Today, Bitmain finally released their new SHA-256 ASIC miner – the Antminer S15. Based on the cutting-edge 7nm chip technology, the S15 features unseen power efficiency. Bitmain has been talking about working on a 7nm ASIC for few months now and today we can finally witness the S15 in action for the first time.
The new miner has two different modes – Energy saving and high performance. While in energy saving mode, the S15 consumes only 850W, which makes it a good option for home mining. In high performance mode, it consumes 1596W but surprisingly enough, the increase in hashrate makes up for the extra power consumption, even if you have to pay 12 cents per KW/h.
The only reason why you might want to use the energy saving one is (a) to reduce heat and noise and (b) if you don’t have the infrastructure to support such an elevated power consumption.
As for today, the Antminer S15 makes $50 a month if you have to pay 0.12 $/KWh (on the high performance mode). The power cost a month is $140, which means that those who have free electricity can enjoy a whooping income of $190/mo. Even with a power cost of 0.08 $/KWh, the miner still makes $95/mo, which makes it a really interesting option.
Usually, Bitcoin miners take around two years to pay off and the S15 is no exception to the rule. I mean, if difficulty stays the same then we can expect to have our money back in around 10-14 months. This means that in reality, those numbers should around 20 months.
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Now, how bad the difficulty increase will be? While the S15 is based on new technology, I do not expect it to be that much of a difficulty bomb. We know that big companies (especially Bitmain) own most of Bitcoin hashrate. We also know that their mining farms enjoy cheap electricity. So at the end of the day, it all comes down to raw hashrate.
The S15 is replacing the older S9 series. This means that instead of 14TH miners, Bitmain will start adding 30TH units to their farms. This is not that much of an increase, considering the existing colossal Bitcoin network hashrate. In fact, for a Chinese mining farm (with almost free electricity), Innosilicon’s T2 turbo 32 (32TH/s) might be a better investment than a S15.
Is the S15 worth it? For the first time in a while, I’d say ‘maybe’, unless you are not be able to use it in high performance mode. The S15 definitely belongs to a mining farm and home miners should probably look for something else. Something tells me that Bitmain will be the main consumer of their own S15 miners, though those of you who have cheap electricity might be able to get your share of the pie too.
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