In an effort to retain a small amount of the Bitcoin network’s hashrate I’ve added two new USB miners to my collection of Bitcoin ASICs. While Bitcoin mining is probably not the best investment you could make right now, it is still a fun hobby. The newest additions to my small collection are two Blue Fury USB miners with ASIC chips by manufacturer Bitfury. Here’s an overview of the Blue Furies and a guide on setting them up.
Ordering And Shipping
There are two variants of this USB ASIC available, the Blue Fury and the Red Fury. While there are some cosmetic differences between the two there is very little in the way of performance difference. These Bitcoin ASICs are only available through resellers. The ones I purchased were pre-orders from SSInc over in the Bitcointalk group buy sub forum, though SSInc also runs a web store. Some Bitfury ASIC products are also offered through Bitfury Strikes Back, though they don’t currently offer the Blue or Red Fury USB miners.
I pre ordered my Blue Furies in late September with an expected delivery date of the first week of October. Like most Bitcoin ASICs there were significant delays from the manufacturer which resulted in my miners not arriving until late late October. During that time the price of Bitcoin increased significantly, as did the network hash rate. This looks to have turned what could have been a break even investment into a bit of a loss, but such is the risk of pre ordering Bitcoin ASICs. The original price for these was 0.90 BTC, though that has dropped by quite a bit with resellers currently listing Red Furies for around 0.32 BTC.
A bit of compensation was given for the several week delay (0.05 BTC/Unit). To me this small gesture was enough to ensure that I will work with both the resellers and the manufacturers again in the future. The manufacturer gave a projected shipping date yet wasn’t able to meet it and thus compensated their customers. This is much, much more than has been done by many other Bitcoin ASIC manufacturers.
I’ve been hashing away with these two for a couple of weeks now without much problem. Setup was not as easy as some of the other ASICs that I’ve worked with. The drivers for Windows 7/8 had some issues but after some adjustments I managed to get them working. The advertised hashrate for these devices is 2.2-2.7 GH/s. However, many miners have reported wider ranges for their ASICs with actual performance as low as 1.8 GH/s. The two Blue Furies that I have running are currently hashing at 2.28 and 2.17 GH/s. I had hoped to hit the higher end of the range and was a bit disappointed with these numbers.
Setting up the Blue Furies can be a finicky, annoying, and somewhat lengthy process. In a world where most USB devices just work, Bitcoin ASICs are the exception. Most Bitcoin USB ASICs require special drivers that the user has to explicitly retrieve and install. Such is the case with the Blue Fury. Given that different operating systems and different configurations for the Blue Fury have presented their own problems, I’d ask that you check the BitcoinTalk support thread on the Blue Fury for troubleshooting information. What follows here is a guide for installing the drivers in order to get hashing on a Windows 7 computer.
While these may work in some desktop USB ports, you’re probably going to need a powered USB hub if you’re running several of miners. The Anker USB hub that I had been using to run my ASICMiner Block Erupters proved to be poorly spaced for these. The Blue Furies have a large heatsink that prevents them from being plugged into adjacent ports on this hub. I’d recommend getting a more widely spaced hub if possible.
- Download the drivers and BFGMiner from the following mediafire link, extract the files in the zip.
- Plug in your Blue Fury miners to your USB hub or USB ports.
- Navigate to Control Panel, then Hardware And Sound, then Devices And Printers.
- Right click on Bitfury BF1 USB Miner, left click Properties, left click the Hardware tab, then click Properties
- Left click on Change Settings, left flick the Driver tab, then the Update Driver button
- Select Browse My Computer for Driver Software, then click Let Me Pick From A List Of Device Drivers On My Computer, left click the Have Disk button.
- Select Browse and navigate to the folder we unzipped earlier (BFGMinerWin), select the file named BF1.ini.
- Press Install. A warning will likely appear saying that it is not signed, press ok (Note: If you get a permission denied message you may have to try another version of the drivers. Check the BitcoinTalk Blue Fury Support Thread for details).
- Once the drivers have successfully been installed navigate to the folder we unzipped, BFGMiner, then BFGMiner32, then locate the #MINE file and edit it with your specific pool settings.
- Double click on the MINE.bat file to start mining.
I was only able to successfully get these mining after tinkering with settings and configurations for awhile. At the moment I’m mining with a Butterfly Labs Jalapeno, 8 ASICMiner Block Erupters, and two Bitfury Blue Furies on my Windows 7 test machine. In order to get this to work I first had to get my instance of BFGMiner for the Blue Furies running (which also controls my Jalapeno), then open a separate instance of BFGMiner to run my ASICMiner Block Erupters. While it works for now I’ll be searching for a more elegant solution. If at all possible I’d suggest running your mining equipment on a Linux machine.
Note that you also need to use an updated/recent version of BFGMiner (or possibly CGMiner) in order to run these. They are not compatible with older versions of these Bitcoin mining programs.
Overall I’d say the Blue Furies were able to roughly meet their advertised specifications. On the one hand I’m happy to have increased my hash rate and retained a small slice of the Bitcoin network. On the other hand my experience with the Blue Fury was one of delay and muted excitement. The Blue Furies do seem to have advantages over some Bitcoin ASICs. For instance, they are more compact, less noisy and consume less power overall than say a Butterfly Labs Jalapeno.
The bottom line is that the Blue Fury is a somewhat overpriced and difficult to run USB ASIC miner that is unlikely to give you a return on your investment. For that reason, I have to suggest looking elsewhere for hashing power (unless of course the price of these drops considerably). At the moment the ASICMiner Cube looks promising with a price around 1.75 BTC for 30-38 GH/s.