The Antminer U2 from Bitmain is the latest version of the diminutive miner which works on SHA256 cryptocoins. More commonly referred to as an ASIC miner, the U2 draws very little power and requires very little setup to mine happily along at 2 GH/s. Probably the biggest question on everyone’s mind though is, is it worth the price tag? The answer to that question is very much dependent on the reasons you want to buy one and your comfort level on return on investment. Retailing for somewhere between $23.50 – $49.99 on Amazon the payback rate does not seem as though it would ever come around especially with the current difficulty rating (5,006,860,589.2054 at time of writing). According to coinwarz.com calculations it looks like the payback is around $0.10 per day. At this rate, the device would pay for itself in 235 days. So the return on investment is there assuming the difficulty does not change in the next 6 months – something we know for certain will.
SETUP – WINDOWS
The device is very easy to setup but the lack of overall instructions is quite scary. According to various sources, you need to follow the following steps:
1. Plug in the Antminer U2 into a free USB slot that provides 500mha (so if you have a hub it’s going to need to be powered and provide that to each port)
2. If you are running windows you are going to need to download a driver to use. This guide assumes the usage of BFGMiner so if you’re not using this miner you are on your own. The driver recommended is http://www.silabs.com/Support%20Documents/Software/CP210x_VCP_Windows.zip
3. Unzip the folder and install either the 64bit or 32bit version depending on your version.
4. Download BFGMiner http://bfgminer.org/
5. Unzip the BFGMiner into a directory of your choosing
6. Create a new BAT file using the following line:
a. bfgminer.exe –set-device antminer:clock=x0781 -o [INSERT POOL HERE] -u USERNAME_WORKER -p PASSWORD -S antminer:all
7. You can customize the clock speed using the following guide:
a. 0581 =1.2GH/s
b. 0681 =1.4GH/s
c. 0781 =1.6GH/s
d. 0881 =1.8GH/s
e. 0981 =2.0GH/s
f. 0A81 =2.2GH/s
So far our little Antminer has been going now for about a week straight and the results are just fine for what we thought they would be. We tried mining on a couple of the pool switchers but the payouts never really materialized. When we settled on a single mining pool of BTC, a consistent payout started to materialize although it wasn’t something to start drooling over.
The Antminer U2 provides a really easy, really accessible way to get your feet wet in the Bitcoin or cryptocoin world but it certainly isn’t going to make anyone rich. By all means grab one, have some fun and see where it takes you. Just know it isn’t taking you to the moon. The U2 is different from the U1 as it comes with a higher clock speed and built in heat sync making it seem much more durable and longer lasting. So have at it!