Review: Mining Siacoin on Bitmain’s Antminer A3 Blake 2b ASIC
Bitmain announced the Antminer A3 Blake 2b ASIC miner just a few short weeks ago — and then surprising everyone, started shipped within a few days. While this did generate some controversy (which we covered here) the launch and deployment of the A3 has gone fairly smoothly so far. Bitmain also restricted initial sales of the A3 to allow for more of the initial launch batch to reach many hands, rather than have a small group buying them all up. The coin currently using the Blake 2b algorithm is Siacoin. Let’s take a look at the specifications.
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Antminer A3 Blake 2b ASIC Miner Specs
-Algorithm: Blake(2b) (BM 1720 chip)
-Total quantity of hash chips: 180 chips
-Total quantity of boards: 3 boards per miner
-Total hashrate: 815 GH/s +/-5%
-DC Voltage Input: 11.60~13.00 V
-DC Power @12V DC Input: 1186 W +7% (1176 watts on 220v during our testing)
A3 Packs a APW3++PSU
The A3 arrived safe and secure. Bitmain has the whole process — from creation, testing, manufacturing and shipping — efficiently done.
The Antminer A3 requires 10 PCI-e power connections and an Ethernet connection to operate. The integrated controller has Bitmain’s familiar and simple interface. As always, make sure to set a new PW to secure your rig. The default login is root/root.
For this review, Bitmain sent along an APW3++ 1200w/1600w PSU with 10 PCI-e cables.
One interesting thing about the APW3++ is that it will run at 1200 watts on 110v, and 1600 watts at 220v. This makes the APW3++ more flexible for buyers who may not have access to 220v power. We did not do a decibel reading, since currently it is 38 degrees Fahrenheit in the Bitsonline Labs data center due to winter. So the fans are barely moving.
Antminer A3 Easy Setup To Quickly Mine
Siacoin is the main Blake 2b coin that can be mined with the A3. The A3 configuration is dead simple with Bitmain’s controller interface — yet there are some reported quirks users are having with Siacoin itself. They ranged from pools and wallets not recognizing the Siacoin addresses, to workers not causing the A3 to report the pool connection as dead.
While in our testing the only issue we had was the wallet address in the Siacoin GUI wallet not registering the newly-created address, this was a simple wallet issue and not the miner.
For this review we used Luxor Siacoin mining pool, as we wanted to help keep the network decentralized by using a smaller pool. Luxor Mining has a very simple setup, you use your wallet address you want to mine to and a worker name. Luxor also has region specific nodes to help keep latency down.
Stable Power Without Having To Manage a GPU Farm
The Antminer A3 runs very stable — as (let’s be honest) Bitmain miners usually do.
The A3 runs poolside at about 817 GH/s to 823 GH/s. While the short-term five minute averages will sometimes show lower at about 740 GH/s or so, it levels out to 823 GH/s over a 24 hour period.
Luxor provides an excellent monitor panel for you to check poolside stats.
During our tests we ran on 220v power and the A3 pulled on average 1176 to 1197 watts. While the next gen Blake 2b miners will be twice as powerful, this power-to-GH/s ratio is a massive improvement over GPU mining Siacoin — even if you are dual mining Ethereum with it.
That makes the Antminer A3 a very timely addition to the market, as Siacoin is growing both in recognition and use cases.
Siacoin Decentralizing and Monetizing Cloud Storage
For those who don’t know what Siacoin is, it is at heart a decentralized storage system that uses PoW (proof of work) while making storage space available as its means of transacting and securing blocks.
While that’s a very basic rundown, the project’s homepage describes it better:
“Sia is the first decentralized storage platform secured by blockchain technology. The Sia Storage Platform leverages underutilized hard drive capacity around the world to create a data storage marketplace that is more reliable and lower cost than traditional cloud storage providers.”
In creating and open source, decentralized marketplace for data storage, Sia also gives people another option to services like AWS and Azure, while giving people an incentive to monetize their own unused storage space. This is an interesting concept and it’s growing quickly.
Conclusion: Hardware and Staggered Sales Are Both Winners
Bitmain again has made another rock-solid ASIC miner with the Antminer A3. The A3 arrived fast, shipped within a few days of its announcement — and it performed as advertised.
The way Bitmain staggered its sales and restricted units to only a certain number per account certainly helped get these in more hands than normal sales — where usually the first few to reach the site grab them all. This helps decentralization, and helps encourage more people to get into mining.
Bitmain has more surprises to come as they expand into more algorithms as well as next-gen ASICs in the near future for SHA-256/Bitcoin miners.
Keep your eyes open, as we will bring you all the best reviews of them and hardware from other manufacturers in the near future.
What are your thoughts on the Antminer A3? Let us know in our comments section or on our social media channels.
Image Source: Bitsonline
Disclosure: Bitmain provided the Antminer A3 and APW3++ to review.