Antminer S9 Review – Read Before Buying it!

Antminer S9 was among the popular miners when it was released, but with increasing mining difficulty and decreased mining rewards, is this mining hardware still profitable?

I will answer that question by the end of this Antminer S9 review, if you are looking for a quick answer – No, Antminer S9 is no longer profitable and it would be wise not to opt for it. I have explained this thoroughly under the profitability section of this article and even shared some alternatives you can consider. Now, let’s get started with the in-depth review of this miner.

Background of the Antminer S9

antminer-s9-reviewNot too long ago, Bitcoin mining was possible using just gaming GPUs. With the rapid increase in miners and mining farms, the mining pool was saturated thereby decreasing the possibility of mining at home because no GPU could provide the required Bitcoin hashrate.

This is when Bitmain, a China-based company stepped in and released a set of ASIC’s that are not only accessible to the miner but also ensures a decent ROI, enabling hobby miners and common people to find their space again.

Their popular products were the Antminer R4 and S7, however, their latest S9 is a one-stop solution to all Bitcoin mining difficulties. A top class ASIC miner that uses 16nm chip technology, the S9 provides superior hashrate making it instantaneously popular in the mining community.

Things to know about Antminer S9

Profitability

To get the best idea of estimated returns on the Antminer S9, you should consider every factor- the price of electricity in your region, the mining difficulty of the Bitcoin network, block reward, the hashrate of your mining rig, and power consumption.

Currently, the block reward of the Bitcoin network is 6.25 BTC. The mining difficulty of the Bitcoin network is rising by 0.5% per day. This combined with the halving of block rewards every four years makes Bitcoin mining more competitive. 

The Bitmain Antminer S9 has a hashrate of 13 TH/s, mining approximately 0.0001 BTC every day. As for power usage, Antminer S9 consumes 1300 watts per hour. 

Considering that the average electricity cost in the U.S household is 13 cents, Antminer S9 will give you $0.26 in daily profits. This translates to only $93.76 in yearly returns. Even if you go for the Antminer S9 14 TH/s variant, you will get $0.32 in daily profits i.e. only $116 in yearly profits. 

Such low profits make Antminer S9 an unprofitable option for mining as you would take around 8 years to just recoup the price of the miner in case you buy a brand new machine.  

Most expensive miner in the market

Owing to its fantastic mining abilities, the Antminer S9 is one of the most expensive miners in the market. To reap maximum profits, a minimum time period of 10 months of mining is required bearing in mind the additional electricity costs as well.

In the mentioned period, a lot of factors such as mining difficulties and exchange rates can fluctuate hence making it difficult to predict the exact duration before one can expect to break even in the investment. However, the price is expected to come down owing to competition from smaller mining manufacturers in the market, aiming to sell miners at lower rates and similar features.

Power supply

The Antminer does not support plug ins and it is required to purchase a PSU ( power supply unit ) that may cost an additional $150. The APW3-12 1600 W is recommended by Antminers manufacturer ( Bitmain ) which is not only found on their official website but can also be purchased from online retailers such as Amazon or eBay.

One can also use a PSU from an old miner such as the EVGA SuperNOVA 1300 W. It is always best to buy the APW3 PSU which may add to initial investment costs, but it is in the similar ranges of old PSU’s hence not creating too much of a money crunch.

90-day warranty if purchased from Bitmain

Bitmain provides their customers with a 90-day warranty which comes with certain conditions. The warranty does not apply if you overclock your miner, that is, running it at a higher speed than the designed and maximum amount, or the use of an inappropriate power supply.

eBay also offers miners a good deal on the warranty.

Multiple S7’s instead of one S9

Miners consider the S7 model since it has close to 33% of the hashing power of an S9 and is available at a much lower price. The expected hash rate per S7 is 4.37 TH/s but if a miner considers the use of three such devices, the equivalent hash rate of an S9 can be achieved. The older model is at a lesser price and not too sought after, hence it is also easily available.

However, the Antminer S7 is less power efficient than an S9, making it a viable option only for miners with dependable and cheap power sources.

Power consumption

The Antminer is one of the most power efficient mining devices in the market. The S9 and its separate power supply work at 220 V electricity. It uses close to 0.1 Joules per Gigahash and the total power consumption is expected to be around 1350 W. The Antminer S9 will produce a lot of heat, hence it is important to place it in a separate location.

Not all S9’s are created equally

Bitmain sells their Bitcoin miners in individual batches with each batch being different from the other, hence it is highly possible that client may procure a miner with a hash rate of only 11.85 TH/s instead of the assured 12.93 TH/s. This makes it imperative that all buyers must know the exact specifications of the miner before purchasing them.

The more powerful batches are likely to be sold out quickly, hence most websites only have the miner at 11.85 TH/s available for purchase. Online trading platforms such as eBay will, however, have people looking to sell the older and more powerful model. The chances of being scammed of higher prices are highly unlikely as the 11.85 TH/s version is priced much lower than its more powerful version.

16 chip Nanometer technology

A major upgrade from the 28 nm design is the 16 nm fabrication process used in the manufacture of S9 giving it an added advantage of better performance. A 10 nm design is underway thus making the ongoing trend of miniaturization of semiconductors as means to improve computing performance and efficient use of power.

Noise and cooling

The S9 miner is extremely temperature sensitive and requires a lot of cooling in order to maintain stability. To prevent the easy exhaustion of 16nm chips, it is recommended to house the miner in a separate room or mining farm. The S9 is also rather noisy, accompanied by two heavy sized high revolution fans that produce close to 77-80 dB of noise.

The S9 performs fairly well in ventilated and spacious areas. The system is air cooled and its structure is self-contained, therefore it is easier to maintain and service.

S9 setup

The setup of the miner is relatively easy. Its onboard web assistant offers simplified and easy assistance for the setup process. On obtaining the product, make sure to check for loose heat sinks that may have occurred during shipping and run a thorough check. The S9 comes with 9 connectors to the miner and one to the board, so firstly, connect the control board power cable to the hash board cable.

The next step is to connect the PSU power cable to the Antminer PCI-e connector on the controller. Proceed and fit the ETH cable to complete the setup. The interface is relatively straightforward and connecting to Bitcoin nodes is an equally easy process.

Configuring the wallet and mining pool

The miner generates its own IP address once it is plugged into the internet. In order to configure the miner, you need to log into that IP address. Make sure you have the Antminer IP running on your PC and use that to copy the Antminer IP into the web browser. The miner status, hash frequency, temperature and other statistics can now be checked.

The user can log in to Antpool using Bitmain’s user credentials. The Antminer user interface was constructed to ensure ease of use. The user is only required to enter their wallet address and mining pool status before mining. It can also be customized and upgraded with new releases.

Antminer S9 Alternatives

Bitmain’s Antminer S11 and S15 are two profitable alternatives to Antminer S9. 

Antminer S11 has a hashrate of 10.5 Th/s for a power consumption of 1530 watts per hour. If we do the math, mining Bitcoins with Antminer S11 will give you $2.33 in daily profits which translates to $850 in annual returns. 

On the other hand, Antminer S15 has a maximum hashrate of 28 Th/s. This Antminer model consumes 1596 watts of electricity per hour. Talking about profitability, mining Bitcoins with Antminer S15 will earn you $5.05 in daily profit i.e. you will bank profits worth $1,819 every year with Antminer S15. 

Benefits of Antminer S9

The hashing capacity of the Antminer ensures a good performance. With the right mining pools and minimalistic power costs, the S9 is the most desired and profitable miner any hobbyist can procure. Owing to Bitmain’s advanced technology, the S9 is highly power efficient and when compared to the S7 and any other hardware released before it.

The S9’s are simplified and require low maintenance. So whether you are a solo miner or even a hobbyist, the quality of your hardware is a huge necessity, even though it may come at a higher cost. Since the S9 is a self contained unit, you do need another computer to access Bitcoin nodes since the machine is equipped with an onboard port for web management.

Pros

It has the highest recorded hash rate of 14 MH/s and is extremely energy efficient using only 0.1 Joule per GH/s. The miners are in itself well built and sturdy machines and have very few moving parts. They are accompanied with three hashboards in each. Bitmain’s engineering team considered the importance of every detail while making the world’s most powerful miner. They have integrated the Antminers control board with the fast Dual ARM Cortex A9 microprocessor with CoreSight.

It also supports Gigabit Ethernet to ensure that mined blocks are submitted immediately. Every chip of the S9 is attached to a heat sink that is made of high-grade Aluminium alloy. The case of the S9 is also made of the same material. The hot air released is quickly replaced with cooler air using the help of computer-controlled fans placed on both ends.

Cons

It is expensive, priced at $2100 and the user must resort to an additional power supply which is sold separately.

Conclusion

Antminer S9 is viable and sought after option depending on several factors such as your location, budget available to spend, and the requirement of guaranteed assurance of profits and so on. However, Antminer S9 is not a profitable option considering that it gives you very small returns.

After reviewing other mining rigs in the market, I found out that the Antminer S11 and Antminer S15 are amongst the most suitable and profitable options for Bitcoin mining. 

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