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The ZeusMiner Hurricane X6 is the new lower power Scrypt ASIC miner from Zeus that is supposed to be offering 9-10 MHS hashrate with a power usage of about 230 Watt. The previous ZeusMiner Hurricane X3 that the new miner is based on provided 14-15 MHS with 460W of power usage according to the official specifications. So the new lower power X6 miner is supposed to offer 2/3 of the performance with about half of the power usage according to Zeus and this has been achieved by reducing the operating voltage and frequency of the chips in new miners with the number of Scrypt ASIC chips inside remaining the same. Now, if this has to been done with a significant reduction of the price of the new miners they might not have been so interesting, but the new price with the lower power usage does still make ZeusMiner an attractive choice for miners.
The case of the Hurricane X6 miner and the insides – two blades with 32 chips each or a total of 64 chips are also the same as on the previous Hurricane X6 miners. The main difference is that the operating voltage of the new Hurricane X6 miners has been lowered to 1.1V and thus Zeus recommends the maximum operating frequency to not exceed 248 MHz. You are able to set higher frequency though the software, however the results will not be very good as the level of HW errors you get will grow significantly. It seems that generally the ZeusMiner Scrypt ASICs are prone to more HW errors than we are normally used to see in ASIC miners, but they do seem to work just fine with an average HW error rate of about 5%.
Here you can see the actual power usage of the ZeusMiner Hurricane X6 that we have measured with our unit running at 250 MHz operating frequency of the chips. The actual power consumption we got was 276-278 Watts with a slightly higher power usage measured at the wall due to the very high efficiency of the PSU we have used at the load that the miner has on the 1200W power supply. This is a bit higher than the officially stated 230 Watts of power usage, but at that frequency we are also getting slightly higher performance than the one stated at the official specs, though the HW error rate was a bit higher than what we would like to see as well. What actually worries us a bit is that the device is powered via a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector and a power usage so high is already way above the official ratings of these power connectors. Even though physically these connectors are normally able to handle power of up to 300W, the PSU manufacturers are not required to design their products to handle such high loads. So with high-end power supplies you will most likely not have trouble, however on not so good quality PSUs you may have the cables overhead and melt causing a short circuit and damaging your hardware. So we advise you to check the power cable by touching it after you start the miner and if the cable is just slightly warm to the tough you should be Ok, but if it quickly feels hot or even very hot, then you may have trouble and better go for a higher quality power supply.
Even though the power usage of the Hurricane X6 is not so high, the fact that the device uses a single powerful 120mm fan that pulls air though the case of the miner and the cooling radiators inside it makes the miner a bit noisy. Not as noisier as the larger and more powerful X6 miners, but still a noise at around 60 Decibels that we have measured makes the miner not suitable to be used in your living room or even as some miners do – place it in the bedroom. We are going to try to do a dual fan modification for push-pull type of cooling in order to reduce the noise from the cooling of the device while maintaining low operating temperatures, so stay tuned for more information on these experiments later on.
Here is the situation with the Hurricane X6 running at 250 MHz using the new cgminer 3.1.1 with ZeusMiner X6 support for Windows. The HW error rate we are getting at 250 MHz is about 5.5% average, a bit high than we would like, but apparently acceptable for the ZeusMiner. Going down all the way down to 230 MHz we have managed to reduce the level of HW errors we are getting to between 4.5% and 5%, so not that much of a difference, however the reduction in terms of hashrate is more significant as we go to lower operating frequency. So even with a bit more HW error rate 248 or 250 MHz seems to be the better choice, though you should test your miner as there could be some variation in the results you are getting.
These are the poolside results average at the LTC Rabbit Scrypt mining pool using the new fixed difficulty port with 1024 difficulty for Scrypt ASIC miners and the Hurricane X6 running at 250 MHz operating frequency. We’ve observed the hashrate reported by the pool varying between about 9.6 MHS and 12 MHs, but the good thing is that even with the higher number of HW errors an average hashrate of 10+ MHS is achievable with this miner.
Our conclusion about the Hurricane X6 is that it is a nice and more affordable device that works and performs well and meets the advertised hashrate, though the power usage may be a bit higher. We do have a bit of a warning regarding the actual power consumption and would preferred to see the device using two instead of a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector, but if you are careful enough about the PSU you use that should not be a problem. The only drawback that the Hurricane X6 already has is that at the performance level it offers and the current LTC network difficulty it will be making you less than 0.5 LTC per day if you are mining Litecoin directly. Still it is a more affordable solution for smaller miners to get into Scrypt ASIC mining without too big of an investment and you can possibly increase the profit you get with it by mining altcoins or selling hashrate if that turns out to be more profitable.
We have been testing the new Next Generation of ZeusMiner Scrypt ASICs (Zeus Lightning X6, Zeus Thunder X6 and the Zeus Hurricane X6) for a few days already and have already reported our very first impressions. Now we have some more interesting findings and information available to share with you based on our continuing tests, this time we are going to focus on the power usage of the new X6 series of miners that are supposed to be more power efficient – their key feature. What Zeus has done with their ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASICs is essentially lowering the operating voltage and power and thus achieving lower power consumption. If this was not also combined with new lower prices as well the new X6 miners would not be so interesting, but their new lower prices (even though you cannot yet take advantage from them directly buying from Zeus due to their pre-order 1+1 bonus promotion) at their distributors are actually quite attractive combined with the lower power consumption.
We have already discovered that the best operating frequencies of the new miners (there is no recommended frequency published on the official website for the advertised hashrates) seems to be at about 245-250 MHz for the ZeusMiner Thunder X6 and the ZeusMiner Hurricane X6, however the ZeusMiner Lightning X6 does not appear to be handling so well at these operating frequencies. In fact even at 230-235 MHz we are still seeing HW error rate of about 10% or more which in our opinion is a bit too high, but going lower in terms of operating frequency does lead to decrease in the hasrate of about 40-42 MHS. So what is the reason for this difference? We have already suspected that the operating voltage of the Lightning X6 is even lower than what it is on the smaller Thunder X6 and Hurricane X6, but checking out the actual power consumption of the miners and opening them up to inspect them has confirmed our suspicion. Zeus has even made it very easy to spot the difference by putting a label of the actual voltage used by each board and as you can see on the photos, the Thunder and Hurricane X6 miners have 1.1V used and the Lightning X6 has the chip voltage lowered to 1.05V. This is probably done in order to get the total power usage of the Scrypt ASIC miner below 1 KW, but as a result you will need to use an operating frequency of about 220 MHz for low HW error rate and the hashrate you can expect is more like 36-38 MHS and not 40-42 MHs. But this is not the only concern we have with the new miners as Zeus has done some more optimizations, probably with the idea to cut costs further, that we do not like very much.
We are stating with the power usage of the 9-10 MHS ZeusMiner Hurricane X6, according to the official specifications is should use about 230W of power and a good 250W power supply is recommended, though you probably will not be able to find a 250-300W 80 Plus Gold or Platinum PSU, you can use a more powerful one. Running the Hurricane X6 miner at 250 MHz operating frequency we have measured an actual power consumption of about 276-278 Watts. This is a bit higher than the claimed power usage, and though it may not be such a big of a deal, when you consider that the miner is powered via a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector this raises some concerns.
Moving to the power usage of the 18-20 MHS ZeusMiner Thunder X6 we see on the official website a power consumption of 450W claimed with a good quality 500W power supply recommended. Our tests have shown a different number running the miner at 250 MHz, the number we got is more like 542-546 Watts and that is like 100W more. This is essentially double the power usage of the Hurricane X6 as the Thunder X6 does have twice the number of chips inside, so it is to be expected if both miner run at the same frequency and use the same voltage for the ASIC chips.
Next up is the power usage we have measured for the 40-42 MHS ZeusMiner Lightning X6 Scrypt ASIC. The officially cited power consumption is 980W with a good 1200W PSU as a recommendation. Our tests have shown actual power consumption for the miner at just about 906-914W at an operating frequency of 230 MHz and about 970W measured at the wall (taking into account the PSU efficiency). Here the power consumption is not double the one from the Thunder X6 even though the number of chips inside is doubled and the reason for that is the lower voltage of the chips that is 1.05V instead of 1.1V. It has been lowered as otherwise the actual power consumption should’ve been something like 1100 Watts at 1.1V.
We’ve confirmed that the power consumption numbers on the ZeusMiner website are not entirely correct, they are lower on the smaller miners and higher ton the top miner compared to what we have measured. That however is not the actual problem here, the problem and the thing we did not like much is the fact that Zeus has reduced in half the number of PCI-E power connectors available to power the new miners. As you should know by specifications power supplies are designed to supply 75W over the 6-pin PCI-E power connector and 150W over the 8-pin PCI-E power, even though the actual hardware is usually capable of supporting higher power as these were originally designed to power video cards. The 18 AWG wires used normally in most power supplies (some use 16 AWG) and the connectors should be capable of 8-10A over a single 12V wire and with 3x 12V lines on both 6-pin and 8-pin PCI-E power connectors this should in theory easily cover up to 300W. The problem however comes from the fact that PSU manufacturers are not required to design their products to handle so much power over a single rail for PCI-E power connector and most don’t do it, even if they do supply some extra over the 75W/150W requirements they have. So 300W per single 6-pin PCI-E power line can be a bit overkill for an ASIC miner running 24/7 and the easiest way to confirm that without special equipment is to check the wire by touching it after the miner is started. if it quickly gets hot, then things are definitely not Ok, though it is just a bit warmer to the touch it might be fine.
Having 278 Watts of power provided to the ZeusMiner Hurricane X6 over a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector is something that raises some concerns, so you should be extra careful what power supply you are using. With the ZeusMiner Thunder X6 the situation is very similar, though here you have two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors with each transferring about 273 Watts of power. Things are a bit better with the ZeusMiner Lightning X6 that has 4x 6-pin PCI-E power connectors with each one getting just about 228.5 Watts. So what ZeusMiner should have done is actually double the number of PCI-E power connectors on their miner to distribute power more evenly to each board and to lower the load on each of the PCI-E power lines. We do recommend to be extra cautions when you are setting up the new miners and check the cables to make sure that they are not getting very host quickly after you turn on the miner as this may potentially lead to damage of the hardware – both the miner and the power supply and this is something that you will want to avoid.
Earlier this month ZeusMiner has announced their next generation of Scrypt ASIC miners (X6) that are supposed to use less power than the previously available X3 miners. Thanks to MinerEU, an official ZeusMiner partner, today we have received three out of the four new X6 miners and have decided to share our first impressions with more to follow in the next few days along with detailed reviews of the Zeus Lightning X6, Zeus Thunder X6 and the Zeus Hurricane X6 with a Zeus Blizzard X6 still on the way.
If you have been following the development of the ZeusMiner Scrypt ASICs you will probably notice that the new X6 miners are essentially almost the same as the previous generation, just running at lower voltage and operating frequency of the chips in order to use less power and sill provide good hashrate. That, along with new lower prices, actually does make the new ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASICs really interesting miners to invest in even with the current market conditions. The new ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASIC miners with lowered power usage and prices in fact may offer you one of the quickest return of investment, so if you were considering investing in a Scrypt ASIC, then you should definitely do some profit calculations. Of course nobody can predict the increase in network difficulty or the fluctuations in the price, but if things remain stable you might be looking at less than 2 months to break even if mining Litecoins.
So what is different with the new ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASICs? They do come in the same boxes and use the same chips, however the difference is that the chips are now running at lower voltage and operating frequency. The result you get is lower power consumption and still a good hashrate, without pushing the chips close to their limits. We have opened up the new Thunder X6 to see that it is pretty much the same picture as we’ve seen with the previous miners. Each board has the same number of chips, we did notice a sticker that says 1.1V on the board, so this is probably the new operating voltage (down from 1.2-1.3V). There is also one less power mosfet on the board for each of the power blocks, probably removed as a result of the lowered power consumption. This however does mean that you might not be able to play much with overvolting the new units by replacing resistors or at least the headroom for that will not be much.
We could not find an official or recommended operating frequency for the new X6 miners, but we already knew that it will be lower than the sweet spot of about 328 MHz. So we’ve started going down and it seems that the new sweet spots in terms of operating frequencies for the lower power units are somewhere in between 235 and 250 MHz. This is the range where we get hashrate close to what is being advertised and at the same time the HW error level remains low, though we are going to play some more with the frequencies to narrow down what works best with the default setup and with no hardware modifications. So far we are happy with what we are seeing from the new ZeusMiner X6 Scrypt ASICs and you can expect more as we continue using and testing the units in the following days.