Long gone are the days when Bitcoin mining was profitable with ordinary GPUs (graphics processing units), let alone CPUs (central processing units). These days, Bitcoin mining is all about ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits), which are integrated circuits customized for a particular use—like mining Bitcoin. The mining performance of ASIC miners is significantly better than the mining performance of even the most powerful GPUs and CPUs on the market.
Best ASIC Hardware for Mining Bitcoin
When selecting an ASIC for Bitcoin mining, it’s important to know what its hash rate is, how much power it consumes, and how efficient it is.
- Hash rate – Bitcoin relies on the so-called proof-of-work system to make modifications of the blockchain extremely hard. This system relies on miners, who solve cryptographic hashes with specialized mining hardware. The hash rate tells you the number of hashes a piece of mining hardware is able to compute every second.
- Power consumption – Electricity isn’t free, and its price often determines whether Bitcoin mining is profitable or not. We strongly recommend you find out what your cost per kWh is and use a Bitcoin mining calculator to calculate how much profit you can expect to make per month. If your local cost of electricity is too high, you might be better off not investing money in Bitcoin mining hardware at all.
- Power efficiency – Even if your local cost of electricity is low, Bitcoin mining may still not be profitable for you unless your mining hardware is reasonably efficient. Many ASICs come with an integrated power supply, and it should have a power efficiency of 90 percent or higher.
Listed below are 5 best ASIC miners for Bitcoin available in 2018. For each miner, we’ve listed its hash rate, power consumption, and power efficiency. All you have to do is pick the one you like the most, crunch some numbers using a Bitcoin mining calculator, and start digging for digital gold.
Keep in mind that the price of Bitcoin is always fluctuating, and the same 1 BTC that you mind today at, let’s say, $10,000 could be worth, much more a just a few years down the line. Some analysts even say that Bitcoin is headed much higher the near future.
Bitmain is a privately-owned company headquartered in China. The company specializes in designing and manufacturing ASIC mining hardware, and it also operates Antpool, which is historically one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools. The Antminer S9 is Bitmain’s flagship Bitcoin mining product, retailing at around $3,500 at the moment and often being sold out.
The hash rate of the S9 is 13.5 TH/s, and it’s designed for use with the APW3++ power supply. The APW3++ can deliver up to 1,600 watts, and its power efficiency is well over 90 percent. It comes with 10 PCIe connectors and works when connected to both 110 V and 220-240 V mains power supply.
Because the Antminer S9 is a very popular ASIC miner, it’s extremely well supported by all Bitcoin mining software. Unfortunately, with the high popularity also come frequent price hikes, which often even place the miner out of reach of those who don’t have a few grand to drop on a piece of Bitcoin mining hardware. But if you can accept the higher cost of this flagship Bitcoin mining ASIC, the Antminer S9 is guaranteed to serve you well and help you quickly accumulate Bitcoins.
The Antminer S7 is basically an older version of the Antminer S9. As such, it doesn’t offer the same amazing hash rate as the Antminer S9, delivering only 4.73 TH/s compared to 13.5 TH/s, but its price is much more affordable, costing around $1,000.
Bitmain recommends to pair the Antminer S7 with the APW3++ power supply, allowing you to keep the same power supply should you ever decide to upgrade to the Antminer S9. We recommend you go with the Antminer S7 only if you don’t pay much for electricity. At 0.25 Joules of power per Gigahash, the Antminer S7 is less than half as power efficient as the Antminer S9, which requires less than 0.1 Joules of power per Gigahash.
The AvalonMiner 741 from Canaan is a Bitcoin ASIC miner that offers an excellent value because it doesn’t come with a built-in controller. This means you need a separate controller such as the compact controller from Canaan or the Raspberry Pi single-board computer.
To use the AvalonMiner 741, you also need a sufficiently powerful power supply. We recommend this bundle, which contains the AvalonMiner 741 and a 1,600-watt power supply with an excellent efficiency of 0.16 Joules of power per Gigahash.
When operating at its maximum mining speed, the AvalonMiner 741 can reach up to 7.3 TH/s, placing it right between the Antiminer S9 and the Antminer S7. The same can also be said about its price of $1,650.
While not as efficient or powerful as the above-described miners, offering up to 3.5 TH/s at 0.29 watts per Gigahash, the Block C Avalon6 is compact, reasonably quiet, and still capable of bringing in a very reasonable stream of bitcoins. Best of all, the Block C Avalon6 costs less than $1,000 when purchased used, making it a great deal for everyone who would like to give Bitcoin mining a try without spending thousands of dollars on specialized mining equipment.
The 2-PAK from Gekkoscience is the smallest Bitcoin miner on this list by a very large margin. Despite its small size, its mining performance of over 15 GH/s is actually quite decent for what this miner is, and so is its power efficiency of 0.32–0.35 watts per Gigahash.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect to actually make a significant amount of money using this miner. Think of it as a neat gadget that you can gift someone or use for testing Bitcoin mining software.