Die Rechenpower, die derzeit für Bitcoin-Mining draufgeht, verschlingt derzeit rund 982 Megawatt – mehr oder weniger ein halber Large Hadron Collider. Gizmodo hat sich die Mining-Hardware angesehen und mal abgesehen davon, dass Bitcoins nicht so richtig umweltverträglich sind: Das hier ist purer Hardware-Porn.
An average CPU can run four instructions per clock cycle, and offer a few thousand to a few million hashes per second. This was never exactly great, but a few years ago it was enough for a low-rent mining operation. But then miners discovered that they could use their GPU instead, which can 3,200 instructions per cycle. […]
And because mining is a repetitive task better suited to muscle than smarts, miners suddenly found themselves with an 800-fold increase in hashing power on their hands. Before long, the number of GPU mining rigs—combined with Bitcoin's regulatory difficulties—made massive amounts of power not just an advantage, but table stakes.
The jump from GPU rigs to FPGAs didn't bring on a power-increase of multiple orders of magnitude, in the way the jump from CPU to GPU had. It did, however, provide a modest power bump, and actually reduced the amount of electricity necessary to get competitive hash-rates. But perhaps most importantly, FPGAs servered as a final vaulting point into the next—and final—massive revolution in Bitcoin machinery: truly specialized hardware.