ASICs continue to disrupt in the Scrypt mining scene with both the GridSeed and ZeusMiner entrenched as the current leaders. In my previous articles on Litecoin mining with ASICs I discussed the various GridSeed-powered devices.
In this article we’ll be taking a look at the newest manufacturer to deliver Scrypt ASICs — ZeusMiner — and their Blizzard device. The Blizzard is a 1.3 Mh/s unit powered by the ZMC230 ASIC chip from ZeusMiner and is available for order directly from ZeusMiner.com.
The majority of the Scrypt ASICs have been coming to market with their own custom software and, unfortunately, ZeusMiner is no exception. ZeusMiner ASICs currently ship with a custom fork of an aging version of CGMiner (3.11).
However, as previously noted, I have been actively working with several ASIC manufacturers (including ZeusMiner and GridSeed) to support these ASICs in BFGMiner (CGMiner does not support any algorithm other than SHA-2).
As with the previous Scrypt ASICs, the simplest way to get hashing with the ZeusMiner Blizzard is by using BFGMiner. So, the first step is to install BFGMiner on OS X. There is a thread here on the Bitcoin Talk forums that discusses several ways to install BFGMiner on Mac OS X. The most full-proof method is to use Homebrew:
- Launch Terminal.app from Spotlight or your Applications folder
- Install Homebrew by entering the following in the command prompt:
ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go/install)"
- Run the following command and then fix any reported issues:
- Tap the following Homebrew repository so that you can install packages from it:
brew tap nwoolls/xgminer
- Finally, install BFGMiner:
brew install bfgminer
BFGMiner requires the correct kernel extension to be loaded in order to detect the ZeusMiner Blizzard. As with many of the previous ASICs we’ve discussed, the ZeusMiner ASICs uses the CP210x chipset and requires the proper driver to be installed. You can download the CP210x drivers for OS X from Silicon Labs here.
With the BFGMiner properly installed and the CP210x driver installed, you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with BFGMiner:
bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all -d? --scrypt
[2014-07-08 22:13:47] Started bfgminer 4.4.0
[2014-07-08 22:13:47] Devices detected:
[2014-07-08 22:13:47] CP2102 USB to UART Bridge Controller by Silicon Labs (driver=zeusminer; procs=1; serial=0001; path=/dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART)
1 devices listed
Note the additional
--scrypt argument since we will be Scrypt mining. I’ve also included the
-S noauto argument to prevent GPU detection (for simplicity).
Once the ZeusMiner is detected you can start BFGMiner using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:
bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password
You can also over-clock ZeusMiner ASICs using BFGMiner and the
--set argument (the default clock is 328 MHz).
bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all --set zus:clock=340 --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password
If you have a ZeusMiner ASIC with more than six chips (the number found on the Blizzard device) you will need to specify the number of chips using the
bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all --set zus:chips=256 --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password
Finally, some early ASICs from ZeusMiner contain a firmware bug and do not respond to detection. In this case (and only this case) you will need to use the following
bfgminer -S noauto -S zus:all --set zus:ignore_golden_nonce=1 --scrypt -o hostname -u username -p password
All told this is another wonderful Scrypt ASIC that works great on OS X, Windows, Linux, and even a $30 703N router (firmware and build scripts here).
If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments below or on this thread at the Bitcoin Talk forums.
A big “Thank You” to ZeusMiner and GAWMiners for providing sample hardware.