Another ASIC mining firm has entered the fray, this time using chips from a third party provider. Californian firm TerraHash is promising customers huge mining rigs using Avalon ASIC chips from designer BitSuncom.
The company will use ASIC boards from BKKCoin, a Thailand-based electrical engineer who has been creating a specification for a circuit board containing 16 Avalon chips.
"The boards for which we provide the Avalon ASICs, will start shipping in about 2 months," said Terrahash in its FAQ. "We have already ordered 20,000 Avalon chips, and will order more in the coming days. As soon as we start receiving those chips, we will start shipping out our orders."
Unlike Butterfly Labs, which has provided little more than a handful of review units to the press, Avalon has already shipped its mining hardware en masse. It has now started taking orders for just the ASICs themselves in batches of at least 10,000. The race is now on to assemble them onto circuit boards that are capable of mining.
BKKcoin is doing just that. Its design is codenamed Klondike, and was not yet complete as of Tuesday, but the developer promises that he is close to completion. In the meantime, Bitsuncom has released the reference design for a ten-ASIC board as an open source specification, enabling anyone to take it and run with it. This effectively scales its business model by allowing other manufacturers to use its chips as the engine for their own products, and means that Terrahash is unlikely to be the only company offering bitcoin mining rigs on Avalon-based boards. As these systems begin rolling out, it is also likely to dramatically increase the difficulty of mining bitcoins. This is a race to the finish.
Terrahash is trying to establish its credibility up front. The company, which failed to return requests for comment, is not taking money for pre-orders (unlike competitor Butterfly Labs, which is working on its own ASIC design).
The company will offer the Klondike boards, prepopulated with ASIC chips, with hash rates of 4.5Ghash/sec or 18Ghas/sec. It will also assemble those boards for customers who wish to send in their own chips.
It will also offer the TerraHash DX Mini, a box featuring up to 20 4.5Ghash/sec boards, for a total capacity of 100Ghash/sec. The TerraHash DX Large will feature up to 10 18Ghash/sec boards for a total of 180Ghash/sec.
The 4.5Ghash/sec boards consume 32 watts of power, while the 18Ghash/sec units run at 128 watts.
The company is preparing a turnkey service for would-be miners. It will host the boards for them, and offer them a bitcoin payout proportional to their hash input, effectively operating its own mining pool.
At current difficulty levels, a fully-populated DX Mini should pay for itself in 13 days, according to calculations made at BitcoinX.