At it’s inception in 2009 Bitcoin could be mined on any computer. Years later it became possible to mine much faster using PC video cards, the kind for super realistic 3D gaming. In 2013 came ASIC, which is a single-purpose chip designed only for the purpose of mining Bitcoin. With each step forward in technology the old ways of mining become obsolete.
“The Avalon chip was the first application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designed for bitcoin mining to hit the market, or the process by which new transaction blocks are created on the bitcoin network. Canaan Creative was founded in 2012, releasing its first Avalon chip the following year.”[Link]
There is a 7nm (nano meter) Bitcoin ASIC chip being developed by a company in Japan called GMO which is four times as efficient than the current 16nm technology. That product is expected to launch next year and will represent a major leap forward for Bitcoin. (Japan has been extremely progressive in adopting cryptocurrencies.) There are at least two more generations of ASIC technology to come, in 5nm and 3.5 form factor, according to GMO.
The most popular 16nm ASIC Bitcoin miner at present is the Antminer S9 (pictured) made by Bitmain in Hong Kong. It weighs 10 lbs., is a little bigger than a shoe-box, consumes nearly 1500 watts of electricity and makes as much heat as a space heater. The noise of the cooling fans is very loud, although the computer itself has no moving parts. Cost with power supply: ~CA$2500
Between the power and the noise, running an ASIC datacenter in a residential or even light industrial setting is not advisable. A Canadian hosting company put an ASIC datacenter in a residential neighbourhood in Labrador and received noise complaints from the neighbours. The minimum power requirements for this plan to work is institution scale: one to five megawatts.