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What is ASIC – mining hardware ?

Asic miner

An application-specific integrated circuit, known as ASIC, is an integrated circuit that is customized for a particular use, rather than for general use. In Bitcoin mining hardware, ASICs were the next step of development after CPUs, GPUs and FPGAs, that are capable of easily outperforming the mentioned platforms for Bitcoin mining in both speed and efficiency. All Bitcoin mining hardware that is practical in use makes use of one or more Bitcoin ASICs.

In general, Bitcoin ASIC chips can only be used for Bitcoin mining. There are some rare exceptions like example chips that mine both Bitcoin and Litecoin, but this is because the chip package effectively has two different ASICs, one for Bitcoin and another for Litecoin. The chosen ASIC chip largely determines the cost and efficiency of a given miner, as ASIC development is a very expensive process, and the ASIC chips themselves are often the components that require the most power on a Bitcoin miner.

Among the variety of Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturers, there are some that can be seen as systems integrators, using the ASIC chips manufactured by other parties, and combining them with other electronic components on a board to form the Bitcoin mining hardware.

At the beginning, Satoshi intended for Bitcoin to be mined on computer CPUs, but in some later stages, Bitcoin miners discovered that they could produce more hashing power by including graphic cards in the whole process. Graphic cards were later surpassed by ASICs. Nowadays all significant Bitcoin mining is performed on dedicated Bitcoin mining hardware ASICs, usually in thermally-regulated data-centers with access to the nearest source of low-cost electricity. The Bitcoin ASICs can be seen as specialized Bitcoin mining computers, Bitcoin mining machines, or even “bitcoin generators”.

Finding the Best Bitcoin Miner

There are some important things to consider before buying a Bitcoin mining ASIC

Hash rate – It is important to figure out how many hashes per second can the Bitcoin miner make. Producing larger number of hashes cost more, so the efficiency is crucial here.

Efficiency – As everybody wants to buy the most efficient bitcoin mining hardware possible, and as miners use a large amount of electricity, it is best to look for one that converts the most amount of electricity into bitcoins. 

Price – You should be aware that cheap mining hardware will mine less bitcoins, which is why efficiency and electricity usage are important in the whole process. The fastest and more efficient mining hardware will apparently cost more.

It is not smart to look for a miner based only on price or only on hash rate. The best ASIC miners are the most efficient bitcoin miners, and that is why you should aim for value.

Most Efficient Bitcoin Miners

Good Bitcoin mining hardware must have a high hash rate, but the efficiency is also important. An efficient Bitcoin miner means that you will pay less in electricity costs per hash. These miners in the table below are currently the most efficient Bitcoin miners on the market (2017).

Miner Hash Power Price
Antminer S5 1.16 TH/s $139.99
Antminer S7 4.73 TH/s $489.99
Antminer S9 14.0 TH/s $3,000
Avalon 6 3.50 TH/s $559.95
SP20 Jackson 1.3-1.7 TH/s $90.00
Antminer R4 8.6 TH/s $1,000


Some comparisons

– The Avalon6 gets 0.29 Watts/GH, but it costs $200 more than the Antminer S7.
– The Antminer S7 is more efficient, with 0.25 Watts/GH.
– The Antminer S7 also costs less, and comes with 4.5 TH/s of hash power compared to the Avalon6’s 3.50 TH/s.
– The AntMiner S7 is clearly the better option when choosing between these two miners, which are currently the most efficient miners available.

In order to improve the efficiency, there are some companies that will let you order hardware to their warehouse and run the miners for you. There is also the option of cloud mining bitcoins, but both options are less fun than running your own hardware. 

Mining Hardware Companies

Bitmain – this company makes the Antminer line of Bitcoin miners and it is based in China.
Bitmain – https://www.bitmain.com/
BitFury – this company is one of the largest producers of Bitcoin mining hardware and chips.
BitFury – http://bitfury.com/
Spondoolies Tech – this is an Israeli based mining hardware manufacturer.
Spondoolies Tech – http://www.spondoolies-tech.com/