Unimpressed By Avalon Bitcoin Miner

It’s been all over the Bitcoin blogosphere lately: Avalon has shipped their first ASIC processors and Jeff Garzik has plugged in the very first rig and verified it hashes at (and even a little above) the advertised rate.I should probably be a lot more excited by this, but for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on I’m just not.

Maybe it’s the prospect of smaller sleeker ASICs that use less power and put out less noise and heat just around the corner. Maybe it’s Avalon’s relatively tiny batch size of 300 rigs at a time - barely enough to even double the difficulty.

Maybe it’s that the thing just looks and feels way too much like my big ugly GPU rigs that had my wife on the verge of tears more than once. Maybe it’s all of the above, but I just can’t get excited about Avalon’s ASIC rig.Don’t get me wrong, it’s revolutionary - 60GH/s for $1,200 is amazing even if it is the size of a desktop computer (and equally power-hungry and expensive to ship) and it’s no small feat of engineering;

I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to engineer my own ASIC. I’m not bitter for having backed the “wrong horse” either - I’ve got units on order from BFL, but at present Avalon only looks to have cut my profits in half, which is substantial but not enough for me to cry over.As shallow as it may seem, I think I’m having such a hard time getting excited because the Avalon rig doesn’t really feel like a finished project.

There’s nothing functionally wrong with a sheet metal case and ASIC modules stacked in rows like GPUs - I’d be thrilled if someone slapped some ASICs onto PCIe cards so I could get some use out of my old GPU rigs again - but it doesn’t seem like a professionally made product to me.

It’s probably not reasonable of me to feel this way either, and I’m honestly quite surprised by my own thoughts on the matter - I’ve always been one of those build-your-own-PC types who has never cared how beige the box was as long as there was good stuff in it… Maybe the universe is telling me I should go buy a Mac?