Bitmain Antminer S7 Review
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Exchange services are not the only way of benefiting from Bitcoins and altcoins in general. There is also the option of mining. To some, mining is too complicated to fathom or risk. However, for those who grasp the concept of mining, huge profits are on the horizon. In case you are wondering, Bitcoin mining is not a physical process. Instead, it is a process of solving complex math problems and algorithms using high-end and specialized machinery. With every algorithm or math problem solved, one receives a reward in the form of the mined cryptocurrency.
Mining can be done using even a PC. However, you must fit your PC with a high-end graphics cards. This type of cryptocurrency mining is referred to as GPU mining. While it is possible, it does not mean you should do it. For this reason, ASIC miners were developed. These pieces of hardware are created to mine using specific chips. Each miner has a chip that makes it best in mining a particular cryptocurrency. Bitcoin ASIC miners, for instance, solve the SHA-256 hash algorithm while Litecoin miners solve the Scrypt algorithm.
There are several options to choose from, but in this piece, we focus our sights on the Antminer S7 ASIC miner.
What is the Antminer S7?
Antminer is a popular brand in the cryptocurrency industry. It produces state of the art Bitcoin mining hardware. The Antminer S7 is one of the most popular mining hardware the brand has in its inventory. Bitmain launched it in 2015. It is now three years down the line, and still, it attracts customers. It achieves this through its unique properties and power. At the top of the list of reasons why the S7 remains a popular choice is the fact that it offers a high hash rate per unit power it consumes. This is a big deal since most Bitcoin miners with a similar hash rate power are electricity guzzlers. The Antminer S7 runs on 28nm BMI385 ASIC chips. There are a total of 135 chips spread across its three boards.
As pointed out above, the S7 is a Bitcoin miner. The inference is that it runs the SHA-256 algorithm to solve complex mathematical problems. In addition to Bitcoin, it can also mine altcoins including 21Coin, Peercoin, Namecoin, Betacoin, Terracoin and other altcoins sharing in the Bitcoin Algorithm. Note that it cannot mine Litecoin and other Scrypt based crypto coins.
The Antminer S7 Price
Needless to say, the S7 has been in the market for a significant length of time. As such, over the years, it has experienced an equally significant drop in price. When it was first released into the market, it retailed for about $2,000 (this is similar to what the S9 is retailing at currently). It has since dropped to about $440 (minus shipping costs) in Bitmain’s official website. It is also available on platforms like eBay for about $545 or even $500 for new and second hand S7 miners respectively.
With the new entrants, the likes of S9 and Dragonmint ASIC miners, capturing the hearts of many, the s7’s price is bound to dip even lower.
Antminer S7 Profitability
The Antminer S7 is not profitable as of today. One of the most important aspects of an ASIC miner is its profitability. Unfortunately, the S7’s profitability test is not as straightforward as many would like. Several factors come into play when determining the profitability of the S7. At the top of the list of these factors include:
The simplest way to think about it is like the speed of guessing. Think of it as the number of combinations one can guess in one second. So basically, the higher the computing power (hash rate), the faster one can guess the right combination and solve a mathematical problem. Yes, this analogy is true as the miners do not exactly run calculations to solve the complex mathematical problems. Instead, they guess until they arrive at the right answer. The Antminer S7 uses a ‘guessing’ method/formula known as the SHA-256.
The S7 has a hash rate of 4.73 TH/s +/-5%. This hash rate was at the launch of the hardware the best there was. Currently, compared to the S9’s hash rate (13.5 TH/s), it is almost a third.
This refers to the complexity of every mathematical problem or algorithm to be solved before a reward is granted. The complexity of mining increases with every solution found and as additional miners join a network. The difficulty consequently makes it harder to earn rewards. In 2018, the reward for solutions found is 12.5 Bitcoin. This reward is always halved with every 210,000 blocks solved. This halving will next occur in 2020. In theory, Bitcoin’s value should increase significantly to outweigh the halving of mining rewards.
First up is the cost of electricity. This cost will differ from unit to unit depending on the power consumption of the miner and your electricity rate. The Antminer S7 has its power efficiency at 0.25 W/Gh. To be an effective miner, you need to be part of a mining pool. To join one, you are required to pay pool fees. These fees differ but are in the range of 0%-5%. Bitcoin mining pools are a group of Bitcoin miners who work together to mine. Mining as a group increases the rate. Each reward is always split among miners to help each miner get payments regularly.
Now, using the above factors, let’s determine if the S7 is profitable or not. Assuming an average power cost of $15c per kWh, a bitcoin reward of 12.5 BTC and a 2.5% pool fee, the Antminer S7 currently registers a loss of approximately 1.66 USD on a daily basis. This translates to a loss of $12.54 and $49.15 weekly and monthly respectively. So is the Antminer S7 profitable? If you pay for electricity; it’s not profitable. However, at discounted electricity rates, or with free power, the S7 is a great option. Heck, it might even pay for itself and earn you profits. With the same parameters, the Antminer S9 will make a profit of $119.25 a month, and the Antminer L3+ will earn a clean $70.16 a month.
The Antminer S7 Power Consumption
The S7 consumes about 1293 Watts of power at room temperature (25 degrees Celsius). The S7 features dual fans or in some cases single fans. These fans work overtime to cool the unit when it is hot. Consequently, more energy is used. Compared to the S5, the S7 is twice as efficient – it ‘converts’ twice as much energy into bitcoins. The S7 requires about 0.25 joules of power for every Gigahash. The S9, on the other hand, consumes only 0.098 joules per Gh. The latest Dragonmint Miner, the 16T gives the S9 a run for its money with a 0.075 joules per Gh.
Antminer S7 Setup
After purchasing the Antminer S7, you need to set it up. The first thing you need to do is acquire a UTP cable that will be used to connect the S7 to your router. Secondly, you will need to have a PC cable with a red plug and a kettle cord. Once you have these, connect the Antminer to the router using the UTP cable.
The next step is powering up the device. For this, you will need to connect the power supply’s power connectors to the S7 circuit boards. With this Antminer, always ensure that the connection to a single board is via the bundled power connector. This helps to ensure that each circuit board receives the right voltage and power for optimum efficiency. The remaining power connector (not bundled with the other power cables) is used to connect to the control unit.
Following this connection, proceed to plug in the kettle cord to a 1600watt UPS connected to a 240V dedicated wall socket. For safety purposes, only run one S7 on each wall socket.
Once this is done, you will wait for the unit to power on fully.
The next step is creating an Antpool account. Once the account is set up, you will be provided with a user code through which you will be rewarded for your mining efforts. Note that the PC is only necessary for the initial set up process. After this, the S7 can run on its own courtesy of its inbuilt miniature computer. With a router, you do not need a PC.
Now it is time to detect your miner on the network, configure it and bind it to the mining pool account. To make this process easier, you can download the NetScan app from Google Play store. This app will scan your network and present you with a list of all devices and its IP addresses. Type in the IP addresses corresponding to your Antminer in your browser to access it. The default login and password for most devices including the Antminer S7 is root. Configure your miner and change the password. Once done, save the changes and allow for 30 minutes before logging into the Antpool account. Click on the worker tab and get working.
Antminer S7 Power Supply
The S7 should be used with the APW3 power supply. This is a 1600 Watt unit. This particular power supply has been designed to work with Bitcoin miners. The APW3 is highly efficient and only loses about 7% of power between the outlet and the miner. According to the set specifications, the unit will need about 205 Volts to function at its optimum. Note that the unit does not come inclusive of a 16A power cord (you will need this cord to operate the miner).
The APW3 retails upwards of $148 on Amazon. While it is not exactly an affordable unit, it is economical. The fact that it allows for upgrades to the S9 makes it a better choice. If you cannot get your hands to the APW3, you can opt for the ATX PSU. This retails from $158 and features enough wattage to successfully and safely run the S7.
The Antminer S7 Temperature
The S7 operates perfectly within temperature ranges of 40 and 77 degrees Celsius. The S7 is cooled using dual 12308 fans. In normal temperature environments, these fans suffice. When the surrounding air gets hotter, it gets trickier. To cool your miners try getting rid of the hot air rather than cooling it. That said, when the S7 is mining, the noise is surprisingly low. Bitmain did well in providing dual fans with a high CFM rating but not deafeningly loud. At 4 feet the S7 registers about 66dB. You cannot live with the noise in your living room, but it cannot cause you to abandon your living room either. While it grew in popularity for its high-end features and abilities, newer miners like the S9 and the Dragon mint overshadow it.
In a Nutshell
To wrap things up, the Antminer S7 is not the ideal choice for an individual getting into mining in 2018 and who caters to a costly electrical service. With electrical discount, well-planned and intelligent tweaking, however, it still can be somehow profitable.
If seriously considering Bitcoin mining, think of the S9 and the Dragonmint. These are newer and bound to give great profits regardless of energy costs.