It… has arrived. The volatile world of Cryptocurrency has made its way to the Overclockers.com front page with today’s article on a ASIC Scrypt miner. For months now, some have been waiting excitedly and some have been dreading their market saturation, but it looks like the dam is finally starting to break and Scrypt Miners of all shapes, sizes, and speeds will soon be hitting the streets. Today Zeusminer was kind enough to let us borrow one of their Blizzard miners to kick the tires and take it for a spin.
Here is a link to the Zeusminer website so you can see all that they offer. In short, they have groups of mining products that range from this single $129 Blizzard rated at 1.3MH/s+ (MegaHash per second), all the way up to a whopping 280MH/s (10X Thunder X3 units) at a bank account crushing $24K (note: the price is reasonable in the market of course, but $24,000 is a lot of money to most anyone).
ASIC Scrypt mining, depending on what angle you are looking at it from, could be a good or bad thing. Good if you can afford to get in early (now!) and get it to work for a while, but potentially concerning when the difficulty inevitably goes up once these things really start to saturate the market. Also good is the power per MH when compared to say video cards. As a quick example, the review unit, the Blizzard mines away using a 40W @ 1.3MHs+ while a 290x mines at 1MHs at around 250+W (not including the system it needs to stand on). So we can see that the efficiency is much higher with an ASIC miner. However, GPUs are a bit more flexible and can run other algorithims in Scrypt-N, X11, or X13 to name a couple. So, if you are looking into buying these units Scrypt is all it has.
The Miner – Zeusminer Blizzard
Ok, so enough of me talking… Let’s show you what $129 will get you from Zeusminer! The Blizzard didn’t come in any retail packaging, it was shipped in a nondescript cardboard box. It arrived just fine and was well-protected.
We can see it’s a pretty small little device with a 80 mm fan on top of the dual use heatsink. It moves plenty of air to keep this thing barely warm to the touch and does so quietly as well. No way I can hear it over my PC, which is quite quiet. Its a 2-pin setup here, so it runs full tilt with no control out of the box. And 3-pin fans would have to be modified a bit to use, if for some reason you wanted to switch fans.
A Closer Look
So, of course we take things apart here. This one was a lot easier than any video card, that is for sure! It just took removing the four screw and bolt combinations that are threaded through the fan and heatsink. The PCB had another five on the actual board itself. A screw or two didn’t really thread too well, but it was still sitting securely mounted to the heatsink.
Setup and Use
In order to setup and use this miner, you will first need to go out and download a special USB/UART driver (download HERE) in order to get the device to communicate with your PC. Take note what port the device is on as you will need to know that value and set it in your config file. Once you install that software, next you will need a miner. There is a special version of CGminer made for the Zeusminer line that can be downloaded HERE. Once your config file is setup, click on the batch file and watch a screen pop up to see you start mining! CGWatch can even monitor it as well, even though it can’t seem to recognize the ASIC.
As far as power use, Zeusminer advertises 40W power use out of the 1.3Mhs models, and this one getting that 1.3Mhs value hits 49W peak, but mostly runs at 48W. So, that includes the fan running that adds a couple watts, and I imagine some efficiency loss in the power brick. There is a great YouTube walk through on this as well (CLICK!).
So once we get it up its running, its time to sit back and collect our riches, right? Well, sure, slowly. Maybe. Here are some screenshots that show my payouts over the course of a week at Wafflepool. I also showed the payouts from Wafflepool.
So what does that work out to money wise? Including the payout I will get tomorrow, and with Bitcoin sitting at $659 at the time of this calculation, that’s 13.97 over 8+ days or around $1.74 gross. Subtract the cost of its power use, 48W x .10c /Kwh = ~.20 cents per day for a net of $1.54. That gives you a return on investment, assuming values remain the same, of around 90 days. That isn’t bad at all for something this small. Usually the higher the hash rate the better Mhs /dollar gets. Zeusminer has a package where you can get ten of these and all its needed connections/usb ports.
The device itself was fairly simple to get setup. On these things I admit I may be a little slower than the average bear, and it took me around 10 minutes to get things cranking. I am sure those that are more skilled and follow the links provided here and at the Zeusminer site, that time could be cut in half.
As far as delivery goes, the next (2nd I believe) batch of these are due out June 15th, so there is only a few days left until shipping. Zeusminer hasn’t seemed to have missed a ship date, or at least I didn’t find it after a few minutes of looking around, so you can expect these to be available when they say so far.
Communication with them through the process of getting a sample was better than I expected with return emails in less than 24 hours. I’m guessing (hoping!) that will transfer on to their customers as my communication was only through the generic customer service email. The latest pricing on the new 1.3+Mhs units is $139, which you may have already figured out if you worked my math out backwards above! The new model also looks a bit different in that it has a black coating on the heatsink along with the Zeusminer name so they look better than what I show here.
I hope you enjoyed this look into ASIC mining using the Zeusminer Blizzard Scrypt ASIC miner. We are hoping something a bit bigger is coming down the pike to showcase for our loyal Crypto crowd!
Joe Shields (Earthdog)