Thursday, March 23, 2023

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

These points might end result within the machines overheating and, in some instances, utterly breaking down.


The agency’s mining operations staff warned in its March 6 post 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 may very well be affected as effectively,” the three flaws the agency recognized stemmed from a scarcity 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 aspect of the board.

In response to Compass Mining, peripheral interface controllers, or PICs, are used to manage and monitor a variety of gadgets and programs throughout all kinds of electronics. In ASICs, they’re used to interface with hashboards individually, slightly than addressing them as one unit.

This, nonetheless, has been eliminated in the latest 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, you need to deal with the unit as one unit, as a substitute of three hashboards.”

Compass Mining defined that this lack of PIC implies that ought to one hashboard fail, all the unit “fails utterly.”

“As an alternative, a miner fails utterly. We’ve discovered this to be the case with our S19 XP 141 TH models, which have failed utterly when just one board is having points.”

The crimson dot within the heart 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result in a better “failure fee” than these constructed on printed circuit boards (PCBs) — which is what the outdated S19s had been constructed on.

This is able to result in “greater servicing wants,” the corporate stated.

In the meantime, the corporate has additionally raised considerations in regards to the mining unit’s transition to aluminum, referring to it as “internet unfavourable.”

“We view the design determination to swap to aluminum-plating on hashboards as a internet unfavourable — one that can enhance ASIC failure and underhashing whereas rising 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 all the 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 companion facility — which might have been impacted by humidity and warmth.

As for the third difficulty, 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 atmosphere can be to extend the mass air circulation sufficiently to dissipate the warmth saved inside the miner – a distinct design or stronger followers.”

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

Different doable options proposed by the agency embrace discovering third-party firmware that permits the frequency and voltage of the machine to keep up cheap temperature and humidity ranges in an effort to get extra longevity out of the mining machines.

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

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

“Unknown errors are sometimes solely revealed over time, so it’s greatest 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 akin to BTC, Dogecoin (DOGE) and Litecoin (LTC).

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