Archive for the ‘Mining Hardware’ Category


Due to the demand for GPU mining rigs for cryptocurrency generation that are capable of powering more than 2 video cards (what is normally enough for gaming needs) some motherboard manufacturers have come up with specialized products especially for GPU mining needs. One such brand is AsRock that already has two specialized motherboards designed for GPU mining rigs and though the company uses Bitcoin mining all over these products, they are essentially for Litecoin and other scrypt-based alternative cryptos. Nowadays there is no more point in mining for Bitcoin with GPUs, you need to use specialized Bitcoin mining ASIC devices (for other SHA-256 cryptos as well), however scrypt mining and Litecoin in particular is still mineable with GPU. And a lot of people are still building new GPU mining righs with multiple video cards for mining Litecoin, so AsRock’s products can be ideal for these needs.

AsRock offers 2 models of specialized GPU mining rig motherboards, one is the cheaper AsRock H61 Pro BTC, designed for Intel Socket 1155 processors and the other one is AsRock H81 Pro BTC, designed for use with Intel Socket 1150 CPUs. Other than the use of different processors these two motherboards are pretty similar in what they offer – support for up to 6 video cards, though you will need to also use PCI-E x1 extenders to attach all of the video cards to the motherboard and you will also need a special rig designed to contain the 6 video cards. These motherboard also have additional 4-pin molex connectors that you need to connect in order for the motherboard to supply enough power to the video cards over the PCI-E slots.

Also if you plan on using all 6 PCI-E slots with GPUs you may need to be careful what OS you are going to be using in order for the operating system to be able to see and use all of the cards at the same time. Linux is a good option for 6 cards at the same time, and there are specialized Linux distributions available for mining rigs. The problem with Linux however is that the control of voltage of the GPUs may not work with all video cards, in fact with most you my have trouble changing the voltage of the GPU, though the clock frequencies are accessible and you can change them for better performance and higher hashrate. So also do have that in mind when building a GPU mining rig.


The Chinese company called Gridseed is the first one that has announced an ASIC chip capable of mining both BTC and LTC at the same time or any other SHA-256 and Scrypt crypto currency. Gridseed’s chips are 55nm ASICs with 3 different operating modes: mine only Bitcoins, mine only Litecoins or mine both BTC and LTC at the same time. The Bitcoin and Litecoin mining at the same time should be able to provide 1.6GH/s for Bitcoin and 60 KH/s for Litecoin mining speed per chip with a 4-5W power consumption as per manufacturer’s claim. So far we haven’t seen any device based on these chips, but apparently Gridseed are already shipping chips and the first devices should start hitting the market after the Chinese New Year holidays are over and info about the first devices is already becoming available…


The DualMiner USB is one of the first ASIC based USB miner for both SHA-256 and Scrypt that is based on a single Gridchip’s GC3355 processor chip. It can be setup to mine Litecoin only, or Bitcoin and Litecoin simultaneously. The hash performance is apparently bounded by USB 2.0 specification of maximum 2.5W power consumption for a device and thus instead of of 1.6GH/s Bitcoin mining speed you get only 500 MH/s and instead of 60 KH/s Litecoin speed only 40 KH/s in dual mining mode for BTC and LTC. If the operates only in LTC mining mode it will operate at 70KH/s or a little over the default chip specs thanks to the lower power consumption for LTC scrypt mining only. The price of a single DualMiner USB ASIC is $98 USD at the moment, however the specs of the device don’t make it that interesting for a single unit.


A company called Lightningasic has announced a Bitcoin and Litecoin ASIC mining system based on multiple Gridchip GC3355 processor chips capable of mining BTC and LTC at the same time. Unlike the single chip USB devices these systems use multiple chips and provide higher hashrate – 300KH/s for scrypt plus 10GH/s for SHA256 working together with 60W power consumption. Only mining scrypt gets you 8W and for only SHA256 the power consumption is 52W. This looks more promising in terms of hashrate available, but for these devices to be really interesting we are going to need more chips together on a board and these are probably not going to be late to follow.


If you ever wondered how hot does the Bitmain AntMiner S1 Bitcoin ASIC Miner get when operating and mining for BTC now you can get a better idea about the temperatures thanks to some thermal images that we’ve made of one of these BTC ASIC miners. The AntMiner S1 has the cooling radiators on the other side of the PCBs and not on the one where the SHA-256 mining chips are placed, so the operating temperature of the chips is not so low. Running at the default hashrate of about 180 GH/s you can see temperature of about 68 degrees Celsius and it is of the voltage regulators above the chips. As you can see the temperature on the left is lower than that on the right side of the board due to the fact that the cooling fan is on the left side.


Moving on to the exhaust side of the AntMiner S1 cooler where the hot air passing through the cooling radiator passes you can see that on the hotter output end the maximum temperature is about 61 degrees Celsius. A the same time the web interface reports operating temperatures of about 45 degrees Celsius for the two boards with chips that make the Bitmai AntMiner S1. As you can see it is a good idea to think more about the improvement of the cooling of the ASIC miner, especially if you do plane to overclock it to 190 GH/s or even 200 GH/s. The hardware is probably able to handle pretty well higher temperatures than these, but ensuring good cooling will make it perform great for longer period of time and you would want to have that when talking about a BTC ASIC miner.