Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category

falcon-cgminer-performance-results

Our testing of the 27 MHS GAWMiners Falcon Scrypt ASIC continues and in the last few days we’ve been moving the ASIC miner through different pools in order to check what is the actual performance that you can expect from it. If judging the performance based on what cgminer reports you should be looking at the WU reported speed as the actual one and not the one for the last 5 seconds or the average reported by the software. Though do note that the WU reported speed is for the last minute based on the shares submitted. To get a more accurate result we need an average that covers longer period of time such as an hour or even a day and you can easily get such results from a pool monitoring and reporting not only your current hashrate again based on the shares submitted in the last minute for example. Do note that the Falcon Scrypt ASIC from GAWMiners is essentially the same in terms of hardware inside as the ZeusMiner THUNDER X3 and should produce the same hashrate. So far the recommended operating frequency of 328 MHz seems to work very well, though the standard rating of the ZeusMiner ASIC chips seems to be 300 MHz. The results you see here are made using the 328 MHz operating frequency with a HW error rate hovering around 5%, slightly higher than we would want, but still acceptable and apparently the normal one for the Zeus chips.

falcon-24-hour-hashrate-ltcrabbit

Here you can see a 24 hour chart with the hashrate reported by the LTC Rabbit mining pool. The minimum average hashrate per hour we got at the pool for the 24 hour test period was 25674 KHS and the maximum was 29332 KHS with an average across the 24 hour period of 27882 KHS. A very good result and with that hashrate you can currently get about 2.5-2.6 LTC mined a day, not too bad with the difficulty recently going past 10 thousand, but not that great either with the current exchange rate for Litecoin. So mining LTC now and not selling it immediately seems like the smarter choice if you have decided to invest in larger Scrypt ASIC miner such as the GAW Falcon.

falcon-scryptguild-average-speed

Trying out the Scrypt ASIC miner at the ScryptGuild mining pool where you mine altcoins and get payed in BTC has shown us very similar performance. The average hashrate poolside was 27738 KHS and with it the expected payout for 24 hours of mining could get you around 0.05 BTC at the moment. So poolside we are actually getting a bit more than the 27 MHS promised by GAWMiners, though we are a bit short from the 28 MHS that Zeus claims for the THUNDER X3, but it is still acceptable. It is possible that with some tweaking that we can get slightly better results by lowering the HW error level. The quite high power usage of the miner however does not leave that much room for optimizing the cooling and squeezing some more MHz from the miner. We are not ready to give up, so stay tuned for more information as we continue to play around with the miner. It will be interesting to compare this miner with the A2-based 27 MHS mini miner that uses Innosilicon A2 Scrypt ASIC chips and we are hopefully soon be able to compare the two devices.

gawminers-falcon-power-consumption

We have been using and testing the 27 MHS GAWMiners Falcon Scrypt ASIC miner for a few days already and we did measure the power requirements of the device and are ready to do some recommendations for a suitable PSU to use. On the GAW website the power consumption of the miner is stated as 1040W and since this is essentially a ZeusMiner THUNDER X3 inside, we have also checked the specifications announced on the Zeus website – 920W. Zeus however does recommend a 1200W modular 80PLUS Gold or Platinum rated power supply to be used for this miner, though you can actually do well with a slightly less powerful model if it is a good one.

As you can see from our measurement on the image above, where we are using a Corsair 1200W 80Plus Platinum power supply, the actual power usage of the miner is 916W, so very close to what Zeus has stated on their website. The fact that we are using a more powerful 80Plus Platinum power supply gives us very high efficiency of over 94% at this serious load, so the total power consumed at the wall is roughly 970-975W. This means that even with a good quality 80Plus rated 1000W power supply you should be fine. No need to go for 1200W as recommended, though the higher power model will most likely help you minimize the power wasted as it will be operating at better efficiency when not pushed to the limit. We did a test with a 1000W power supply that was barely managing to work at 78-80% level of efficiency and got a power usage of almost 1100W at the power socket. So if you want to save yourself some heat and waste less power, you better go for at least 1000W power supply that is rated 80Plus Gold.

zeusminer-blizzard-1

The ZeusMiner Scrypt ASICs were something that we were anticipating with interest, so we have pre-ordered the smallest ZeusMiner Blizzard Scrypt ASIC last month and this week we finally got our unit. With the initial specifications that Zeus has promised for their Scrypt ASIC miners they were going to be the perfect successor and a replacement for the Gridseed ASICs, and especially the 1.2 MHS Blizzard miner as it was supposed to offer very nice performance at an acceptable price and with low power consumption. Initially Zeus has promised to deliver 1.2 MHS Scrypt hashrate with a power consumption of just 15W, these were the specifications when we have pre-ordered our Blizzard unit. In the end however it seems that Zeus had some problems with the power efficiency and their miners ended up consuming more than they have anticipated and this is their biggest drawback. Instead of the ZeusMiner chips being more power efficient than the Gridseed in fact they ended up with pretty much the same power consumption or maybe even a bit worse.

Their idea is probably to compensate the increased power usage with a better price of the miners for the upcoming batches, but the people that did pre-order early were kind of screwed up as they have paid more for something a bit different than what they got in the end. Don’t get us wrong, but paying $199 USD for a 1.2 MHS Blizzard miner that was supposed to use 15W of power and getting a device that actually uses 44W as our tests have shown for the same hashrate is not great. It is not even double, but triple the power consumption that was initially announced and even though you can squeeze a bit more extra hashrate with just a slight increase in hashrate does not help much in justifying this much of a difference. With all that said, we actually liked the ZeusMiner Blizzard, though we do have some small notes to go along with the complaints about the significant increase in the power usage. These are all pretty much regarding the fact that Zeus needs to start paying a bit more attention to the little details in their miners and this goes not only for the smaller Blizzard, but for the larger and more expensive miners as well. At the moment if you look at the Zeus website you would see that they have updated the specs of the Blizzard to 1.35 MHS with a power consumption of 40W, something that we have actually achieved on our unit, but with about 48W of power consumption.

zeusminer-blizzard-2

Now, enough with the complaining let us see what you are actually getting with the 1.2 MHS ZeusMiner Blizzard Scrypt ASIC miner. You get a 6-chip ASIC miner with a fan attached over the aluminium cooler, a micro-USB cable for connecting the device to a PC and a power adapter for powering up the device. The rest you can find on their website, namely some brief instructions and the drivers and mining software which is essentially a modified version of an earlier cgminer. Here goes an example of one of the small things that needs more attention – the cable for the power supply is not using the standard used in the country that the miner is being shipped to. Zeus needs to pay attention to these small details – either put a cable for the USA, Europe, UK etc. power standards used or not put a cable at all and tell the buyers to get one prior to receiving the miner. In our case the supplied cable is not for use in Europe, but the good thing is that it is pretty standard cable used by almost all computer power supplies, so it is easy to get one and we have had plenty of these available already.

The second small thing that needs some consideration is to at least provide some quick startup guide printed on a piece of paper inside the miner’s box that people get. You cannot expect that everyone is very technical and already knows what he needs to do, how to connect the device and what software to install and use, especially when you do not have a quick startup guide for novice users also available on your website. Other than that you still get pretty much all you need in terms of hardware shipped to you, very well packaged and delivered quickly (once it is shipped) via an express courier service (DHL in our case), though shipping might be a bit expensive, especially for the small Blizzard miners. We’ve had to pay a bit over $50 USD for shipping from China, so Zeus needs to find some partners in other parts of the world such as Europe for example in order for faster and cheaper shipping and no need to pay extra taxes.

zeusminer-blizzard-3

A quick look at the bottom of the Blizzard shows another thing that needs to be addressed. Note that the screws holding the cooling fan on top of the unit go all the way through the aluminium cooler (the PCB is enclosed inside) and end up with the nuts holding them at the bottom of the unit. So when you place the miner on some surface, instead of the flat aluminium bottom to be resting stable on it, you have only the four screws actually holding the miner. This way they can scratch the surface the miner is placed on, make it not so stable and easy fall dawn as well as cause more noise coming from vibrations caused by the fan on top. The solution for this is very simple – 4 small rubber feet taped on the bottom of the miner. In fact the larger Zeus miners apparently also have the same issue with screws on bottom of the case and no rubber feet and there the vibrations are more serious and cause more noise due to the much larger and more powerful cooling larger fans used. One thing that Zeus needs to work more on for future batches… pay more attention to small details in order to leave customers really happy with their purchase!

zeusminer-blizzard-hashrate

As we have already mentioned the ZeusMiner Blizzard has 6 ASIC chips inside and was initially rated at 1.2 MHS total, though now it is being advertised as 1.35 MHS. Each chip has 8 cores with each core capable to provide 26.25 KHS hashrate or total 210 KHS per chip at 300 MHz operating frequency or with other words a total of 1260 KHS or 1.26 MHS. We can conclude that the default frequency for the miner is 300 MHz as at this operating frequency the miner can provide the users with the initially promised hashrate. In order to get the new 1.35 MHS hashrate advertised you need to go to 328 MHz as a clock frequency and we were able to get that with no problems. At 300 MHz (1.2 MHS) we have measured 44W of power usage and at 328 MHz (1.35 MHS) the power usage was 48W and in both cases we had the device pretty cool and working stable, though the HW error level was staying a bit high at about 5% in overall on the long run. The power supply you get with the miner is a 60W one (5A at 12V) and is an universal one capable of working between 100 and 240V. It is probably not the most power efficient solution and it does get hot while the device is running, though not hot enough to cause alarms at least for the first 24 hours of operation while we were testing it. We are going to test power efficiency with a better ATX power supply to see if we can get better power usage out of these miners, as well as do some extra testing and measuring of the temperature and optimal clock settings, but we’ll need some more time for these, so expect extra information in the next few days.

zeusminer-blizzard-poolside-results

Here is the situation with hashrate poolside with the miner running at 300 MHz (1.2 MHS), as you can see it is able to deliver the promised hashrate even with the slightly higher percentage of HW errors. Do note that a small percentage of HW errors are common for ASIC miners, you just need to find the optimal balance between the hashrate and the number of HW errors in order to maximize the useable hashrate. Do note that the above results were achieved at the Scryptguild pool mining for DOGE (a coin with higher difficulty and blocks that take some time to solve). If you are mining a Scrypt coin that has block that are solved very fast your actual hashrate may be lower as you might be wasting more time and resources and getting more stale shares, so your actual hashrate can vary based on where, what and how you mine with the device.

So what are our first impressions from the ZeusMiner Blizzard in short? We like this little miner, it is well built, easy to setup and works very stable and problem free so far. The initial price might not be that great, but the new price is much more attractive, especially considering the fact that the actual power usage is higher than what was initially expected. Fast delivery and very well packaged, though a bit expensive and needing to pay VAT and some extra custom taxes if ordered directly form Zeus and shipped from China. What Zeus needs to work a bit more on are the little details to make their products perfect in the eyes of the customers – things like a quick start manual in the box, the right power cable for the country the device is shipped to, rubber feet on the bottom of the miner etc. The small ZeusMiner Blizzard miners, also available by GAWMiners as The Fury, are great choice for the average miner that does want to be able to mine Scrypt crypto coins, but not with a GPU. These miners are an affordable and not so powerful Scrypt ASIC that can help spread the hashrate into many normal miners that were using GPUs for mining Scrypt crypto coins up until recently and help keeping the interest and the network distributed among many people. As with the upcoming mega powerful Scrypt ASIC miners there is fear that most of the hashrate will be centralized and in the hands of just a few big mining farms and this will kill the wide user interest.

For more information about the ZeusMiner Blizzard and the current prices directly from Zeus…


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