Bitmain has just released the specifications and a rough shipping time frame of the long-awaited Antminer S9 using the new 16nm process for the ASIC.
The new S9 uses 189 chips to achieve this speed across 3 boards. Power consumption has been dropped to 0.1 J/GH for a power pull of roughly 1380 watts. This step up in chip speed and power is still presented in a S7-type design for easy deployment and long term use. Bitmain sees this step from 28nm to 16nm as a crucial change in the mining cycle and long term use of the miners — as opposed to the traditional cycle of releasing a new generation every few months.
The S9’s impressive specs are certainly a welcome site as margins on mining are already razor-thin for many who do not have access to super cheap power. The S7’s current specs are 0.25 J/GH for 1293W at the wall. The new S9, in keeping with Bitmain’s tradition of usually doubling power to gh/s rate, has been able to do that and then some at the already mentioned 0.1 J/GH.
The deployment of the new 16nm chip is where the industry is going to be pushing up against Moore’s law more so than in the past. Whereas before, you could expect a new ASIC generation every 6 months or so, we are going to start seeing that slow down. There will be improvements for sure, but instead of progress by leaps and bounds, releases will be more like optimizations as the architecture matures. This will mean instead of selling off your miners every few months or retiring them, you will be able to keep them profitable much longer.
BitFury is also expected to start shipping a new 16nm chip in the near future, with reportedly similar specs. BW pool is reported to be putting out a 14nm ASIC as well, in addition to Innosillicon launching a chip in the 16nm range.
With so many ASICs coming online at similar levels, with fewer power jumps, making a robust machine that can last longer and require low maintenance is going to be key. Bitmain is using the S7-type form factor which is air cooled and very robust in large and small data center environments. They have been refining this format in increments ever since the S1. The S7 is easy to deploy and cool; and from early images, the S9 follows in that vein.
Bitmain is aiming to beat BitFury to the market by shipping the Antminer S9 by mid-to-late June. This kind of announcement followed by shipping not too long afterwards is a hallmark of Bitmain’s commitment to its customers and the industry.
Sources have said that Batch 1 is well along and will ship on time. They also warned that it is a smaller batch than that last several of the S7 and people should expect they may sell out fast. One thing of note in our conversation was that Bitmain was considering buy limits per person or business to help make sure that as many different people as possible can get the miners in hand thus helping to spread the hash rate. As we get closer to launch we should have confirmation of that and will publish it.
One of the happy things to happen this past week was Bitcoin’s value has rocketed up nearly $100 to the $530 range at press time after a downward correction from $570 or so. This price rise will also help current gear like the S7 and the Avalon 6s remain profitable a bit longer during the rollout of all the 16nm ASICs.
I will be doing a review of the S9 in the coming days so keep an eye out for it along with more information on the launch and future plans. Bitmain has been non-stop working in the mining scene recently opening up their Ethereum mining pool. Expect more big news from them in the near future.
We will leave you in the meantime with some pre-launch images of the S9 sent by Bitmain.
What are your thoughts on the launch of the Antminer S9? Let us know below.
Images courtesy of Bitmain.
I am a disabled former Systems Admin, computer tech, business manager enjoying crytpocurrencies. I am the Editor in Chief of Bitcoin.com and Bitcoinist.net. Being able to help others has allowed me to an outlet to the world and to share my passion that is Bitcoin. I am deeply involved in the mining ecosystem and physical coins, It fascinates me how it has brought people from all over the world together into a tight knit supportive community with commerce and tech.
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