Intel has shipped its Blockscale ASIC product. It has been quite a journey, with the project initially becoming known to outsiders by its Bonanza Mine codename. In April this year, we got news that Intel's Custom Compute Group had a fully formed product dubbed the Blockscale ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit). Moreover, it announced a flurry of design wins from cryptocurrency mining heavyweights such as Argo Blockchain, GRIID Infrastructure, HIVE Blockchain and others.
Back in April, the Blockscale ASIC was said to be due for delivery to customers in Q3 2022. Today, Intel's Raja Koduri, the firms well known EVP and GM of the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) Group, eannounced that the Blockscale ASIC is already shipping.
Intel AXG Custom Compute team is now shipping the Blockscale ASIC! First product will always be unforgettable, congratulations team👍 Excited to see how @ArgoBlockchain @griid and @HiveBlockchain improvise around Blockscale and our open design. pic.twitter.com/0rxtNTLMfwJune 29, 2022
Koduri offered his congratulations to the ASIC development team. Celebrations would surely be called for, as they shipped the Blockscale ASIC in Q2, beating their own Q3 2022 projection. The Intel AXG boss added that he was looking forward to seeing how partners would "improvise around Blockscale and our open design."
If you're looking for some deep technical information on the cryptominer, check out our Blockscale ASIC deep dive from April, or you can peruse the official Intel product brief. The Blockscale ASIC is manufactured by TSMC for Intel on the N5 process. For its specialized purpose, accelerating SHA-256 (Secure Hash Algorithm-256) calculations, it is both very fast and efficient. The ASIC's speed and efficiency will be of great interest to cryptominers. Intel has previously claimed the Blockscale ASIC offers "over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256-based mining."
Going by the numbers, this ASIC can achieve a hash rate of 580 GH/s, with power consumption between 4.8 and 22.7W, and power efficiency of 26 J/TH. The flip chip LGA package size is a very modest 7.5 x 7mm. There are on-chip sensors for both temperature and voltage to help monitor systems and tune performance.
Intel's timing to enter new markets like discrete GPUs and crypto ASICs might look very unfortunate for those looking in, but between planning, execution and delivery there is a large zone of no return. However, most business like this is cyclical, and we are pretty sure there will be coming GPU booms, and perhaps another cryptocurrency boom too – if highly speculative investments become attractive again.