Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – RockMiner ASICs

While many of my newer posts have involved Scrypt mining (due to taking over as the primary Scrypt maintainer of BFGMiner), I recently had a very nice new SHA2 ASIC from RockMiner come across my desk.

RockMiner Logo

Along with Scrypt support, I also have the honor of being the source of ‘All Things OS X’ in BFGMiner, and there happened to be a nagging bug in the RockMiner driver shipped in BFGMiner 4.2. The guys at RockMiner were awesome enough to send across a sample ASIC and, a bug-fix later, the devices work wonderfully under BFGMiner on OS X!

In this article we’ll be taking a look specifically at the RockMiner R-Box. The R-Box is a 32 Gh/s unit powered by the the 3rd-generation, 40 nm BE200 ASIC chip from ASICMINER (the BE100 powered the original Block Erupter, Erupter Blade, and Erupter Cube) and is available for order directly from RockMiner.com.

RockMiner R-Box

As noted above, BFGMiner 4.4, released July 7th, contains fix for RockMiner ASICs on OS X, so you’ll need to make sure you are on at least version 4.4. Using the Homebrew instructions below should make that a snap.

Miner Installation

The simplest way to get hashing with the RockMiner R-Box on OS X 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:

  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 RockMiner R-Box. As with many of the previous ASICs we’ve discussed, the RockMiner R-Box 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.

Detection

With the BFGMiner properly installed and the CP210x driver installed, you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with BFGMiner:

bfgminer -S rkm:all -d?

[2014-07-10 19:34:11] Started bfgminer 4.4.0
[2014-07-10 19:34:12] Devices detected:
[2014-07-10 19:34:12] CP2102 USB to UART Bridge Controller by Silicon Labs (driver=rockminer; procs=4; serial=0001; path=/dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART)
1 devices listed

Mining

Once the RockMiner R-Box is detected you can start BFGMiner using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:

bfgminer -S rkm:all -o hostname -u username -p password

BFGMiner R-Box

You can also over-clock RockMiner ASICs using BFGMiner and the --set argument (the default clock is 270 MHz).

bfgminer -S rkm:all --set rkm:clock=290 -o hostname -u username -p password

BFGMiner R-Box OC

The R-Box is a great performer that I’ve personally tested on OS X, Windows and Linux. It also works well on 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.

And “Thank You” to RockMiner for providing sample hardware!

4 thoughts on “Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – RockMiner ASICs

  1. alex piner

    Thanks for posting this Nate. Everything worked fine for a few weeks, then I had a problem with the R-box being detected. I delinked bfgminer, no is unavailable for download via brew

    Reply
  2. Paul

    After typing:
    brew tap nwoolls/xgminer
    into the terminal it asks for a username for github and then a password.

    I joined github to get a username and password and tried again. This time it says No Repository found.
    None of these steps are in your instructions. Can you please provide me with the next steps. Very new here and want these to work. I’ve been trying for days and have had these same problems with half explained instructions.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Bitcoin Mining on Mac OS X – the New R-Box | blog.nwoolls.com

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