In the days since Bitmain announced the AntMiner R4, we have wondered whether the machine really performs as advertised. After some hands-on time with the R4, our first impression is that it seems to achieve the balance of power, performance and noise output Bitmain was shooting for.
Disclosure: AntMiner R4 was provided to review.
Also Read: Bitmain’s R4 to Bring an In-Home Experience to Bitcoin Mining
AntMiner R4 First Impressions
The R4 and the new APW5 PSU look like they could be an impressive pair. From a distance of 3 feet in an average-sized living room with an ambient temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit, the R4 and APW5 put out a combined 51 dB of noise.
The AntMiner R4 also runs at the specified 8.6 th/s, while achieving that relatively quiet 51 dB. Here are the specifications that get you to 8.6 th/s at 900 watts with 51dB:
Hash Rate: 8.6TH/s
Power Consumption: 845W +9% at the wall
Noise level: 52dB (at an ambient temperature of 35°C)
Chip quantity per unit: 126 x BM1387
Rated Voltage: 11.60 ~13.00V
Product size: 515mm (L) x 100mm (W) x 222mm (H)
Operating Temperature: 0°C to 40°C
Network Connection: Ethernet
The R4 has solid entry-level specs for mining at the current network difficulty. What really sets the R4 apart at first glance, thought, is its design. Using a cooling system based on air conditioning units, the miner remained very quiet during initial testing.
The front of the machine has connections for the PSU and Ethernet. The PCBs are open on the left side, with the roller cooling system to the right. The updated controller is directly on top.
Setup is simple. DHCP is enabled, so you just find the IP, type it in and enter “root” for both the username and password. Once you’re in, the menus enable easy setup and operation.
APW5 PSU Adds Flexible Deployment Options
The APW5 PSU works on both 220 and 110 volts, so it is a flexible unit that allows you to run one R4 on 110v, or two R4s on 220v. The APW5 can also can support up to 14 PCIe cables that, when plugged into a 220v outlet, allows the PSU to power two R4s. The APW5 on 110v runs up to 1300 watts, and on 220v it will run up to 2600 watts.
With a single large fan on top and a cleaner interior design, airflow is optimized. The fan seems to really spin up only when it gets quite warm. We had to put the PSU in the Mining Lab, where the ambient temperature is currently over 86 degrees Fahrenheit, to get the fan to spin up all the way. Even in the hotter environment, while connected to a 220v PDU, the rig was still under 52 dB. This fan performance is due to the APW5’s temperature control, which allows the fan to spin up just enough to keep the PSU’s temperature under 80 degrees Celsius, which it does well.
We first hooked up the AntMiner R4 and APW5 in the office. Normally, this would mean a swift butt kicking by the office manager (the wife) but in this case she did not know the machine was running. If these low noise levels persist throughout the lifetime of the R4-APW5 combination, this rig could possibly double as a space heater in winter months, since you could run it inside without wearing ear plugs.
That being said, the heat output on this machine is actually relatively low, which may cut down on how well it heats a cool room. In our upcoming tear-down of the R4, we will take images using a thermal cam to show how it disperses the heat.
Our first impressions of the AntMiner R4 and the APW5 PSU are very positive. As advertised, at least initially, they are both quiet and built in a way that allows them to be used in most settings. One of the things we would add to the PSU is a cover for the terminal screw area. The bare area around them is a concern in a home setting — if a person or pet accidentally touches the exposed piece, they could get zapped.
Overall, the AntMiner R4 and the APW5 look like good buys. As mentioned above, we will be back in a few days with a tear down of the APW5 and R4, so stay tuned.
What are your thoughts on the new AntMiner R4 and the APW5 PSU?
Images via Scott Fargo.