All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
Bitmain has announced a new AntMiner T9 ASIC miner that should go on sale today for $1104 USD offering 11.5 THS hashrate. The new miner is based on the previous AntMiner S9, though it comes with a bit less chips that are apparently clocked at a higher operating frequency. The new T9 is a bit cheaper, but not as efficient as the S9 as based on the official specs it consumes about 1450W for the 11.5 THS while the Batch 22 of the S9 came with 11 THS at 1078W and Batch 23 was with 14 THS for 1372W. The new T9 miner comes with just 171 BM1387 chips while the S9 was based on 189 BM1387 chips. The two fans cooling the new device are the same as on S9, so you can expect similar level of noise from the device. So in short the new AntMiner T9 does not in fact seem so attractive to miners, but with the lack of new S9 miners you might not have much of a choice…
BitMain AntMiner T9 Specifications:
– Hash Rate: 11.5TH/s. A variation of +/- 5% is expected
– Power Consumption: 1450W +7% (at the wall, with Bitmain’s APW3 PSU, 93% efficiency, 25°C ambient temperature)
– Power Efficiency: 0.126J/GH + 7% (at the wall, with Bitmain’s APW3 PSU, 93% efficiency, 25°C ambient temperature)
– Rated Voltage: 11.60 ~ 13.00V
– Chip Type: BM1387
– Chip quantity per unit: 171 chips
– Dimensions: 350mm (l) x 135mm (w) x 158mm (h)
– Cooling: Two 12038 fans. Front fan: 6000RPM, rear fan: 4300RPM
– Operating temperature: 0°C to 40°C
– Network connection: Ethernet
Bitmain is apparently setting a very ambitious goal of their new miner called AntMiner R4 and that goal is to bring back home mining of Bitcoin. What they are doing in order to get home miners’ attention is trying to make the miner more compact and less noisy while still managing to provide quite a serious hashrate rated at 8.6 THS with just about 845 W of power usage. What will make the most difference for home users however is the price of the new miner and if it is not right, then why would you bring one or even more of these home, guess we’ll know in a few days as sales start at 23:00 (GMT+8) on 29 August when we’ll probably also get an idea about the price of the device.
Bitmain AntMiner R4 Specifications:
– Miner Hash Rate: 8.6TH/s (Variation of ±5% is expected)
– Power Consumption: 845W +9% at the wall (with Bitmain APW5 PSU)
– Power Efficiency: 0.1 J/GH +9% at the wall (with Bitmain APW5 PSU)
– Noise level: 52dB (at an ambient temperature of 35°C)
– Chip quantity per unit: 126 x BM1387
– Default Frequency: 600MHz
– Rated Voltage: 11.60 ~13.00V
– Network Connection: Ethernet
– Operating Temperature: 0°C to 40°C
– Product size: 515mm (L) x 100mm (W) x 222mm (H)
One of the most interesting things that you will notice with this miner is the cooling fan it uses, Bitmain calls is “a groundbreaking custom-design fan” that is intended to reduce the noise coming from the miner. Instead of using traditional computer fans (designed for servers) that are not intended to be silent, but instead to do their job providing good cooling they have opted out for a different design for the R4’s cooling. The fan that Bitmain uses in the AntMiner R4 is apparently inspired by the fan of a silent split air conditioner, so it was designed to make less than half the noise of the standard miner fan. Furthermore the rotational speed is being automatically controlled to ensure it never creates more noise than is absolutely necessary to keep the miner cool and running, so the noise will also depend on the ambient temperature.
Bitmain will be also offering an optional custom-built PSU for further noise reduction to go along with the AntMiner R4 – the Bitmain APW5. The power supply works with both 220V and 110V (the standard in North America) input to deliver 2600W and 1300W, respectively. It has a dynamically controlled fan that runs at full speed only after heat sink temperature is 80°C. The Bitmain APW5 should start selling along with the Antmier R4 miner in a couple of days, do note that this is a 12V only power supply that is capable of delivering a very good efficiency of up to 93%. So it may be a great choice to go along with the R4, unless of course you already have some spare 1 KW or more computer power supplies sitting idle.
We have been playing around with a FutureBit MoonLander USB Scrypt ASIC Miner for a few days already and it is time to share our experience with the device. We should start by stating that the FutureBit MoonLander is a small and not very powerful in terms of performance USB miner that is more for fun than for profit. The device is intended for people that just want to play around and experiment with a small and not very powerful Scrypt ASIC that is available at a low price. The miner uses a special version of bfgminer 5.4 (source).
The MoonLander can run on a very wide range of speed and efficiency, allowing the user large headroom for tweaking and playing around. The device comes with a variable resistor on the PCB that allow the user to adjust the core voltage (0.7-1.1V) and a wide range of operating frequencies that can be set via the software (104 MHz to 400 MHz). Of course you need to be careful playing with these as increasing the operating voltage past the default level of about 0.75V and going past 264 MHz would require the usage of powered hub and active cooling for the miner based on our experience. The official information about the miner performance cites a value of 2.77 KHS per 1 MHz, so the lowest frequency should be able to provide about 288 KHS hashrate for mining Scrypt crypto currencies and the maximum of 400 MHz should result in around 1.1 MHs.
With a hashrate in the range 0.288-1.1 MHS for mining Scrypt-basec crypto currencies you will not be able to mine much and you will also have to look for mining pools that offer user adjustable difficulty level or support low fixed difficulty. If we get back a few years to the times of Litecoin mining with GPUs we can say that this miner gets you in between half to almost two high-end GPUs worth of Scrypt hashrate. Of course the power usage of this USB Scrypt ASIC is much lower than what a high-end video card consumes, but then again at these low hashrates you will need many months to even earn enough to cover the cost of the miner. Anyway, our goal was to see what you can get in terms of performance with the FutureBit MoonLander miner by powering the device with a regular USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports with their power limits that do not allow the miner to reach its maximum performance. You will need to use a powered USB hub in order to be able to overclock to the maximum the miner, a 2A powered hub should allow you to reach the 10W maximum power and you will also need to provide a serious active cooling to the device if you want to push for higher core voltage and the maximum supported frequency.
Out tests have shown that the default operating frequency of the device set at 144 MHz is what is possible with a USB 2.0 port capable of providing 0.5A at 5V or about 2.5W. With this operating frequency and using the stock core voltage of about 0.75V you can expect to get around 400 KHS worth of Scrypt mining power. On the thermal images above you can see the operating temperatures at these settings, the AlcheMiner ASIC chip does get hot with temperatures of around 55-56 degrees Celsius and the heatsink on the back is at about 44 degrees Celsius. These temperatures should not be a problem for operating the miner without any additional cooling on the long run, unless of course the ambient temperature is not very high.
Going for the higher power limit of USB 3.0 ports that are capable of 0.9A at 5V or about 4.5 Watts of power you can push the device to an operating frequency of 264 MHz. Any higher and the power provided by the USB 3.0 port will not be sufficient enough to keep the miner operating properly. The expected hashrate at these settings should be around 730 KHS, a result that is not bad but we were hoping for a bit more. Apparently achieving 1 MHS or more will be possible only with the use of a powered USB hub that can provide more power to the USB miner and 2A is needed for pushing things to the maximum along with cooling fans as already mentioned. It is important to note that the thermal camera photos show an increase of about 15 degrees for the ASIC chip and about 10 degrees for the cooling radiator when using USB 3.0 as compared to USB 2.0. Note that at this level adding some airflow around the miner is a good idea in order to keep it cooler as otherwise it may overheat after a while, so it will be a wise idea to monitor the operating temperatures.
All in all the FutureBit MoonLander USB Scrypt ASIC miner is a fun little gadget to play around with and that is what it is for – playing around with an affordable ASIC miner. It is not intended to be profitable or to make you a lot of money, it is for people that are curious like us and love to play around with tech. The next thing we are probably going to do with the device is to improve on cooling and try with powered USB hub and some overvolting and more serious overclocking of the device. Do note that increasing the operating voltage and trying to max out the operating frequency can decrease the live of the mining hardware and even damage it permanently if you are not careful what you are doing!