Intel Blockscale Boosts Mining Profit

Intel has introduced a new bitcoin-mining ASIC that competes respectably where the original test chip didn’t. The company will sell the chip directly rather than building its own system for sale.
Bryon Moyer
Bryon Moyer

Intel’s second-generation Blockscale bitcoin-mining ASIC, code-named Bonanza 2, more than triples the hash rate of Bonanza 1, achieving 580 billion hashes per second (GH/s) per chip for systems that use immersion cooling. Chip-level efficiency more than doubles to 26 joules per trillion hashes (J/TH). Under conditions that made the prior version unprofitable for cryptocurrency miners, the new version reaches profitability.

Bonanza 2, designed by Intel’s new Custom Compute Group, follows the earlier proof of concept. Both chips employ a similar architecture that unrolls bitcoin-mining hash loops. The company supplied Bonanza 1 only in a limited quantity of systems; it plans to sell Bonanza 2 chips directly to system builders, with production scheduled for June. Potential buyers include Argo, Block, Griid, and Hive. Intel hasn’t decided whether to offer a new system as well.

Intel built Bonanza 1 in a TSMC 7nm process, preassembling mining systems with 300 chips that cumulatively provided throughput of 48 trillion hashes per second (TH/s). The system was never officially for sale: aside from one system the company sold, it provided a handful to mining companies for evaluation, with the rest remaining inside Intel.

Extrapolating from the Bonanza 1 system, we estimate a similar system using the new chip will lead competing systems in hash rate and approach the industry leader in profitability, power, and efficiency. More efficient power management would allow Intel to vie for the lead in profitability.

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