The State of the Mine

The recent nVidia maxwell 750ti has been making waves since its launch in the cryptocoin mining scene for its impressive power efficiency and compact size. It far outstrips the existing r9 series ATI cards in power efficiency, and almost doubles the gold standard of scryptcoin mining the ATI radeon 7950 (since discontinued, but to be revived). The current graphic cards contenders are r9 290/290x (the hashmonster), r9 280x (a rebrand of 7970) from the ATI side, but we have yet to see the new high end upper tier nVidia maxwells. (of the old ATIs, 7990 is two 7950 packed into one huge tank)

The r9 260x is the loose power savings contender for the 750ti, but is far behind, and it is unlikely that the incoming 265 will be able to match that.

Of the ASICs contenders, Viper numbers are at: 5mhs at 2.5k and 100w, Fibonacci will have a USB miner Recursion at 0.96mhz for 3.5w and Epsilon at 35mhz taking 160w. They will however be mining for themselves first and using a cloud hosting model to start with, and will only sell off the machines when the next generation is out.

From Cryptocoin news: “Prices are estimated to be $0.65 per Kh/s and $0.58 per Kh/s if paid in LTC” which are very very high numbers if you don’t own the cards. At 1kh, that is $580 to $650. It is unsure how the leasing details will be dealt with, or if it is a once off. If you get it forever that might make sense. If it’s for a few months maybe not. And also a question of electricity.

The USB miner is definitely promising and brings back memories of the USB ASIC miners for bitcoins. It will definitely be using in developing and undeveloped countries where computer parts are limited and its down to raspberry pi.

Taking the efficiency benchmark of the 750ti, which pulls about 265 to 335 khs (so taking 300khs), at a cost of about $150, and a power draw of 60w, we have 5kh/w before underclocking and 2kh/$. ($ per khs at .5)

The Alpha tech Viper would then have: 2kh/$, and 50kh/w

The Recursion: 1.6kh/$, 270kh/w

Epsilon: 1.6kh/$, 218.75kh/w

Even at the base line we can see that in terms of power efficiency, even the Viper outstrips the 750ti at 10x and the Epsilon and Recursion at 40 to 50x.

Compare this to the gap between bitcoin ASICs and GPUs then. The 6990 would go at 700-800mhz at 400w (about $600-$800 I think), but the Butterfly at 50,000mhz per 300w, (about 80-100x) at $1000, the KnC mercury pulled 100,000 mhz at 250w for $2k, (about 213x more). The usbminers started pulling about 800mhz at 2.5w (160x) and this was the first series.

The second batch of ASIC made far greater advances, the KnC neptune would be 3mil mhz for 2100w and $13k, about 4x more,  meanwhile, the 7 series perhaps only doubled.


The cost per hash of the new ASICs was about a 50x difference, and the power efficiency about a 100x to 200x difference. The combined price disparity would be a money level of over 9000! Right off the bat at $1k you will match a person who spent $50k on cards, and each month you pay $50 to $100 while the other person could be paying $1000 to $20,000 to hash the same. Each one thousand you save could go to a new card (if they ever came).

Scrypt ASICs on the other hand has barely a cost per hash difference, and might even cost more! Let’s say you pay $400-450 for triple 750ti or 7950s, that’s $2k + for 5x the size (5mhz or 4mhz). The alpha draws 5mhz, the cloud fibonacci will set you back 2k+/$615 for about 4mhz+. That is about the same in terms of initial outlay capital cost.

At this point the Scrypt ASICs draw ahead by power efficiency, but not by much. For each $150-$250 you pay for the Graphics card mining, Alpha will cost you about $15 to $20, and Epsilon maybe $4 to $5 (when it finally reaches you that is). This is quite significant, but actually still a few times less than the bitcoin leap!

For this power, at today’s depressed prices the coins it fetches you is about $600-$700 a month. Making the ASICs leap will put you at a jump of about from $450 to $600+, about 30% improvement. It’s definitely good, but not a very big change.

Consider that before the ASICs hit your homes, the Maxwell and Pirate Islands and Volcanic Islands are rumbling.

What if the high end Maxwell is able to double hashing while maintaining the same efficiency? Or even better if it is able to double hashing while using less power? Assuming Maxwell high tier or its next iteration can double its processing power, and cut its energy usage by half, it’s 2/0.5 that leads to a 4x improvement (and maybe a 50% cut in initial outlay). This would bring the alpha edge down to 2.5, and fibonacci to 10x-12.5x

And then what if the cudaminer developer is able to squeeze out double the performance from the nvidia cards? This would be a 2x, bring the alpha edge to 1.25x and fibonacci to 5x-6x. An uber maxwell a year down when the scryptASICs gen1 will first ship might not be too far from being a Scrypt ASICs itself, except that it can play games!

Furthermore, you have the cryptomining blog discovering that the 750ti draws less power than the 60w!

The GeForce GTX 750 Ti series of graphics cards based no the new Nvidia Maxwell architecture have really captured the attention of crypto currency miners due to their good performance (hashrate) per watt. Nvidia is advertising these cards to have 60W TDP, however we have discovered that the actual TDP limit for the power target set in the video BIOS of these cards is 38.5W…

This made us dig into the matter a bit more in order to see how much power actually does a GeForce GTX 750 Ti draw from the motherboard (a reference GT 750 with no external PCI-E power connector). So we’ve attached a watt meter to the power line of an external PCI-E extender to see how much power is drawn by the GT 750 Ti card. The results we got were quite surprising, even though we knew that the default power consumption should fit in the 38.5W limit for the power target set in the BIOS. With the stock frequencies for the GPU and the video memory the GeForce GTX 750 Ti has shown to draw just about 28W ot power producing about 250 KHS hashrate for Scrypt mining. After getting the card overclocked to +135 MHz for the GPU and +650 MHz for the video memory the power consumption has risen a bit to about 34W average with a hashrate of about 300 KHS for Scrypt crypto mining.

So if you were calculating the power usage of GTX 750 Ti as 60W in order to see the ratio of hashrate per Watt of power, then you should rethink how you calculate it now. Note that this is the actual power that goes from the PSU to the video card, the real power consumption with a 80 Plus certified power supply that provides 90% efficiency for example would rise with 10% to about 30W (stock) and 37W (overclocked) respectively as the actual power drawn by the card from the wall socket.

YUP, that’s almost half the power right there! It’s EVEN BETTER than the starter ASICs! And only about 2 to 3x away from an Epsilon! (provided the above two requirements are met)

Even if they don’t however, the 750ti is already 5x from Alpha Viper and 20-25x from Fibonacci even before CudaMiner improvements, which are something to be expected!

Or consider the Pirate Islands Volcanic Islands at cryptocoinnews, using HBM High Bandwidth Memory for the new ATi cards, it seems to promise revolutionary power saving as well as memory speed increases with stacked memory. The number they are giving is “40% power reduction and an incredible 65% speed improvement“. That is pretty much an ASICs right there, and with the 65% speed improvement, that could actually come out to a 40% initial outlay capital advantage of a Volcano card over the scryptASICs, which is timed for late 2014 (a similar timeframe).

How about for real Volcanoes then? In Iceland where there is so much power roads are heated! Having mining rigs on rumbling and hashing leads to cooling usage, great heat output and energy draw. These three are usually cost factors in almost any other country. You need the fans pointed at the rig, or even liquid cooling, you need the power through the PSU to run it, and if there is winter you have to brace yourself with the heater. In Iceland, all these are turned on its head.

They have green geothermal energy from the volcanoes and the earth that is pretty much free, such that even the roads are heated. If you want to heat stuff (and roads), you can also use mining rigs! You get “paid” to heat. Here the whole place (Ice in Iceland) is one giant cooling solution, and heat generated serves as your heat radiator. You might have to put some heat for the card to go into optimal hash perhaps. So you get free energy, free heating and free cooling. It’s like Icelanders were born for mining. Green energy is alchemized into coins!

For everywhere else in the world, miners can use power saving maxwell and the pirate islands version of 265 and 270. To combat ASICs centralization in a few hands however, you can build energy sucking hash crunchers in Iceland! The power there is green, and about free! The low costs per hash of the new graphics card technology gives people that, you can perhaps ship your cards in to a facility. This will work to cut out the unnecessary middleman in the banks like JP Morgan and remittances such as Western Union, who have usually already outsourced functions to places where it’s “cheap” anyway. With cryptocoins however, you remove the anti-green activities of big banks (how much economic damage does their high frequency machines deal, and all the cotton and paper derivatives!) and cull the jobs which are really just Vampire Squid sucking the life away from main street, and instead create jobs of value in cryptocoins around the world, benefiting everyone instead of just the few entrenched Vampire Squids draining the life away from the economy.

Consider too, what if the Mantle API could be rejigged for mining? The underlying architecture might be similar enough to work?

They can double as heat radiators, and repurposed old ones set up by the gazillions in Iceland.


It’s about a 7850 or 7870 in a ps4 right? AFK mining when you’re not gaming. But here you can wait for the new models to come out, sweep up the older ones and put them to mining from green energy.