What if you made money just by heating up? And if instead of mounting a “rig” of graphics cards in your cellar to undermine Ethereum, you only had to mount a little thermostat? These promises of Qarnot Computing’s QC-1 radiator might seem too good to be true. And yet, Qarnot’s approach is far from far-fetched, because it starts from an obvious observation: computer components produce heat when they are very stressed. And can, therefore, act as a heating resistor.
But unlike a banal resistance that only transforms electrical energy into heat energy that goes “in smoke“, processors can use this electricity to perform complex tasks and potentially rewarding. The simplest to understand and set up for individuals: the mining of cryptocurrencies.
For these intensive parallel computing operations, Qarnot has put aside the CPUs it uses in its professional models (see below) and turned to graphics chips, the GPUs. At the heart of the QC1 radiator, two AMD Radeon RX580 GPUs each supported by 8GB of GDDR5, chips very popular with professional miners. Everything is controlled again by an AMD chip, a x86 A6 9500E CPU that drives Linux integrated into the radiator. The combined power of the two graphics processors can calculate from 12 MH / s to 60 MH / speak (mega hash per second, ie 60 million tests of combinations per second).
Bitcoin mining point on the program, now so rare (and expensive) that it requires real mining farms. At launch, the QC1 will mine Ethereum, Z-Cash or Monero automatically, ” according to the most interesting exchange rates of the moment “, explains Clément Pellegrini technical director. And if you want to take hold of the beast, free to you. Not only in the choice of the currency, but also in the uses, because Qarnot will open the APIs of its radiator by publishing the code on Github.
The QC1 only communicates with the internet via a CPL or RJ45, to avoid attracting a hacker neighbor too enterprising with Wi-FI. On the software side, Qarnot claims to have shielded its GNU / Linux system to the maximum and does not support the management of wallets of different cryptocurrencies: you enter the address of your wallet (your public key) and QC1 will mine on behalf of this key without intermediary from Qarnot. What you mine belongs to you.
As for heating performance, the QC-1 produces up to 650 W, enough to heat a room of 25 m².
Potential gain of 1000 USD / year per radiator
Heating itself by mining theoretically allows a return on investment, Return that Qarnot estimates at “1200 € per year at the current price * of Etherum “. Asked about the cost of electricity consumption, Qarnot believes that these gains are attainable with a consumption of 400 € of electricity. In the end, such a radiator would be able to earn 800 € per year.
A nice sum? Certainly, but we must take into account, in addition to the volatility of cryptocurrencies and the heap of uncertainties that surround them, the high price of QC1: 2900 euros. It would take 3 years and a half to depreciate the machine. ” We looked at the market of luxury radiators (conventional, NDR) and some models reach 7000 euros. Our solution is high-end because it is our positioning, but it is not expensive compared to what we could see next, “says Miroslav Sviezeny, co-founder of Qarnot Computing.
A wider future than cryptocurrencies
Qarnot Computing already has a great experience in the field of processor-based heat generation and in the rental of the computing power of radiators. Three CPU-based references have been released since 2013, but they were reserved for institutional and professional users. The QC1 is the first consumer product of the company in Montrouge which ended up launching because of strong demand.
” We are constantly contacted by individuals, but we still could not work with them since our previous models of radiators were designed in clusters on which we must have some degree of control in the deployment, ” says Miroslav Sviezeny. ” With QC1 we are offering for the first time a consumer product that you can buy online. ”
The idea of QC1 came to CES 2018 last January and it took Qarnot only two months of development to announce the launch of its product, which will be made on demand and available from June. Qarnot Computing expects a few hundred pieces for the year 2018. And even if these sales remain confidential at first, the concept even to the future.
” At first, we focused on cryptocurrencies to explain the product in a simple way,” explains Miroslav Sviezeny. But we can imagine a lot of other applications with this computing power. Possible tracks include 3D rendering, 4K video editing, accelerating scientific calculations, and more. And with the internet connection, the ability to rent computing power to a third party to pay the heating bill.