ASIC (Application-specific integrated circuit) is quickly becoming a worthwhile symbol in Bitcoin mining environment , and is designed and developed to do exactly what it sounds like. An ASIC Bitcoin device is all about Bitcoin’s mining on the Bitcoin decentralized network. These device are built with one goal in mind …mining Bitcoins.
Essentially, this device is a chip designed from the ground up with a sole purpose of mining cryptocurrency that are based on the SHA-256 algorithm. This has resulted in the creation of a system that’s not only incredibly powerful, but also exceedingly more efficient compared to previous mining hardware.
The History of ASIC Bitcoin device
Mining Bitcoins with CPU was the only method used to mine Bitcoins in the beginning of the Bitcoin era. This eventually led to mining on GPU (graphics cards) then it progressed to the use of FPGA (field programmable gate arrays), a primary mining hardware platform.
It is vital to mention that the transition from GPU to FPGA was initiated by FPGA’s power efficiency and variation in the profitability of Bitcoin mining. While a modern GPU can be used to mine, its AMD line of architecture has turned out to be relatively inefficient, but it’s cost effective in some cases (mostly at lower difficult levels).
The “ASIC” era
Bitcoin mining has now moved to a new era, the “ASIC” era. Unlike FPGA, an ASIC Bitcoin mining device cannot be repurposed to perform other tasks as the name suggests. An ASIC device is specifically designed to mine Bitcoins and can only mine Bitcoins meaning it will do nothing else.
In fact, currently it has emerged that nothing will replace this form of mining at the moment or in the near future. This means that the focus is on making a new and efficient refinements to make ASIC Bitcoin device more effective because nothing offers the hashing power that ASIC device bring to the table. In most cases you can expect up to 100 times that is GPU with at least 7 times reduction in energy consumption.
What makes ASIC unique?
The difference between ASIC and other mining hardware like FPGA majorly depends the following factors:
- Performance (Hash per second)
- Power consumption
- Design flexibility
ASIC device out performs all current GPU and FPGA by a wide margin. However, there have been some recent improvements in the design of FPGA domain that are aim at reducing that gap.
ASIC Bitcoin device Pros
This Bitcoin mining hardware is all about lower unit costs than FPGA. In fact, it is cheaper given that for exceptionally high volume designs, cost comes out to be almost negligible. ASICs are faster than FPGA, and therefore, it offers a flexible design that’s more suitable for speed optimizations.
Also, the ASIC Bitcoin device can be optimized to require low power since it hosts a bunch of low power features, such as clock gating, power gating and pipelining. Actually, this is where other Bitcoin devices like FPGA fail terribly.
Most importantly ASIC mining is profitable if you have the higher hashing power (100Gh/s to 400Gh/s). Use a Bitcoing Profit Calculator to estimate you profitability levels.
ASIC Bitcoin device Cons
One of the biggest shortcomings with this Bitcoin mining hardware can be attributed to the fact that it can take time to design ASICs devices. This means that development time can take ages, but in most cases (as is with KNCminer) it can be worth the wait. Additionally, design tools for ASIC Bitcoin device are more expensive than those of other Bitcoin mining hardware.
Finally expect to pay more for a ASIC device. But if you are a serious miner, doing the math on ROI makes ASIC your only choice.