The Antminer S9 by Bitmain was first announced in 2016 and then was later released to the public in mid-2017. It has been 1-2 years since the first Antminer S9 started mining on the Bitcoin network. Is it still worth it now, or are there better alternatives?

Profitability

When buying new hardware, most miners only care about one thing, which is if it will be profitable. But there are several factors to consider when calculating profitability.

First of all, the bitcoin network difficulty (or competition) has increased by orders of magnitude in the last couple of years when it was under 1 Exahash/sec. The hashrate is now over 7 Exahash/sec and continuing to climb.

Screen-Shot-2018-10-22-at-10.41.20-AM

Source: https://www.blockchain.com/charts/difficulty?timespan=2years

This may seem like buying new mining hardware is now a terrible idea, but there are other factors that offset this increased competition. Another major factor is the price of bitcoin, which has seem to gone up in correlation with the network hashrate. This means that although your mining pool will pay out less BTC to you because of a larger amount of miners, the BTC will be worth more when converted to your local currency, such as USD.

The easiest way to calculate your profitability is to use an online profitiablity calculator which will automatically take all factors into consideration and give you a simple result.

https://www.coinwarz.com/calculators/bitcoin-mining-calculator

It is also worth calculating Bitcoin Cash profitiablity since it uses the same mining algorithim as Bitcoin and is compatible with the Antminer S9.

https://www.coinwarz.com/calculators/bitcoincash-mining-calculator

Price

The Antminer S9 currently sells new on Amazon in the $500 - $700 range. When looking at Bitmain's website however, you can notice that they don't even sell the original S9 model anymore, but instead now have three new models.

The "Antminer S9i" - $341
The "Antminer S9j" - $326
The "Antminer S9 Hydro" - $689

New Models

Antminer S9i

The Antminer S9i has identical hardware to the original S9, except now it has optimized software and increased efficency to help you save around 20W total in electricity.

Antminer S9j

The Antminer S9j seems to have similar or the same hardware as the S9i or S9j, but has tweaked frequency in order to give you a slightly better hash rate at 14.5 Th/s as opposed to 14 Th/s. The power efficency is also slightly better.

Antminer S9 Hydro

The Antminer S9 hydro has similar hardware to the other S9's, but is more powerful at 18 Th/s. The main selling point of this version however, is that it is water cooled instead of using fans. This offers many advantages, such as lower internal temperature, noise reduction and lower maintenance because you don't have to worry about dust getting into the system. If this is worth the extra cost is dependant on your particular situation.

Alternatives Compared

DragonMint 16T

Hashpower: 16 TH/s
Cost: $1595

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 0.84
Equivalent power: 1012W
Equivalent cost: $1340

Ebit E9+

Hashpower: 9 TH/s
Cost: $2480

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 1.5
Equivalent power: 1958W
Equivalent cost: $3720

Ebit E9++

Hashpower: 14 TH/s
Cost: $3880

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 0.96
Equivalent power: 1215W
Equivalent cost: $3725

Ebit E10

Hashpower: 18 TH/s
Cost: $5230

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 0.75
Equivalent power: 1215W
Equivalent cost: $3923

WhatsMiner M3.11.X

Hashpower: 12.5 TH/s
Cost: $1899

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 1.08
Equivalent power: 2268W
Equivalent cost: $2051

Antminer R4

Hashpower: 8.7 TH/s
Cost: $1132

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 1.55
Equivalent power: 1310W
Equivalent cost: $1755

Antminer S7

Hashpower: 4.73 TH/s
Cost: $440

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 2.85
Equivalent power: 3705W
Equivalent cost: $1254

AvalonMiner 741

Hashpower: 7.3 TH/s
Cost: $1200

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 1.85
Equivalent power: 2128W
Equivalent cost: $2220

Avalon 6

Hashpower: 3.5 TH/s
Cost: $579

Units per 13.5 TH/s: 3.86
Equivalent power: 4246W
Equivalent cost: $2235

Conclusion

If you are dead set on getting an Antminer model, then you should be deciding between the S9j and the S9 Hydro. If you are a hobbyist, then you can't go wrong with the S9j. If you are running a large mining operation, then it might be worth it to go with the S9 Hydro as the watercooling will make day to day tasks much easier.

Overall, any Antminer S9 model is still very much worth it in 2018, because you will not get as much value with your money if you decide to purchase an alternative.