Antminer S9i Power Supply & Power Consumption 2018

When setting up an Antminer S9, or any other Bitcoin miner, in 2018, power consumption is a very important metric as it ultimately determines your profitability. ASICs in 2018 use a lot of power, and the Antminer S9 is no different, with the top spec S9 using up to approximately 1371W (not including the power supply).

This guide will explain everything you need to know about the power consumption of the Antminer S9.

Power consumption

From a technical perspective, power is equivalent to the voltage of a system times the current that system uses. e.g. P = IV (where I is the current and V is the voltage). You don't really need to be technical, you just need to be aware of that equation, P = IV. Voltage is measured in 'volts', and current is measured in 'amps'.

This is relevant because when you plug your miner into the wall at your home or business, the socket you're connecting to will be rated to a specific voltage and current. In the UK for example most sockets in a standard home are rated to 230 volts & 13 amps. 230 x 13 = 2990W. So if you're planning on running multiple miners, be aware the sockets in your house/business may be a limiting factor here. If you plan on running many miners it's a good idea to consult a professional for advice on your power needs, although this will cost money and so increase the investment cost of your mining operation (increasing time needed for a return on investment).

Power consumption determines profitability

So now we know that a particular building has a finite power capacity, now you need to be aware that a particular building also has a certain electricity cost, where often businesses may get cheaper electricity than your house for example. Or if you live in a built-up area electricity may be more expensive. Ultimately the building your miners are in will have a certain electricity cost, which means the power consumption of your miner determines the profitability. If it uses too much power, you won't mine enough coins to cover your power costs.

The cost of electricity is generally charged per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which in simple terms is how much it would cost to run a device at 1000W for one hour. If your electricity cost is $0.125 per kWh, then the 14TH/s Antminer S9i, which is 1320W with Antminer's power suppler, would be 1320/1000*0.125 = $0.165 per hour, and therefore $3.96 every day to run. Keeping in mind you're charged per kWh, or to run 1000W for an hour. So when dividing 1230/1000 we're just taking into account the exact power the S9i uses, then we're dividing it by the hourly cost.

It's worth noting that Bitmain claims that this can vary by +10%, so it's best to consider this as $0.1815 per hour, or $4.36 every day (better to overestimate electricity cost than underestimate it).

With all this in mind, if you want to start mining you need to find out exactly how much you'd pay for electricity. Right now in late June/early July 2018, Bitcoin mining just isn't profitable for most miners unless you can get electricity for below around $0.10 per kWh, or pay a very high upfront cost for a very efficient miner. Ideally if you're just starting mining now you'd want a much lower electricity cost, in the range of $0.03 per kWh or lower. Any higher than this and you mind find mining is no longer profitable if Bitcoin's price drops a bit, or just doesn't increase for a prolonged period of time. In a few months it might be the case that you need to have even cheaper electricity, in the range of $0.01 per kWh. In short, electricity cost should be your primary focus when considering Bitcoin mining.

Antminer S9i Power supply (PSU)

Bitmain sells various ASIC miners like the S9i, and they also sell power supplies for each of these miners. These power supplies are often refered to as a 'PSU', or Power Supply Unit. Many people just buy the associated power supply and don't really think about it. You can take this route, or perhaps buy a separate power supply to save some money (perhaps buying something that can be used in a PC, and so will have a resale value). Some factors to consider when buying a power supply (PSU):

  • Does it cover the power of the miner: you need the wattage of the miner to be covered (with some headroom, as power can fluctuate over time).
  • Does it cover this at your mains voltage: some power supplies, including the ones Bitmain sells, may put out 1600W on a 230V supply, but not on a 110V supply.
  • Power Efficiency: The more efficient your power supply, the less money you will spend on electricity. More efficient power suppliers are more expensive though, so you need to calculate whether the extra cost is worth it.
  • Cost: The higher the cost of a power supply, the longer until you make any profit.
  • Availability: Any time you're not running your miner is time when you're not making money. If your power supply has a fault, then you'll want a replacement in a decent amount of time.
  • Also be aware of the noise & heat produced by your power supply.

Popular PSUs in the community

*Any links below may be affiliate links.

Antminer APW3++

  • OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), so designed to work with the Antminer.
  • Not too expensive.
  • Fairly good efficiency at 93% (although they don't state at what wattage that is).
  • Doesn't give enough power to the Antminer at 110 or 120V

EVGA 1600W

  • Proving popular with those with 110 or 120V as it puts out 1600W with that voltage.
  • Good efficiency if you get 80 plus platinum or titanium rated.
  • Fairly good availability

Server PSUs (we've seen on reddit that HP 1500W or similar server PSUs are popular)

  • Good availability.
  • Good efficiency.
  • Most likely will need a breakout board to support the ASIC
  • Check that the PSU gives enough power at the voltage available to you.

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