What is the Antminer S15? (Specs & Competitors)
On the 8th November 2018, Bitmain released their next generation Bitcoin ASIC miners, the Antminer S15 and T15.
The Antminer S15, with 28TH/s at 1,596W or 17TH/s at 850W and a cost of $1,475, looks to be their main offering here. The T15 is a more toned down cheaper version (with 23TH/s at 1,541W or 20TH/s at 1,200W and a cost of $913). Below we analyse the Antminer S15's specs and compare it against competitors.
Controversies around Bitmain & Ebang
Before you consider buying any Bitcoin ASIC miner, it's good to be aware that in late 2018 there are lots of controversies surrounding ASIC manufacturers. On the 31st October 2018, CoinTelegraph shared an 'Unconfirmed Report' that Ebang, the manufacturer of the Ebit E11++ (a competitor to the upcoming Antminer S15), had to hault their IPO due to 'Illicit Finance Practices'. They also mention questionable practices by Bitmain, the manufacturer of the Antminer S15.
So take a good look at this article and make sure you trust whatever manufacturer you're buying your ASIC miner from. In a worst-case scenario, you may find your miner is never delivered.
High performance vs energy efficient
The Antminer S15 has two configurations, 'High Performance' and 'Energy Saver'. Each has a different hashpower and power usage. The important aspects here are the efficiency and the cost per 1TH/s in each configuration, which we can work out:
- Hashpower: 28TH/s
- Power usage: 1,596W (57W per 1TH/s)
- $53 per 1TH/s
- Hashpower: 17TH/s
- Power usage: 850W (50W per 1TH/s)
- $87 per 1TH/s
Antminer S15 vs competitors
The Antminer S15 would seem to be up against two main competitors, the Ebit E11++ and the Whatsminer M10S. There are other rigs available for mining Bitcoin from other companies, but these look to be most similar. Interestingly, Whatsminer for example looks to have engineers who used to work for Bitmain (this would explain how they were able to build such an efficient miner).
NOTE: Be aware that Bitcoin mining in general isn't really profitable in late 2018 for most people. You need very cheap electricity for it to be viable. So make sure you calculate the profitability with your available electricity cost before making a purchase. See our Bitcoin mining calculator for up-to-date profitability at a range of costs.
The specs of Antminer S15 competitors:
- Power usage: 1,980W (45W per 1TH/s)
- Cost: $2,024 ($46 per 1TH/s)
- Hashpower: 44TH/s
- Delivery date: Jan 15th 2019 onwards
- Power usage: 3,500W (64W per 1TH/s)
- Cost: $2,900 ($53 per 1TH/s)
- Hashpower: 55TH/s
- Delivery date: Not announced yet.
There are 3 aspects of the Antminer S15 that should be compared to these competitors:
- Efficiency & Cost: In the Antminer S15's energy saver mode, it offers 50W per 1TH/s. Of its competitors, the Ebit E11++ is most competitive here with 45W per 1TH/s. Also for the S15 this is at a cost of $87 per 1TH/s compared to the E11++'s $46 per 1TH/s. So yes the S15 isn't too far off in terms of efficiency, but the cost for that is much higher than the E11++. For users who have cheaper electricity this is less of a problem, where the S15 has a cost of $53 per 1TH/s in its high performance mode, which is the same as the Whatsminer M10S (although again the E11++ is only $46 per 1TH/s).
- Shipping time: In this area the Antminer S15 looks very promising, where the first batch looks to be shipping by December 20th-31st 2018. The Ebit E11++ in comparison doesn't ship until January 2018, so many people who want a miner ASAP might go for the S15.
Other factors to take into account
Although efficiency, cost and shipping times are all important factors when buying a Bitcoin ASIC, it's good to consider some other things too:
- Import costs: What many people are calling a 'Trade War' between the US and China has led to significant tarifs when importing ASIC miners from the China to the US, so if you live in the US make sure you take these into account (there seems to be as much as a 24% tariff).
- Built-in power supply: When buying an ASIC, typically you need to buy the power supply separately. When buying the Antminer S15 from Bitmain, it looks to come with a power supply included, so make sure you take this into account when comparing its cost against competitors.
- Long-term price/difficulty: If over the next 6 months Bitcoin mining profitability doesn't go up, the price for any Bitcoin ASIC will likely decrease. So if you have this opinion then it may be best to wait a few months before buying the S15 (where you'd later buy it from someone who could no longer mine it profitably). Equally though if Bitcoin mining profitability goes up over the coming months, its resale price could go up, so you need to spend some time researching this and decide for yourself.
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