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Samsung Made a Bitcoin Mining Rig Out of 40 Old Galaxy S5s ( 73

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Samsung is starting a new "Upcycling" initiative that is designed to turn old smartphones and turn them into something brand new. Behold, for example, this bitcoin mining rig, made out of 40 old Galaxy S5 devices, which runs on a new operating system Samsung has developed for its upcycling initiative. Samsung premiered this rig, and a bunch of other cool uses for old phones, at its recent developer's conference in San Francisco. Upcycling involves repurposing old devices instead of breaking them down for parts of reselling them. The people at Samsung's C-Lab -- an engineering team dedicated to creative projects -- showed off old Galaxy phones and assorted tablets stripped of Android software and repurposed into a variety of different objects. The team hooked 40 old Galaxy S5's together to make a bitcoin mining rig, repurposed an old Galaxy tablet into a ubuntu-powered laptop, used a Galaxy S3 to monitor a fishtank, and programed an old phone with facial recognition software to guard the entrance of a house in the form of an owl. Samsung declined to answer specific questions about the bitcoin mining rig, but an information sheet at the developer's conference noted that eight galaxy S5 devices can mine at a greater power efficiency than a standard desktop computer (not that too many people are mining bitcoin on their desktops these days).
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Samsung Made a Bitcoin Mining Rig Out of 40 Old Galaxy S5s

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  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @09:20AM (#55449571) Homepage Journal

    not that too many people are mining bitcoin on their desktops these days

    It seems the trend these days is to use someone else's.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28, 2017 @09:30AM (#55449593)

    not that too many people are mining bitcoin on their desktops these days

    not that too many people are knowingly mining bitcoin on their desktops these days

  • OMG! !It contains #blockchain!
    It must be #news!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these?

  • "not that too many people are mining bitcoin on their desktops these days"

    Um... you sure?
    NiceHash runs on two of my PCs right now... their main usage is not mining rigs, but they earn their keep while I'm not using them. Making about 6 bucks a day before electricity cost, using about 500W of power.
    Plenty other little fellas like me, making a buck.

    • "not that too many people are mining bitcoin on their desktops these days"

      Um... you sure?

      Pretty sure you're not mining bitcoin on your PC, but some other altcoin with a different hashing algorithm.

      • Re:wut (Score:4, Informative)

        by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @01:02PM (#55450181)

        Actually NiceHash mines whatever coin's more profitable at the moment and converts it automatically to BTC. It's all transparent to me.
        Of course, manually mining some more obscure coin and converting it exactly at the right time might prove maybe twice as profitable, but I value my own time more than the difference. Auto is good enough. I'm not doing this to become rich, and it's a long term investment. If BTC reaches very high values sometime down the road, I could become rich. If it crashes, it won't make me any poorer because the investments would have had written themselves off a long time ago.

  • I feel like the reuse for stuff like this is honestly better than trying to break them down for scrap. I'd be curious how easily the application could be repurposed for stuff like folding@home, seti@home, or other community distributed analysis efforts.

    Also curious how readily you could add different phones into the collective. Is it easy with just homogeny or could mix and match work just fine (even within just Samsung)?

  • Why not cure cancer instead?

  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @10:16AM (#55449687)

    The fire at Samsung's C-Lab was so intense, that witnesses stated the flames were turning white hot. No survivors have been found, and Captain Hazel "Hank" Murphy, who was not at the C-Lab at the time of the fire, says that he told the crew to not use all 40 at once.

  • Terrible idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MasseKid ( 1294554 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @10:19AM (#55449697)
    A fast CPU will generate ~0.25Mh/s. That CPU is approximately 40 times faster than an s5, so 0.00625 Mh/s. A typical ASIC box can generate 4.3Th/s. So That's 4,300GH/s or 4,300,000 Mh/s. So a single ASIC box, commercially available for less than a grand, can mine the same amount of coins per day as 688,000,000 galaxy s5s. Wikipedia say they sold 12 million galaxy s5's in the first 3 months. Let's assume that's 1/3rd the amount the ever made. That mean's a single ASIC (Antminer s7) can mine 19 times more a day than every samsung galaxy s5 in existence today. It'll do all that on 1600W, while the galaxy s5's at a very conservative 5w each, would require 3.4GW. For scale, the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona has three nuclear reactors and has the largest combined electricity generating capacity of nuclear reactors in the US at about 3.9 GW
  • Power efficiency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by etnoy ( 664495 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @10:23AM (#55449715) Homepage
    How many Mhash do we get per Joule of energy spent? If it can't compete with ASIC miners on this, there is absolutely no point in doing it (other than juicy Slashdot headlines, of course)
    • Does it really matter to compete with ASIC miners? That's like saying the #2 mining pool can't compete with the #1 mining pool so it's pointless and they should stop? What if all their phones are powered by solar panels?

    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      It's a proof of concept. There's arguably no point in mining bitcoin even with ASICs, but it works fine as an example of what upcycled phones can do. These are presumably a lot more flexible in their workload as well.
      • by etnoy ( 664495 )
        Well, I can mine Bitcoin on an old 286 if I wanted to, but why would I? Sure, proof of concept, but still.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So why don't they provide a tinkerers dev kit for everyone with old devices then? This is kind of rubbing our faces "in it", isn't it?

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @10:52AM (#55449797)

    repurposed an old Galaxy tablet into a ubuntu-powered laptop

    Why the fuck can't they make a normal Linux tablet from day one if they can repurpose an old one? What kind of idiocy is that?

    • Came to say this. It's really nice that they're finding uses for old devices but how about releasing the software and instructions so that everyone can do that?
    • I'd be happy if they would just make a video adapter for used phone displays so I could get 1080P video from a Raspberry Pi.

    • They can.
      But how would they make you install all their shovelware and buy things from their app store?
  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @11:33AM (#55449903)

    For once, reading TFA would have been useful to a lot of people here, including myself.

    There's a photo [] with a graph in it:

    Bitcoin mining cluster
    CPU mining comparison with desktop PC
    PC i7-2600, hash rate 20000, 95 watts
    Galaxy S5, hash rate 2600, 4 watts

    Power efficiency
    PC i7-2600, 211 Khash/watt
    Galaxy S5, 650 Khash/watt

    Can any of these compete with ASICs? No. But they can still participate in a pool.
    They could also mine something else like Dogecoin, Litecoin or Monero.

    • you forgot to compare with a graphics card.
  • I've been "upcycling" my SGS3 for years now using it as our family primary smart Music player in the living room. But this "upcycling" initiative really grids my gears, because Samsung has locked it's phones to ancient versions of Android, making them artificially obsolete and insecure. So on the one hand they're artificially making hardware obsolete, and on the other hand they're pushing their old hardware for stupid ideas like bitcoin mining. I know people that have a drawer of old smartphones and still w

    • I agree. I'm sure you're already aware, but for those that aren't, it's fairly simple to install a newer version of Android on a locked phone, though it will of course of the warranty.
  • Both Amazon Alexa and (soon) Google Home support video-capable devices and have opened up for the creation of third-party devices. The speakers aren't great in these devices, but they'd be a very cost-effective means of expanding Alexa and Google Home to other rooms.

    Of course, you won't get this from Samsung because it would compete with their own offerings.

  • Yes, of course, repurpose old HW, great idea, except that they are actually locked down specifically so that you can not repurpose them.

  • I've been trying to use old phones for various things, but run into problems with some of them. As in they won't power up without a battery installed, which eventually gets overcharged and blows up like a balloon. Anyway around that?
  • "Old phones?!?!"

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 featured in the story - It's still working well. It's 4G LTE, has a removeable battery and microSD card slot and takes great pictures. It's running Android 6.

    Why would I "upcycle" it? (Whatever that means.)
    • Don't you remember the old PSA slogan?

      "Reduce, upcycle, recycle!"

      Since apparently "reuse" is now remapped as "upcycle."

A transistor protected by a fast-acting fuse will protect the fuse by blowing first.