Intel Blockchain Accelerator was the first custom chip from a company designed for crypto mining. Intel claims that the custom chip it developed can deliver 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs on tasks such as SHA-256 based mining. The company will share more information on the Intel blockchain accelerator chip at the upcoming Solid-State Circuit Conference (ISSCC).
Note that SHA-256 based mining does not take place on user-grade GPUs, but instead is used on ASICs (custom-made chips) specifically designed to dig into specific cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum use different mining techniques. This means that the upcoming Intel blockchain accelerator chip may not be able to mine some trending cryptocurrencies.
One of the major problems with current ASICs is the fact that mining and Intel seem to be solving a specific problem with their upcoming custom chip for blockchain-specific applications. Argo Blockchain, BLOCK (formerly known as Square) and GRIID Infrastructure are the first set of customers for their upcoming blockchain accelerator chip.
The Intel blockchain accelerator chip will be shipped later this year and Intel will send it to partner brands that share the same sustainability goals as Intel. Intel claims that these chips are designed to address energy consumption through mining, and that consumers are asking Intel for “scalable and sustainable solutions” to replace conventional mining GPUs with custom-made blockchain accelerated chips.
Intel has set up a new internal unit called Custom Compute Group in Intel’s Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business. The team works on the design and development of adaptive chips that can handle the workload, such as blockchains and other fast supercomputing opportunities.
Intel has confirmed that the blockchain accelerator chip was implemented on a small piece of silicon that did not affect the production of mainstream computer processors such as CPUs and GPUs. The company is said to have spent more than a decade developing a custom blockchain accelerator chip using “reliable cryptography, hashing techniques and ultra-low voltage circuits”.
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