Several of my previous posts on Bitcoin mining with ASICs have focused on devices powered by Bitfury chips. These 55nm chips have dominated the Bitcoin mining scene for months, supplanting the previous generation of 110nm chips from ASICMINER and Avalon.
But a new player out of China has been working diligently on their own ASIC chip and product design: BITMAINtech. Their first product to ship was the AntMiner S1, a self-contained mining unit that hashes at around 200 Gh/s. The product has been a big success and BITMAINtech is doing what many before them have failed at: shipping immediately.
BITMAINtech has recently followed up their AntMiner S1 with a USB-based mining solution: the AntMiner U1. This USB ASIC hashes at 1.6 Gh/s stock and can easily be pushed to 2 Gh/s with built in over-clocking capabilities.
The AntMiner U1 is wonderfully low profile, unlike the previous Bitfury-based USB miners such as Ice Fury and TwinFury. It should be no problem to fit these guys into standard, powered USB hubs. They also feature very nice branding on the heat-sinks.
I’ve spent the past two weeks working with the author of bfgminer and have created a working driver for the AntMiner U1 in bfgminer. The driver will be included in a future release of bfgminer, but you can follow the steps below to start using the driver and your AntMiner U1 on OS X now!
Because my driver code is not yet merged in with bfgminer, for the time being you will need to use a custom Homebrew formula that I have created that will build and install bfgminer from my forked repository. If you are interested in learning more about compiling (and even debugging) bfgminer under OS X, there is a thread here which covers those topics and more.
UPDATE: The AntMiner U1 driver is now merged into bfgminer. I’ve updated my instructions below to reflect this.
So we’ll get started by installing Homebrew and then use it to compile bfgminer from GitHub:
- 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
With the bfgminer properly installed and the USB to UART driver installed, you can use the -d? argument to list available devices with bfgminer:
bfgminer -d? -S antminer:all
[2014-01-12 13:53:50] Started bfgminer 3.9.0
[2014-01-12 13:53:51] Devices detected:
[2014-01-12 13:53:51] Device (driver=antminer; procs=1; path=/dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART)
1 devices listed
Once the AntMiner U1 is detected you can start bfgminer using the -o, -u and -p arguments to begin mining:
bfgminer -S antminer:all -o hostname -u username -p password
You can also over-clock the AntMiner U1 using bfgminer and the
--set-device argument. It currently requires a hexadecimal value. You can reference the U1 documentation from BITMAINtech for a table of hex values and their corresponding clock rates:
bfgminer -S antminer:all --set-device antminer:clock=x0881 -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. As always – happy mining!