ZeusMiner is the company that makes the Scrypt ASIC miner chips for many companies other than itself. It has positioned itself as not only a manufacturer but also as an OEM and re-seller of ASIC Scrypt Miners. Having to manage all three is a new and unique challenge as many companies are only one or two channels in the chain. So far, despite some bumps in the road, like massive demand at rollout, ZeusMiner has done very well. I recently reviewed the GAWMiners Falcon, which is made by ZeusMiner. It is an excellent miner that is well built, performs very well at or above the 27 mh/s it is selling at with no overclocking. I at the same time I received the Falcon also got 2 Blizzards from ZeusMiner. I have been working with the Blizzards and having fun ever since the first one arrived. Here is my review of the ZeusMiner Blizzard.
The Blizzard is a compact miner that comes with its own power supply. Shipping with a PSU makes it a fast setup and there are not extras needed other than your computer or a ZenController. The specs are quite powerful for such a small miner.
Hash Rate: 1.3MH+
Case Material: Aluminum
Chip: 55nm ZeusMiner Chips
Power Consumption: 45W
Another hit out of the park with delivery as both my Batch One and Batch Two miners showed up without being damaged. The Blizzards packaging is designed to keep the miner, AC adapter and cables safe and secure. Foam cushioning throughout.
There are several choices for mining software. One reason for my delay in reviewing the Blizzard was because there was a veritable bounty of mining software to choose from that kept updating and evolving almost every day and sometimes several times per day. I got caught up in the fun of testing and running different packages. Hands down the best software right now is Darkwinde’s BFGMiner if you want to use straight command line, and MultiMiner is also compatible. Nate Woolls and Luke-Jr are also quickly working up support for it in the official BFGMiner. ZeusMiner has its own version of mining software which, although older, worked OK after tweaking quite a bit. There was also an update past the initial offering from ZeusMiner. ZeusMiner did something here that was a big step in that they asked for and received help from the community in building a better mining software package than they initially offered. Again Darkwinde and Jstephanop were the top dogs in a contest that ZeusMiner ran for those in the community that developed the best software package for the ZeusMiner line. Excellent job guys it is a solid update of BFGMiner that provides speed and options with great support. Also, another supported package is the ZenController. Since the GAWMiners Gen A miners are made by ZeusMiner using ZeusMiner chips the ZenController is fully compatible. As you can see, there are many choices. For simple ease of use, I suggest using the ZenController if you are new to mining or want a quick setup. If you are more advanced but still prefer a simple yet powerful GUI I recommend MultiMiner as it uses BFGMiner that supports the Blizzard and ZeusMiner line as well as the GAWMiners Gen A miners. If you want pure command line, I suggest BFGMiner with Darkewinde’s and Jstephanop’s optimizations.
I ran the miners on several pools and found that there is a key element that needs to be taken into account when deciding where to mine. The Blizzards are very sensitive to difficulty settings. The faster units can be as well. The best pools for the Blizzards are the ones that support Variable Difficulty (VarDiff). I have found as well as others that the best base VarDiff setting is to start at 512 and then if there are too many errors step down to 256 and then 128 if needed. With ScryptGuild, you can set the Diff on your worker dashboard. Clevermining you add the d=512 argument after your password in your stratum line. Change that number to fit the what works best for you with your miner and pool. Each test I did with my Blizzards was for a minimum of 6 hrs to get solid feedback.
Typically on Clevermining I use a Diff of 128, errors were typically less than 2% to 3%, and the WU was 1400 to 1550. On ScryptGuild the best setting for the Blizzards for me was 256. Similar results as Diff 128 on Clevermining. These settings gave me a hash rate of 1.43 mh/s on average. Stable and no restarts needed. Set it and forget it.
The Blizzard comes with its own PSU similar to a high end laptop AC adapter. They did get hot but run fairly stable, but I do not suggest overclocking by very much if using them only due to the heat they generate. I suggest as well as others that you lay them on their sides to expose more of the AC adapter to the air for cooling. Some have fans blowing across them as well.
The Blizzard itself is a simple yet solid build. The fan blows down across the heat-sink. The board also has a metal shield around the bottom creating a tunnel. I have a small fan blowing through there to help with cooling. The units do run fairly warm and even hotter while overclocked which they do well with additional cooling. Fan noise is less than a Gridseed 5 chip Orb but more than a Rockminer R-box. Fairly quiet yet noticeable in a quiet room.
The down side of the Blizzard is there are Scrypt ASIC miners out in the wild right now in excess of 90 mh/s: the Blizzards are not the most powerful. Initially, they were much more buggy with spotty performance. The Batch One Blizzards has some quality control issues that they quickly rectified. My Batch one was missing thermal compound between the heatsink and board. Before all Batch One miners were out the door, ZeusMiner had fixed the problem. My Batch Two Blizzard had no such issues. As updated mining software has come out many of the HW errors and other problems have gotten under control. ZeusMiner is also still promising a firmware update to address the issues as well. The prices are coming down quickly making them a better value. With the sheer amount of different Scrypt coins to mine as well as multipools that pay out in Bitcoin or other crypto currencies, ASICs are necessary to help miners keep bringing in coin.
Overall the Blizzard is a fun miner to use and tweak. A 1.3+ mh/s GPU rig could pull between 700 and 900+ watts in power where the Blizzard pulls between 43 and 48 watts for the same hashrate. The power savings in itself would be a great improvement over a GPU rig for Scrypt only mining. The other plus is how much less heat the Blizzard puts out compared to a GPU rig. These two things make this a great buy for someone who wants to test out Scrypt mining for $100 to $140 depending on where you purchase it vs. nearly $1000 for a typical GPU rig. It is also a good miner for those who want to run several of them as its small footprint makes it easy to keep buying them to add to your overall hash rate. While the main advantage of GPU rigs are that they can mine many types of coin algorithms, the Blizzard is still an excellent Scrypt ASIC miner. ZeusMiner is now shipping them almost as fast as you order them as well. They have all sorts of bonus and specials going on to help boost your miner purchases overall value.
I recommend the ZeusMiner Blizzard Scrypt ASIC miner to those starting out in mining and those who want to mine scrypt only coins without the cost, heat and high power consumption of GPU rigs. ZeusMiner is making strides, with hosted services already available and cloud-based mining on the way they are not just sticking to one way to sell their products to customers. The options give many customers who do not want to or cannot run their miners in their own homes or businesses options when they buy from ZeusMiner. I am looking forward to ZeusMiner’s next steps. With the first Gen out the door, I am anticipating ZeusMiner to start work on finding out just how far they can push the chips and what kind of efficiency they can start getting as well. Terry and his crew are working hard, and it shows.
The Blizzard is a good buy and fun to use.
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