‘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, items which can be primarily used to mine Bitcoin (BTC).
These points might outcome within the machines overheating and, in some circumstances, fully breaking down.
The agency’s mining operations workforce warned in its March 6 post that “Miners should be prepared,” notably those that bought the S19 90T and S19 XP Antminers manufactured from 2022 onwards.
Bitmain modified its ASIC design. Miners should be preparedhttps://t.co/cs8z96lR1L pic.twitter.com/2NN4O3sEfP
— Will Foxley (@wsfoxley) March 7, 2023
Whereas the agency acknowledged that “different variations could possibly be affected as nicely,” the three flaws the agency recognized stemmed from an absence of a peripheral interface controller (PIC) on items, the implementation of aluminum plating as a substitute of laminate materials, and the bunching up elements onto only one aspect of the board.
In response to Compass Mining, peripheral interface controllers, or PICs, are used to regulate and monitor a spread of units and techniques throughout all kinds of electronics. In ASICs, they’re used to interface with hashboards individually, fairly than addressing them as one unit.
This, nonetheless, has been eliminated in the latest design, stated the agency.
“In ASICs, a PIC sits on the high of a hashboard and permits every hashboard to be spoken to individually. With out it, it’s important to handle 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, your entire unit “fails fully.”
“As an alternative, a miner fails fully. We’ve discovered this to be the case with our S19 XP 141 TH items, which have failed fully when just one board is having points.”
The mining firm additionally stated that by implementing aluminum plating on the hashboard, it might overheat and subsequently result in a better “failure charge” than these constructed on printed circuit boards (PCBs) — which is what the previous S19s have been constructed on.
This could result in “increased servicing wants,” the corporate stated.
In the meantime, the corporate has additionally raised considerations in regards to the mining unit’s transition to aluminum, referring to it as “web damaging.”
“We view the design determination to swap to aluminum-plating on hashboards as a web damaging — one that may 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 harder 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 your entire unit will go down as a substitute of only one board.”
Compass Mining stated they first realized the drop in efficiency after they deployed the S19 XP at its Texas accomplice facility — which might have been impacted by humidity and warmth.
As for the third situation, 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 steel 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 can be to extend the mass air circulate sufficiently to dissipate the warmth saved inside the miner – a special design or stronger followers.”
Associated: Bitcoin ASIC miner costs hovering at lows not seen in years
Different attainable options proposed by the agency embrace discovering third-party firmware that enables the frequency and voltage of the machine to take care of cheap temperature and humidity ranges so as to get extra longevity out of the mining machines.
The agency did nonetheless acknowledge that they could have simply gotten a “dangerous batch” from Bitmain, noting it’s “frequent information” in Bitcoin mining to not purchase the primary batch of Bitcoin ASICs.
“Unknown errors are sometimes solely revealed over time, so it’s greatest to have others discover them out first,” it stated.
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 similar to BTC, Dogecoin (DOGE) and Litecoin (LTC).