Feeds

It's spade sellers who REALLY make a killing in a gold rush: It's OVER for graphics card mining

New Litecoin hardware means alt miners will ditch their packs

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

If you’ve been mining "low-price Bitcoin wannabe" Litecoins with a rig of graphics cards, now is the time to shuffle them off to eBay – unless you can find a better use for them.

Chinese chip manufacturer Innosilicon is now selling its “A2 Terminator”, a 28nm ASIC for mining Litecoins. It follows on the heels of its A1 offering, a Bitcoin ASIC.

The A2 is capable of 1.8 mega hashes per second (MH/s) at only 13W power consumption, and Innosilicon configures this to 88MH/s per box performance with a 750W power supply. That means one A2 ASIC will beat the best GPU graphics card in the world by almost twice the performance yet consumes 40 times less power. All this means nothing, though, if you're spending more on power than you're making on the transactions.

Chips and miners are now being sold with chips at $199 each and miners at $12k but this is aimed at resellers who will order at least 20 miners at a time.

Innosilicon has beaten rival ASIC-pusher KnC Miner to be the first to ship a Litecoin chip, with the KnC Titian being listed as coming in “Q2/Q3” this year, and costing $5,495 for a 150MH/s box.

At the time of writing, Litecoin were trading at $9.85 each but more typically people mining Litecoin exchange them for Bitcoins and arbitrage the difference in the relative growth in complexity of Litecoin and Bitcoin. The arms race from the introduction of Litecoin hardware will soon make graphics card mining uneconomic.

We’ve seen exactly the same path taken by Bitcoin, which went from processor mining, to graphics card GPU mining to custom ASICs, and we are now seeing a battle between the manufacturers of Bitcoin ASICs.

Litecoin appears to be taking the same route. People who had been using the GPUs on graphics cards switched to Litecoin when the Bitcoin difficulty made the approach uneconomical. There are other alternative currencies which might have some mileage for graphics cards, but this really does feel like the end of the road for the approach.

You thought the BITCOIN market was unstable? Amateur

While people keep Bitcoins, they seem more likely to trade Litecoins – which makes the market even more unstable. Bitcoins peaked at over $1,000 a coin but for the past month have been unusually stable at between $450 and $500. This reduces the arbitrage opportunities as the Litecoin difficulty also increases and what is necessary for Litecoin to be economic is a lag between the rate at which Bitcoin and Litecoin difficulty increases coupled with a rise in the value of Bitcoins.

Despite Nvidia claiming that it is growth in gaming that has led to its recent better-than-expected fourth quarter results, there must be a significant level of mining in these figures and the move to ASICs can only serve to cool the sales of the very fastest graphics cards. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.