Bitcoin mining is moving out of people’s homes and into data centers at an accelerated rate. With the mining difficulty still increasing (despite a decrease earlier this year) and the Bitcoin network requiring more and more Petahashes in order to find blocks, mining hardware manufacturers have to come up with a new plan for the future. So the question becomes, what will be the next phase of Bitcoin mining?
Bitcoin Mining : New ASIC chips?
The way things are looking right now, one of the possible options to improve Bitcoin ASIC miners is the development of newer, faster and better chips. Current Bitcoin mining hardware operates on 28nm chips, which have been through several revisions over the past few months. However, there is only so much hashing power you can squeeze out of 1 28nm chip.
Stacking multiple 28nm ASIC chips on a board, or even multiple boards, is one of the ways to go for Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturers. The downside is that the more boards you cram into a miner, the bulkier they become, and the higher their power usage in Watts. And as electricity costs are rather expensive for most countries, this leads in part to less “home miners”.
As a result of the growing power consumption requirements, we see more and more Bitcoin miners being hosted in data centers, where they receive cheap(er) electricity, and where the level of noise production is less of a factor. That is another major issues when it comes to ASIC miners, if you let them run at full power, even with tweaking involved, they are usually far too loud to host at home. Unless you put them in a basement or the attic, that is.
Unfortunately for most of us Bitcoin enthusiasts, hosting your ASIC at a data center is not an option. On the other hand, several ASIC manufacturers offer to host your miner in one of their data center for a certain period, in exchange for a relatively cheap price. Plus, it will also score you brownie points with the spouse/partner/kids/neighbors.
But let’s assume better ASIC chips are developed in due time, which are even smaller in size compared to their 28nm counterparts. Potentially they will offer a higher mining speed per chip, and due to their small sizes, mining boards can fit more ASIC chips. But then again, won’t more chips require the same amount or even more electricity compared to what we have now? While the obvious answer would be “no, they wouldn’t , it remains a question we can’t answer just yet I’m afraid.
Bitcoin Mining To Become Vastly More Energy Efficient?
Then again, it would be even better if we didn’t need to put time and effort into making smaller sized chips, but rather making the current 28nm chips far more energy efficient than they are now. And that is exactly what the folks over at AsicRising in Germany are trying to achieve. According to some of their specifications, their miners draw nearly 50% less energy from the wall, while still achieving the same mining speeds.
AsicRising’s first generation of Bitcoin ASIC miners achieved speeds of up to 10.6 GH/s, while consuming between 6 and 8 Watts. The technology used for this Bitcoin miner is the 28nm GLOBALFOUNDRIES ASIC chip, which is being developed by GlobalFoundries in Dresden,Germany. Unlike most ASIC manufacturers, AsicRising is using chips developed in Germany, which is a remarkable choice to be honest.
The second generation, called the Woflblood XE (xTree Efficiency) ASIC, provides 100GH/s of Bitcoin mining power while consuming just 19 Watts of electricity. With some overclocking, users can achieve speeds of up to 125GH/s with this machine, while the power consumption is only marginally increasing. Once again, this Bitcoin miner is based on the 28nm GLOBALFOUNDRIES ASIC chip.
Note from the author : Wolfblood XE ASIC miners are tapeout-ready, and more information can be found here.
But the most interesting product they have has to be the Wolfpack XE, a board combining the power of 12 Woldblood XE ASICs. This puppy offers speeds of 1,2 TH/s for a power consumption of just 280 Watts, making this the most power efficient Bitcoin ASIC miner hardware in the world to date (that we know of).
Unfortunately, the Wolfpack XE is not designed to be used at home, as it should be placed in a datacenter where it will make use of air-cooling for a group of cards from the rackmount case. The neat thing is that this card can be tuned to match your available power supply and cooling capacity, thanks to advanced heat management and adjustable hash rate.
From what we can gather, it looks like Bitcoin mining ASIC chips will head in the direction of becoming far more power efficient instead of smaller. Then again, with the rapid pace at which technological advancements are made these days, we might see things turn out differently.
What are your thoughts on the future of Bitcoin mining? Let us know in the comments below!
Sources : https://asicrising.de/