Love them or hate them Scrypt ASICs are here.
In the case of the DualMiner it an easy to afford and use USB ASIC that also brings a vastly lower watt per kh/s ratio to GPU miner setups.
The deal with the DualMiner is it can mine both BitCoin SHA-256 and Scrypt coins (such as LiteCoins) at the same time if desired. With an easy dip switch setting, it will mine Scrypt at nearly double the dual rate making it simple to configure.
Here are some specifications on it.
It runs in dual mode at 500 MHz SHA-256 and Scrypt mode at 40 kh/s only using 2.5 watts.
It also run’s in scrypt mode only at 70 kh/s at 1.5 watts.
As you can see in terms of sheer speed one unit will not replace one GPU but at a power sipping 70 kh/s at 1.5 watts in Scrypt only mode getting a lot of these can save a huge amount of power costs over the course of even just a month.
Currently at roughly $98 per unit buying a lot of these to replace your GPU rigs won’t happen anytime soon.
For smaller setups or people just getting into mining, this is a great entry level product that is both simple to setup and use.
I have had mine for about 2 weeks now and have been pleasantly surprised at its performance.
My first surprise was that it worked. I was a bit skeptical and with the added SHA-256 element added to it I figured they were hedging their bets against it not operating properly or possibly just under performing.
Instead, it is a miner that runs as advertised.
The install was easy on both my Windows 8.1 system and my Windows 7 system. In both cases, it was detected and automatically setup with no drivers to download or to configure. I do not have any other O/S’s to set it up on at this time, but from what I have been reading of others, experiences that it has been mostly smooth sailing with the drivers available on the DualMiner website. They are also working on a Linux version and at this time some people have been having success getting them to run on Rasberry Pi setups.
On their site, they also have the Windows GUI software which is what I used.
It is a custom GUI version of cgminer that has been compiled to run the dual miners.
The interface is very easy to use and setup.
As you can see a simple check box to tell it if you are using Scrypt only or leave it empty for dual mode.
Easy entry boxes for your pool setups and worker information. There is also a “Param” box for adding overclocking arguments.
For those who prefer the command line version of cgminer you can run it from the DualMiner software directory, just enter your information as you would in any cgminer setup.
Once you have your information in you just hit the start button. It will connect and mine. There are several tabs where you can see what and how it is doing in each version SHA-256 and Scrypt as well as a cgminer output scroll just like in the command line version.
In my use of it, I only used dual mode for a day to see how it worked. I both worked at the advertised speeds. What I was more interested in was Scrypt only mode.
It runs at a steady 70+ kh/s in stock settings.
With the setting in the “Param” box of “–dualminer -pll 850” I typically get up to 93 kh/s averaging about 86 kh/s. This is in Scrypt only mode as I have not tried any SHA-256 overclocking.
This has been a solid first entry into ASIC Scrypt mining. With 5 chip units, also out now as well the Scrypt world is going to be changing much like when they hit the SHA-256 and Bitcoin scene last year.
ASIC’s for Scrypt mining has polarized the Scrypt mining communities, as well. Many believe it will ruin Scrypt mining for the masses much like they feel it did with Bitcoin mining turning it into a rich mans game and others embrace it as the iteration of it and love the lower power consumption and setup.
I am on the fence on if it is good or not.
On one hand, I love the ease of use and a smaller power draw and see it as a money saver over having to buy massively over priced GPU’s that the use an awful lot of electricity. As future generations of this keep developing, they are going to get even more powerful. Yes, there are those with $1000’s in huge GPU mining rigs but it is still accessible to almost anyone with basic setups, as well.
On the other hand, I do see it quickly becoming like the ASIC SHA-256 Bitcoin miners. It has quickly turned into a rich mans game where those who either had made a lot of Bitcoin or can buy it are the one’s that can afford the hugely overpriced ASIC miners. Leaving those with less income to buy older outdated equipment that cannot compete in the race to mine the next Bitcoin. Some are even calling for a fork in LiteCoin and other Scrypt coins to stop ASIC’s from taking hold.
So overall I see it as DualMiner and as dual edged sword both good an bad.
From a pure product standpoint, I think this is a great little miner and excellent first step into Scrypt mining ASIC’s.
The DualMiner has run well with a simple setup. DualMiner is actively supporting the miners recently setting up their own forum to provide support. They have also been active in the development communities as on BitCoinTalk and have provided info to people like Nate Wools and Luke Jr to get support into more mining software packages quickly and efficiently.
I am looking forward to more product offerings from DualMiner in the future, as well. My only regret with my DualMiner is I did not have any money to buy more than one. I have been pleasantly surprised.
DualMiner uses the Gridseed ASIC chip.
Update: Ralph made an excellent setup and use video for the DualMiner. Here is the Link.