In an email sent out today to former and current Butterfly Labs customers, BFL publicized their newest update on their Monarch line of 600 GH/s PCI-e 1x cards. Unlike their handling of their first batch of Bitcoin ASIC Miners, BFL has decided to couple this bad news with some good news. The two biggest announcements are drastically improved power consumption, and of course the two “two week delays.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote about CoinTerra’s new GSX I PCI-e Bitcoin ASIC, claiming that it was CoinTerra’s response to the BFL Monarch. Well, clearly Butterfly Labs has responded.
The Bad News
When Josh Zerlan originally posted the update to BFL forums on 3/5/2014, he announced that there was an issue with the chips that would take 5 weeks to remedy. The issue is in the top metal layer in the multi-layered ASIC chip that is the core part of the BFL Monarch. This time around, BFL has presented the issue as soon as it appeared and coupled it with a stomach-able solution.
While BFL and their Bitcoin ASIC mining competition are still trying to get the most out of the 28nm ASIC chips they’ve designed, KNC has announced more progress on their 20nm chips.
The Good News
BFL has always had a lead on the competition in W/GH and many were very skeptical about the promised W/GH ratings promised by BFL when they first announced their Monarch product line back at the end of 2013. However, from the testing on their prototypes, they seem to have realized their promised W/GH figure and exceeded it by 20%. 0.45 W/GH makes BFL’s offering twice as power efficient as all of their 28nm competition. It seems that BFL’s long employ of Bitcoin mining versed engineers has paid off.
To take the sting away from another month of delays, BFL is offering full refunds and “delay compensation.” Depending on exactly when you placed your order, you will receive a six month refund guarantee (in USD) or double the hardware ordered. Also, all customers that bought the Monarch before the price decrease at the end of November are receiving a free upgrade to an Imperial Monarch, which is an upgraded 1/TH card, albeit with a +/- 20% variance.
In the email update to its customers, BFL also included an update on BitSafe. BitSafe is BFL’s answer to the issue of physical Bitcoin Wallet security. At this point in time, they are not taking pre orders and are still working out kinks in their third revision of the prototype before mass production begins. BFL has been working on this BitSafe for over a year and has even stated that they might scrap preorders for this product all together and just go with stock sales. Trezor wallets still have not shipped and Bitcoiners are still at the edge of their seats waiting for an affordable and user-friendly physical Bitcoin wallet. For more information on the BitSafe Bitcoin Hardware Wallet, please visit BFL’s website.