ASICMiner, led by FriedCat, has been setting the pace with Bitcoin ASIC miners since the first block erupter. They have not stopped since then and have recently introducing the Gen 3 BE200 chip that many companies have been using in their new miners such as Rockminer and BTC Garden. FriedCat and his ASICMiner team started shipping the ASICMiner Tube 840+ gh/s miners in the past few weeks.
It is a 4 bladed miner that uses a tube form factor for cooling. The AM Tube utilizes the same controller as the Rockminer T1 Bitcoin ASIC miner. Just like the T1, you can string 16 blades or 4 tubes together for 32 blades total on one BE200 controller. This setup can save costs especially in large installations where for every 4 AM Tubes you wll only need one controller.
Specifications ASICMiner Tube 840+ gh/s
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Chips: ASICMiner Gen3, 96 Chips across 4 blades
Power Consumption: 900W
Size: 25cm x 12cm x 12cm
Weight: 11.5 pounds
Note: It is possible to run up to 8 Tubes from one controller. Current testing was limited to 4.
The shipping gods were great again as a fully assembled Tube arrived fast and with no damage. For this review, I used an EVGA Supernova 1300 watt PSU. Just like the Rockminer T1 there are the four blades. Each board needs one PCIe power connection. Two power connections per blade is the recommendation if you want to over clock for the best results. The controller is a BE200 and is still a touchy setup with different pools due to a dodgy stratum protocol implementation. Here is how you access it as it is the same from the Rockminer T1 review.
The BE200 on setup; the controller uses the default 192.168.0.254 address, and you need to log in using 192.168.0.254:8000 to access it. If your network is setup on 192.168.1.1 as many are, then you will either need to switch it to 192.168.0.1 and change the controller to it and flip back or connect directly to a laptop that you configure to communicate with it.
With the ASICMiner Tube, all the power connections are on the front of the tube. This placement can lead to a spaghetti monster, so cable management is key in being careful how you route the PCIe cables. The fan pulls air over the heatsinks in the center of the miner creating an even airflow over them. I feel the fan could be a bit more robust, but it does a good job. The AM Gen 3 chips have fewer problems running at higher temps than others.
For this review, I used BTCGuild as the pool of choice. As with the Rockminer T1, I would like to see a failover pool setting here. You can use MultiMiner and the proxy setup to mine to other pools smoothly and have failover pools setup or use BFGminer or cgminer on a Rasberry Pi as a stratum proxy. While not optimum in larger deployments, you can setup a dedicated computer to run all your miners from to monitor them as well.
The sweet spot for the miner I have for review seems to be a clock frequency of 310, and it gets 915 gh/s to 960 gh/s. At this frequency, it pulls 1065W at the wall. These miners get hot at normal speed and overclocking, but it does not seem to interfere with its performance. Once the ASICMiner Tube was set up it was pretty much “set it and forget it.” The Tube runs well with no issues, for that I am glad.
The winning combination at ASICMiner is the community behind it plus FriedCat leading the way. We have seen Rockminer, and BTC Garden flourish being able to access the ASICMiner Gen 3 chips and reference design. The Tube design gets a reject rate of 7% in my tests. This rate is, again, better than the 10% rejection rate the chips exhibit on other controllers. So even with the drawbacks, the controller may be what is helping get that rate down.
The ASICMiner Tube is based on the open source AM BE200 X24 design for BE200 Gen 3 Chip. This open source project is a big departure from the closely guarded secrets that other manufacturers employ. The community has turned out in numbers to support the project and that of other manufacturers that use it. More info can be found here (AM BE200 X24) and here (AM Tube).
The ASICMiner Tube is a surprisingly simple and effective. The power consumption is good as well at just over 1 watt per gh/s. Despite having some early misgivings about the design, I found the Tube miners to be stack-able and stable. The power connections are not in the best place in this design, but the power cables can be easily rerouted. The controller still needs work though. The lack of fail over pool and better stratum implementation is a drawback. The freq controls and status panel are well executed and make testing different settings simple and fast. The ability to run multiple units with one controller is a great option for large installations. A robust PSU is a must for over clocking, and the ASICMiner Tube responds well with OC results that can, in some cases, push over 1 th/s or just below that on average. ASICMiner’s entrant into the market is a solid one. Home users will like the power and small footprint as well as affordable price. Medium and large miner interests will be with the ability to run hot and cold isles for cooling, one controller for 4 Tubes, and upgraded efficiency. What both will find troublesome may be the controller.
Available in the US thanks to 112bit
112bit asked me if I had reviewed the ASICMiner Tube yet and when I told them I had not, Juan Garavaglia told me 112bit.com is now going to carry them alongside Bitmain miners. This change is big news as 112bit.com is currently the top Bitmain authorized distributor. More on this and an interview with Juan in the near future. When asked whether or not 112bit would carry the AsicMiner Tubes, 112bit head Juan said:
Yes the market is changing and we think to have stock in USA is crucial to provide fast shipping and also generates more trust and recognition from the customers.
It is a big development in the mining hardware vending world 112bit.com carrying the ASICMiner Tube as well as a big one for ASICMiner. This move can help spur more innovation and open source projects in the future as well. With ASICMiner already hard at work on the Gen 4 chips, this is happening now already. The ASICMiner Tube is an excellent entrant into the mining industry for sure.
Disclosure: Miner was received for review.