‘Unhealthy batch’ or flawed design? Compass Mining flags issues with new ASIC miners

3 minutes, 52 seconds Read

Bitcoin mining firm Compass Mining claims to have discovered “three points” within the ASIC design of the 2 new Antminer S19 miners, items which might be primarily used to mine Bitcoin (BTC).

These points may outcome within the machines overheating and, in some circumstances, fully breaking down.

The agency’s mining operations workforce warned in its March 6 publish that “Miners have to be prepared,” notably those that bought the S19 90T and S19 XP Antminers manufactured from 2022 onwards.

Whereas the agency acknowledged that “different variations might be affected as properly,” the three flaws the agency recognized stemmed from a scarcity of a peripheral interface controller (PIC) on items, the implementation of aluminum plating as an alternative of laminate materials, and the bunching up elements onto only one facet of the board.

In accordance with Compass Mining, peripheral interface controllers, or PICs, are used to regulate and monitor a variety of units and methods throughout all types of electronics. In ASICs, they’re used to interface with hashboards individually, reasonably than addressing them as one unit.

This, nevertheless, has been eliminated in the newest design, mentioned the agency.

“In ASICs, a PIC sits on the prime of a hashboard and permits every hashboard to be spoken to individually. With out it, you need to handle the unit as one unit, as an alternative of three hashboards.”

Compass Mining defined that this lack of PIC implies that ought to one hashboard fail, the whole 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 pink dot within the middle represents the PIC, which was current on older fashions S19 Antminers. Supply: Compass Mining

The mining firm additionally mentioned that by implementing aluminum plating on the hashboard, it could overheat and due to this fact result in the next “failure price” than these constructed on printed circuit boards (PCBs) — which is what the previous S19s have been constructed on.

This may result in “larger servicing wants,” the corporate mentioned.

In the meantime, the corporate has additionally raised issues concerning the mining unit’s transition to aluminum, referring to it as “web destructive.”

“We view the design resolution to swap to aluminum-plating on hashboards as a web destructive — one that can 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 the whole unit will go down as an alternative of only one board.”

Compass Mining mentioned they first realized the drop in efficiency once they deployed the S19 XP at its Texas companion facility — which may 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 may be very warmth emissive, the metallic 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 could be to extend the mass air circulate sufficiently to dissipate the warmth saved throughout the miner – a distinct design or stronger followers.”

Associated: Bitcoin ASIC miner costs hovering at lows not seen in years

Different attainable options proposed by the agency embody discovering third-party firmware that permits the frequency and voltage of the machine to keep up cheap temperature and humidity ranges as a way to get extra longevity out of the mining machines.

A few of the newest S19s would not have a PIC on every hashboard of the ASIC. Supply: Compass Mining

The agency did nevertheless acknowledge that they might have simply gotten a “unhealthy batch” from Bitmain, noting it’s “frequent data” in Bitcoin mining to not purchase the primary batch of Bitcoin ASICs.

“Unknown errors are sometimes solely revealed over time, so it’s finest to have others discover them out first,” it mentioned.

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 reminiscent of BTC, Dogecoin (DOGE) and Litecoin (LTC).