Mining rigs are special-purpose computers designed and optimized to mine cryptocurrencies. They come in two varieties: ASIC and GPU.
ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) rigs have specifically-designed circuits optimized for solving the specific cryptographic problems associated with Bitcoin and the SHA-256 hashing algorithms. ASICs are quite expensive to design – $10 million or more at a minimum for design and prototyping, and we’ve heard up to $30 million for the latest machine by Bitmain, the Chinese company which is considered to be the state of the art.
GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) rigs are superior for Ethereum and some other cryptocurrencies that are specifically designed such that a new ASIC would need to be designed every few days, which would be technically infeasible as well as cost-prohibitive.
Ours is GPU. Some highlights:
1. We chose the AMD Radeon. It’s currently a materially better price/performance point than Nvidia. We have six cards in the rig right now.
2. It took a month, and it’s still not complete. It’s hard to buy the necessary components, due to very high demand. There are apparently a lot of people who want to do this! All we need is a rack, and that will come early in January.
3. It’s fully operational, currently 100 Mhash/sec, mining Ethereum.
4. It’s not trivial to do this. We hired a recent electrical and computer engineering grad from a top school to spec, design and build, and there were small hiccups (matching with the right version of Ubuntu, some motherboard and power supply issues etc.)
Want more specifics on the economics, the specific build details or anything else? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org