Best Antminer S9 Competitor in 2018?
In late 2017 the Antminer S9 has dominated the Bitcoin ASIC market, as for most of 2017 it offered the best value for money. Going into 2018, several competitors have been showing up - and some of them claim to be more powerful than the S9, to offer lower operating costs for the same hashpower.
This guide will go through these competitors, analysing the state of their development and potential costs.
Lack of information on new ASIC miners?
There's a lot of money flowing into Bitcoin in early 2018, many billions of dollars. This has led to a higher demand for sending Bitcoin between exchanges and wallets. At the time of writing this there are 167,000 unconfirmed transactions in the Bitcoin network (outstanding Bitcoin payments).
Although this has led many people to move their money to other coins like Litecoin and Ripple, many millions of people are still sending money using Bitcoin. This has led to more awareness of Bitcoin mining and its potential profitability - then leading to a higher demand for Bitcoin mining hardware (ASICs in particular).
Even back in 2017 there was demand for Bitcoin miners, but not in 2018 this demand is signficantly higher. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Bitcoin miners are being bought and sold every day. Many people want a piece of this, to create a miner that can compete with the Antminer S9. The big problem here is that if anyone were to announce a new miner better than the S9, anyone working on their own miner would now be aware of their competition - and start working to either offer more hashpower for the same operating cost, or a lower purchase price.
There are two main effects of this:
- To get the attention of potential buyers, miner manufacturers need to out-do their competition in some way - even if they don't have a working miner yet. This causes many companies to claim that they're a few months away from 'the next best' Bitcoin ASIC miner, when they might not even have a working prototype yet. This is worsened by devices often being offered in pre-orders, where you can get a discount on a miner by paying now - and getting the miner in say 6 months. Many of these scenarios lead to either customers not getting their miners, or by the time they do get them - another competitor offering something better; leading to a lot of skepticism in this space.
- Linked to the above, sometimes early prototype miners are sent to reviewers to help spread word about them and prove that they're legitimate. In principle this is great, as it shows that these miners are real. But as competition intensifies miner manufactures are incentivised not to do this - as technical specs may leak to their competition, leading to embargoes and very few reviews before these miners are shipped to the general public.
In short, because of the ecosystem around Bitcoin miners, it can be very difficult to get legitimate information on new ASIC miners.
This is a miner announced by Halong Mining back on the 22nd November 2017. The manufacturers claim to have spent $30 million on the research, development and prototyping of this miner. In November they took pre-orders for this miner (for a minimum of 5 miners, at $1595 per miner), for delivery in March 2018. They've since closed pre-orders, and in a tweet suggested they'd be open again in 1 or 2 months (around Jan/Feb 2018).
The DragonMint 16T claims to offer 16 TH/s of hashpower. When compared to the Antminer S9, it would potentially use 300W less for the same hashrate, and at a cooler temperature.
There's been an ongoing discussion about this miner since its release date on Bitcoin Forum, with no independent reviews available yet as of the 4th January 2018. See this guide for a benchmark against the S9.
Ebit E9++ & Ebit E10
A company called Ebang announced several new miners on December 20th 2017, the Ebit E9++ and Ebit E10 (they also have a variation of this called the Ebit E10.1, but this looks to have the same efficiency as the E10 - so we won't talk about it further). Although both of these miners look to be more efficient than the Antminer S9, they're also very expensive - around 30% more than Antminer S9 pricing at the time of their launch.
Given that earlier versions of this miner, the Ebit E9 (released back in January 2017) and Ebit E9+, are currently available on eBay, this looks to be a real miner - in a much later state than the DragonMint 16T (although this still isn't a guarantee). That said, many people have reported shipping issues, where after ordering E9's they were told stock had run out. In these cases people seem to have been offered refunds, but this suggests they're currently being overwhelmed by orders - so you might find it difficult to buy one of these.
A company called Canaan Creative has released several Bitcoin miners in the past, the Avalon 6 and 7 (often known by a common variant, the AvalonMiner 741). In December 2017 they announced the Avalon 8, offering 2 models - the Avalon 821 (which has 11 TH/s at 1200W) and the Avalon 841 (which has 13 TH/s at 1200W). The Avalon 841 looks to offer better efficiency than many variants of the Antminer S9, and the Avalon 821 may be well worth it if you can get access to cheap electricity, as it will likely be cheaper (Antminer S9 prices have been skyrocketing in late 2017).
Shipping will begin in January 2018, with larger volume shipping starting in February/March 2018.
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Written by the Anything Crypto team
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