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I stumbled on this terms "ASIC" and " ASIC Miner", what does it means? Is this something related to special hardware?

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Why not just punch ASIC into your favorite search engine? –  David Schwartz Jul 7 '13 at 9:50
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about not directly related to bitcoin. –  Gopoi Jul 10 '13 at 0:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

ASIC or Application-specific integrated circuit is a type of circuit that has become very popular in the bitcoin mining community.

wikipedia defines it as

"An application-specific integrated circuit, or ASIC /ˈeɪsɪk/, is an integrated circuit (IC) customized for a particular use, rather than intended for general-purpose use."

Traditionally computer chips are made with variability of input in mind, meaning that a given chip should be able to do a wide range of things. Because bitcoin miners only ever use there chips for bitcoin mining, you can make chips that are really really fast if you make them solely with that purpose in mind.

This is how companies like butterfly labs can get such ridicules speeds of up to 500 GH/s!

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ASIC'S are application-specific integrated circuits, which speed up mining while being energy effecient. Some ASICS have speed capable of reaching 60GH/S (60 billion hashes per second) or more, which is over 1,200 times faster than the average computer. However, despite being energy effecient for it's speed, the fastest ones may use up a lot of power. Watch out for this when searching for bitcoin miners. There are lot of bitcoin miners out there, and there are plenty on eBay. Some can cost as much as your average laptop, others can cost as much as $10,000!

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