CoinTerra Opens Pre-Orders for First 16nm Bitcoin ASIC

Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Sep 18, 2014 at 18:21 UTC
Updated Sep 20, 2014 at 14:06 UTC

Cointerra AIRE miner

CoinTerra has announced the AIRE Miner, the company’s first bitcoin miner based on 16nm silicon.

The Texas-based mining hardware maker said the AIRE will deliver a substantial increase in efficiency and performance when it ships in the first quarter of 2015, as the chip will be one of the first commercial products based on 16nm technology.

CoinTerra CTO Timo Hanke framed the offering as one that would benefit the wider consumer market, saying:

“With exceptional hashing performance and power efficiency, we are ready to put the power of high performance bitcoin mining back into the hands of bitcoin enthusiasts the world over.”

The SHIVA ASIC employed in the miner has not taped out yet, but the company said a date has been scheduled for late September.

Most bitcoin ASICs shipping today are based on the 28nm process. For example, KnCMiner launched the 20nm Neptune miner back in June, making it one of the first 20nm chips available on the market.

Unprecedented power efficiency

Cointerra said that moving to a new node allowed it design an ASIC capable of delivering “unprecedented” power efficiency. Further, it claims the new SHIVA ASIC delivers a five-fold increase in performance-per-watt.

The development of the 16nm SHIVA chip reportedly took more than nine months, for CoinTerra and its partner Global Unichip Corp, which designed the chip.

Louis Lin, vice president of Global Unichip’s design service, said working with CoinTerra on the state of the art 16nm ASIC design gave the company a “chance to push the boundaries of modern technology”.

The AIRE Miner is now available for pre-order, retailing for $2,499 plus shipping and handling.

New chip efficiencies in 2015

Looking ahead to 2015, many chipmakers are shifting their focus to 14nm and 16nm processes.

The need for such improvements was recently heightened by Apple’s launch of the A8 System-on-Chip, used in its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones. The sheer volume of Apple’s massive orders from Taiwan Semiconducor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) reportedly resulted in capacity issues for the foundry.

Earlier this year, the world’s biggest foundry-for-hire revealed it will now be able to commence volume production of 16nm silicon in the first quarter of 2015, and the company is not alone.

Samsung and GlobalFoundries have teamed up for a 14nm push early next year. At the time, the companies said the new process would deliver 20% more performance, 35% better power efficiency and a 15% reduction in die size.

Intel launched its first 14nm processors at the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco earlier this month. The first Core M processors (codenamed Broadwell) should appear in retail soon, though it should be noted Intel’s 14nm node is reserved solely for Intel products.

Image via Cointerra

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