Intel Reveals First-Gen Mining Chip, Second Gen Still Under Wraps

The first generation of Intel's chip isn't a match to Bitmain and MicroBT's latest machines.

AccessTimeIconFeb 22, 2022 at 10:14 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:06 p.m. UTC

Intel revealed the specs of the first generation of its highly anticipated mining chips at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference on Sunday, but didn't reveal details about the second generation, which will be supplied to Griid Infrastructure, a bitcoin mining company, later this year.

  • The chip giant's entrance into the market for crypto mining application-specific integrated circuits was expected to change the playing field, where two companies reign supreme, but the performance revealed for Intel's first-gen "Bonanza Mine" is below current top-of-the-line machines.
  • The details were first revealed by Tom's Hardware. An Intel spokesperson confirmed to CoinDesk that the hardware site had direct access to the conference presentation. The spokesperson described the chip revealed at ISSCC as a "first-generation product exploration from 2018," whereas the supply agreement with Griid refer to its second-gen ASIC, code named BZM2.
  • Intel has packed 75 ASICs, each one measuring 7 x 7.5 millimeters, onto each hash board. The first-gen Bonanza Mine system has four hash boards, which yield a maximum hashrate of 40 terahash/second (TH/s) at 3,600 watts of power consumption. That is far below Bitmain's Antminer S19j XP, which delivers 140 TH/s at 3,010W, or MicroBT's Whatsminer M30s++ that brings 112 TH/s at 3,472W.
  • The ASICs themselves pack 258 SHA-256 double hash engines, which operate at the "ultra-low" voltage of 355mV. Each one runs at 1.35 to 1.6 gigahertz at 75° Celsius, burning on average 7.5W apiece to reach up to 137 GH/s.
  • That brings its power efficiency to 55 joules/terahash/second (J/TH/s)at 355mV. The Antminer can be as efficient as 21.5 J/TH/s at 140 TH/s. Intel's system can operate at different power and thermal profiles, from a high performance at 47.7 TH/s and 59.72 J/TH/s, to power saving at 34.5 TH/s and 54 J/TH/s.
  • Jack Dorsey's Block and Argo Blockchain will also be getting Intel's new mining chips later this year, but neither has confirmed whether they will be getting first- or second-gen ASICs. Griid's supply agreement with Intel, much of which is redacted, notes that Intel will be licensing the reference design materials for the BMZ2, which implies that customers could design their own systems using Intel-supplied silicon.


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Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk contributor focused on the intersection of crypto and AI.