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Should You Preorder the New Acorn GPU Mining Accelerator Now?


You have probably heard about a new unusual device that aims to boost GPU miners. If you haven’t, here is an article that sums it all up for you (it’s an easy read – zero jargon, zero swag).

As promised, I am keeping an eye on this new device. Apparently, the developers are succeeding in meeting the deadlines, so we can expect the first batches of the Acorn to be shipped to us in August and September.

In this article, I would like to give you an update on how things are now and what to expect from this project in the near future.

The Acorn – What Do We Have Now?

Recently, developers have uncovered a lot of information regarding the Acorn. Let’s review the most important and relevant topics:

The Team

First of all, there have been a bit of confusion regarding the people behind the Acorn. Thanks to the Bitcointalk community, we can now finally know for sure who is who.

Acorn is being developed by Squirrels Research Lab (SQRL), which is a sister company of Squirrels LLC. The latter is a well-known, well-established company founded in 2009. They take credit card and paypal and are a verified business. Not long ago, golbenewswire has confirmed that SQRL is indeed a sister company to Squirrels LLC.

Squirrels president David Stanfill (also known as GPUhoarder on Bitcointalk) is personally directing SQRL. He had to hire new employees to work on The Acorn – according to his own words there are over 40 members in the SQRL team, plus another 75 people working with them.

David Stanfill, president and co-founder of Squirrels LLC

SQRL is partnered with OhGodACompany, which is why the products manufactured by SQRL are also available on Mineority at the same price.

The Specs

We can finally see some real numbers on Mineority for some of the Acorn models. You can check them here. As the devs sad earlier, the Acorn does work the best with high-end GPUs. It has been also confirmed that using Acorn for Ethash and Cryptonight V1 mining might be not worth it – if you want to mine any of those two, use the same money to buy different equipment instead.

The Acorn is meant to mine Lyra2REv2 and X16r coins (Verge, Ravencoin, Motion, Monacoin and Vertcoin etc). That being said, its architecture allows it to work with virtually any algo, as long as there is the right software support for it.

Now we also know the difference between the CLE-215 and the CLE-215+. Apparently, the latter can be used as a standalone miner for certain algorithms – Keccak (XDNA, SmartCash etc..)is the only one that has been confirmed so far, though we might expect a couple more to be added to the list soon. The CLE-215 on the other hand can only be used in existing GPU rigs.

Talking about which, the CLE-215+ also provides a slightly better lift for GPU rigs. The price difference between the two is $50 USD (about 17%); it’s up to you which model you’d prefer to get. Personally, I am paying the extra 50 bucks to get the top end model – Standalone mining might be quite attractive, considering the extremely low power consumption of the Acorn.

Mineority also sells the Acorn Nest that allows you to host two Acorn units in any PCIe 2.0 or greater x8 or x16 slot and provides four USB PCIe riser connections for accelerated GPUs without any special motherboard requirements.  They also have the Nest x4 that decreases CPU load and improve ACORN power utilization. We have seen the Nest in the first photos a couple of months ago and eventually they were not fakes.

The Roadmap

The first batch of the Acorn is being manufactured and should be shipped in about a week (late July). It is a batch of prototypes that will be sent to reviewers. The next batch is scheduled for August. Apparently, while the prototypes are already there, the final version of the Acorn (the one that is going to be mass produced) is still being worked on.

GPUHoarder stated that they are still working on the final heatsink design, as well as software support that would allow the Acorn to be a plug-and-play experience. They also need the preorders to know the exact volumes they will be dealing with.

According to David Stanfill, they already have the manufacturing facilities (locked in supply chain and manufacturing timeslots for upcoming production), and all the parts and components excluding bare PCBs – enough to manufacture 10k units.

As for today, the Acorn can only work with the SQRL miner. The core of that miner is already completed, what is left to do is the proper UI. GPUhoarder also promised to release the API for the miner somewhere in Q3-Q4 of this year for other miners to be able to integrate Acorn support.

As we could see on the photos they have posted (SQRL website is the best place to check them out), the Acorn is already a functioning piece of hardware, though again, the final product will probably have slightly modified heatsinks.

System Requirements
  • Windows 7 or newer or Ubuntu 16.04 or newer
  • An M.2 2280 M-Key (PCIe) slot
Where to Preorder?

First of all, let me remind you that SQRL and Mineority are the only two sites where we can preorder the Acorn. Any other websites claiming to be partnered with SQRL are probably trying to scam you and should be reported in the Acorn bitcointalk thread.

Both SQRL and Mineority offer the exact same prices. Apparently, they also share the stock too (or at least, they offer the same shipment dates). The only difference is that Mineority only accepts cryptos, while SQRL also works with ACH Transfer (besides Ethereum and Bitcoin, of course).

By reading the Bitcointalk thread, I have noticed some people having issues when ordering from SQRL – Some users report SQRL rejecting their payments. That being said, there are no complaints on Mineority. If you want to pay with cryptos, you might want to use Mineorioty for now.

The August batch has been already exhausted, so we can only preorder the September, October or November ones. This is no big deal because we are not dealing with ASICs where every minute counts. The Acorn is not a difficulty bomb, which is why I expect the August batch be as profitable as the November one. That being said, the sooner you preorder it, the sooner it will pay off, that’s for sure.

SQRL: https://store.squirrelsresearch.com/

Mineority: https://store.mineority.io/

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Should We Preorder the Acorn?

The Acorn is even more complex because it is something we have not seen before. Personally, I wouldn’t take the risk to assume whether this device is profitable or not before I try one. In theory, the Acorn should give high-end GPUs quite the lift. Time will show.

Now, the good news is that since the Acorn is not an ASIC, it should not be a difficulty bomb. Therefore, if you don’t feel like risking 300+ bucks, you might as well wait for early adopters to get their units first and review it. There is no rush – it looks like SQRL is not going anywhere anytime soon so I want to believe that they will be releasing new batches on a constant basis.

What is your take on this? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below:

Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.

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