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Equipment for cryptocurrency mining 2017-2018 — ASIC and GPU-farms

Just a couple of years ago one could produce cryptocurrency with the help of a usual computer. A lot of online entrepreneurs enjoyed such way of earning money and soon the newly-appeared miners flooded the global web. But over time, the complexity of mining increased. In addition, the increased competition in the fields of cryptocurrency mining contributed to the emergence of special equipment for the production of virtual coins.

ASIC-miner is a special mounting designed to produce cryptocurrency. The participation of a real person in this process is reduced to a minimum. The user is required to purchase equipment and configure the program.

ASIC is the main tool for producing virtual money. The principle of his work is based on the Scrypt and SHA-256 algorithm. The level of energy efficiency and the hashrate are the things that you first have to pay attention to when choosing equipment. In other words, in order to buy a high quality ASIC, you need to choose a mounting with the highest possible exchange profitability (the ratio of cryptocoins production speed to the amount of energy expended).

It should be noted that the optimal way to produce cryptocurrency in 2018 is cloud mining, since it pays off faster, and it is easier to master (it doesn’t require any technical knowledge of connection and configuration), and it is also more stable, meaning that the power is always available, and there’s no such situation where the equipment is out of order, as you rent power and not the equipment. But if you still decided to buy your own equipment for some reasons, we will look into every possible option.

In fact, even nowadays one is able to mine using his personal computer at home, provided that it has a powerful GPU video card, and preferably a farm with 4-8 graphics cards. But anyway the effectiveness of such work is nothing compared to mining implemented with the help of ASIC. The main difference is in the speed of hash calculating. And if the miner gives you an opportunity to receive thousands of dollars income, then with a regular PC your earnings will be limited to a hundred dollars a month.

The only reason why video card farms are still relevant is that the ASICs still have not been developed for many algorithms, as their use excludes the very algorithm of mining these coins. So the graphics cards and GPU-farms are still relevant for producing altcoins (any cryptocurrency which is not Bitcoin)

In this post we will analyze all the options for producing the cryptocurrency: the optimal mining farm specifications and ready-made solutions of serial ASIC models.

Navigation:

  1. What equipment do we need for cryptocurrency mining?
  2. How exactly the cryptocurrency production process takes place — what miner is rewarded for?
  3. What equipment do we use to produce bitcoins? ASIC.
  4. What equipment do we use to produce Ethrerum — video cards (GPU)
  5. Fundamental difference when purchasing GPU and ASIC
  6. Bitcoin farms are ready-made solutions for bitcoin mining

What equipment do we need for cryptocurrency mining?

What equipment do I need? For mining you will need either video cards (graphics processing unit, GPU), or specialized devices like ASIC, special purpose integrated circuits that may cost from $1000 to tens of thousands of dollars.

Some miners, especially for the Ethereum blockchain, assemble the mounts of video cards, and this is a relatively budget-friendly way to get an acceptable hashrate. You can see a self-made mining rig case in the photo below, which is easy to assemble at home.

How exactly the cryptocurrency production process takes place — what miner is rewarded for?

For you to earn bitcoins, it’s two conditions that should converge. One of them depends on your efforts, and the other one is a matter of luck:

  • You should verify transactions for 1 Mb. It is simple.
  • You should find the solution for a particular mathematical problem among the first of all miners.

This process is also known as Proof-of-Work – the proof of work.

  • Good news: It’s not rocket science. In fact, every miner is trying to be the first one to guess the 64-digit hexademical number (hash), which is less or equal to the target hash. And this is where the main work is based.
  • Bad news: The hash is selected by accidental search, and if you want to become the first here, you will need enormous computing power. To work be successful in your work, you will need to have higher hashrate, the hashing load factor, which is measured in Megahash per second (MH/s), Gigahash per second (GH/s) and Terahash per second (TH/s).

This means a lot of hashes. If you want to understand how many bitcoins you may get with this hashrate available to you, please use the mining calculator, where you can choose a specific model of equipment (both for ASIC, and for GPU) and set your electricity cost.

What equipment do we use to produce bitcoins? ASIC.

It has been 6 years already since we stopped producing Bitcoin with the help of our desktops and laptops. And what’s more, if you think that bitcoin is mined on graphics cards (GPU), then you are making a serious mistake. To produce some cryptocurrency “gold”, they use specialized integrated circuits, ASIC-miners.

This small mining rig serves one purpose only and it is to produce the cryptocurrency. ASIC does not solve any other tasks. Nowadays, these miners are the only profitable equipment to produce bitcoins. GPU mining of BTC is not profitable.

Popular models to produce bitcoins are: Antiminer S7, Antiminet S9, Antimner D3. These ASICs are produced by Bitmain.

The key miners indicator is hashrate and power consumption. S9 model has hashrate from 12 000 to 14 000 Gh/S (gigahash per second). Power consumption: 1200-1400 watts. All these miners produce cryptocurrency using the Scrypt algorithm.

Top selling model Antiminer S9 with 13,5 Th/S hashrate and power consumption 1400 watts will cost you $2200-2500 or 150,000 roubles. You will have to buy miners from the Chinese manufacturers, since it’s only them who produce these devices on an industrial scale.

Specifications of ASIC Antiminer S9 for bitcoin mining

A new ASIC appeared in the world of cryptocurrency this summer. If characterized in a few words, then we can say that it is very powerful, very fast and quite expensive.

Its developers implemented the most advanced technologies here. Along with this every separate element far exceeds the previous versions. Miners can buy ASIC AntminerS9 for $2000.

The new model has an updated version of Bitmain interface, and it takes a minimum time to configure it. In addition, users can get the necessary statistical information in real time. All data is grouped in the appropriate tabs and categories, which substantially simplifies working with it. But the key device characteristics are the following performance indicators:

  • Power consumption level 1172 watts/hour.
  • Hashrate 11,85 th./s.

It is absolutely obvious that a considerable amount of money was invested in the development of such equipment for Bitcoin mining, and it would be impossible to create it independently only with your own hands. The developers of AntminerS9 managed to substantially increase the virtual coin production speed, simultaneously reducing the level of power consumption. When comparing S7 and S9 models it is obvious that the hashrate wasincreased by more than two times. Such a powerful leap is entirely justified, because the production complexity also increased significantly.

In addition, the new version of ASIC is equipped with two coolers. These fans are located on the sides of the device, and due to this fact the processor is cooled much better and faster. After they got to know all technical characteristics of AntminerS9, a lot of miners immediately want to buy this equipment for Bitcoin mining.

But before that, you need to prepare enough free space for it, taking into account this model’s dimensions: 35х13,5х15,8 cm. The chips deserve a special mention. If S7 model had 135 chips, then the new version has 185 already.

Estimated profitability of AntminerS9 at the moment

It is absolutely natural, that having made such a massive investment in the latest ASIC model you may want to know what profit you will have thanks to this investment. The updated version of this device will replenish the miner’s budget by an average $7,29 per day (excluding the electricity cost). The following indicators were used to calculate the profitability of Bitcoin mining equipment:

  • The reward for the extracted block is 12,5 Bitcoins.
  • The hashrate is 11850 Gigahashes.
  • Power does not exceed 1172 watts.
  • At an electricity price of 0,02$ per hour, its consumption per day is $0.48. It should be noted, that the indicators for eastern regions of Ukraine as of October 2016 were used to calculate the electricity cost.

Even if the electricity cost exceeds these indicators, the result will be impressive enough anyway. If a user intends to buy Bitcoin-miner Asic, it’s better to make a purchase at a reputable online outlet. Only in this case a freelancer can be sure that he will get a quality product with a warranty. If you buy ASICs with the help of bulletin boards or suspicious websites, that sell their products with large discounts, you risk falling prey to scammers.

What equipment we use to produce Ethereum — video cards (GPU)

You can produce Ethereum only with the help of video cards. Unlike Bitcoin, another algorithm, EthHash, is used here. That is why it is not correct to compare the hashrate of ASICs and farms.

Miners combine GPU into farms to make mining more effective. For this construction to function we need a processor with PCI-slots (number of slots = number of video cards), a powerful power supply, and a frame. When farms work, they produce a lot of heat from the fans and a distinctive sound too. Powerful mining rigs are equipped with a cooling system.

Due to the growing interest in mining, the cost of video cards in Russia has doubled since the beginning of 2017. Those who want to start producing Ethereum or other cryptocurrency, often order their equipment in the USA or China due to a shortage of this equipment in the Russian market.

In connection with the cryptocurrency boom, the cooperatives for ready-made farms creation emerged. Groups of such entrepreneurs buy up video cards, motherboards and frames wholesale abroad, and then sell it to the general population in retail. The cost of ETH mining farms ranges from 1000 to 15000 US dollars.

Popular models of cards for mining Ethereum and other altcoins on EthHash algorithm.

  • NVIDIA GTX 1080
  • NVIDIA GTX 1070
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060
  • AMD RX 480
  • AMD RX 580

An example of equipment selection for the GPU video cards mining farm

First of all, you need to determine how you see your mining farm. For example, whether it is meant to be used with 4 graphics cards, or may be 5, 6 or 8 video cards. And may be you need a more professional solution for 12 graphics cards?

Based on these indicators, you will be able to give an answer afterwards how much it will cost you. Let’s take the simplest equipment for mining Ethereum and Zcash as a basis.

The first thing the building of any farm starts with is the choice of a motherboard. We are interested in the amount of PCI Express slots here, and in my case we need 4 PCI Express slots. And all that is needed to connect four video cards for bitcoin, ethereum and Zcash mining accordingly.

It’s worth remembering that the processor, RAM and other stuff are not that important for us. The main thing here is that the computer should be able to start, has an access to the Internet, and work without interruption, since our final mining profit depends on that.

In order to estimate the prices, I have consulted OlnileTrade, the most popular outlet in Moscow.

  • The assembly basis is the AMD FX-Series FX-6300 processor, its price is 4800 roubles, but of course it is outdated already. But we are not going to play games on it.
  • It is more than enough for our bitcoin mining equipment 2018 to work in a stable way. I chose a simple motherboard ASUS M5A97 LE R2.0 for it.  It costs 4 500 roubles and has 4 PCI-E slots.
  • Now it is necessary to buy a simple 32 or 64 GB hard drive to install the system. Also, we need 4 or 8 gigabytes of RAM.

And, of course, we need to start choosing video cards for our farm.

  • At this moment you need to decide what cryptocurrency you want to earn. Because the choice of mining ethereum, bitcoin and Zcash is different. For example you want to mine ethereum. The best solution for this are the video cards based on AMD Radeon, for instance RX 480, 570, 580, 470.
  • If you are interested in earning money on video cards from Nvidia, then you have to pay attention to the Zcash cryptocurrency. It is mined on graphics cards GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, and 1080 ti, which are far better than their counterparts from the Red Camp.
  • It should be also noted that power consumption is very different for these two manufacturers. In case you decide to build a farm for mining with more than 4 video cards, you will need to calculate the electricity consumption at full load. And go on buying power supplies for the computer and graphics cards if needed, taking this into account. Very often, large farms which are also called rigs, get power from 2 to 4 power supplies at the same time.
  • One needs to choose power supply responsibly, for your mining equipment wouldn’t burn because of the short circuit. For example the guys from CORSAIR give their top-end power supplies a warranty of 3 to 5 years. Thus, buying units of 850-1000 watts and above, you will be able to bring it to the service center in case of malfunction. Some people use the old decommissioned server power supplies to reduce the cost of this construction. Usually they come in 2250 watts, and are designed to work under load 24/7. There are pluses and minuses everywhere, and if you decide to sell your mining farm, the usual power supply can of course be sold much easier.

After buying all necessary equipment for bitcoin mining, you will have to make a frame for your mining farm which is called a rig. There is a lot of information on the Internet on how to make the farm’s frame with your own hands. But it is easier to buy a ready-made frame, and its price will not exceed 1500 roubles.

Fundamental difference when purchasing GPU and ASIC

Buying an ASIC-miner, you become attached to the cryptocurrency producing on a certain algorithm forever. In case of Antiminer S9, it’s Sha-256 and Bitcoin. For profitable Litecoin mining there are other miners implemented. If the complexity of Bitcoin producing substantially increases, there will be no good options to change direction. Only the production of bitcoin forks is available.

Popular ASIC models are manufactured in China. In Russia they sell used models with a certain wear and tear level. There are no warranties for ASICs, and the repair procedure is almost impossible. Delivery of miners from China takes about 2-4 weeks. Because of the postal fees towards online purchases that exceed 1000 US dollars, miners often buy the devices in China.

Video cards provide more flexibility to miners. It is also possible to switch from one currency to another. For example, from Ethereum to ZCASH.

One of the problems is the growing cost of GPU and also the operation of the farm itself. This device takes more space comparing to ASIC, it also requires cooling and operation control.

Advantages: warranty, possibility of repair, and second-hand sales.

Electricity costs

Mining profitability depends on the electricity tariffs. It differs depending on the regions of Russia. In Moscow it is 5,38 roubles/kWh, and in Irkutsk region it is 1.01 roubles/kWh. It is a very significant difference. The average tariff around the country is 3.1 roubles/kWh. We will use this indicator to calculate monthly electricity costs.

Let’s compare some popular devices: 8 cards farm GTX 1070 and two miners ASIC Antiminer S9 13,5 Th/S. Equipment cost in both cases will be approximately 4500-5500 US dollars. Even 3-3.5 thousand could be enough if you strive to stay within the budget.

Power consumption of 8x GTX 1070 farm averages 1,2 kWh. Two miners consume kWt/h.

After calculating the profitability, we got the following figures for the electricity consumption:

  • GTX 1070 video cards:

  • ASIC Antiminer:

ASICs maintenance will consume twice as much electricity.

Table on electricity costs for producing different amount of Ethereum, Bitcoin, USD.

Amount

Electricity costs

1 BTC 31438 roubles
1 ETH 2206 roubles
0.1 BTC 3143,8 roubles
0.1 ETH 220,6 roubles
1000 USD (BTC) 7290 roubles
1000 USD (ETH) 6526 roubles

This data is given with due regard to the current production complexity, cryptocurrency rate and electricity tariffs.

Bitcoin farms are ready-made solutions for bitcoin mining

These complexes are not cheap, but they are already equipped with compatible elements, they are configured and ready to work. Let us take a look at five the most popular and interesting solutions to produce bitcoins.

Attention: the prices and equipment performance are relevant at the time when the article was written, but as the cryptocurrency rate and the complexity of Bitcoin chain change rapidly, check the information before deciding to buy a particular device.

CoinTerra TerraMiner IV

CoinTerra’s TerraMiner IV is a machine with water cooling for earning bitcoins from CoinTerra. It is equipped with ASIC-chips, GoldStrike I. TerraMiner IV is made with the 28mm process technology, and it comes with an addition of 4U with a power supply, which is considered to be a rarity in Bitcoin earning society.

TerraMiner IV is equipped with 4 ASIC chips, each of them gives out up to 500GH/s, and that means the total power of TerraMiner IV is 2TH/s. It is really hard to earn bitcoin nowadays, and this system will allow you mining up to 1.1 bitcoins a day. CoinTerra also states that TerraMiner IV is effective in terms of energy consumption, though these statements have not been confirmed by any statistics or evidence yet.

Price: $5999 (check the current price with the equipment suppliers)

Hashfast Sierra

Sierra from Hashfast is a machine of high performance with water cooling for earning bitcoins. The machine’s performance is based on ASIC-chips Golden Nonce. This machine is mounted in a 4U rack case, and is supplied with two built-in Seasonic power supplies.

Sierra offers a nominal value of 1.2TH/s, which gives approximately 0.66 bitcoins per day. However, it needs to be noted that Sierra doesn’t have a built-in controller, which is why you will need to connect the machine to the main control point via USB. Anything with CGminer software installed could be a control point.

Price: $6300 (check the current price with the equipment suppliers)

Fast-Hash One

Fast-Hash One series comprises 3 machines for Bitcoin earnings: Silver, Gold and Platinum versions. These are 19-inch Bitcoin-machines, the difference between them are in opportunities to expand and the power of installed modules. All these three machines are equipped with one earning module, but there are possibilities to increase the number of modules to 6.

Silver version is equipped with a 64GH/s module and allows increasing the power to 384GH/s. Gold version is equipped with 128GH/s module, and also the expansion to 768GH/s is possible. Platinum version is equipped with 256GH/s module, and there is a possibility to increase the power to 1.536TH/s. In general, if you reach the maximum capacity, these machines will allow mining from 0.2 to 0.85 bitcoins per day.

While the Silver version does not support expansion packages, Gold and Platinum versions support up to 6 expansion packages, where every package can hold up to 16 modules, which allows for a higher power level. Fast-Hash One machines are available upon prior request.

Price: $2499-5999 (check the current price with the equipment suppliers)

Black Arrow Prospero X-3

Black Arrow Prospero X-3 is equipped with 20 ASIC-chips Black Arrow Minion, which are built into a 19-inch rack case. ASIC Minion chips are based on 28nm process technology. Prospero X-3 is also equipped with an LCD-screen, which displays statistics and diagnostics.

Such configuration of Prospero X-3 allows to get power up to 2TH/S, that mines up to 1.1 bitcoin per day. The system also supports the Stratum protocol.

Price: $6999 (check the current price with the equipment suppliers)

KnCMiner Neptune

One might say that KnCMiner Neptune is a so-called great-grandfather of Bitcoin earning machines. Neptune represents 4 module ASIC-boards 20nm, built in such a way that the machine will go on working even if one or more boards will become faulty. Neptune inherited a lot from the previous system, Jupiter, which was based on the 28nm process technology.

Neptune makes it possible to get a minimum power of 3TH/s, which in turn provides mining up to 1.66 bitcoins per day. This is a solid improvement of Jupiter, which allowed earning only 0.6 bitcoins per day. KnCMiner also state that they plan to increase power in the near future, so it may turn out that miners will get more powerful systems.

KnCMiner Neptune pre-order is now open. The lot size is limited to 1200 units.

Price: $12995( check the current price with the equipment suppliers )