Bitcoin mining firm Compass Mining claims to have discovered “three points” within the ASIC design of the 2 new Antminer S19 miners, models which are primarily used to mine Bitcoin (BTC).
These points may consequence within the machines overheating and in some instances, fully breaking down.
The agency’s mining operations crew warned in its Mar. 6 submit that “Miners must be prepared,” notably those that bought the S19 90T and S19 XP Antminers manufactured from 2022 onwards.
Bitmain modified its ASIC design. Miners must be readyhttps://t.co/cs8z96lR1L pic.twitter.com/2NN4O3sEfP
— Will Foxley (@wsfoxley) March 7, 2023
Whereas the agency acknowledged that “different variations might be affected as properly,” the three flaws the agency recognized stemmed from an absence of a peripheral interface controller (PIC) on models, the implementation of aluminum plating as a substitute of laminate materials, and the bunching up parts onto only one facet of the board.
Based on Compass Mining, peripheral interface controllers, or PICs, are used to manage and monitor a variety of units and techniques throughout all kinds of electronics. In ASICs, they’re used to interface with hashboards individually, slightly than addressing them as one unit.
This, nevertheless, has been eliminated in the newest design, stated the agency.
“In ASICs, a PIC sits on the high of a hashboard and permits every hashboard to be spoken to individually. With out it, it’s important to handle the unit as one unit, as a substitute of three hashboards.”
Compass Mining defined that this lack of PIC signifies that ought to one hashboard fail, the whole unit “fails fully.”
“As a substitute, a miner fails fully. We’ve discovered this to be the case with our S19 XP 141 TH models, which have failed fully when just one board is having points.”
The purple dot within the middle represents the PIC, which was current on older fashions S19 Antminers. Supply: Compass Mining.
The mining firm additionally stated that by implementing aluminum plating on the hashboard, it might overheat and subsequently result in the next “failure fee” than these constructed on printed circuit boards (PCBs) — which is what the outdated S19s have been constructed on.
This may result in “larger servicing wants,” the corporate stated.
In the meantime, the corporate has additionally raised issues concerning the mining unit’s transition to aluminum, referring to it as “web unfavorable.”
“We view the design resolution to swap to aluminum-plating on hashboards as a web unfavorable–one that can enhance 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 dearth 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 a substitute of only one board.”
Compass Mining stated they first realized the drop in efficiency after they deployed the S19 XP at its Texas associate facility — which may have been impacted by humidity and warmth.
As for the third problem, 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 could be very warmth emissive, the steel will trigger “convective heating” contained in the chassis, the agency defined, earlier than proposing some options:
“An answer to this in an air-cooled atmosphere could be to extend the mass air movement sufficiently to dissipate the warmth saved throughout the miner – a special design or stronger followers.”
Different attainable options proposed by the agency embrace discovering third-party firmware that enables the frequency and voltage of the machine to take care of affordable temperature and humidity ranges with a view to get extra longevity out of the mining machines.
A few of the newest S19s do not need a PIC on every hashboard of the ASIC. Supply: Compass Mining.
The agency did nevertheless acknowledge that they could have simply gotten a “dangerous 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 is best to have others discover them out first,” it stated.
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 corresponding to BTC, Dogecoin (DOGE) and Litecoin (LTC).