All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
A few days ago we have posted our first test results from the new Gridseed Blade Miner. We got early remote access to a single unit that we were able to test and report our findings before the devices actually started shipping thanks to our friends at MinerEU who are an official Gridseed EU distributor. Meanwhile we got a second unit attached to the system we were testing, so we were able to run some longer tests with two devices in order to see what variance we can expect from device to device. We also expanded the tests to cover various usage scenarios to check what hashrate you can expect to get if mining for a fixed higher difficulty coin such as LTC as well as if you are mining in auto profit switching mode to mine the most profitable crypto coin. Meanwhile the new Gridseed Blade Miners should start shipping tomorrow, so the people that have ordered them should start receiving their units very soon.
We are starting up with a result showing the two Gridseed Blade Miners, each of which is reported as two separate devices, fixed in mining for LTC with a worker difficulty of 256 at the scryptguild pool. The Blade Miners are running at 800 MHz, a frequency that can normally provide up to about 5.6 MHS in mining a fixed crypto currency with higher worker difficulty. Note that one of the PCBs, namely the GSD 1 device does report a lower actual hashrate and that is a direct result of getting some HW errors from that PCB. It seems that this could be related to the cooling not giving a good contact to one of the PCB sides for example, so we recommend to inspect your miners and if needed to optimize them a bit before running them, just in case and to get the best performance. This is something that we recommend doing for the smaller 5-chip Gridseed ASIC devices as well, especially if you plan to overclock and voltmod them, you need to check the contact between the cooler and the chips.
Notice that the poolside result is pretty much consistent with the local reported actual hashrate. Do note the other worker above the Blade miner, it is from a voltage modified 5-chip Gridseed ASIC running at about 490 KHS local hashrate (1150 MHz). You can see that with close number of submitted shares to the pool, the number of rejected (stale) shares is almost twice as high on the smaller ASIC as compared to the Blade Miner. The reason for that difference is that the small miner is running on automatic profit switching and 64 worker difficulty, so it gets more stale shares due to the often switching between different crypto coins and due to the fact that some are with lower difficulty and many blocks are calculated quickly.
So how about leaving the two Gridseed Blade Miners for a few days to run in auto profit switching mode at 64 worker difficulty at scryptguild, the miners were running in 800 MHz. The result is quite interesting, local hashrate reported at about 5 MHS per device with about 6.8-6.9% of stale shares (the percentage is higher as expected) and more HW errors that you would normally get if mining for a specific coin only. What you should be well aware of is that based on the pool and the type of mining you are doing you might be getting different performance that could be lower or higher than what the official specifications about the miner say. Using automatic profit switching pool might help you get more profit than mining directly for LTC for example, though the extra percentage you might get may be lower in reality than what your raw calculations may show initially as you could be getting more stale shares as well as more hardware errors this way. So far we are satisfied from the results we are getting from the new Gridseed Blade Miner, though at the moment due to the uncertainty and the lower Bitcoin and Litecoin prices, people seem to be very careful in general when considering to buy ASIC hardware. And we are not talking only about investment in very powerful and very expensive mining hardware that is expected to ship later this year.
Two days ago we have published information about the new Gridseed Blade Miner and now we already have some performance results available to share with you. Thanks to MinerEU, an official Gridseed EU distributor, we got not only the information about the new device using 80 Gridseed GC3355 chips earlier, but also had the chance to do some performance testing of the new miner and share the results with you. We were provided with remote access to a system that had the new Gridseed Blade Miner attached and we could test with different pools and settings, as well as by using different miner software. We haven’t yet had physical access to these miners, but we plan on ordering one as they are very soon going to start shipping the devices, around 8th or 9th of April or in just a few days. The new Gridseed Blade Miner (80 Chip) is already available for order at a price of $3000 USD at MinerEU.com. But let us get to the tests and results we have performed of the device using remote access…
According to the official information from Gridseed one 80-chip Blade Miner is equivalent to 16 Gridseed 5-chip USB miners and it is capable of providing a total hashrate of 5.2 MHS. So we have fired up bfgminer with the Blade Miner configured to run at the stock 600 MHz, the default frequency for the 5-chip miners to see what kind of performance we can get. A bit of a disappointment as we got just about 4 MHs total performance from the two PCBs with 40 chips each that combined make the 80 chip Blade Miner. And since the Blade miner has two PCBs with 40 chips each and different power supply and USB connection in the miner software you see it as two separate devices.
If you were hoping that the new Gridseed Blade Miner will be capable of 5.2 MHS as per official specifications at 600 MHz, you will probably not be very happy as it seems that Gridseed has apparently decided to overclock the device and cite specifications at higher clocks. So we went further and ran bfgminer at 700 MHz frequency to see the performance level that we can get and we got a combined hashrate of 4.6-4.7 MHS, so still a bit below the official specifications.
Running bfgminer at 800 MHz has allowed us to get us a bit higher than the official specs of 5.2 MHS, we got at up to about 5.6 MHS with these settings with no HW errors to just a few. This means that you can expect to easily run these miners at 800 MHz with no problems and get a bit over the official specs in terms of hashrate. We went down to 750 MHz just to check that with it we are actually getting around 5-5.2 MHS hashrate from the Blade Miner, so that is around the “default” frequency that the new Gridseed Blade miners are supposed to be ran in order for you to get about 5.2 MHs.
The image above shows the actual poolside reported hashrate, the first result is from a voltmodded 5-chip Gridseed ASIC running at 490 KHS local hashrate and with 64 worker difficulty and autoswitching to the most profitable coin at scryptguild. The second worker is the new Blade Miner running at 256 worker difficulty and manually selected to mine for LTC with a hashrate of about 5.6 MHS or pretty much the same as the locally reported hashrate. We have found out that setting the worker difficulty to 256 or 512 and not using auto switching does provide better results and less stales (higher efficiency) and you can easily compare the number of stale shares to the 5-chip miner and the 80-chip one and see that for yourself.
We also had to try running bfgminer at 850 MHz, a frequency that is the optimal one for Scrypt only mining mode on the 5-chip Gridseed ASIC devices for overclocking without any modifications. Unfortunately the new Gridseed Blade miners do not handle that well the 850 MHz and started producing a bit more than the desirable number of HW errors. As a result of the more HW errors at that frequency the actual performance in terms of hashrate (~5 MHS) decreases as compared to running the miners at 800 MHz, so we do not recommend to go that high with the new ASICs. It is possible that 850 MHz or even a bit more could be achieved after optimizing the cooling of the chips for example, however before actually getting the hardware in our hands we cannot confirm if that is possible or not.
So far we’ve been testing with bfgminer with Gridseed support, the standard miner we used for the smaller 5-chip devices and it works very well with the new miner. It might need a minor tweak to report all local hashrates properly, but the actual performance gets properly reported (the third value) that takes into account the rejects and HW errors. We’ve decided to give a try to cgminer with Gridseed support as well to test with and to find the best frequency in between 800 and 850 MHz that can provide optimum results in terms of hashrate and while minimizing the number of HW errors. We were able to get much better results at 838 MHz as compared to what we were getting at 850 MHz and with some extra hashrate reported poolside. The problem when using cgminer for Gridseed is that the locally reported hashtate is incorrectly reported, though the number of accepted and rejected shares and the number of HW errors seems to be properly reported and poolside performance shows that the miner is properly working and only the reporting is not working right. This should be easily fixable with an update on the software miner code in order to properly report the local hashrate based on the number of chips for each of the PCBs in the Gridseed Blade Miner.
The good news is that you have some headroom for overclocking the new Blade Miner and squeezing some extra performance out of the box over the standard 5.2 MHS. Then there is also the possibility of implementing an easy voltmod in a similar manner as with the smaller 5-chip Gridseed ASIC devices on the bigger Blade Miner and getting some extra boost in performance up to about 8 MHs. Before actually getting the hardware in our hands and trying out we cannot confirm if this is real option or not, but we already suspect that it might be possible. You should not have any problems starting to use the new Gridseed Blade Miner as soon as you receive the device in your hands as it works with the already available software for the smaller miners and if you are familiar with them you should be up and running in no time, especially if you consider the information about the different clocks and hashrate we have provided based on our remote testing. Do note that the Gridseed Blade Miner that we have tested is an earlier unit, so there is a chance that the upcoming units that should start shipping in a few days might be doing even better, though there is no guarantee for that.
We are already remotely testing a second Gridseed Blade Miner ASIC device, again remotely in order to compare two of the devices and see if they would behave differently and is there some variance from unit to unit. We are soon going to post some results from the two Blade Miners and these should also be able to give you a good idea on what hashrate you can expect from two of these ASIC devices, so stay tuned for more information soon.