The approach of halving forces miners to look for new tools to maintain their competitiveness. One of the most effective is auto – tuning of ASIC miners.
As the cryptocurrency industry develops, it becomes more difficult for bitcoin miners to remain profitable. If three years ago it was enough to find a “cheap outlet” and buy a batch of the ubiquitous Antminer S9, now the rules of the game have become more complicated.
In 2018, the company Braiins (the operator of the Slush Pool) released firmware with support for AsicBoost, giving miners an increase in profitability of ASIC by about 13%. Those who implemented the firmware first were able to benefit the most. The graph below shows the growth in the use of AsicBoost technology since 2018. The biggest jump in implementation occurred during the first few months after the firmware was released.
According to Braiins, today approximately 70% of BTC is mined using AsicBoost. This means that AsicBoost has ceased to be a “trump card” and only helps to keep up with the competition. But progress does not stand still, and there are new opportunities to increase the profitability of mining.
Recently Braiins released
new firmware for auto-tuning ASIC miners. While it is used by few miners, it means that you can get the maximum benefit from its implementation.
How autotune works
ASIC miners are powered by a variety of small silicon chips that perform hashing. However, each chip may differ slightly in its electrical properties. This means that some chips can perform more hashing operations than others.
Hardware manufacturers set a frequency for all chips that ensures stable operation of the least productive chips. This allows them to insure against customer claims of non-compliance with specifications, but artificially sets a hashrate limit for the entire model or series of ASIC miners.
Auto-tuning is a process in which special algorithms evaluate the optimal frequencies for each chip, rather than treating the entire device as a single unit. This means that a high-quality chip that can calculate more hashes per second will get a higher frequency, and a lower – quality chip will get a lower frequency.
Auto-tuning of each chip optimizes the performance of the entire ASIC miner. The firmware allows you to maximize the capabilities of each chip, device, and farm as a whole. The end result is a higher hashrate per watt of electricity consumed and a corresponding increase in mining profitability.
If auto-tuning increases profitability, why is this firmware not used by all bitcoin miners? In reality, many miners still do not know what autotuning is and how much it will improve the performance of their devices. It is generally assumed that manufacturers themselves optimize their products to be more competitive, so the idea of significantly improving performance through firmware updates does not occur to miners.
Another dilemma is that many hardware manufacturers are against using their devices with alternative firmware. Therefore, as a measure to counteract third-party SOFTWARE, manufacturers cancel the warranty on ASIC miners without factory firmware. This also stops miners from performing updates.
Recently, Braiins released the Braiins OS + firmware with the auto-tuning function of ASIC miners for BTC. The current firmware version is suitable for Antminer S9, S9i, and S9j, and support for S17 and T17 is currently being developed.
The firmware allows you to increase the performance of the ASIC by 20-30%, which is beneficial for miners who have access to cheap electricity. In addition, Braiins offers a 50% discount on the pool Commission to all miners who send a hashrate to the Slush Pool from devices running Braiins OS+.
As halving approaches, the Antminer S9 is gradually being pushed out of the market. With standard settings, the S9 is half as effective as the next-generation miners, such as the S17 and Whatsminer M20S. On the other hand, this leads to cheaper s9s – they are already sold for less than $100 per piece. The Braiins OS + firmware has a Low Power mode that allows you to reduce the power consumption of the Antminer S9 from 98 j/TX / s up to 65 j/TX/s, which significantly increases their competitiveness with increasing complexity.
Thus, the new firmware gives miners the option to increase the hashrate of their ” ASICs» or significantly reduce consumption while remaining competitive in terms of energy efficiency.