In January, a title listed in the program for the 2022 International Solid State Circuit Conference caught a few eyes in the Bitcoin world. The title was “Bonanza Mine: An Ultra-Low-Voltage Energy-Efficient Bitcoin Mining ASIC,” and it caught a few eyes because it was being presented by technology giant, Intel. Less than a month later, one week prior to the conference, Senior Vice President at Intel, Raja Koduri, wrote that they were focusing heavily on energy efficiency in designing their new chips.
Raja Koduri, Intel's Senior Vice President, recognizes that some blockchains require vast amounts of energy in order to meet the needs of the intensive computing power behind them. He says, "(that) is why we are focusing our efforts on realizing the full potential of blockchain by developing the most energy-efficient computing technologies at scale.”
At the conference this week, intel revealed key technical details about their ASIC chips and mining system. The first generation of the Bonanza Mine chip - referred to in shorthand as BMZ1 - measures 4.14 x 3.42mm for a total of 14.16mm^2 of silicon. Each ASIC has 258 mining engines, each computing parallel SHA256 double hashes and operating at what Intel describes as an 'ultra-low' voltage of 355mV. Each ASIC consumes an average of 7.5-Watts while hitting up to 137 Ghash/s.
Intel also revealed a mining system, which includes 300 chips and delivers up to 40TH/s at 3600-Watts of power. While impressive for their first generation, Intel will have to make improvements to stay competitive with companies like Bitmain, whose market share for Bitcoin mining equipment has been estimated as high as 80%. Bitmain's Antminer S19j Pro 104T delivers 104 TH/s at 3068-Watts and their S19j XP delivers 140 TH/s at 3010-Watts. The Intel system has a programmable power supply and can be tailored to operate under several power/thermal profiles, like Power-Saving, Balanced, and High-Performance.
Intel has yet to share any technical details on their second-generation chips - known as BMZ2 - but did announce that they were quickly working to make these available to customers. It is also unclear whether Intel plans to sell individual ASICs or full mining systems (or both).