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Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency in the world, and is increasingly being accepted as a legitimate mode of payment by several corporations globally. Led by the exponential rise in price of Bitcoin over the past couple of years, many people have gotten into the Bitcoin mining business. However, while the central processing unit (CPU), graphical processing unit (GPU) or field-programmable gate array (FPGA) mining did fetch decent returns in the early days of the Bitcoin phenomenon, today one needs specialized mining hardware to make any profits out of mining.

These specialized mining hardware are called ASIC miners or Application-specific integrated circuit miners. Today, the ASIC miners have taken over Bitcoin mining completely. These ASIC miners use considerably less power and mine at unprecedented speeds.

The people engaging in cryptocurrency mining need to look at several aspects when considering a purchase of ASIC mining equipment. Some of the key aspects include the product’s hast rate (processing power of the Bitcoin network), cost of equipment and electricity consumption. If the cost of electricity is low, and the equipment can be bought at a reasonable rate, then Bitcoin mining is worth it.

In this article, we compare a total of six ASIC miners – four from Antminer and two from Avalon, that are some of the best Bitcoin mining hardware of the present time.

Find the Best Bitcoin Mining Hardware in 2017/2018

To compare these Bitcoin mining hardware, let’s look at their hash rate, price and electricity consumption, before we deep dive into their specific descriptions:

  • Hash rate
Antminer S9 Antminer T9 Antminer R4 Avalon 741 Avalon 721 Antminer S7
13.5 TH/s 11.5 TH/s 8.6 TH/s 7.3 TH/s 6.0 TH/s 4.7 TH/s
  • Price
Antminer S9 Antminer T9 Antminer R4 Avalon 741 Avalon 721 Antminer S7
US$1,415 US$1,250 US$1,395 US$750 US$850 US$500
  • Electrical efficiency
Antminer S9 Antminer T9 Antminer R4 Avalon 741 Avalon 721 Antminer S7
1,350W 1,372W 845W 1,150W 1,050W 1,293W

Antminer S9 Overview

The Antminer S9 is one of the most powerful and most recent ASIC miners on the market today. Antminers come from a company called Bitmain. With a hasrate of 13.5 TH/s (or 13.5 tera hashes per second), it is one of the best mining hardware on the market.

  • Device chip: The device uses the most efficient Bitcoin chip today, the Bitmain BM1387 chip, which uses TSM’s FinFET technology at 16nm. The device has a total of 189 of these chips distributed in 3 circuit boards, which combine to achieve the high processing power.
  • Hash rate: As compared to the previous Antminer S7 miner, the device close to triples the hashrate to 13.5 TH/s, while consuming power at almost the same level. The device is almost the same size and form factor as the popular Antminer S7.
  • Release date: The S9 was launched in June 2016, however, it is still by far the most powerful ASIC miner available on the market.
  • Nanometer technology: S9 uses a manufacturing process of 16 nm (nanometer technology), which represents a huge jump compared to 28 nm of the previous generation. However, it is worth mentioning that a 10 nm process is on the horizon. The on-going miniaturization of semiconductors allows ever greater computing power and electrical efficiency.

Antminer T9 Overview

The Antminer T9 uses the same ASIC 16nm chip as Antminer S9 and delivers a hashrate of 11.5 TH/s. The T9 is a bit cheaper compared to S9, but consumes a bit more power (around 1372W of power). However, the T9 has been designed to offer better stability.

  • Device chip: The T9 is powered by the same chip (16 nm BM1387) and has a very similar overall design to the S9.
  • Hash rate: The T9’s hash rate is 11.5 TH/s, which is lower than S9’s 13.5 TH/s. However, it is worth noting that the S9’s maximum hash rate varied according to production batch, although most batches clocked in above 12 TH/s.
  • Cooling fan: The two cooling fans of the T9 are the same as the S9, so a similar level of noise on both devices is expected.
  • Release date: The device was released in January 2017, and is an upgrade to the S9 due to T9’s better stability. While the S9s were more efficient with more chips, however, those chips were prone to failure due to working at minimal voltage. The T9 chips run at higher voltage, thereby providing a bit less efficiency but greater stability.

Antminer R4 Overview

The Antminer R4 by Bitmain is one of the most silent designed Bitcoin miners, ensure the minimum possible sound with maximum hash speed. The Antminer R4 replaces the traditional fan with a system of rotary blades. The traditional fan has been the biggest source of noise for other mining equipment.

  • Device chip: The R4 uses the same chip as S9 and T9 (BM1387), however, they are lesser in number (126 in number) than the other two
  • Hash rate: The R4 clocks in 8.6 TH/s with a power consumption of 845W and a noise level of 52 decibels, which is about as loud as home conversations
  • Cooling fan: The R4 uses a unique cooling system that will make it much less noisy. One of the main issues of running a miner is that it heats up and it’s very loud. However, the R4 uses a new cooling technique inside the R4 that replaces the traditional fan with rotary blades to produce low noise
  • Release date: The device was released in August 2017 and is aimed at Bitcoin mining at home.
  • Profitability: Considering that the R4 is costly at US$1,395 and produces comparatively lower hash rate of 8.6 TH/s, the miner would take long time to break even.

Avalon 741 Overview

The Avalon 741 from Chinese company Canaan is a lightweight and practical miner that is ideal for running Bitcoin mining both from home and on a large scale

  • Device chip: The Avalon 741, being an update of the Avalon 721, packs in 88 chips of 16 nm A3212 processor as compared to 721’s 72 chips
  • Hash rate: The device manages a hash rate of 7.3 TH/s at an energy consumption level of 1,150W. However, the big advantage of Avalon 741 is the lower price at US$750, which is close to half of Antminer’s S9.
  • Cooling fan: The Avalon 741 uses new Airform cooling technology, which is not as noisy as its competitors (Antminer S9 and T9)
  • Release date and quality: The Avalon 741 was released in early 2017 and sports a good build quality, with simple to use software and familiar graphic interface. It is a stable device that can run for a long period of time

Avalon 721 Overview

The introduction of Avalon 721 broke the monopoly of Bitmain in the ASIC mining hardware manufacturing. To note here, Avalon was also the first company to introduce ASIC chips to Bitcoin mining, but ran with troubles during 2015.

  • Device chip: The Avalon 721 is a minor upgrade from its predecessor Avalon 6 and incorporates the latest 16 nm A3212 processor, using TSMC process, and packs in 72 of such chips
  • Hash rate: The device manages a hash rate of 6 TH/s at a power consumption of 900W, but uses about 1050 watts when using a platinum rated PSU (power supply)
  • Cooling fan: The device is quiet enough to run at home. It is also possible to reduce the base frequency to reduce the level of noise and heat generated
  • Profitability: The Avalon 721 costs half of an Antminer S9, and supplies around 45 percent of the mining capabilities which makes Avalon 721 a good entry level mining contender. In December 2016, the net profit from an Avalon 721 was US$37.6/month, which meant that the breakeven of the ASIC was 24 months. However, in July 2017, the same ASIC model could earn US$104.0/month as a result of Bitcoin price trending up, reducing breakeven to 8 months. While the price of BTC fluctuates on a daily basis, its overall direction is up, making the mining lucrative
  • Release date: The Avalon 721 was released in November 2016

Antminer S7 Overview

The Bitmain Antminer S7 used to be a popular ASIC miner since mid-2015 when it was launched in the market. The S7 took a market dominating position at that time led by its high hash rate and low energy consumption.

  • Device chip: The Antminer S7 is powered by 28 nm BM1385 processor. A total of 135 chips are distributed across 3 boards
  • Hash rate: The Antminer S7 can reach a hash rate of 4.7 TH/s and consumer a power of 1,293W. However, its low cost at close to US$500 is an added advantage of using an S7 today.
  • Cooling fan: The device is kept cool by double fans, however, the fans are a bit noisy at 62 decibels
  • Release date: The Antminer S7 was released in mid-2015, and sported a strong metal casing which featured a tongue and groove system allowing for the neat arrangement of multiple miners