The era of home Bitcoin mining is over, or that’s what some people keep repeating in the forums. People have been complaining that big mining facilities inflated the mining difficulty at such point that it is impossible for an individual to profit from mining. But is that so?
Some months ago Bitmain released a new Antminer model, the R4, known as the “Ultimate Bitcoin miner for home”. Bitmain is well-known for their Antminer line. For instance, the Antminer S9 is known as the fastest miner on the market.
Their product motto “Bringing Mining Back Home” is not without a reason: the Antminer R4 is by far the best solution for home Bitcoin mining. It features extremely low noise levels, great hashrate and low power consumption.
The miner was well-received and it gathered many great reviews after its release. There were however, some technical issues too. In this review, I will try to sum up everything and provide you with a complete picture on the miner – what to expect from it and how to profit with it.
Antminer R4 Specifications
One glance at the specs is enough to make a conclusion that the R4 has some potential.
Noise level: 51dB (at an ambient temp. of 35C)
Power Consumption: 845W +- 9%
Operating Temperature: -20 – +60C
Operating Humidity: 20%-90% RH (non-condensing)
Interface Type: 7 pairs of 6pin PCI-E connectors; 380mm length for each PCI-E cable.
Like the other Antminers, the R4 is big and heavy, though not as massive as the S9. It comes in a sturdy metallic box. The metal adds both to its durability and cooling. Talking about which, the R4 is praised as one of the most silent ASIC miners on the market. This is one of the main features that make it the choice #1 hardware for home Bitcoin mining.
The R4 comes with a custom low-revolution fan, which is automatically controlled by the miner. This way the fan is always spinning as slow as it possibly can, while ensuring optimal functioning temperature for the miner.
It runs at full speed only when the temperature of the heat sink is higher than 80C. The miner also comes with an overheat protection.
People were surprised how the miner would work quietly than a notebook. This alone makes the Antminer R4 a great option for home mining.
The AntMiner R4 is designed to be powered by the APW5 PSU manufactured by Bitmain. Just like the miner itself, the PSU is very silent. It can handle both 110 V and 220 V inputs, and it outputs 1300 W and 2600 W respectively. It can, however be powered up by a third-party supply. It might work slightly less efficiently and obviously more loudly. The input voltage should be 12V.
The base price of the miner is 1132 USD. This does not include the PSU, so you would need to invest another 240 USD to get one. However, you can use one single APW5 PSU to power up two R4 miners if your input voltage is 220V. You’d also want to purchase a C13 power cord that supports up to 10 A of current.
Now let’s take a look at power consumption, which is probably the main factor to consider when purchasing this miner. 850W is a lot, and your profits might vary from 1360 USD per year (Idaho) to 622 USD per year (New York), depending on your electricity cost. People who get electricity for free might expect profits of up to 1955 USD per year if we don’t take into account any sudden changes in Bitcoin price or difficulty levels.
According to reviews and tests, the miner outputs 8TH/s (Batch 3) and 8.7TH/s (Batch 4). The huge hashrate is due to the fact that it employs 126 microchips with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET technology. This is also the reason why the miner efficiency is 0.098 J/GHs.
The R4 is very easy to set up and use. Unlike most other miners, the R4 has an intuitive and clear user interface – all you have to do is to connect it to the internet, check your miner IP address, access to the control panel and configure the pools and the wallet. That’s all you need in order to start mining.
Note: The default username and password is lowercase “root”.
Some people complain that their miners lose hash power after some days of usage. Looks like there are several reasons that might cause the issue. Sadly enough, this problem isn’t uncommon, so I thought it is important to mention it here:
1 Applying changes during the warming up phase might disable one of your boards. There’s a way to avoid that, though — Once you turn on the miner, you have to wait about 10 minutes for it to warm up and start hashing. Only then you can safely change the Config.ini script.
2 Some of the symptoms of a “dead” or “disabled” board include:
No default frequency on PIC
PIC voltage changing randomly between 790 and 940
Chain 7 (J8) ASIC count 0
Misleading temperature reading
3 There’s a chance that the miner won’t launch if the ambient temperature is below 20 C. Pre-heating it from the outside will usually make it work.
Now, if by some reason one of your boards was disabled or “died“, there are some steps you can take in order to attempt to restore it. According to feedback from several users, this method helped to restore the boards without the need to send them to Hong Kong for warranty service:
1) Turn off and unplug the miner from the wall
2) Unplug the working board – disconnect the white cable from the controller board
3) Launch the miner and wait until it start to hash; give it some time
4) If the dead board recovers its hashrate, then turn off the miner again
5) Plug it out off the wall and plug the other board back
6) Start the miner and wait until it hashes.
Note: You can attempt this several times until you get the desired results. You can also check the board performance via Putty.
The R4 is a little bit of a controversial miner. You will find mixed opinions about it on the web. Some people praise it for being a one-of-a-kind home mining hardware, while others will complain that it was a complete waste of money. It was hard to sort through all the information without sticking to one of the two biased sides, and I hope that this article will help you to make a more informed decision about the AntMiner R4.
AntMiner R4 Review - Overall
Assembly and Set-up
Extremely low noise levels
Great hashing power
Intuitive and clean dashboard
Might be a great investment for those who have free electricity
ROI greatly depends on electricity cost and might go beyond the 20 months mark
Custom fans might be hard to replace if they break
Might have microchip issues, especially if used without caution
Shipping the board to Hong Kong for warranty service takes a lot of time
Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.Subscribe and stay tuned for further updates!
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