‘Bad batch’ or flawed design? Compass Mining flags problems with new ASIC miners
Bitcoin mining firm Compass Mining claims to have discovered “three points” within the ASIC design of the 2 new Antminer S19 miners, models which might be primarily used to mine Bitcoin (BTC).
These points may end result within the machines overheating and in some instances, fully breaking down.
The agency’s mining operations workforce warned in its Mar. 6 submit that “Miners must be prepared,” notably those that bought the S19 90T and S19 XP Antminers manufactured from 2022 onwards.
Bitmain modified its ASIC design. Miners must be readyhttps://t.co/cs8z96lR1L pic.twitter.com/2NN4O3sEfP
— Will Foxley (@wsfoxley) March 7, 2023
Whereas the agency acknowledged that “different variations might be affected as effectively,” the three flaws the agency recognized stemmed from an absence of a peripheral interface controller (PIC) on models, the implementation of aluminum plating as a substitute of laminate materials, and the bunching up parts onto only one aspect of the board.
In line with Compass Mining, peripheral interface controllers, or PICs, are used to manage and monitor a variety of units and techniques throughout all kinds of electronics. In ASICs, they’re used to interface with hashboards individually, moderately than addressing them as one unit.
This, nonetheless, has been eliminated in the newest design, mentioned the agency.
“In ASICs, a PIC sits on the prime of a hashboard and permits every hashboard to be spoken to individually. With out it, you must tackle the unit as one unit, as a substitute of three hashboards.”
Compass Mining defined that this lack of PIC signifies that ought to one hashboard fail, the complete unit “fails fully.”
“As an alternative, a miner fails fully. We’ve discovered this to be the case with our S19 XP 141 TH models, which have failed fully when just one board is having points.”
The pink dot within the heart represents the PIC, which was current on older fashions S19 Antminers. Supply: Compass Mining.
The mining firm additionally mentioned that by implementing aluminum plating on the hashboard, it might overheat and subsequently result in the next “failure price” than these constructed on printed circuit boards (PCBs) — which is what the previous S19s had been constructed on.
This could result in “increased servicing wants,” the corporate mentioned.
In the meantime, the corporate has additionally raised considerations in regards to the mining unit’s transition to aluminum, referring to it as “web adverse.”
“We view the design resolution to swap to aluminum-plating on hashboards as a web adverse–one that can improve ASIC failure and underhashing whereas growing service and upkeep prices,” it wrote.
The agency additionally defined that the presence of the aluminum would make it tougher to interchange malfunctioning chips:
“The shortage of a PIC is compounded by the abrupt change to aluminum-plates on all hashboards. If a board overheats due to the aluminum’s warmth dispersion properties, then the complete unit will go down as a substitute of only one board.”
Compass Mining mentioned they first realized the drop in efficiency once they deployed the S19 XP at its Texas accomplice facility — which may have been impacted by humidity and warmth.
As for the third subject, the agency famous that by implementing the aluminium plating with out altering the chassis — the bottom body of the ASIC — would additionally contribute to the upper failure charges.
As a result of aluminium could be very warmth emissive, the metallic will trigger “convective heating” contained in the chassis, the agency defined, earlier than proposing some options:
“An answer to this in an air-cooled setting could be to extend the mass air stream sufficiently to dissipate the warmth saved inside the miner – a distinct design or stronger followers.”
Different potential options proposed by the agency embody discovering third-party firmware that enables the frequency and voltage of the machine to take care of affordable temperature and humidity ranges as a way to get extra longevity out of the mining machines.
A few of the newest S19s don’t have a PIC on every hashboard of the ASIC. Supply: Compass Mining.
The agency did nonetheless acknowledge that they could have simply gotten a “dangerous batch” from Bitmain, noting it’s “frequent data” in Bitcoin mining to not purchase the primary batch of Bitcoin ASICs.
“Unknown errors are sometimes solely revealed over time, so it is best to have others discover them out first,” it mentioned.
Cointelegraph reached out to Bitmain for remark however didn’t obtain a response by the point of publication.
Bitmain Antminers have been used to mine proof-of-work cryptocurrencies akin to BTC, Dogecoin (DOGE) and Litecoin (LTC).