hot to the touch, but only using that to judge can be misleading as any temperature higher the one of our body is perceived as hot. Anyway, we did decide to try using the Blizzard miner with a high-quality ATX power supply and measure the actual power draw we are getting…

We have attached the ZeusMiner Blizzard to an 80Plus Platinum power supply and the result was a bit surprising – very low efficiency of the power supply due to the low load. Clearly the 1200W Corsair power supply is not designed to be very efficient with a load of just about 50W, actually 48-49W measured as used by the miner, so not much different than what we got from the standard PSU. The difference here however is that due to the low efficiency that the PSU is running at the actual power consumption of the miner off the power socket is about 64W. We did measure 48W of power usage with the stock power adapter supplied with the miner at the power socket, so it seems that these 60W power adapters are quite efficient in converting the 220V power to 12V. Of course by increasing the number of miners connected to the power supply and raising the load to at least 10% or more the efficiency should increase and make things right, though no point in running just a single Blizzard off an ATX computer power supply – better stick to the power adapter supplied with the miner.


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