Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – Hex•Fury ASICs

In December I wrote about the Bi•Fury USB ASIC. That awesome little stick, designed by c-scape, contained two 55nm Bitfury chips and hashed at 5 Gh/s.

The Hex•Fury is a new design that is now available with six Bitfury chips hashing out-of-the-box at 12 – 13 Gh/s. This new design is also by c-scape and is available from ASIC Runner.

HexFury

As with the Bi•Fury these have a very professional and solid look and feel. They also feature a heat sink that allows them to spaced much closer than other USB ASICs.

As always, let’s see what it takes to get these mining under OS X.

Miner Installation

The first step is to install BFGMiner on OS X. There is a thread here on the Bitcoin Talk forums which discusses various ways to install BFGMiner on Mac OS X. The most full-proof method is to use Homebrew:

  1. Launch Terminal.app from Spotlight or your Applications folder
  2. Install Homebrew by entering the following in the command prompt:
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go/install)"
  3. Run the following command and then fix any reported issues:
    brew doctor
  4. Tap the following Homebrew repository so that you can install packages from it:
    brew tap nwoolls/xgminer
  5. Finally, install BFGMiner:
    brew install bfgminer

Driver Installation

BFGMiner requires the correct kernel extension to be loaded in order to detect the Hex•Fury USB stick. The Apple Communication Device Class (CDC) driver will be used and should be automatically loaded by Mac OS X.

To load the required Apple drivers manually, execute the following commands:

sudo kextload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDC
sudo kextload -b com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDCACMData

Detection

After BFGMiner is installed you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with BFGMiner:

bfgminer -d? -S bifury:all
[2014-05-13 17:05:25] Started bfgminer 3.99.0
[2014-05-13 17:05:26] Devices detected:
[2014-05-13 17:05:26] Device (driver=bifury; procs=2; path=/dev/cu.usbmodemfd3521)
1 devices listed

Now, as you can see BFGMiner reports the Hex•Fury having two processors rather than six. This is actually a firmware bug in the Hex•Fury. In striving for full Bi•Fury protocol compatibility the number of processors was not updated, so the Hex•Fury stick claims to have two chips.

BFGMiner 4.0 introduces a new argument for Bi•Fury based devices allowing you to specify the number of chips:

bfgminer -d? -S bifury:all --set-device bifury:chips=6
[2014-05-13 17:08:09] Started bfgminer 3.99.0
[2014-05-13 17:08:09] Devices detected:
[2014-05-13 17:08:09] Device (driver=bifury; procs=6; path=/dev/cu.usbmodemfd3521)
1 devices listed

Mining

Once the Hex•Fury stick is detected you can start BFGMiner using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

bfgminer -S bifury:all --set-device bifury:chips=6 -o hostname -u username -p password

HexFury BFGMiner

You can type D (for Display), followed by M (for suMmary) and then Return to see per-processor statistics as well:

HexFury BFGMiner Procs

You can also use the --set-device argument to overclock the Hex•Fury ASICs. For instance, to run the chips at 58 bits rather than the default 54:

bfgminer -S bifury:all --set-device bifury:chips=6 --set-device bifury:osc6_bits=58 -o hostname -u username -p password

If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments below or on this thread at the Bitcoin Talk forums. Happy mining!

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