As reported a few days back, Intel is working on “ultra-low” power Bitcoin mining chips (ASICs), set to be unveiled at the ISSCC conference in late February. These specialized mining processors will have a TDP of just 2.5W, with a hash rate of 137GH, resulting in a mining efficiency of 18.2 W/TH. This puts the BZM1 chip next to next against Bitmain’s S19j XP mining chip in terms of efficiency despite being fabbed on Intel’s 7nm node (vs TSMC N5 for the Bitmain SKU). I’m guessing that Intel will be shipping these to select clients in high volumes, thereby offsetting the lower profit margins.
Details regarding the higher-end BZM2 chip are largely murky at this point. The only data point is with respect to the process node (TSMC N5), and that too isn’t based on solid info. Intel has been making “ASIC” mining chips for quite some time now, but most of them have been manufactured using legacy process nodes, most notable the 14nm-class processes.
A new line of Bitcoin ASICs based on cutting-edge nodes means that Intel is getting serious about the cryptomining market, right as it enters the discrete GPU market. For now, the chipmaker’s mining chips aren’t based on GPGPU architectures, but it’s only a matter of time we see miner-centric GPUs based on the Xe graphics architecture.