The Bitcoin mining ecosystem is still evolving at a rapid pace, even though miners have been using the same type of ASIC hardware for a few years now. Every Bitcoin ASIC miner holds dozens, if not hundreds, of small microchips designed to be energy-efficient and provide a ton of computational power. Bitmain, one of the world’s largest Bitcoin hardware manufacturers, announced their new BM1385 chip.
BM1385 Chip – Still 28nm, Far More Power Efficient
Bitcoin ASIC chips are usually 28nm in size, even though 14nm chips are currently in the works by various manufacturers. That being said, 28nm chips still have room for improvement, which became quite clear when Bitmain announced their new BM1385 chip. With a power efficiency of 0.216 watts per gigahash-second, these are the most power-efficient chips the mining community has ever seen.
The new 28nm BM1385 chips are manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and every individual chip can achieve mining speeds of up to 32.5 GH/s. On top of that every BM1385 chip can be powered by just 0.66V, which is an integral part of making these 28nm ASIC chips far more power efficient compared to its predecessors.
“The problem at the heart of designing chips for bitcoin mining, is the careful balance of performance with electrical consumption. With lower power consumption, miners have lower electricity bills, or they can increase their hashrate without increasing their power expense.” – Bitmain CEO Micree told DigitalMoneyTimes.
Bitmain has taken a slightly different route when developing the BM1385 chip, as this is the company’s first custom-designed ASIC chip. Engineers are responsible for laying out every transistor in the chip, a painstaking and detailed process. Unlike semi-custom designs, the BM1385 manufacturing process is far more demand and time-consuming.
However, there are quite some advantages to creating a custom designed chip, which result in lower power consumption and an increased amount of computational power. All of these benefits come at the cost of requiring additional investments – both financially and resource-wise – as well as the possibility for the chip to ultimately fail to achieve its goals.
All of the efforts by Bitmain are paying dividends by the look of things, as the gain in computational power, compared to the company’s previous chip is as high as 45%. Additionally, the previous generation of Bitmain chips has a 50% higher power consumption, making the BM1385 a success that checks all boxes.
Antminer S7 Will Feature The BM1385 Chipset
At the time of writing, Bitmain confirmed they will use the BM1385 in their next generation of Bitcoin ASIC miner, which will be the Antminer S7. This new line of Antminers is still in development as we speak and no official release date has been announced yet. Bitmain only recently made the Antminer S6 available to the public, so it may take a while for the new generation of Bitcoin mining hardware to hit the market.
“We anticipate that before we release our full-custom 16-nanometer chip, the BM1385 will continue to be the industry standard for the Bitcoin mining industry. We will continue to strive for more efficiency and lower costs for our customers.” – Bitmain Co-Founder Wu Jihan told DigitalMoneyTimes.
The development of the BM1385 chipset could not come at a more opportune time, as the Bitcoin mining ecosystem is feeling the effect of the decreased Bitcoin price in full force. That price has a direct influence on Bitcoin mining profitability, as most miners and cloud mining companies need to see a Bitcoin price of US$320 to break even.
Source: Press Release via Email
Images courtesy of Bitmain, Shutterstock