Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

tnb0301-x11-asic-chips

Looking at the official specifications of the iBeLink DM384M X11 ASIC miner state that the device should be capable of 384 MHS X11 hashrate (plus/minus 10 percent) with a power consumption of 715W measured at the wall with 25 degrees Celsius ambient temperature. This should be the numbers for the default configuration, however we did some measurements ourselves in order to get more accurate results in order to be able to do better calculations about the cost of operating the device. We have already measured on NiceHash an average hashrate that is slughtly above the official number of 384 MHS, so this is good, but what about the actual power usage and more importantly noise level. In our first impressions from the device we already mentioned that it is pretty noisy and not suitable for use in room where people will be present, but let us see what is the exact noise level as well.

ibelink-dm384m-power-usage

The power supply built into the miner is an 850 Watts server grade one that is compatible with 100-240V range (for worldwide use). The exact model is ASPOWER U2A-A20850-D and according to the official specifications is it rated as 80 Plus Silver, so a high efficiency solution. At stock settings (110 MHz PLL) the power usage we have measured on the wall with 230V EU power input was 686 Watts as you can see on the photo, the power usage in Watts might be slightly higher in US and other 110-120V countries due to slightly lower power efficiency. Increasing the operating frequency with +1 MHz steps is resulting in the power usage going up with about 5-6W on each step, so the 850W capacity of the PSU should be able to take up some nice extra overclock if the chips are capable of working well when overclocked and cooled well. We are going to be doing more extensive testing about the overclocking potential with results on the power usage and performance changes, working temperatures and cooling very soon.

ibelink-dm384m-noise-level

Now for the noise level, as already mentioned it is pretty high… just like from a rackmountable server for example. With a measurement showing about 72.6 dBA average it is perfect to be installed in a data center or a dedicated mining room, but it is not suitable for home miners as the noise level is too much for people to be in the same room for more than a few minutes… and even in the next room it might be quite noisy. The reason for the high level of noise is that the unit uses server grade fans by Delta Electronics and they are set to run at maximum RPM all the time (no temperature control). The same goes for the fan used in the power supply, a powerful Delta Electronics fan running at maximum RPM all the time, even though the PSU is highly efficient and there is not so much heat generated. The good thing about this default fans setup is that even at not that good conditions such as high ambient temperature the miner should be able to operate without any issues at optimum level. The not so good part is that small miners might have issues with the high level of noise and would probably want to do something to make it less noisy without compromising performance – this is possible with some modifications and we are already working on a solution to optimize the cooling, so more on that will be coming soon as well.

whattomine-x11-asic

The iBeLink DM384M X11 ASIC miner is actually advertised as a DASH ASIC miner with DASH (previously known as DarkCoin) being the most popular and widely used X11 altcoin, is also currently rated as number 6 in terms of Market Capitalization. The ASIC miner can be used for any coin using a regular X11 algorithm for mining and in fact mining DASH with it is not the most profitable and anyone who purchases a new ASIC miner know that the first thing he needs to do is to ROI first in the fastest possible way and then can choose what to mine based on subjective preferences for example. So if you just got the 384 MHS X11 ASIC miner iBeLink DM384M you would probably want to head on to NiceHash and sell your hashrate to anyone willing to buy it as it will get you a few times more profit than directly mining for DASH at the moment according to the What to Mine service. The reason is simple, there are many new altcoins popping up all the time that use X11 algorithm and people are renting hashrate to mine them and with the increased demand for hashrate you might earn much more than mining for a more established coin such as DASH.

ibelink-x11-nicehash-hashrate

Here is how the average hashrate looks like when selling your X11 hashrate with the iBeLink DM384M X11 ASIC miner on NiceHash with the graph covering more than half a day. The average hashrate reported poolside is about 392 MHS with an average pay rate of about 0.5 BTC per Gigahash per Day. As mentioned earlier today you should update to cgminer 3.5.6 for the iBeLink machine in order to get the software that supports NiceHash’s extranonce in order to minimize stale shares and maximize profit. If the above trend continues for 24 hours this would mean an actual daily profit for the iBeLin X11 ASIC miner of about 0.2 BTC at the moment and that is pretty good when you are looking to get the fastest ROI time. Have in mind though that the profitability of X11 at NiceHash may vary more that if mining for any given more established X11 crypto currency with a stable exchange rate. There is always the possibility of jumping at the right time to the right new coin and making even better profit thanks to the high hashrate that the ASIC miner provides, but the risk is also higher and you may actually make less in the end this way.

ibelink-main-screen-software

The controller for the iBeLink DM384M DASH (X11) ASIC Miner is running on the Raspberry Pi inside the device and is apparently based on the MineNinja Open Source/Free Platform for Bitcoin Mining on the Ti BeagleBone Black that is modified for the specific hardware. You get a basic web-based interface for configuration and monitoring of the mining hardware, once you plug in the device in your network and turn it on it will get a dynamic IP if you have DHCP running, but you should be able to access it via the default “iBeLink” hostname if you do not know the IP. The backend used for the actual mining process is apparently a fork of cgminer 3.5.5 that the device is being shipped with, but there is a new version available that you can update to directly from the web interface. The latest cgminer 3.5.6 version adds support for the NiceHash extranonce, so that if you are selling your X11 hashrate there you should be getting very little rejected shares thus maximizing performance.

ibelink-config-screen-software

The management from the web-based interface is pretty basic and very easy to use, you can add/remove pools and set email notifications for low hashrate or too many rejects. Unfortunately there is no temperature monitoring available on a hardware level and thus no notification for potential cooling issues or an option to shutdown the hardware in case of failure of the cooling or from overheating. Temperature monitoring can also be helpful if/when you are overclocking or underclocking the device in order to optimize it for maximum performance or efficiency for example. So there is more to be desired for any future products, but for first generation it is actually pretty good for a starting point to build on. Another thing that needs extra work is the status of the device as the currently reported local rates do not seem very accurate especially in terms of hashrate or at least the numbers are confusing, so you need to look at the poolside reports for details.

ibelink-blade-setup-software

The most interesting part of the software is the blade configuration page and more specifically the PLL frequency that can be used to overclock or underclock the miner as we have already seen some time ago when the online manual for the device was published. The default setting for PLL is 110 MHz and the software says the maximum setting is 115 MHz, but the good news is that it accepts 116 or 117 as well, so higher frequencies should be possible and we have seen an increase of power usage as we increase the operating frequency. This however needs more testing and we would advice to be careful with overclocking in order to avoid possible overheating of the chips or overloading of the power supply and thus maybe even damaging your mining hardware.

And now for some potential issues that we are seeing for the moment. There is no source code available for the cgminer fork used by the device, there is even no binary release or full RPi image release available yet. So integration into other mining software or further optimizing or maybe adding other features is problematic as they need to be released by the makers of the device only. It seems that there are no plans for making the source code available, though we should soon have a backup image of the complete Raspberry Pi software in order to be able to restore it if something fails. With that said there is no official website or contact details available for support form the hardware manufacturer, so the only way to communicate with them is the dedicated iBeLink DM384M ASIC Dash Miner Support Thread on the DashTalk forum and this is not the best way to do more serious business and provide support for your customers. So thee is more to be desired for sure, but things are moving in the right direction, it will probably just take some more time… and if iBeLink does not do it right an upcoming competitor might quickly overtake the new X11 ASIC market, that is if they manage to do things better and we are yet to see something like that happening.

To Download a full Raspberry Pi image with the latest software for the iBeLink DM384M ASIC Dash Miner…


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