At this year’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), Intel shared tech details for its first-generation “Bonanza Mine” (BMZ1) blockchain accelerator chip, which it recently started taking orders for.
The computing giant also unveiled a new 3,600-watt mining rig comprising 300 BMZ1 chips.
The first thing to note about the BMZ1 chip is that it’s an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), meaning it’s designed to carry out specific tasks – in this case, mining Bitcoin – with a performance that’s purportedly a thousand times better at mining, per watt of energy, than a GPU.
In sum, the BMZ1 is expected to save a ton of energy. And stacking 300 of them into a 3,600-watt mining rig produces a machine with a system hash rate of 40 terahashes per second (TH/s).
That’s not quite as powerful as the 198 TH/s claimed by Bitmain’s 5,445-watt liquid-cooled miner, out this summer, but Intel also said that its miner’s underlying BMZ1 chips are the cleanest and most powerful on the market.
Intel hints at second-generation chip
Intel’s BMZ1 has already received several high-profile preorders, notably from Jack Dorsey’s payments company Block (formerly known as Square) and cloud mining pool Argo Blockchain.
But while everyone is still talking about BMZ1, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Intel is already blazing full steam ahead with a second-generation model.
A recent S-4 filing from Ohio-based Bitcoin mining startup Griid, which plans to go public via a $3.3 billion SPAC merger, indicates the startup has already signed a deal with Intel that would include orders of the chip manufacturers BMZ2 chips this year.
Details on the BMZ2s are thin on the ground at present. But if they perform as well as they’ve been pitched, they could put a major dent in Bitcoin’s energy concerns.
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