Whenever you think of cryptocurrencies, the first name that comes to mind is that of Bitcoins. Having reached the point where they have become almost synonymous with the term, the Bitcoin is nowhere near about to stop. In fact, new avenues and domains revolving around cryptocurrencies, and the Bitcoin, in particular, are still being dug up and introduced to the world.
After a frenzied wave of investments in the Bitcoin that seemed to happen worldwide, people are now opening up to even better and more recent forms of trade which could potentially bring them huge profits, and the Bitcoin happens to be at the epicenter of them all.
The latest trade to have reached the public eye, and make headlines as well, has been that of cryptocurrency mining. People are queuing up to invest in mining gear and hardware and enthusiastically participating in this form of technological mining which involves verifying blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain.
The process requires a miner to solve some complex computational algorithms, and since that is just not anyone’s cup of tea, we do have a good variety of mining rigs available in the market which will do all the heavy lifting for you. These rigs are designed to actually carry out the bulk of the mining process while all you have to do is get them set up and ensure that their energy requirements remain fulfilled.
As for what these requirements are, this is where it all gets a little tricky. We say this because these machines often require humongous amounts of power, something which leads to a direct impact on the electricity bills you pay at the end of the month. A lot of times, these aggravated energy bills are the reason behind dedicated miners leaving the trade for good.
Other than the energy requirements, these machines need a little bit of maintenance and more importantly, a suitable operating environment. The thing is, these rigs often end up generating a huge amount of noise. With such heavy operations being carried out, it is only natural that these machines tend to heat up.
And to dispel all of that extra heat, they come with attached fans which rotate at high speeds in order to cool down the rig. This further leads to a good amount of noise, which often makes these rigs unfit for residential use. However, once you get past all these initial hiccups, cryptocurrency mining can actually prove to be fruitful and engaging.
However, for you to reach that stage, you must first clear the very first basic hurdle of choice. The choice between lots and lots of nicely equipped mining rigs available in the market. This article aims to help you with that by reviewing the Antminer S5, a fine addition to the long line of miners marketed by the mining giant Bitmain.
The Bitmain Antminer S5 Review
The Bitmain Antminer S5 is great in a lot of aspects, but one of the premier selling points of this machine is that it is low in cost, with some second-hand units available for as low as $200. That is a great deal for any Bitcoin miner, let alone one with a good range of features such as the S5. The one thing that all miners almost universally suffer from is that they tend to suck up a good amount of your home’s electrical power.
This is the reason why developers are currently pouring their heart and soul into manufacturing more energy efficient and cost effective miners which give you a decent amount of operations for a low cost of power. The S5 just happens to be one of the many devices that have been developed using the same model.
It demands merely 590 watts of power, which is pretty understandable given the fact that a lot of other miners in the market today ask for a lot more. Since this miner is aimed towards that one particular section of miners who are new to the entire business and are still learning the tricks of the trade, it happens to be great for experimentation or learning purposes.
Dedicated miners, however, the ones who are striving to increase their profits and make it real big in crypto mining, might have to look elsewhere.
As explained earlier, noise generated is one of the many parameters on which a mining rig is often ranked. The noisier a miner is the lesser will be its chances of ever making it big among all other machines out there. And for noise levels to be minimized, there needs to be a set configuration for the fans of the system.
These cooling fans are generally responsible for all the noise a rig emits, and if they are configured in the right manner, you get a much more noise-free working environment. Unfortunately for the S5, it comes with a single fan, and as a result, it needs to spin pretty hard to keep up with all the cooling actions it is tasked with.
This further leads to an increase in the noise levels of the S5, making it run at an uncomfortable 75 dB. Now while it is not much you can do to make this any better, there is, however, the provision of using certain modifications and set changes to your S5 mining rig if the noise really ticks you off. However, they do come with additional costs of their own.
Furthermore, the world is moving forward pretty fast. With such rapid developments, a lot of things are bound to change faster than we expect. That holds true for miners as well. When mining rigs first came out on the market, people were not sure what to expect from them, but gradually, people began to appreciate what a good hash rate was.
This further led to more competition among the manufacturers, with each of them striving to top the other in terms of the hash rate their rig was capable of delivering. Fast forward to the present, and we now have miners capable of delivering sky high hash rates, and equally efficient with their power consumption too.
The S5 however, seems to have fallen a little behind in comparison. With a hash rate of around 1155 GH/s, it seems to seriously lag behind the current market standards. For this precise reason, advanced miners looking to gain serious profits might want to avoid this one.
The Test of Time
Launched back in 2014, the S5 has certainly come a long way since its inception. At the time of its debut, the S5 happened to be one of the most efficient and fastest models in the market. It faced fierce competition from the Spondoolies Tech SP20, which was another big player of the time.
However, since then, the great influx of newer and better models, each with unique features of their own, seems to have deemed the S5 relatively insignificant in comparison. While it was manufactured using the 28 nm process of fabrication, newer models launched since then have shunned this particular form of manufacturing and adopted the much more advanced 14 nm or 16 nm designs. These newer models, as a result, perform much better in terms of hash rate or efficiency.
Is it worth it?
To be honest, if you are an enthusiastic miner who mines for profits, and are looking towards mining as a means to ensure steady and fixed returns, then perhaps this machine isn’t the best for you. On the other hand, if you are simply a hobbyist, and your sole interest is to get a good grip on how crypto mining works, and to learn a few tricks of the business along the way, then you don’t have to look for any further. The S5, with its low cost and limited power demand, will prove to be the perfect fit for you.
Used models of the S5 come at a price tag of anywhere between $190 and $299, and are easily available for purchase at either eBay or Amazon. The shipment usually arrives from America and could take anywhere between two to five days in transit depending on your location.
Brand new models of the S5, on the other hand are available only from the official Bitmain website. You would have to shell out about $413 for the purchase and there is no guarantee for instant purchase as the product usually is out of stock, which is why you must be prepared for a bit of a waiting period before your purchase is confirmed.
As stated earlier, the S5 requires anywhere between 560 to 590 watts of power for steady functioning. All you need to procure in order to look forward to uninterrupted usage is a decently-powered ATX power supply unit.
Make sure you check the efficiency rating of the power supply you buy or plan to use, for it could potentially have a huge impact on your overall operations. Unrated or poorly rated power supplies often result in excess wastage of electricity and extra emission of heat and noise, both of which are detrimental to a miner’s performance.
Profitability happens to be one of the topmost concerns for dedicated miners. It is a simple measure of how much value for your money or maximum returns on your investment will you be getting. As far as the S5 is concerned, the news isn’t that great.
Going by the current trends in Bitcoin prices, it seems you won’t be making any profits with the S5. However, if somehow you were to bring your electricity costs down to 10c for a kWh, perhaps you’d be fortunate enough to not incur any losses on your investment.
In short, if a number of factors somehow align in your favor, namely Bitcoin prices, power costs and a few modifications to ramp up the S5’s efficiency, then perhaps you might just manage to earn a few profits for yourself.
The S5 has been termed as a power efficient device which promises to keep your power costs to the minimum while working towards greater profits and higher returns. It has been rated to produce about 1 Gigahash for every 0.51 watts of power that it consumes. The actual power consumption for the device, on the other hand, depends largely on the temperature at which you maintain your PSU and its associated efficiency.
As far as the structure of the S5 is concerned, it is fairly easy to use and is also largely movable. With side panels made of a durable and lightweight plastic material, it happens to be open at the top and bottom.
However, the plastic structure does also lend the unit some unwanted characteristics such as limited placement and reduced safety. It does, however, have a positive effect in terms of the weight of the unit, which is merely 2.5 kg or 6.5 lbs.
After bringing home the S5, the next thing you need to worry about is how and where you need to set up the module. Fortunately, as soon as you figure out the location at which you are going to place the rig, your troubles are almost over, since the actual setting up of the system is surprisingly easy and doesn’t take more than a few minutes of your time.
The control panel on the S5 is fairly intuitive and self-explanatory and even offers all the basic functionalities that one could ask for in a miner of this sort. It is entirely self-sufficient to give you a pleasant mining experience without any sort of hiccups or malfunctions. As soon as you power up the rig, the S5 will, in turn, start looking for available IP addresses to hook up with.
For easy monitoring and control of your miner, you can use the MinerLink software which will list the status of all your current miners, view or change your mining pool settings, carry out updates on the firmware of the device and even allow you to share access privileges for your miner over a basic network connection.
Editor in chief for BitCongress.org , Rose is based in Washington, D.C and has more than a decade of experience in the field of finance and trading.