Crypto mining rigs making a return is good news for PC gamers...wait, what?!

(Image credit: BTC Keychain (Flickr))

Just in time for the Ethereum market crash, Chinese mining firm Bitmain has revealed its Antminer E9 Ethereum miner.

According to the company's Twitter announcement, the mining rig is meant to completely surpass any GPU setup and it claims that its new mining machine can match the performance of 25 GeForce RTX 3080s. Said claims, as impressive as they are, appear accurate as an Antminter is capable of 2,400MH/s compared to an RTX 3080’s 100MH/s.

This isn’t the first time Bitmain’s Antminer E9 Ethereum miner has been mentioned, as the company first revealed its existence back in 2021. The rigs are priced at $9,999 (about £8,300/AU$14,500), which is substantially less than an equivalent number of RTX 3080s selling at the Founders Edition MSRP of $699 (about £580/AU$1,000), which would come out to about $17,500. 

This makes the Antminer ETC/ETH Miner E9 a whopping 43% cheaper than buying the equivalent number of RTX 3080 cards, and it's power consumption is dramatically lower as well. 

The Miner E9 purports to have a power consumption of just 1,920W for 2,400MH/s, compared to 25 RTX 3080 cards running at 224W each to achieve 97.88MH/s per card for a total hash rate of 2,447MH/s. The RTX cards are consuming 5,600W of energy for that negligibly higher rate, though. This makes something like the Miner E9 a far more attractive investment for cryptominers who are more concerned about profit maximization and efficiency than raw, top-line performance.

The fact that a mining rig exists that can so effectively take the place of dozens of the best graphics cards hopefully means that there will be that many more available for PC gamers to purchase, and that's not even factoring in the drop in graphics card demand from the crypto crash. 

Analysis: The effects of the crypto crash on mining rigs

So why would Bitmain bring up its Antminer mining rig again after over a year of silence? Most likely the huge delay came from Bitmain using them to mine Ethereum themselves before the massive crash that wiped 75% of the cryptocurrency's value. 

And now they’re most likely seeking to recoup those losses, just like how many crypto miners are desperately trying to unload their used GPUs. Due to the returns on mining being significantly lower now than it was in 2021, the price will decide how well Bitmain’s rig will even sell. 

And considering that the Linzhi “Phoenix” ASIC miner cost $11,300 and $13,700 at a time when the currency was still profitable, it means that the Antminer will most likely need to sell for much cheaper to even be remotely viable.

Though this all bodes well for the GPU market, as the existence of more dedicated ethereum mining rigs that can outperform any graphics card, coupled with the current decline of crypto, means we’ll hopefully be seeing even more of them back in gamers’ hands. Whether this will help reduce some of the ecological impact of this whole situation, as seen by the sharp decline in carbon emissions since the crash began, remains to be seen, however.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.