In a nutshell: Intel’s accelerated computing group has begun shipping its second-generation Blockscale ASIC for SHA-256 cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The launch is months ahead of schedule, but still too late to take advantage of the most recent cryptocurrency craze.
Intel announced in January that it was developing Blockscale ASICs when Bitcoin was worth twice as much as it is now and hardware demand was high. The second generation is coming after the market has met its need, which is usually when Intel starts shipping its hardware (I’m looking at you, Arc GPUs).
Nevertheless, the Blockscale ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) is a great chip† It measures 7mm by 7.5mm and consumes only 4.8-22.7W, but hashes Bitcoin up to 580 GH/s (gigahash per second). However, it is only capable of SHA-256 proof-of-work calculations.
Raja Koduri, executive VP and general manager of the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) Group for Intel, tweeted the news late last week…
Intel AXG Custom Compute Team Now Delivers the Blockscale ASIC! First product will always be unforgettable, congratulations team’
I wonder how @ArgoBlockchain @griid and @HiveBlockchain improvising around Blockscale and our open design. pic.twitter.com/0rxtNTLMfw
— Raja Koduri (Bali Makaradhwaja) (@RajaXg) June 29, 2022
Koduri seems to have forgotten the first generation Blockscale ASIC announced in February. Intel did say at the time that a second-generation model was in development and then announced it just two months later, so perhaps the first version doesn’t qualify as a full-fledged product in Koduri’s eyes.
In any case, the second-generation model is much better than the first. It consumes only 26 J/TH (Jules per terahash), while its predecessor consumed 90 J/TH. It is also more competitive with offers from other companies. Intel’s system with 256 ASICs can hash at 148 TH/s using 3,850 W, roughly equivalent to Bitmain’s S19 Pro at 110 TH/s and 3,250 W. Both systems cost between $5,000 and $6,000.
Koduri has tagged GRIID Infrastructure, Hive Blockchain Technologies and Argo Blockchain in his tweet, three companies mining cryptocurrencies using renewable energy sources. Intel is marketing the Blockscale ASIC as an eco-friendly product, and it’s good to see it adhering to those principles by partnering with like-minded companies.