Exclusive Hands on With the Antminer S2 Before it’s Debut

Journalist:
Scott Fargo @TalonTech1
April 7, 2014

On Sunday night April 6th, I was able to get a hands-on test and tear down of the new Antminer S2.  Not only did Bitmain state deliveries would start on April 1st they made good on their word and units starting getting into people’s hands on April 3rd.  I was able to confirm this with two buyers on April 3rd and get some information that I will post in another article later today. I will also be detailing my Bitcoin Adventure to Inside Bitcoins Conference NYS as well in another article later today, as well.

Right now I want to share my hands on with the Antminer S2 and my thoughts on it.

My first impression that it is a very sleek unit in a 4U server size case.  With two 120mm fans on the front with one smaller one under the display two more 120mm fans on the back.

Antminer S2

When you first power it on the fans will spin up loudly as the unit OS boots and then quieting down considerably as the BeagleBone Black takes control.  The screen will then show the IP address, temp and a bit more.  If your pool is already configured, it will begin to show the hash rate. When it starts to mine the 10 boards inside begin to light up flashing as they work.  It quickly reached 1+ th/s and stayed there with the occasional blip to faster or lower readings for a few seconds.  The unit that HolyScott and Juan from 112Bit.com brought to me showed a solid 1.2 th/s at the mining pool dashboard.  There were very few rejects, as well.

After running the S2 for a while, the fans even at top speed were not as loud as my old Gen 1 Avalon I just sold.  This was a nice surprise.  You might not want to run one in your livingroom, but it will not deafen you either.  The temp stayed under 57c the duration of the test, as well.

With a huge amount of faith HolyScott, took the S2 apart so I could dig around the guts.  Inside are 10 blades setup with a controller board run by a BeagleBone Black.

Antminer S2 Controller W/ Beaglebone
Antminer S2 10 Blade and Beaglebone Back Controler

The boards are sleek and the way they are setup the temps went up while the case was off due to the wind tunnel effect being lessened. The whole miner is powered by an Enermax 1000 watt Gold PSU.
The interior is tidy with most parts easily accessible. I am impressed how nicely everything fit together and modular design making it easy for repairs or future upgrades.

There are some things to look out for though when you first receive your S2. The cable going from the display to the BeagleBone Black can be jostled loose while shipping. The same goes for the Micro SD card for the BeagleBone as well as the Ethernet port.

If your shipper is really rough you may need to re-seat the blades as well. Both I and HolyScott recommend opening the case before plugging the unit in and checking all the connections and seating. This will eliminate the pounding heart and sweats that break out when powering on a highly anticipated miner only to be greeted by fans and nothing else.  Juan and Holy Scott have already let Bitmain know so they can check on their end to make sure everything is a secure as possible from the factory. The rough handling the units take during shipping is out of Bitmain’s control.

Antminer S2 Blade, 64 Chips Per Blade

It’s design and ease of use are excellent and with Bitmain selling out as soon as each batch is announced they are going to be a very hot miner in the coming months.

Antminer S2 Backplane

One thing I have not talked about much in my articles is that I am disabled with spinal injury. I have difficulty walking sometimes and non-stop pain. I will be having a third surgery in a year and a half’s time in the coming weeks.
Juan from 112Bit.com not only helped get me out here to the convention, he got me together with HolyScott to be able to get this exclusive hands on with the S2. Juan knew the difficulty I was having getting around after my trip here today and instead of me having to come to them they brought the unit to my room so I could check it out.
The Bitcoin community never ceases to amaze me with how the community reaches out to others and also how it has brought people from all over the world together. I want to thank both Juan and HolyScott for this opportunity, and I look forward to my sit down interview with them tomorrow.

The S2 Batch 1 is out and running well. I will have more information from buyers in the coming days.

Last modified (UTC): April 8, 2014 06:51

Scott Fargo @TalonTech1

I am a disabled former Systems Admin, computer tech, business manager enjoying crytpo currencies. I am deeply involved in the mining ecosystem and physical coins, It fascinates me how it has brought people from all over the world together into a tight knit supportive community with commerce and tech.