Bitcoin mining has changed dramatically since the launch of the Bitcoin network in 2009. During the first few years of Bitcoin network operation, Bitcoin mining could be performed on virtually any home computer with a relatively powerful CPU.
As the Bitcoin network grew, however, the computational processes required to secure the Bitcoin network became increasingly complex, forcing miners to shift to more powerful GPUs in order to keep up with demand.
Eventually, the need for hardware with high hash power — the speed at which mining hardware operates — resulted in the creation of dedicated ASIC hardware. The highly specialized nature of ASIC hardware allows Bitcoin miners to mine faster, using less electricity.
ASIC hardware is now essential to Bitcoin miners. There are three primary factors to consider when choosing the best Bitcoin mining hardware:
The price of Bitcoin mining hardware varies based on operational efficiency, durability, and computational power. As a rule, cheaper hardware will deliver lower efficiency and lower profitability. The cost of mining hardware should be incorporated into any profitability analysis, taking the expected lifespan of the hardware into account.
Bitcoin mining hardware is essentially designed to convert electricity into BTC. If you’re not sure how to choose the best Bitcoin mining hardware, focusing on energy efficiency is the best place to start.
Hash rate is the rate at which Bitcoin mining hardware is able to make intensive mathematical operations. In simple terms, the higher the hash rate of the hardware, the more likely it is that the miner or mining pool for which the hardware is operating will solve the next block in the Bitcoin blockchain. As a rule, higher hash rate hardware is more expensive.
Overall, the best Bitcoin ASIC is the most cost-efficient, most profitable ASIC. The development of ASIC devices has accelerated rapidly over the last decade, with new hardware released on an annual basis that often renders older hardware obsolete.
Here are the best ASICs for Bitcoin mining in 2020:
Bitmain AntMiner S5
The Bitmain Antminer S5 isn’t the latest offering from the Beijing-based ASIC manufacturer, but still provides excellent value for money and efficiency. Unlike later models such as the S7 and S9, the AntMiner S5 operates a lower power supply of 115 volts, drawing an average of 560 Watts.
The low power requirements of the S5 makes it an ideal entry-level Bitcoin mining ASIC that is capable of providing impressive operational efficiency. The S5 generates a hash rate of roughly 1 GH/s for every 0.51 Watts, which equates to 0.51 J/GH.
The S5 is suitable for both hobby miners and entry-level home mining operations, with the added benefit of a low weight profile at just under 2.5KG.
Bitmain AntMiner S7
The Bitmain AntMiner S7 is another older model from Bitmain’s highly popular line of ASIC units but remains one of the most popular devices online today. Offering lower power consumption than the S5, the S7 is widespread throughout China-based Bitcoin mining farms and boasts impressive adaptability when used in combination with a robust power supply such as the 1600 watt APW3.
While the S7 does deliver reasonable profit depending on power prices, the efficiency of the unit depends on both the power supply used and ambient temperature — the S7 is particularly sensitive to environments warmer than 27 degrees Celsius.
Overall, the S7 is most suitable for miners based in cooler climates, as cooling costs can significantly cut into profitability in warmer regions.
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Bitmain AntMiner S9
The Bitmain AntMiner, widely touted as the most efficient and most powerful Bitcoin miner on the market, offers miners a highly impressive hash rate of 14 TH/s at a surprisingly low power draw.
The high hash power of the S9 is delivered by a trio of boards, which feature 189 ships between them. Combined with an Antminer 1600 Watt supply, the S9 yields twice the efficiency of the S7 at 0.1 Joules per Gigahash with a draw of just 300 Watts more than the previous model.
A key downside of the S9 is the loud operational volume — the S9 is unsuitable for home applications, as the sturdy 4.7KG frame has the propensity to magnify operational noise.
Released in August 2017, the AntMiner T9 remains one of the most powerful ASIC units available on the market today — as well as one of the most expensive. The T9 is frequently compared to the S9 in terms of performance and efficiency but contains some notable improvements in chip quality that enhance hardware stability.
Later batch AntMiner T9’s consume around 1450 watts, delivering approximately 11.5 TH/s and an efficiency rate of 0.126 J/GH. Profitability analysis based on performance alone places the T9 below the S9 in terms of profitability, but stability enhancements make the T9 a more reliable choice for smaller-scale mining operations.
The AvalonMiner 741, released in April 2017, provides hobby and smaller-scale Bitcoin miners with a reasonably powerful miner at an affordable price. Manufactured by Canaan, the 741 is a significant upgrade over the prior Avalon 721 model, integrating a new cooling design and a stronger chipset.
The Avalon 741 comes with 88 chips and a new cooling mechanism that enhances the efficiency of airflow within the device, alongside dual heatsinks mounted around the PCB. Canaan’s 2017 741 miner delivers a hash rate of 7.3 TH/s, with an energy efficiency rate of 0.16 J/GH — far more efficient than other ASIC units in the same price range.
Bitmain AntMiner L3+
Bitmain’s L3+ is one of the most popular ASIC units in the world for Scrypt miners and is focused solely on mining this particular algorithm. The L3+ is based on the BM1485 chip, which provides significant improvements over the chipset used in the previous L3 model — doubling the hash rate and power draw of the L3.
The L3 provides a hash rate of 504 MH/s, with a power consumption of 800W. Running a higher hash rate with the L3+ results in serious power draw, but the lower price point of the device compared to more expensive models such as the Innosilicon LTCMaster makes the L3+ the best miner for Scrypt.
Bitmain AntMiner D3
The Bitmain Antminer D3 is the precursor to Bitmain’s 2018 D5 ASIC, but is a highly popular device for miners focused on mining Dash — a cryptocurrency that was originally designed to be ASIC-resistant. The D3 is currently the most efficient miner for mining Dash, and offers major competitive advantages over other devices.
The D3 delivers a hash rate of 19.3 GH/s, with a power consumption rate of just 1350W. The realized efficiency rate of the D3 is 0.07 J/MH. When compared to the iBeLink DM384M, which has similar power requirements and produces only 384 MH/s, the D3 remains the more cost-effective option.
Manufactured by Halong Mining, the Dragonmint T1 is an impressively powerful ASIC that delivers 16TH/s with a remarkably low power draw. The T1 consumers 0.015J/GH which, compared to the Bitmain Antminer S9’s power draw of 0.098J/GH, provides a significant advantage over Bitmain-focused mining builds.
The T1 integrates ASICBoos technology, which provides an additional efficiency boost of 20 percent when operating with the Bitcoin algorithm. Notably, the T1 uses the DM8475 chipset, which yields more robust profitability over Bitmain’s S9 offering.
The WhatsMiner M3X is manufactured by Pangolin Miner, and provides use case-specific functionality for individual miners or mining farms that aren’t restricted by high power consumption and extremely loud operating volume.
While the M3X is not an ideal option for at-home hobby miners, the device itself delivers 12 to 13 TH/s with power consumption that ranges between 1900W to 2100W. Driven by 28nm ASIC chip technology, the M3X is powered through the WhatPower P5 which, notably, won’t run on 110-120V mains voltage and demands 180-240V mains voltage in order to operate.
The Avalon6 is currently the best Bitcoin miner for home mining or hobby Bitcoin mining, delivering impressive functionality with a low noise profile and reasonable power draw at an affordable price point.
While the Avalon6 provides a significantly lower hash rate than Bitmains Antminer S7 or S9 at 3.5 TH/s, the extremely low sound emission of the device along with chip array that consists of 80 18nm A3218 chips, the Avalon6 produces only 55dB of noise within 1.2 meters proximity.
The 500MHz standard frequency of the Avalon6 can be tuned via frequency control, which makes it ideal for miners seeking Bitcoin mining hardware that operates efficiently with complex temperature control — or overclocking opportunities.