For any miner, the lifetime of an ASIC mining machine is one of the most important considerations. Mining demands a lot of ASIC machines, but high-quality models are built to withstand relentless hashing. Still, many miners opt to push their machines to the limit for maximum output, which can cut short a machine’s lifespan.
Good machines operating in well-managed facilities can last for many years. Three to five years is typically a machine’s average lifespan, although even longer periods aren’t unheard of. Newer models are expected to have at least five-year lifespans.
For example, it’s not uncommon for mining farms to still have Antminer S9 models online, which originally launched in 2016. Other quality machines like the Antminer S19, Whatsminer M20, and Whatsminer M30 are expected to easily last several years if operated in a good facility, although some of these models are only a few years old.
If an ASIC is consistently overclocked, poorly maintained, or housed in unfavorable conditions, however, its lifespan can be as short as a few months. Some examples of facility features that can harm machines:
- Poor ventilation or cooling
- Extreme temperatures
- Irregular monitoring or maintenance
Consider this example of self-evidently poorly protected machines. Lifespans of several years are unlikely for these ASICs.
A machine’s raw hashing power isn’t the only consideration. Some ASIC models are taken offline depending on their profitability, which can vary with Bitcoin’s difficulty and price. Higher price levels will often prompt less-efficient, typically older ASIC models to be brought back online, while lower price levels or significant increases in mining difficulty can have the opposite effect.