Centralized authorities like banks do not control cryptocurrencies. So they need to device some mechanism that will allow them to keep track of all the transactions. And this is where miners come in. The main job of a cryptocurrency miner is to verify blocks of transactions. And after verifying, stacking them on to the blockchain. You can mine cryptocurrencies using CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and ASIC rigs also.
You can read more about Cryptocurrency mining here: A Complete Beginner’s Guide To Cryptocurrency Mining.
At first, cryptocurrency miners used their inexpensive CPUs for mining cryptocurrencies. Or should I say “cryptocurrency,” since back then, only Bitcoin used to be a thing? But soon, they realized mining with GPU rigs is far more profitable than CPU rigs. Since CPUs are built for general purpose usage, and usually one computer will have access to one CPU only, the only exception is server systems.
Whereas GPUs are far more specialized than CPUs and have access to faster memory. So GPU rigs became the mining rigs of choice. Then cryptocurrency mining enthusiasts wanted to take it even further. So they started experimenting with FPGA or Field-Programmable Gate Arrays. Although they performed better than GPU rigs in some cases, they were not really the “next-gen.” And this is where ASIC rigs come in.
WHAT IS AN ASIC MINER?
Around 2013, ASIC rigs were introduced to the field of cryptocurrency mining. At first, ASIC or Application Specific Integrated Circuit rigs were generally for commercial mining purposes. And the pioneer was IIRC ASICMINER. Then Avalon launched their plug n’ play ASIC rigs for general users.
ASIC miners are built for one purpose only, to mine a specific cryptocurrency. These miners have no other use than cryptocurrency mining. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using an ASIC miner.
- There is only one benefit of using ASIC miners – they are freaking powerful! As I mentioned above, ASIC miners are specialized devices built for mining a specific cryptocurrency only. So these miners are heavily optimized to produce the best price to performance ratio. For example, Bitcoin ASIC miners can have hash rates as high as 120 TH/s.
- The hashrates of the newer ASIC keep increasing year by year.
- Expensive – ASIC miner’s insane performance literally comes at a price. These miners are expensive, to say the least. Take the Antimer S9, for example. It costs $1415 when bought from the official website or a retail partner. Plus, ASIC miners usually don’t come with power supply units. So you will need to buy one separately, which will set you back at least $100-$150.
- Availability – Another huge issue with ASIC miners is their availability. Usually, ASIC miners ship in batches, and the order window open 3-4 months earlier than that. At a time, a limited quantity of ASIC miners is sold. So the orders are placed on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can always buy them from sellers on Amazon and eBay, but they will charge a huge premium for it. Usually, they can charge as high as thrice the original price.
- Power Consumption, Heat Dissipation, And Noise – The only thing pro of an ASIC miner is its insane performance. Apart from that, they suck at all the other aspects. Take the DragonMint 16T, for example; it can draw as much as 1600W of power for producing 16TH/s! And then there’s the issue of heat generation. So ASIC miners need special cooling solutions as well to run smoothly. ASIC miners also make a lot of noise because of the high RPM fans.
- Poor Resale Value – Unlike used graphics cards or CPUs, used ASIC rigs are generally useless. Why would anyone risk buying an ASIC miner which has run 24/7 for the past couple of months? That’s why a lot of old ASIC miners end up becoming showpieces or go to recycle centers.
BEST ASIC MINERS FOR EARLY 2021
Now that you know what an ASIC miner is let’s review some!
1. ANTMINER S19 Pro
The AntMiner S19 Pro comes from BitMain, one of the popular companies in this field. It is a Bitcoin miner that can produce as much as 110 TH/s. It is the first ASIC miner that came with a second-gen 7nm ASIC chip. It features the BM1397 ASIC chip, which is capable of reaching 30 J/TH. Hundreds of BM1397 chips inside AntMiner S19 Pro, which makes the total hash rate about 110 TH/s. And for that, the AntMiner T9 only draws about 3220W of power. I expect the miner to make about $500 per month in profit.
The AntMiner S19 Pro features a Xilinx Zync-7000 series FPGA and a dual Cortex A9 microprocessor for controlling the board. The Cortex A9 enables AntMiner T9 to have a Gigabit Ethernet interface.
Originally you could buy the AntMiner S19 Pro and the recommended APW12_12V-15V power supply for as low as $3769. But as it is out of stock on BitMain’s website, you can only buy it from eBay or Amazon. And these resellers usually charge around $6000 for just the miner alone. So you will need to buy the APW12_12V-15V power supply for $134 more.
- 7nm BM1397 ASIC chips, which are extremely power-efficient yet powerful.
- Two powerful 6000RPM fans at the front and rear to quickly dissipate the heat.
- Compact design, so it doesn’t eat up too much space.
- It can be controlled from a web interface, so 10/10 for being user-friendly.
- A very low payback period of 7 months.
- The only con is the price.
Today the Antminer S19 Pro is the best Bitcoin Mining ASIC with the most hash rate.
2. Antminer T19
Antminer T19 is a Bitcoin miner from one of the oldest players in this market, Bitmain. A Chinese company fully focused on producing highly efficient and extremely powerful ASIC mining rigs for the masses. Their latest offering is the Antminer T19. The T19 in Antminer’s name is nothing to with the hash rate it can produce. But, it can churn out a whooping 84TH/s hash rate, making it one of the fastest Bitcoin miner right now.
Although the website is pretty vague, I found out that this ASIC miner uses a proprietary ASIC chip. This ASIC chip is called BM1397 and can produce around 37.5 J/TH. So using my out of the world mathematics skills, I believe there are about 190 to 200 BM1397 ASIC chips inside the Antminer T19.
The website claims that it only consumes about 3150W, making it the most power-efficient ASIC miner right now.
- Extremely powerful and also very power efficient.
- The lowest payback period of only 116 days.
- The website is vague. It provides very little detail about the company as well as the miner itself.
- Mostly out of stock
- You need to order a minimum of 1 unit.
Pretty hard to find. If you get a chance to grab it, then surely get one.
3. ANTMINER S9
The AntMiner S9 is also produced by BitMain. You can view the S9 as the bigger brother of the slightly underpowered T9. The specification is entirely similar to the T9 model, but the S9 has 189 BM1387 ASIC chips instead of 171. So the AntMiner T9 is capable of producing about 14TH/s. Technically this Bitcoin miner is more power-efficient than the T9, consuming about 0.098J/GH. That is why the same APW3++ 1600W power supply can also power one AntMiner S9. If you happen to purchase this at the original price, then expect a return of $1000 per year.
Originally, it went on sale for $1415 without the power supply. But since it is also out of stock on BitMain’s online shop, resellers on eBay and Amazon are making the most of it! You will have to pay $500 at the very least to get your hands on one these days. Today you can grab the miner below $500.
- Features the 16nm BM1387 ASIC chips, which are very power efficient yet powerful.
- Two 6000RPM fans – one at the back and one at the front to quickly dissipate the heat.
- Very compact design – only 350mm in length.
- Very high Bitcoin hash rate of 14TH/s.
- It draws only about 1400W of power and consumes only 0.098J/GH.
- The only con is the price due to unavailability.
If you get a good enough deal, then buy it at all costs. In my opinion, it is the best Bitcoin ASIC miner at the moment.
Cryptocurrencies That Support ASIC Mining
Not all cryptocurrencies support ASIC mining. Currently, only a handful of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Litecoin, etc., support ASIC mining. So PoW algorithms such as SHA-256, X11, and recently Scrypt only support ASIC mining at the moment.
ASIC mining has sort of divided the whole cryptocurrency community into two parts – those who like it and those who hate it. That is why cryptocurrencies have been specifically created for completely blocking ASIC mining. For example, Bitcoin Gold, Super Bitcoin, BitcoinZ, etc., were created partially for this reason.
Frequently Asked Questions
SHOULD YOU GET AN ASIC MINER?
ASIC miners are noisy power-hungry devices. Not all can afford to buy an ASIC miner, and even fewer who can maintain one. Although an ASIC rig can make quite a lot of money a year, it consumes a lot of electricity. Also, the cooling solutions you employ will eat up a lot of electricity too. So consider paying a lot as electricity costs too. The whole cryptocurrency mining space, especially Bitcoin, is about getting the latest gear before anyone else. If you don’t mind ordering new ASIC devices every 6-7 months, go ahead with your plan. But if you don’t have the means to upgrade your rig every time a new one hits the market. Then there’s no point in getting one in the first place.
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR ASIC MINING RIGS?
ASIC rigs generate a lot of heat, so you need to install special cooling solutions to keep the rigs cool. Keeping your rigs running at an optimal temperature will lengthen their lifespan. You will also need to provide uninterrupted power to keep your rigs running 24/7.
Read more about maintaining your ASIC rig here: [How To] Maintain & Cool Your ASIC & GPU Mining Rigs
I hope I was able to provide proper information about ASIC rigs. If you are sure you can get one and maintain one, then I suggest getting an AntMiner S9 for now. Get just one at first and try your luck with it. If you happen to like it, then you will get the chance to buy more.
Thank you Indrasish!