Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

antminer-u1-idle-power-consumption

If you are using Bitmain AntMiner U1 USB Bitcoin ASIC miners there is something important that you should be well aware of in order to get the maximum performance and ensure optimal stability on the long run for these devices. Obviously we are going to be talking about power consumption and usage of these small ASIC miners that are designed to be powered by USB. The manufacturer has rated them at 2 watt power consumption from the USB port with a hasrate of 1.6 GH/s and tha is leaving you about 0.5W headroom for overclocking before reaching the maximum power that a normal USB 2.0 port can provide you with. But we decided to check if the Bitmain rating is rally true and to see for ourselves what is the actual power consumption of the AntiMiner U1 devices. As you can see on the photo above the power usage of the U1 miner is just 0.086A at 5V or a total of 0.43 watts is what you get with the device connected to a PC, but with no mining software running.

antminer-u1-cool-hot-power-consumption

As soon as you fire up cgminer or another compatible mining software and the AntMiner U1 starts working at 1.6 GH/s the power consumption increases significantly that what you get in idle mode. At first we’ve measured 0.385A current used or about 1.925 watts – a bit below the manufacturer’s rating, however this is the power usage while the device is still cool. Just a few minutes later since everything gets hotter (thermal images) after the AntMiner U1 starts operating and the power usage increases along with the temperature of the chips. In just about 10 minutes after starting to mine with the device the current usage increases to 0.405A or a total of 2.025W of power, something that does not seem that much higher at first, but as you start to overclock the device you will notice that the gap between a well cooled AntMiner U1 and a very hot miner increases. The problem is that the higher power consumption leads to more heat and can also result in less performance when overclocking.

Here are the results we’ve got as a power consumption of the AntMiner U1 device connected on a USB 2.0 port. Have in mind that USB 2.0 ports have a standard limit on maximum current they can provide to a connected device of 0.5A or 2.5W in total and this can lead to lower performance you can get when overclocking as you might be hitting the interface power limit and not the device’s:

1.6 GH/s – 0.405A
1.8 GH/s – 0.456A
2.0 GH/s – 0.505A
2.2 GH/s – ~~~~~~

We have moved the AntMiner U1 to a USB port to contnue with our overclocking experiments. Have in mind that USB 3.0 ports have an increased limit of the current they can supply to a device of 0.9A at 5V or 4.5W of power, so we could continue to overclock the USB ASIC further:

2.2 GH/s – 0.568A
2.4 GH/s – 0.633A
2.6 GH/s – 0.701A
2.8 GH/s – ~~~~~~

As you can see from the results above hitting 2.2 GH/s on a USB 2.0 port was not possible as we were hitting the limit of the power the interface can provide already at 2 GH/s. Moving to USB 3.0 we could squeeze up to 2.6 GH/s by increasing the operating frequency of the device and having more power available to use from the USB port. Have in mind that overclocking the device requires an adequate cooling to be provided, so you need to be prepared for that before starting to go past the “stock” 1.6 GH/s hashrate. As you can see from our results the maximum we could get was below the maximum power the USB 3.0 interface can provide, the reason for that is that for higher performance you would also have to increase the voltage that the processor of the device operates at (default 0.8V) in order for it to continue working fine at a higher frequency. This can be done by replacing two resistors on the device and the procedure is described in the AntMiner U1 manual. Have in mind though that increasing the voltage can damage the device, so do have in mind should you decide to go for a hardware modification for even higher performance. Increasing the voltage will also seriously increase the power consumption and will require even better cooling in order not to overheat the miner!

To download the Bitmain AntMiner U1 manual for additional details about overclocking…

antminer-u1-btc-usb-asic-miner-thermal-1

AntMiner U1 is the smaller USB-based Bitcoin ASIC devices made by Bitmain, they contain just one BTC ASIC mining chip (BM1360) and has been designed to be powered by a USB 2.0 port. These devices are rated at 1.6 GH/s hasrate with 2W power consumption and you can downclock or overclock them by software as long as you are able to provide sufficient power and cooling. Bitmain recommends that you provide additional cooling for these devices if you plan to overclock them over the stock 1.6 GH/s performance, but we checked how hot these small USB powered BTC ASIC devices can get and their “default” hashrate and our findings confirm that it will be a good idea to think about using a fan to cool them even at 1.6 GH/s. On the back of the AntMiner U1 there is an aluminum cooling plate and our thermal images show that in just about 10 minutes of use this cooler gets to a temperature of about 68.8 degrees Celsius and that is actually quite hot.

antminer-u1-btc-usb-asic-miner-thermal-2

The other side of the Bitmain AntMiner U1 is more important as there you will find the actual elements of the device on the PCB, including the Bitmain BM1360 chip that does the actual calculating as well as the power elements that also get hot. The thermal image of this side of the USB ASIC shows even higher temperatures – up to 74.8 degrees Celsius maximum measured temperature. And while even at these quite high operating temperatures the AntMiner U1 does manage to work good and stable enough without active cooling, it is a wise idea to keep the temperatures lower especially on the long run if you plan on mining with these USB BTC ASIC devices for months without problems. Of course if you do plan to overclock the active cooling with the help of a fan is a must do!

cryptotrader-org-homepage

Cryptotrader is a cloud based online algorithmic trading platform for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This service allows traders to backtest and automate their crypto trading strategies via a flexible built-in scripting language based on Coffeescript. Trading strategies can be fully automated by using trading robots running on a scalable VPS cloud service, meaning that you do not have to have a computer on all the time with a trading software running on it. Cryptotrader does support MtGox (BTC/USD and BTC/EUR), Bitstamp (BTC/USD), BTC-E (BTC, LTC, NMC, XPM, PPC) as well as CEX.IO (GHS/BTC, NMC/BTC and LTC/BTC). The service is subscription-based with various levels offering different features and pricing methods. There is a limited backtesting support available for free to registered users. We decided to give the service a try mostly because of the fact that it does support CEX.IO trading and we were interested in checking some automated bot trading strategies. Below you can read our review of the service that we’ve already used for a few days…

cryptotrader-subscription-plans

To be able to really try the service you will need to subscribe for a Basic license that costs $8 USD per month as this will give you access not only to full backtesting access, but also the ability to run a single simulated trading bot. If you want to be able to actually trade with real crypto coins or cash in a supported exchange you will need to go for at least a Basic+ subscription plan tat is priced at $24 USD per month… this is the plan we went for to test the service. The other more expensive plans offer extra features such as more bots and higher trading account equity limits, but if you want to try out the service yourself we would recommend to start with the Basic+ plan as we did and then if you decide to keep using it you can upgrade to a higher plan.

cryptotrader-backtesting-vs-real-trading

The idea behind Cryptotrader is that you can program your own bot with a trading methodology of your own using some readily available tools and a simple to use scripting language. However you do need to be good enough in market technical analysis and have a bit of programming skills in order to program your own bot, so it is not as easy as you may initially think. There are also a lot of users that do share their trading bot code for everyone to try out and optimize, which is the easier way to start using the service, however it is also riskier for you. Most of the trading bots shared are not finished and polished, so by using these you may end up loosing more than earning, furthermore they are not well documented, so that you could easily tweak them for better performance. One of the things that is common for most of the publicly available bots for trading at Cryptotrader use all of the coins and money you have available on the exchange and you should be very careful starting actual trades with these if your account does have large amount of these. Also as you can see from the example on the photo above doing backtesting on a automated trading bot on already available market data can differ a lot compared to actual trading with the same code as there are many factors that influence the results such as large buy/sell orders not filled completely and timing out.

Our testing of various publicly available automated trading bots that show decent profitability during backtesting has shown not so good results with actual trading and so far for already a few days of testing the service we’ve gotten quite used to the code and can further improve and optimize the code publicly available and trading on CEX mostly is still resulting in general minor loss of the starting balance. So we would advice not to go for trading just on the CEX exchange using Cryptotrader and if you are not sure you are going to be able to write your own trading code to better avoid that service as it is not for everyone and most definitely not designed for normal users. We are still going to play with the service until our one month plan is over, but after that we are probably not going to be renewing it and are instead going to try some other alternatives that we still haven’t tested yet. You are of course welcome to try out the service yourself, just be warned and be aware that it is not for everyone and most definitely not for normal users without decent trading experience and programming skills!

For more information and to try out the Cryptotrader automated trading service yourself…


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