The days when it was possible to mine Bitcoin on an ordinary home PC were irretrievably gone. Now mining has become a process requiring special hardware and software. Let’s see what kind of equipment, who produces it and what is better to use now for mining.
It was possible to mine for quite a long time on ordinary home computers, but then the evolution of the equipment began to involve using video cards for this purpose in calculating the hash function for closing the CPU block is not particularly effective, unlike the GPU.
To increase the income from mining with the help of standard components, rigs began to be assembled – powerful computers with several video cards specifically for mining cryptocurrencies. Because of this, the demand for graphics chips has greatly increased – and that’s when major players, manufacturers of graphics chips, drew attention to the mining market.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD NASDAQ) is one of the old-timers in the microprocessor market. Now the company is among the largest manufacturers of processors (both central and graphics) and chipsets for motherboards.
The so-called red Radeon video cards from the AMD RX480 and RX580 series are widely used for mining in terms of price and characteristics, they are optimal for this. AMD also cares about the support of its devices, constantly releasing software that allows you to more effectively manage mining processes.
In 2018, many computer hardware manufacturers – ASROCK, MSI, ASUS, Sapphire, Rajintek, Biostar and TUL – presented ready-made mining solutions based on chips from AMD. They are focused on various mining needs and differ in their characteristics.
Although AMD had previously stated that it was not focusing on the sale of mining equipment in its commercial activities, recently the importance of blockchain technology has been emphasized on their official resources. It can be concluded that AMD is not going to leave the market.
The most popular mining cards for NVIDIA were and remain GeForce GTX 1050Ti, 1060, 1070, 1080, 1080Ti. There are new versions of 2060, 2070, 2080, 2080Ti. And the company has released special chips for mining graphics cards P 104−100, P 106−100. Their video cards, by the way, because of the color contrast with AMD, are usually called green.
However, in general, in the mining area, NVIDIA’s business was not rosy. Red AMD video cards have a higher power, although greens consume less power.
High expectations of the company from the mining sphere did not materialize. Due to the long-term decline in the crypto-market, sales of mining equipment did not reach the forecasted figures. The shares sank, and as a result, the company announced the termination of the production of special mining lines.
Of course, the rest of NVIDIA’s video cards remain on the market, and miners can buy them, but it seems that the victory in the battle of the red and green seems to be for the red.
Intel (NASDAQ INTC) is probably the most famous manufacturer of computer processors. Their equipment was previously used exclusively for CPU mining. For example, the company developed mining chips for 21 Inc (later 21 Inc was renamed Earn.com and sold to Coinbase).
But lately, this type of mining is not the most popular classic cryptocurrency lined on GPU and ASIC. Those coins that can be mined on the CPU are not so profitable and popular. And the complexity of computing top-end cryptocurrency is constantly growing, which means that we need more computing power. And the increase in the price of electricity, which is consumed in abundance by a powerful processor, has not been canceled.
But the company decided to go the other way and made a real breakthrough last year. Intel received a patent for a mining device that combines a hardware accelerator of mining, a processor and special software. This patent is issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office only under the condition of strict requirements, the equipment is an invention, has novelty and industrial applicability.
Thus, Intel will present an innovative device that can change mining as such. This accelerator will allow a 35% increase in power when searching for a hash. It combines a hardware device and a software upgrade for computing hashes. This method can work in conjunction with ASIC (application specific integrated circuit, special purpose integrated circuit – in general, it is a chip specialized for solving a specific problem, in this case for mining), and with FPGA, and with CPU, and even with network protocols SoCs.
It quickly became clear that mining was going to become a serious and promising industry. Mining equipment has a certain specificity, and manufacturers of “iron” quickly picked up the trend. Many companies engaged only in mining equipment have already firmly established themselves in the market.
Standard ASIC is not amenable to firmware and works “as is.” It is completed with one or several processors, power units, coolers, and it will not work to use it for anything other than mining.
Perhaps the most famous manufacturer of mining equipment – Bitmain. This Chinese company is quite young (founded in 2013), but has already managed to go from a small startup to a market leader. According to various estimates, at the end of 2018, Bitmain controlled from 75% to 85% of the ASIC miner market.
The most popular miner Antminer S9 is their design. In terms of hash rate and power consumption, this is the best choice, but it cannot be called the most affordable Bitmain. This line is updated quite often, but many miners are in no hurry to upgrade their equipment, guided by the principle “work – do not touch”.
And the company itself, it seems, is not limited to this principle. First, Bitmain introduced a router with the mining function of litecoin Antrouter R1 LTC, and then supplemented the line of such devices – Antrouter R3 DASH with mine Dash, and Antrouter R3 SIA – Siacoin.
By the way, Bitmain could become a monopolist not only because of its equipment. The company also owns the large mining pools Antpool and BTC.com (they share the first place in bitcoin mining).
Like Bitmain, Canaan Creative is young (it has been running since 2013) and is based in China. Its creator has developed chips designed specifically for mining. The first ASIC was produced precisely at Canaan Creative.
At the end of 2018, Canaan Creative, according to experts, occupied about 15% of the market for ASIC miners. Its flagship line includes the miners of the Avalon series, one of the most popular – AvalonMiner 821, and just recently the new flagship AvalonMiner A10 was announced. The company is famous for the stability of its equipment.
Canaan Creative went even further than Bitmain and introduced the world’s first Bitcoin TV AvalonMiner Inside, equipped with artificial intelligence. His hash rate is 2.8 Th / s.
According to Canaan Creative, the company is not going to stop on what has been achieved, the line of home appliances with the possibility of mining will expand, because the era of the blockchain and AI has already come, and users should be ready for it. Future products of the company will be included in the “Internet of Things” sphere. So, already announced a mobile mining farm and a heater with a cloud computing function.
The full name of this company is Zhejiang Ebang Communication Co., Ltd., but outside of China, it is known simply as Ebang. Ebang has been on the market for nine years, it was founded in 2010, but earlier the company was engaged in the production of telecom equipment.
In the mining market, Ebang has already forced itself to be considered a series of Ebit Miner E11 is extremely competitive. These miners consume a lot of electricity, but it pays for a high hash rate.
All mentioned manufacturers make ASIC for bitcoin. Founded last year by Canaan Creative engineer Chen Min, the Chinese company Linzhi set itself a more ambitious task to create an ASIC for the broadcast. This is how a miner working with the ProgPoW algorithm appeared.
Unfortunately, experts agree that such ASICs for broadcasting are not worth much attention having risen at some point, the hash rate again collapsed, and the efficiency of the devices themselves is at the level of video cards, which, unlike ASIC, can be sold or used for other purposes. .
Not to mention the fact that no one specifically fights Bitcoin ASICs, but in the case of the ether and some other cryptocurrencies, special algorithms are used, the same ProgPoW, which prohibits mining of these currencies on the ASIC.