Monday, July 14, 2014

GAW Miners Black Widow [Review]

The Black Widow is GAW Miners’ mid-range scrypt coin miner. It’s been shipping for about 8 weeks, and the price has been falling almost as fast as alt-coin difficulty levels rise. Will it at least pay for itself or is it to be avoided? Here's a quick look.

The Black Widow is a 13 Mh/s ASIC based scrypt miner. The unit is made up of a thin aluminum shell that houses the two main circuit boards, a smaller USB board, a 120mm fan, and two large heatsinks that form the backbone of the device. The case is designed with tabs and slots along the edges so that multiple units can be stacked together.

Each of the main circuit boards holds 32 Zeus Integrated Systems scrypt ASICs for a total of 64 chips. The boards are chained together with the USB interface at the head. Everything is powered through two, 8-pin, MiniFit Jr. connectors that GAW warns should only be connected with 6-pin PCIe connectors from the user supplied ATX power supply.

The Black Widow comes with a zenMiner zenController making the setup quick and easy. zenMiner works very well but experienced users might end up using the zenController, as the Raspberry Pi that it is, with the lasted builds of cgminer or BFGminer. Getting the miner set up takes less than 10 minutes and zenMiner is a big part of that. Rolling your own controller can take a little longer depending on how practiced you are.

Once the miner is up and running, it works relentlessly, all day and all night, turning electricity into cryptocoins. After weeks of hashing, the Black Widow has been 100% reliable and stable. With a Corsair RM1000 ATX power supply, it draws 232 watts from the wall at idle and 484 watts when hashing.

The fan moves copious amounts of air and is quite loud at just over 70db. According to Wikipedia, 70db is the same as a noisy office or a vacuum cleaner. I don’t think the Black Widow is quite as loud as most of the vacuum cleaners I've heard, but it’s pretty noisy.

Whether the Black Widow, or any mining hardware, is going to have you swimming it coins or drowning in buyers regret is a personal question. It depends on stuff like the cost of electricity, the rate at which the hashing difficulty rises, how much new hardware is getting brought online, etc. Every miner needs to figure that out for themselves. Little miners like the GAW Miners Fury are nothing more than novelties on an individual basis, but the Black Widow is the first step to real hashing power, and it delivers in a steady and stable way. It don’t think it will let you down, mine hasn't.


Power Consumption: 484 watts
Dimensions: 260mm x 150mm x 170mm
Hash Rate: advertised = 13+ Mh/s, mining software (cgminer 4.3.5b4) = 15 Mh/s, poolside = ~13 Mh/s
Reject Rate: ~1.8%
Hardware Errors: ~10%
Noise Level: 70db

1 comment:

  1. way way too much power for 13MH/s ... you losing money on power.