Intel's New Blockscale ASIC Boasts 580GH/s Hash Rate And No Impact To CPU Or GPU Supply
Intel is obviously best known to consumers for its x86 processors, but it's far from a one trick pony in the silicon space. Edge-centric FPGAs, networking solutions, and a host of other hardware and services all fall squarely into Intel's manufacturing and development purview. You can include blockchain technology into the fold as well. As it pertains to blockchain, Intel today unveiled its new Blockscale ASIC with a huge hash rate for proof-of-work consensus networks.
The foray into blockchain is a more recent endeavor on Intel's part. Just as Intel is getting into discrete GPUs because it represents a massive market opportunity, blockchain is a big business opportunity as well.
"Momentum around blockchain continues to build. It is the enabler of decentralized and distributed computing, making way for innovative business models. To power this new era of computing, Intel is delivering solutions that can offer an optimal balance of hashing throughput and energy efficiency regardless of a customer’s operating environment," said Balaji Kanigicherla, Intel vice president and general manager of Custom Compute in the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group
While the move into ASIC mining territory is a new one, Kanigicherla points that Intel has decades of research and development into related technologies, including cryptography, hashing techniques, and ultra-low voltage circuits.
Intel's aiming to make a big splash by offering a powerful solution in a more energy efficient manner. What's on tap is a dedicated Secure Hash Algorithm-256 (SHA-256) ASIC processor that is capable of up to a 580 GH/s hash rate at up to 26 J/TH power efficiency. It features support for up to 256 integrated circuits per chain, and both on-chip temperature and voltage sensing capabilities.
"Intel is committed to advancing blockchain technology in a responsible way, and we’re proud to collaborate with and provide solutions to companies that are creating a more sustainable cryptocurrency ecosystem globally. The Intel Blockscale ASIC is going to play a major role in helping bitcoin mining companies achieve both sustainability and hash rate scaling objectives in the years ahead," said Jose Rios, general manager of Blockchain and Business Solutions in the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group at Intel.
Just last month, the chip maker talked about how it is ready to "usher in the metaverse and Web 3.0" by embracing blockchain, with a "roadmap of energy efficient accelerators." This introductory effort is claimed to offer over 1,000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining.
Intel is also doubling down on its claim that it can supply mining ASICs in volume without affecting the supply of new CPUs or GPUs. We'll see if that holds true—separately, Intel stated it expects to ship more than 4 million discrete Arc Alchemist GPUs by the of this year.
We shouldn't have to wait long to find out, as Intel will begin shipping its Blockscale ASIC to customers in the third quarter of 2022.