On the Idiocy of buying an ASIC miner to mine Bitcoin

Charlie5277

Weaksauce
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
Messages
69
Well, as you can probably tell from the title of the thread, I'm a bit biased. But I keep encountering videos on YouTube featuring enthusiastic miners who are practically orgasmic over the thrill of having bought their first ASIC miner. Finally, the Big Time! Finally, some Real Money! Finally, I'm a Real Man!

Oh, brother. Let's look at some numbers.

According to BT Miners, the most profitable Bitcoin mining ASIC currently available is the Antminer S19 Pro, running at 110 TH. This machine sells for $14,000 USD, earns a net $17.78 USD per day, and has an ROI of 26.2 months. Yeah, you got that right. Forget about calculating your ROI in days; with ASIC miners, you use months.

By comparison, my modest little rig consists of just 3 3090's running off a Celeron powered MB. Using that rig, I regularly generate .000438 bitcoin per day through NiceHash. As of December 30 2021, that's $20.60 gross, or about $18.90 net USD. So I'm outperforming the most powerful Bitcoin ASIC miner available, using just 3 - 3090's.

There's more. My rig is exceptionally quiet; even with 3 additional ventilation fans added to cool the backs of the cards, I can easily conduct a telephone conversation or watch television in the same room as my rig. I have it in the living room (I live alone, as you might have guessed) where it lives a quiet and very well behaved life. By comparison, ASIC miners are famously as loud as a 747 at full throttle. One YouTuber had to switch the machine into 'quiet' (low performance) mode, when he found that even running it in his attached Garage generated so much noise that he couldn't watch TV in his family room. Another YouTuber had to switch his machine off, when he was running it in his garage and got a noise complaint... From His Neighbor!

And then there's the power issue. ASIC miners run on 220 volts, and typically need about 3,000 watts. That typically means a $1,000 bill from an electrician to install an extra 220 Volt line... and you'll need one of those lines for each ASIC miner you buy. And all of this assumes that you have room in your electrical panel; you very well might not. By comparison, my modest little 3090 rig consumes just 1,000 watts, and lives happily on a standard 110 Volt plugin. No electrician needed.

Another issue is flexibility. ASIC miners do exactly one thing: they mine cryptocurrency. A SPECIFIC cryptocurrency. It might be Ethereum; it might be bitcoin; it might be DogeCoin, or any one of a thousand other coins. But whatever coin you choose, you make that choice at the time of purchase; and once you make that choice, it can never be changed. There are a lot of ASIC miners that mine Ethereum; and those machines will be rendered useless in six months or less, when Ethereum switches to Proof of Stake. At that point, those machines become E-waste. They cannot be reprogrammed; they cannot be reworked. All that can happen to them is to be ground down for the small quantities of gold and silver that each machine possesses. By comparison, a GPU based miner can mine anything, at any time. RavenCoin, DogeCoin, whatever. You switch on the fly, depending on whichever coin is most profitable at that particular moment. But the big advantage is, you're never locked in. You can mine anything you want.

And when an ASIC miner has lived its life and is no longer profitable, it has exactly one destination: the scrap heap. But in a few years, when my 3090 cards are ready to be replaced by something much more powerful, I will be able to sell those cards on the used market as capable gaming cards. They will return a significant fraction of their value. With a retired ASIC miner, the financial return is zero.

So with all these advantages, a GPU rig must be way, way more expensive than an ASIC miner... right? Well, wrong. My machine cost me just a touch over $7,800 USD. And keep in mind, I'm an amateur; I just got into this game 6 months ago. I very likely paid too much for a lot of the components. A seasoned shopper could probably have spent significantly less.

So, that's the choice. You can spend $14,000 for a machine that demands 3,000 watts of 220 Volt power, screams its head off 24/7, and can only do one thing. Or you can spend a little bit more than half as much for a machine that makes more money, needs only 1,000 watts of 110 Volt power, is as quiet as a statue in a church, and can mine practically any cryptocurrency on the planet.

So, the next time you see someone drooling over their brand new ASIC miner, laugh at them. They deserve it. >Charlie
 

cdabc123

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
3,863
And what are your 3090's gonna do in June, while the asic is still making money?
Switch to a different algo.

Also lets stop speculating about eth going to pos. Its been around the corner for years. We can talk about it when it actually happens.

With that said if it does GPU mining profitability will drop. With that said most asic profitability is garbage only beating the cost of electricity but a tiny amount.

Asic mining is the game of who can run a massive mine in a area with abysmal low electric costs. They often source directly from manufacturers. Individuals have historically gotten screwed on asic purchases with companies premining on and decent asic and shipping them after the difficulty is destroyed.


With that said op is mostly full of shit regarding this analysis. A single asic is not comparable to a GPU. Mining bitcoin is not comparable to mining ether.
 

auntjemima

[H]ard DCOTM x2
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
9,497
And what are your 3090's gonna do in June, while the asic is still making money?
Anyone who knows anything about crypto knows that raven is next up when eth goes POS... And that's a big WHEN.
 

cdabc123

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
3,863
Anyone who knows anything about crypto knows that raven is next up when eth goes POS... And that's a big WHEN.
To be realistic if eth does no small crypto can take the hash power currently on eth. It will be a notable event and profitability will drop/disappear. But that's crypto. Mining profitability has been all over the place throughout the history of crypto and it will continue to be volatile.
 

FlawleZ

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
1,555
Well, as you can probably tell from the title of the thread, I'm a bit biased. But I keep encountering videos on YouTube featuring enthusiastic miners who are practically orgasmic over the thrill of having bought their first ASIC miner. Finally, the Big Time! Finally, some Real Money! Finally, I'm a Real Man!

Oh, brother. Let's look at some numbers.

According to BT Miners, the most profitable Bitcoin mining ASIC currently available is the Antminer S19 Pro, running at 110 TH. This machine sells for $14,000 USD, earns a net $17.78 USD per day, and has an ROI of 26.2 months. Yeah, you got that right. Forget about calculating your ROI in days; with ASIC miners, you use months.

By comparison, my modest little rig consists of just 3 3090's running off a Celeron powered MB. Using that rig, I regularly generate .000438 bitcoin per day through NiceHash. As of December 30 2021, that's $20.60 gross, or about $18.90 net USD. So I'm outperforming the most powerful Bitcoin ASIC miner available, using just 3 - 3090's.

There's more. My rig is exceptionally quiet; even with 3 additional ventilation fans added to cool the backs of the cards, I can easily conduct a telephone conversation or watch television in the same room as my rig. I have it in the living room (I live alone, as you might have guessed) where it lives a quiet and very well behaved life. By comparison, ASIC miners are famously as loud as a 747 at full throttle. One YouTuber had to switch the machine into 'quiet' (low performance) mode, when he found that even running it in his attached Garage generated so much noise that he couldn't watch TV in his family room. Another YouTuber had to switch his machine off, when he was running it in his garage and got a noise complaint... From His Neighbor!

And then there's the power issue. ASIC miners run on 220 volts, and typically need about 3,000 watts. That typically means a $1,000 bill from an electrician to install an extra 220 Volt line... and you'll need one of those lines for each ASIC miner you buy. And all of this assumes that you have room in your electrical panel; you very well might not. By comparison, my modest little 3090 rig consumes just 1,000 watts, and lives happily on a standard 110 Volt plugin. No electrician needed.

Another issue is flexibility. ASIC miners do exactly one thing: they mine cryptocurrency. A SPECIFIC cryptocurrency. It might be Ethereum; it might be bitcoin; it might be DogeCoin, or any one of a thousand other coins. But whatever coin you choose, you make that choice at the time of purchase; and once you make that choice, it can never be changed. There are a lot of ASIC miners that mine Ethereum; and those machines will be rendered useless in six months or less, when Ethereum switches to Proof of Stake. At that point, those machines become E-waste. They cannot be reprogrammed; they cannot be reworked. All that can happen to them is to be ground down for the small quantities of gold and silver that each machine possesses. By comparison, a GPU based miner can mine anything, at any time. RavenCoin, DogeCoin, whatever. You switch on the fly, depending on whichever coin is most profitable at that particular moment. But the big advantage is, you're never locked in. You can mine anything you want.

And when an ASIC miner has lived its life and is no longer profitable, it has exactly one destination: the scrap heap. But in a few years, when my 3090 cards are ready to be replaced by something much more powerful, I will be able to sell those cards on the used market as capable gaming cards. They will return a significant fraction of their value. With a retired ASIC miner, the financial return is zero.

So with all these advantages, a GPU rig must be way, way more expensive than an ASIC miner... right? Well, wrong. My machine cost me just a touch over $7,800 USD. And keep in mind, I'm an amateur; I just got into this game 6 months ago. I very likely paid too much for a lot of the components. A seasoned shopper could probably have spent significantly less.

So, that's the choice. You can spend $14,000 for a machine that demands 3,000 watts of 220 Volt power, screams its head off 24/7, and can only do one thing. Or you can spend a little bit more than half as much for a machine that makes more money, needs only 1,000 watts of 110 Volt power, is as quiet as a statue in a church, and can mine practically any cryptocurrency on the planet.

So, the next time you see someone drooling over their brand new ASIC miner, laugh at them. They deserve it. >Charlie
You're doing it wrong. The more we encourage people purchasing an asic is more likely we can buy a GPU at a reasonable price to ya know, do actual graphics card stuff like play games.
 

Jinto

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
1,811
I think they get volume and preorder discounts. ASIC miners are mostly for large-scale miners, not for us small potatoes.

There may also be some tax shenanigans going on between business expense, depreciation, and how easily capital gains on the coins are avoided.
 

Andrew_Carr

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
2,551
ASICs were a great buy this year due to Chinese farms shutting down and liquidating inventory. I bought several dozen via Alibaba and only achieved 70% of advertised hashrate (the particular model I got was notoriously unreliable) and it was still very profitable. Here's a general breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages:

Pros:
-ASICs cost less money upfront for the same revenue. Meaning $14k spent on ASICs should earn you more than $14k on GPUs.
-Setup and maintenance is simple (good for larger scale operations)

Cons:
-Riskier (imo) in general because unless you're a huge operation you're always running on older hardware and paying more in power bills. This year was different due to politics and a bull run. It's also hard to resell an ASIC once it's no longer profitable, while you should always get something out of your old computer parts.
-Density: although you can scale up your income quickly with ASICs, they generally use more power per dollar earned so unless you have a lot of headroom in terms of cooling and power you'll make less money overall once you max out your power or cooling capacity.



Things I disagree on:
As far as noise goes, a room full of GPUs is still really loud so I'm not sure if it's a major difference. My old servers sound about as loud as an ASIC.

The lack of flexibility also sometimes works in your favor. Look at Kadena. I could've bought one of those ASICs early in the year for $6k that a few months later would be worth $60k and making $400/day.


For a home miner just getting started ASICs can make sense, but people generally aren't comfortable wiring thousands of dollars to shady Chinese vendors and if you aren't, you'll get ripped off on eBay or other sites. It's a good way to maximize bang/buck until you hit a wall and need major investment to increase power or cooling capacity. For GPU/CPU mining, as a home miner you have a ton more headroom in terms of income. You can do stuff like buy Nvidia's latest mining cards for $3-5k/each and fit a million dollars of competitive cards into a single room on a residential breaker panel. We'll have to see if the equation changes but for now I think there are good use cases for ASICs but new miners should be wary.
 

Charlie5277

Weaksauce
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
Messages
69
Not to mention those GPU ROI's are getting destroyed right now.
Actually, the GPU's are faring a lot better than the ASICs. The reason is power consumption. 3 - 3090's will mine (very) slightly more BTC than an S19 Pro, but only burn 1,000 watts per hour, as opposed to the 3,000+ watts burned by the S19 Pro. Locally, that's $2 per day vs. $7 per day. If the price of BTC continues to degrade, when the S19 Pro hits zero profitability the GPU's will still be earning $5 per day. But let's all hope we never get that low.
 

noko

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 14, 2010
Messages
6,715
There is no set rule on ASICs vs GPUs. Variables can make one dramatically more viable then the other over time. Right now both GPUs and ASICs if starting from scratch has something to be desired and I would not waste my time investing. When I bought an ASIC to mine ZCash, I was making over $20/day and even more switching it to Pirate. That was for a total price of $2500 for the ASIC. An ASICs algorithm in many cases can be shared by multiple coins so sometimes not totally limited to one. Timing, market conditions, luck, being as smart as possible on predicting viable coins all come into play. Accepting the risks and potential loss also comes into play since if you put all your eggs in one basket and you drop the basket, you lose. Sometimes the old method of diversifying assets or coins where you keep your costs low while stockpiling potentials can pay off big. Even if all coins fail except one hits it bit, you can still be a big winner.

Anyways I think we are headed for Winter in the Crypto space, government involvement or step up, shady countries with poor networks or controlled, current economics, actual liquidity and usefulness of a given coin all come into play.
 
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