CoinTerra Takes Aim At Butterfly Labs With GSX I: A 400 GH/s PCI-E Bitcoin Mining Card

February 18, 2014 19:13 UTC

Having more or less completing development on their large Terraminer unit capable of 2 TH/s for a sum of $5,999, CoinTerra recently announced their GSX I Bitcoin mining solution.  CoinTerra is currently accepting preorders on the GSX I only, with expected delivery to be in June of 2014.  CoinTerra’s CEO Ravi Iyengar had this to say:

“Having delivered the TerraMiner, the most powerful Bitcoin miner ever released, we decided to turn our attention to designing an affordable solution for the folks who kick-started the mining revolution – enthusiasts and hobbyists looking for an affordable path to ASIC-based Bitcoin mining. At just $1,599 and delivering over 400 gigahash per second, the GSX I combines a low cost of entry with exceptional performance.”

Computer rendered image of the GSX I

CoinTerra is specifically reaching back to individual Bitcoin miners whom are looking for a Bitcoin mining solution to integrate with existing computer hardware at an affordable price.  While the general price tag for a cost-effective Bitcoin mining device has only risen in the last 2 years, CoinTerra is hoping to revive the individual Bitcoin miner from the ashes of corporate data centers.

Hardware Specifications

The GSX I has the same CoinTerra GoldStrike TM ASIC Processors present in the TerraMiner unit. Obviously, there are less chips but most striking is the presence of CoollT’s DCLC TM direct contact liquid cooling unit attached to a 120mm radiator and fan.  Just as end users have been doing starting with Butterfly Lab’s first batch of FPGAs, many users will replace the fan for a more powerful/silent one.

The GSX I will provide 400 GH/s at ~400W for a price of $1,599.  The GSX I will take up two PCI-e slots on the motherboard and will also require a location to mount the radiator.  That being said, there is no reason why any PCI-E capable motherboard wouldn’t be able to run this device.

Closed Loop Liquid Cooling has penetrated the hardware market as liquid cooling methods start to become cost effective relative to air cooling methods.  You’ve seen it with the increasingly cheaper Corsair H Series which has spawned competition in the closed loop liquid cooling industry from the likes of Coolermaster and Thermaltake and especially CoollT.  I’m very excited to see liquid cooling integrated into a Bitcoin Mining card; honestly, given the amount of heat associated with such activities it was only a matter of time.

I look forward to getting my hands on one of these devices to provide an in-depth review to my readers.  Needless to say, if CoinTerra would be so good as to send CCN a unit, we would donate mined coins as opposed to destroying them as Mr. Mcmillan of Wired did.

Comparison with Butterfly Lab’s Monarch PCI-Express Bitcoin Mining card

Butterfly Labs has had a 28nm PCI-Express Bitcoin Mining card in the works for the last 3 months: The BFL Monarch.  Of course, the item was originally touted to be shipping last month and BFL is yet again delayed.  BFL customers have resumed their classic stakeout on BFL forums for meager weekly updates from BFL staff.

Compared with the GSX I, the Monarch allegedly will provide 600 GH/s at ~350W for a price of $2,196.  At said price point, the Butterfly Labs Monarch is a better deal in both $/GH/s and GH/s/W terms.  Another notable difference is the cooling solution: the GSX I offers a closed loop liquid cooler while the BFL Monarch offers a classic reference GPU air cooler design.  As both cards are based off of 28nm ASIC chips, I believe that the GSX I will have better cooling and more room for overheating/overclocking.

However, entering the Monarch preorder line at this point in time guarantees that you won’t see your cards from BFL until much later in 2014.

Despite the Monarch’s superiority on paper; I believe that many Bitcoiners will still be drawn to CoinTerra’s GSX I instead of BFL’s Monarch due to BFL’s history of overestimated power consumption and performance while grossly underestimated the actual release date.

Readers should do their own research before deciding how they should get involved in the Bitcoin mining arena.

Note: None of this constitutes investment advice from CCN or myself.


Caleb is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he studied Economics, East Asian Studies, and Mathematics. He is currently pursuing his MSc in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia.