Intel dishes new details on its ‘Bonanza’ Bitcoin mining chips

Reprensentational image depitcting a mine worker toiling to mine cryptocurrency
(Image credit: Yevhen Vitte / Shutterstock)

Intel has offered a closer look at its new range of specialized Bitcoin mining processors.

First unveiled earlier this month, Intel's first-generation Bonanza Mine (BM) chip, BMZ1, was the subject of an in-depth presentation at semiconductor conference ISSCC 2022.

At the show, Intel revealed that each BMZ1 die measures 4.14 x 3.42mm and houses 258 mining engines operating at an “ultra-low” 355mV voltage. These tiny chips are each said to soak up 7.5W of power and reach up to 137GHash/s.

The firm says it can pack 300 BMZ1 chips into a 3,600W ASIC miner capable of achieving a respectable performance of roughly 40THash/sec. The system can also be set to operate under different performance profiles, which yield different levels of energy efficiency.

Intel enters the Bitcoin game

Although the creator of Bitcoin originally envisioned that mining would take place on standard desktop CPUs, it quickly became clear there were more effective and efficient ways to mine. Today, all professional mining operations rely on ASIC devices, powered by chips built specifically to compute the SHA-256 hashing algorithm on which Bitcoin is based.

The market for ASIC machines is currently dominated by players such as Bitmain and MicroBT, but the emergence of specialized Intel silicon may throw a cat amongst the pigeons.

Although Intel focused exclusively on BMZ1 during its ISSCC presentation, the company has previously revealed that second-generation BMZ2 chips are already available to select customers, including BLOCK (née Square) and Argo Blockchain.

So while Intel’s 3,600W ASIC miner is some way off the performance of the best hardware from Bitmain (whose most performant miner achieves 140THash/s at 3010W), it’s possible the mysterious BMZ2 will be far more competitive.

Little is known about the company’s intended approach to bringing BM to market, but it is expected that Intel will sell the chips to third-parties who are developing their own custom mining systems. Equally, it’s possible Intel will choose to bring its own BM-powered mining systems to market as standalone products too.

Although the company’s mining chips remain shrouded in secrecy, the early promise shown by its first-generation ASICs and the formation of a dedicated internal team to support the endeavor suggests there is plenty more to come from Intel. 

Via Tom's Hardware

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.