What exactly is an ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit)? An ASIC (as opposed to an ordinary circuit board) is a specialized device specifically made for a single purpose, i.e. to perform the work defined by software. In the currency exchange space, an ASIC is capable of implementing certain hash algorithms (e.g. SHA- 256 on Bitcoin and Equihash on Zcash) thanks to its high capacity custom chip fabrication.
So how did we come to this decision? As we all know, the current generation of computers is comprised of numerous different components. Many times, these different components don’t communicate with each other efficiently. For example, a CPU may communicate with an ISA bus, but the buses often fail to communicate with each other. If two parts fail to communicate with each other, the computer may still be functional, but won’t be as efficient as it could have been if each component had been communicating with the others properly. This is where we use an algorithm called an ISA cache to push requests to the right hardware in order to achieve the best possible hash rate, and consequently, the most efficient computing device.
We mentioned in our previous article that new applications and technologies are always being developed for general use. One such technology is the ASIC. The ASIC is a generic, high-speed implementation of the ISA cache design, which allows a typical computer to utilize its full ISA bus speed without having to sacrifice any of the benefits provided by an ISA-based chip. It is clear that an increasing number of companies in the mining industry are using an ASIC for increasing hash rates and/or energy efficiency.