The cryptocurrencies that have sprung up over the past decade are world-changing, and it’s possible things are just getting started. There are new projects and coins springing up every day, while many of the oldest cryptocurrencies remain extremely valuable.
As traditional finance business begin to adopt cryptocurrencies they are only going to become increasingly stable, and many will also continue to increase in value.
For anyone who has thoughts of their financial future and accumulating wealth, gathering Bitcoins now is a very wise move. Even though the price of Bitcoin has grown tremendously over the past several years, it is still quite early in the game, and certainly not too late to consider Bitcoin mining. He really good news is that even though the process behind mining Bitcoin is complex, there are businesses that have developed products to make your Bitcoin mining efforts far easier.
Part of this includes the development of ASIC hardware used to mine Bitcoin. In the past it was possible to use GPUs and CPUs to mine Bitcoin, but those days are gone, and if you want to mine Bitcoin today you’ll need an ASIC setup. Better hardware increase your hash rate, and this increases the amount of Bitcoin you’ll be rewarded with. So it makes sense not to skimp when considering which hardware to use in Bitcoin mining.
The rest of this article will look at what features should be considered most important when choosing Bitcoin mining hardware, and will then go on to review some of the top Bitcoin mining equipment currently for sale.
How to Choose the Best Bitcoin Mining Hardware
There are several features of your hardware that you’ll want to consider before making a purchase. Which you consider most important will depend on your focus in mining.
The hash rate of mining hardware refers to the number of calculations that can be performed in a given amount of time. Hash rate is typically measured in seconds, and the higher the hash rate is, the more powerful the hardware will be in mining Bitcoin. This can dramatically increase your Bitcoin rewards.
Bitcoin mining is your hardware using its computing power to find a specific solution to an algorithmic problem. With a hash algorithm all the solutions will be very similar, but unpredictable. The only way to arrive at the correct solution is to continue trying new solutions randomly until you finally stumble across the correct solution. And because there are so many computers trying to solve each problem mining has become very competitive. It has to be because each transaction is broadcast to the entire network, and the first miner to come up with the correct solution gets the Bitcoin reward (currently 12.5 Bitcoin per block). This makes it crucial to have the highest hash rate possible for the most profitable Bitcoin mining.
The hash rate of hardware can be measured in Megahashes or Gigahashes or Terahashes per second. The very first dedicated mining hardware had a hashrate of just 336 MH/s, but some of today’s dedicated ASIC Bitcoin mining rigs generate up to 14 TH/s (14,000,000 MH/s).
One of the main criticisms of Bitcoin mining is the amount of energy it consumes. This means when mining Bitcoin you’ll have an investment in both the hardware used, and the energy needed to power that hardware.
In general, the higher the hash power of the hardware you’re using, the higher the energy consumption. There are some exceptions, but in general this holds true. This means you need to consider the electricity consumption (in watts) of any hardware you might be considering purchasing. If you know how many watts a piece of hardware uses you will be able to calculate you cost to run that hardware, assuming you also know your kilowatt cost for electricity. This can help you determine if mining Bitcoin is potentially profitable for you.
Many miners go as far as using the hash rate and energy consumption data to determine how many hashes are mined for each watt of electricity consumed. The calculation isn’t hard and it gives an easy way to compare different hardware units. The calculation is hash rate / watt consumption.
As an example, if you have a hardware hash rate of 4500 MH/s and it requires about 32 watts of energy, then you can expect the mining hardware to provide approximately 140,625 MH/s for every watt of electricity used. Once you have all this information in hand you can use one of the online Bitcoin mining cost calculators to determine your electricity expense.
Of course we wouldn’t want to overlook the price of the mining hardware. This will also determine your breakeven point and potential profitability. Don’t shy away from more expensive hardware necessarily though, as cheap hardware will only yield very few Bitcoins. Try to balance the cost of the hardware with the hash rate and energy usage of the rig.
Best Bitcoin Mining Hardware for 2018
Bitmain Antminer S5
The Bitmain Antminer S5 isn’t the newest Bitmain Bitcoin mining model, but it remains an excellent combination of function and efficiency.
The Antminer S5 comes with a 115 volt power supply that will pull roughly 560 watts. This is a fairly low power consumption for Bitcoin miners, and you’ll find the watt cost to hash rate is quite favorable with thr Antminer S5. In fact, the unit will produce roughly 1 GH/s for every 0.51 watts used. This is an improvement over the predecessor S3 unit and makes the S5 a good value for beginning Bitcoin miners.
The S5 is also a lightweight unit, weighing in at just 2.5kg. The light weight of the unit comes from the fact that it is open from top to bottom, and that it is constructed of light weight materials. Setup is quite easy, and no prior technical experience is required to get the unit up and running.
Bitmain Antminer S7
The Antminer S7 is quite possibly the most popular Bitcoin miner on the market, even though it was introduced back in 2015. The popularity arises from the power consumption improvements made versus the S5.
The S7 has a recommended power supply specification of the APW3 1600 watt unit. This is one of the best Bitcoin rig power supplies, and that’s not surprising given that it was designed with Bitcoin rigs specifically in mind. It will work with even the most powerful rigs, and requires a minimum of 205 volts.
It really is recommended to use the 1600 watt APW3 power supply as the efficiency of the Antminer S7 will be dependent on the effectiveness of the power supply, as well as the ambient temperature. At a normal room temperature of 25 degrees Celsius the Antminer S7 is capable of producing 1300 watts. Lower temperatures will produce somewhat better results. You might have noticed that the S7 is basically twice as efficient as the S5 and this doubling of efficiency is true for each generation of Antminer.
As far as weight goes, the Antminer S7 is a far more hefty 7.5kg, partially due to the metal casing the unit is housed in. You’ll also find the S7 to be quite noisy. In fact, it is so noisy that it can’t be recommended for home use. Additionally, it needs a cool environment to operate efficiently, and to keep your cooling costs down.
Bitmain Antminer S9
If you’re the type who needs the absolute best there is, then you can stop your search for a Bitcoin mining rig with the Bitmain Antminer S9. With the Antminer S9 you’ll get has rates as high as 14 TH/s, with the most efficient mining hardware on the market. The high hash rate has been achieved by including three circuit boards that hold 189 chips. Yes, it will cost you, but if performance is what you’re after it will be worth every penny.
Just like its predecessor the Antminer S9 can be used with the 1600 watt APW3 power supply. This will give you the most efficiency from this unit, which consumes anywhere from 1300 to 1340 watts. Speaking of efficiency, you can get up to 100 J/TH with the S9 unit.
The weight is also less than the S7 unit, with the Antminer S9 weighing in at 5kg. It features aluminum design and that keeps it lighter as well as helping to wick off the heat generated during operation. For those looking to put more than one S9 to use, you’ll be happy to know that the size of the mining rig is less than that of a boom box, and they will fit easily next to each other on a rack. Beware the noise levels of the S9 however. This unit is definitely not meant for use near living areas.
Bitmain Antminer T9
The Antminer T9 is another excellent Bitcoin mining rig, but it is quite pricey. Miners seem to be split as to which is better – the T9 or the S9. The specifications seem to favor the S9, but that’s somewhat misleading.
The T9 consumes more electricity, using 1450 watts to get a hash power of 11.5 TH/s. That’s an efficiency of 126 J/TH, which makes the S9 better if this is all you take into consideration. You can’t stop here though. The case for the T9 is made based on the quality of the chips used in the manufacture of each. The S9 chips were of a lower quality, leading to some stability issues. The T9 should also have a longer life thanks to the improved quality of the chips.
Let’s leave Bitmain behind now and have a look at the AvalonMiner 721 manufactured by Canaan Creative. This is an excellent Bitcoin miner, at an affordable price point. It provides a hash rate of roughly 7.3 TH/s, which is pretty good considering the lower price point of this unit. It has 88 chips on board and features an air forming cooling system that keeps the rig cool enough to be run constantly without fear of overheating.
The efficiency of the unit is 160 J/TH, which isn’t quite as good as the Antminer S7 and S9 units, but the price of the AvalonMiner 721 is also quite a bit lower, making it a very good value.
If you want to mine Bitcoin, the five units above will all give you very good results. Only you can decide how much you’re willing to spend on the mining hardware. You’ll also want to consider the noise factor and where your mining rig will be located. In general however, for the most profitable mining you want the most powerful hardware. If you can afford the S9 or T9 and have somewhere you can put these noisy units, they’ll give you the best bang for your buck – at least as of June 2018.