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Intel's Blockscale Cryptominer Ships Ahead of Schedule, Late to the Party

Intel Materials on Blockscale
(Image credit: Intel)

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.

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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.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • spentshells
    AH! Intel late to the party after everyone has decided to leave.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    This is so stupidly hilarious... Out of ALL the things they got out AHEAD of time is the ONE thing the market is kinda shaky about getting, if not getting at all xD!

    Well, I guess these specific chips/ASICs are for the miners that don't care about the short-term dips but look forward into the far future and hope for the best as long as they can keep their pump and dump schemes.

    Still, funny.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    But..the crypto bubble bursts because it is too expensive to buy and power enough GPUs to make a profit.
    The article claims:"over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256-based mining." and "a hash rate of 580 GH/s, with power consumption between 4.8 and 22.7W " if these are also cheap enough on top of using very little power then this might be the exact right moment for them to release them.
    All the miners that can't profit with GPUs anymore could be switching to those to keep it going for a while longer.
    Reply
  • Peter_Bollwerk
    TerryLaze said:
    But..the crypto bubble bursts because it is too expensive to buy and power enough GPUs to make a profit.
    The article claims:"over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256-based mining." and "a hash rate of 580 GH/s, with power consumption between 4.8 and 22.7W " if these are also cheap enough on top of using very little power then this might be the exact right moment for them to release them.
    All the miners that can't profit with GPUs anymore could be switching to those to keep it going for a while longer.
    Depends entirely on how much it costs though.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    Peter_Bollwerk said:
    Depends entirely on how much it costs though.
    Yes, that's what I said, if it's cheap enough.
    But keep in mind that a 3090 during the craze was around $2-3000 and that was burning through power like nobodies business.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    4-5X the hash rate for 1/10th to 1/50th the power. Just what crypto-miners need to get by now that GPU-mining crashed to a point where it barely covers power costs.

    I hope Intel is mildly successful. Seeding enough of these during a GPU-mining crash is going to ensure that GPU-mining of supported currencies will never be viable again.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    TerryLaze said:
    the crypto bubble bursts because it is too expensive to buy and power enough GPUs to make a profit.
    nah

    burst bubble is due to the drama happening in crypto world. (luna scandal followed by Three arrow going under etc.)

    thats what caused the drop down to being unprofitable & is why it isnt recovering like normally does.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    hotaru251 said:
    thats what caused the drop down to being unprofitable & is why it isnt recovering like normally does.
    The free-for-all crypto world is like grossly over-leveraged banks and stocks: whenever too many people want to cash out for the number of people wanting to buy in, the severe lack of liquidity gets exposed, panic ensues and value crashes from potential buyers walking away.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    TerryLaze said:
    But..the crypto bubble bursts because it is too expensive to buy and power enough GPUs to make a profit.
    The article claims:"over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256-based mining." and "a hash rate of 580 GH/s, with power consumption between 4.8 and 22.7W " if these are also cheap enough on top of using very little power then this might be the exact right moment for them to release them.
    All the miners that can't profit with GPUs anymore could be switching to those to keep it going for a while longer.
    Intel's cryptominer can only be used for SHA-256 based coins (e.g. bitcoin), and nobody is mining those coins on GPUs; that was rendered useless years ago by previous ASIC miners. That is just Intel making a stupid comparison to try to hype the product. It'd be like touting the efficiency of a new GPU by comparing it to the real time rendering performance of a CPU.

    So this has no real impact on GPU mining or miners.
    Reply