ASIC Miners: What Are They and Where Can You Buy Them?
If you are interested in crypto mining, you may have heard of ASIC miners. ASIC is an acronym for Application-Specific Integrated Circuit, a type of hardware that performs a specific task with high efficiency.
In this case, the task is to solve complex mathematical problems required to verify transactions on a blockchain network.
ASIC miners are different from other kinds of mining equipment, such as Central Processing Units (CPUs), Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), or Field-Programable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Their distinction lies in that they can only mine one or a small number of virtual currencies that employ the same algorithm.
However, they also have the benefit of being far quicker and more energy-efficient than conventional gear, which makes them favored among cryptocurrency enthusiasts who want to maximize profits and save expenses.
If you wish to set up your mining operation, this article will describe what ASIC miners are, how they operate, and where you can buy them.
Benefits and Drawbacks of ASIC Miners
ASIC miners’ high performance and efficiency are some of their primary advantages. They can achieve much higher hash rates (the speed at which they solve the cryptographic puzzles that secure the network and generate new coins) than other miners while consuming less power and space.
It means they can earn more rewards and profits for their owners and contribute more to the security and decentralization of the network.
However, ASIC miners also have disadvantages that make them less appealing or accessible for some users. One is their high price, ranging between hundreds and thousands of dollars depending on the model and market demand.
ASIC miners are also subject to obsolescence, as newer and more powerful models are constantly being released by manufacturers, making older ones less competitive and profitable.
Additionally, ASIC miners are often very loud and generate a lot of heat, posing cooling and noise reduction challenges.
Another drawback of ASIC miners is that they are only compatible with some cryptocurrencies or mining algorithms. Some cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), employ ASIC-friendly algorithms, allowing ASIC miners to dominate the network while excluding other types of miners.
Other coins, such as Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), and Grin (GRIN), use ASIC-resistant algorithms to limit or discourage the use of ASIC miners and instead encourage CPU or GPU mining.
Therefore, if you want to mine different cryptocurrencies, buy several ASIC miners or switch to other types of mining hardware.
What are some Popular ASIC Miners on the Market?
ASIC miners are usually separated into two groups depending on their target algorithm.
SHA-256 ASIC Miners
SHA-256, employed by BTC and its derivatives, such as BCH, is one of the most popular crypto algorithms.
It’s a cryptographic hash function that turns input data into a fixed-length output to validate and authenticate blockchain transactions.
It’s also a proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm, meaning miners must compete to find a valid hash that satisfies a certain difficulty level. In this system, a miner’s hash power increases the likelihood of finding a valid hash and earning the block reward and transaction fees.
Some examples of popular ASIC miners for SHA-256 are:
Antminer S19 Pro
This is one of the market’s most powerful and efficient ASIC miners, with an energy efficiency of 29.5 joules per terahash (J/TH). Bitmain, the leading manufacturer of mining hardware, produces it.
The Antminer S19 Pro has a top hash rate of 110TH/s and consumes about 3250W of power. It uses the SHA-256 algorithm, which is compatible with BTC, BCH, and Bitcoin SV (BSV).
The device has four fans that provide optimal cooling and noise reduction. It has an Ethernet interface that allows easy network connection and remote management.
Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro | Source: Bitmain
The current price of the AntMiner S19 Pro varies depending on the seller and availability. As of April 2023, the official Bitmain shop sells it for $1,950, but it is often out of stock due to high demand.
Other online merchants and resellers charge rates ranging from $2,157 to $4,101. Some websites also provide free delivery, VAT invoices, or bulk savings.
Buyers should, however, exercise caution and investigate the seller’s reputation and dependability before making a purchase.
WhatsMiner M30S++ is another high-performance ASIC miner produced by MicroBT, a Chinese company that competes with Bitmain.
The WhatsMiner M30S++ has a maximum hash rate of 112TH/s and a power consumption of 3472W. It can generate about 0.0003 BTC daily, depending on the network difficulty and electricity cost.
WhatsMiner M30S++ | Source: WhatsMiner
You can buy the machine from the official WhatsMiner website and various online stores and marketplaces for prices ranging from $3,299 to $5,107.
However, depending on its availability and demand, the price can shoot up to as high as $14,000.
AvalonMiner 1246 is an ASIC miner produced by Canaan Creative, another Chinese company that claims to have invented the first ASIC miner in 2013.
The AvalonMiner 1246 has a hash rate of 90TH/s and power consumption of 3420W and boasts built-in AI technology that optimizes mining performance and efficiency.
AvalonMiner 1246 | Source: Canaan.io
The current price of the AvalonMiner 1246 varies depending on the seller and availability. Still, it ranges from $1,080 to $8,999, according to some online sources, and can generate a daily profit of about $3 at the current difficulty and price levels.
Scrypt ASIC Miners
Scrypt is also a cryptographic hash function and a PoW algorithm. However, it varies from SHA-256 because it requires more memory to complete the computation, making it more difficult to implement on ASICs.
Regardless, some ASIC miners have been developed for Scrypt over the years, offering higher efficiency and lower power consumption than GPUs.
Examples of popular ASIC miners for Scrypt include:
Antminer L7 is one of the latest and most powerful ASIC miners for Scrypt, produced by Bitmain. It has a top hash rate of 9.5Gh/s and consumes about 3425W.
Additionally, it uses the Scrypt algorithm to mine Litecoin and other compatible digital currencies.
Antminer L7 (9.5Gh): Source: ASIC Miner Value
According to ASIC Miner Value, the Antminer L7 currently has an estimated daily profit of $15.68. The machine requires a 220V input voltage and comes ready with a PSU.
Its noise level is pegged at 75dB, and the operating temperature range is 5–45°C.
You can purchase the device from various online stores, with prices ranging from $5,550 to $9,599.
This is another high-performance ASIC miner for Scrypt, produced by Innosilicon, a Chinese company specializing in mining hardware.
According to ASIC Miner Value, the A6+ LTCMaster has a maximum hash rate of 2.2Gh/s and a power consumption of 2100W.
It has four fans, eight chipboards, and an Ethernet interface. It weighs 9.31kg and measures 360 x 155 x 247mm.
Innosilicon A6+ LTCMaster | Source: ASIC Miner Value
The current price of the A6+ LTCMaster varies depending on the seller and availability. As of April 2023, some online stores offer it for around $1,300 to $4,800 and can generate a daily profit of about $2 at the current difficulty and price levels.
FutureBit Apollo LTC
FutureBit Apollo LTC is a compact and quiet ASIC miner for the Scrypt algorithm. The miner can run in different modes, from Eco to Turbo, and achieve a hash rate of 100 to 135+ MH/s with a power consumption of 100 to 200W.
It has a built-in quad-core controller that allows you to control it over wifi or ethernet and has a custom-designed aluminum heatsink for efficient cooling.
The FutureBit Apollo LTC is designed to be a user-friendly and long-lasting miner used at home or in the office.
Factors to Consider When Buying an ASIC Miner
Not all ASIC miners are created equal; several factors must be considered before buying one.
Cryptocurrencies use different algorithms, each requiring a specific type of ASIC miner. For example, Bitcoin uses SHA-256, Litecoin employs Scrypt, and Ethereum (ETH) utilized Ethash prior to adopting Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
It would help if you ensured that the ASIC miner you intend to buy could mine the algorithm of your preferred cryptocurrency; otherwise, it will be useless.
Availability and Reliability
The second factor to consider is the availability and reliability of the manufacturer.
ASIC miners are in high demand and often sell out quickly or have long waiting times. You need to check the availability of the ASIC miner you want and also research the reputation and track record of the manufacturer.
Some manufacturers are known for producing high-quality and reliable ASIC miners, while others may have issues with delays, defects, or scams.
Warranty and Customer Service
ASIC miners are expensive and complex devices that can malfunction or break down over time. You need to check the manufacturer’s warranty policy and see how they handle repairs, replacements, or refunds.
You must also check the manufacturer’s customer service and how they respond to inquiries, complaints, or feedback.
Power Consumption and Electricity Costs
ASIC miners consume a lot of electricity, affecting profitability and environmental impact.
You need to check the power consumption of the ASIC miner you want and compare it with your electricity costs and rates.
You also need to consider the cooling and ventilation requirements of the ASIC miner, as they generate a lot of heat and noise.
Mining Difficulty and Profitability
Mining difficulty measures how hard it is to find a valid block on the blockchain, and it changes depending on the network hash rate and demand.
On the other hand, mining profitability is an estimate of how much income you can receive from mining after deducting your expenses.
You need to check your chosen cryptocurrency’s current and projected mining difficulty and profitability and compare it with your ASIC miner’s performance and costs.
As stated above, ASIC miners are specialized devices that can mine cryptocurrencies much faster and more efficiently than regular computers. However, they have several disadvantages, such as high cost, restricted availability, high power consumption, and limited versatility.
If you want an ASIC miner, consider your budget, electricity costs, mining goals, and compatibility with your chosen cryptocurrency.
Consider the mining difficulty, network fees, exchange rates, and other factors affecting your profitability and investment return.
Additionally, it’s advisable to research and compare different models and vendors before purchasing.
Some of the most popular and reputable ASIC miner manufacturers are Bitmain, MicroBT, Canaan, Innosilicon, and Ebang.
You can buy their products directly from their websites or authorized resellers or distributors. You can also find used or second-hand ASIC miners on online platforms such as eBay or Amazon, but you should be careful about scams or faulty devices.
While ASIC miners might be a rewarding investment for some, they are not for everyone.
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