The most common types of cryptocurrency mining hardware remain GPUs and ASIC miners. However, a lesser known form of hardware mining is FPGA. FPGA mining represents unique opportunities for miners looking to minimize their energy consumption while maximising their cryptocurrency gains. FPGA is a growing mining ecosystem. Based on tests and feedback from many miners, FPGA have been shown to outperform GPUs. For the same amount of electricity, FPGAs were shown to far surpass existing hardware. There are many elements to be considered in choosing FPGA for cryptocurrency mining.
What is FPGA Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware?
FPGA is an acronym for Field Programmable Gate Array. An FPGA can be seen as a collection of a wide range of digital components. These include gates, look-up-tables and flip-flips, that can all be connected by wires. Code written to an FPGA causes real physical connections to help perform the task required. FPGAs are used for cryptocurrency mining as they can perform many operations at the same time. Cryptocurrency mining requires high speed and high-performance hardware. FPGAs meet both of these criteria.
FPGA Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware Performance
FPGA hardware is extremely reliable for regular crypto mining usage. This is because they were originally designed for use in space, satellites and communications. All of these industries require high assurance hardware. Cryptocurrency mining by contrast does not require such high-assurance. The conditions in which cryptocurrency mining takes place is much more hospitable than the conditions FPGA hardware was designed for. An occasional error is acceptable in cryptocurrency mining. This means it is possible to “overclock” this mining hardware past manufacturer standards. For high assurance applications in space and communications, the hardware will flag errors that can essentially be ignored by crypto miners as normal maximum capacities can be surpassed. Cryptocurrency mining can surpass FPGA’s normal capacity as set out in their design specifications. This includes maximising clock frequency, power and heat generation. Heat generation is a by-product of cryptocurrency mining. There are some easily attainable solutions to heat production, including many coolers. For example, a Water Block allows FPGAs to mine at a stable temperature of 30 – 50. Similarly, an Upgraded Active Heatsink will allow a stable temperature of 70-80C while running.
The Role of FPGA Cryptocurrency Mining
FPGAs perform extremely well when compared to GPUs. This is based on both hash ratings and energy consumption. FPGAs utilize low levels of power while maintaining strong hash rates. This is significantly better than typical GPUs. FPGAs have been shown to generate $5 – $15 per day even during poor cryptocurrency market conditions.
While FPGAs perform better than classic GPUs and ASIC mining rigs, they are less widely available and less user friendly. FPGAs require switching between different algorithms and switching between the most profitable coins to mine to ensure a strong return on investment.
FPGA Cryptocurrency Mining Potential
Any miner has the potential to mine many different cryptocurrencies. However, different cryptocurrencies are mined using different algorithms. FPGAs are able to be programmed with one algorithm at a time. The algorithm loaded onto an FPMG is contained in a Bitstream (.bit) file. These Bitstream files are specially programmed through Vivado/NextJTAG/Minerator. At present, there are very few developers who develop Bitstream files for FPGAs, but these do exist and are used on a regular basis by FPGA miners. This highlights one aspect of the lower level of user friendliness involved with FPGA mining.
FPGA Cryptocurrency Mining: Best Coins to Mine
The entire cryptocurrency market can be quite volatile. This means that coin profitability can change constantly. However, there are a number of mining algorithms that are the most profitable to mine with certain coins. According to fpga.guide, the most profitable coins based on algorithms include:
|⚒️ Algorithm||? Most Profitable Coin|
The ability to switch between coins by switching different algorithms guarantees a higher return on investment for resources allocated.
Conclusion: FPGA Cryptocurrency Mining
In conclusion, FPGAs present a huge opportunity for crypto mining. Compared to traditional GPU and ASIC miners, FPGAs are extremely power efficient. However, they are also much less user friendly and require a higher technical knowledge than the more established GPU and ASIC hardware. Due to high scale efficiencies in production, GPUs remain the most cost efficient in terms of initial hardware purchasing. ASIC and FPGA initial costs remain higher, however over the long run FPGA hardware stands as the clear winner. Investing in FPGA mining hardware may create many benefits in the long term. The performance to electricity ratio is clearly superior. By combining the correct mining algorithm with an FPGA set-up, it’s possible to reap the rewards of higher returns.
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