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281  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: August 03, 2015, 02:51:47 PM
All this talk here about fab'ing some GPL'ed Bitcoin calculation cores onto silicon, is it wrong to think maybe making a new post about making a Bitcoin calculation core from scratch?

Basically what I want to know is how a core works, what is required to make a core do its job, then go from there, making a prototype core (discrete logic), making a software version of it (programmable logic) etc, etc.  I'm probably using the wrong words for this, but I know what I mean Tongue

My intention is to create a new thread in the not so distant future.
I'll also be soliciting for moderators as I'm a F'ing newb at that too.

I'm a newb at fabbing chips, but have a strong desire to know/learn all the aspects ("inquiring minds wanna' know").
But I would not want to become a hindrance to the very gifted, brilliant, and accomplished folks that lurk in these here waters.

In the organization model I'll be proposing, a shareholder may raise a referendum to be included in the design team (or any other team for that matter).
Then all the shareholders vote that referendum up or down (I assume shareholders will vote based on the merit of their referendum).

With regard to the discussion that the design team has ongoing, I envision that will be a separate thread.
So that anyone (whether they are on the design team or not, a shareholder or not) may contribute to the "brain working" and/or learn the process.

This participation would only be limited by shareholder determined IP restrictions.
In other words, if the shareholders were to ratify a referendum that restricted the release of information regarding a design, for say patent/IP reasons, then those particular aspects of the design would be withheld.

Speaking of a new thread and parameters thereof; the entity will need a name.
My input would be "Alliance Chip & Circuit Design (ACCD)"

Suggestions? Thoughts? Inputs?

Thanks guys/gals.
282  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: August 02, 2015, 08:09:28 PM
The problem with carry-on is it's usually limited in both weight and dimensions. We ordered a pick-and-place and a decent SMD oven; the shipped dimensions we were given are about a cubic meter and 300lb. Another problem is paying for round-trip airfare and other transportation costs. I think you overestimate the funding we have available.

IMHO, shipping, delivery costs, delivery delays, etc. are component costs of ownership and can be quantified. Just sayin', not criticizing, If I was ordering an expensive piece of mission critical equipment I would include a guaranteed delivery method in the total cost of ownership or elect a different avenue.

A long while back we ordered a butt load of miners from Bitmain and they got stuck in American customs cuz' the total declared value on the one business (versus personal) waybill exceeded $2500. It cost us extra money, days, duty, and numerous phone calls to get UPS to interface with customs to get them released. The combined dollar value of payments to UPS, lost mining revenue, duty, and phone expense would have easily covered me hopping on a plane to China and couriering them back on the same flight, potentially as checked luggage. Since I have no desire to "tour" China we now ensure that each waybill exhibits a declared value of less than $2500. It was an expensive lesson regarding the various shipping options available and customs wrangling.

Am really sorry you're stuck learning this lesson, but imagine (as smart as you are) it won't bite ya' in the butt going forward.
283  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: August 02, 2015, 07:33:12 PM
Why not crowfunding?
We are designing a version of crowd funding that encompasses not only the financial side of it but also the control, ownership, and contribution components as well.

i mean.. why are "we" part of a community full of brilliant minds, a LOT of experience and strong will but "we" keep garage speaking?

i am pretty convinced that quite few lads could find interest into financing a proper project, with a defined target.
Honestly i am browsing a lot of pages lately looking for a product (or brand...) that could change the game, not being the most powerful or the cheapest to run only, but something that doesn't obey to the market laws imposed from the big 3 or 4 companies.

My observation as well.

Remember guys that you are buying used miners because nothing else is available, and falling into SCAMS because of wrong beliefs and misgiven TRUST.
The corporate design I will propose will eliminate the trust component/requirement and steer/guide the company in the communities desired direction.

If this project could count on 100000$ what could it become? and a million?
My estimates are to bring a chip to tapeout will cost a bargain basement 1-2 million.

Can there be a virtual table where everyone has the possibility to sit and contribute if he wants?
Yes, am working on that now.

IN MY OPINION everyone could contribute with something, having something in return.
There are business specialists... able to redact a serious business plan, economic plan...there are Sidehack and Novak (well.. we know what they are able of), there is people that can host machines, others able to ship them and other able to manage the economics.. or even print a 3D case......
My belief as well. This endeavor will require administration, finance, development, production, and PR teams/departments/divisions at the least.

Me?
I sent a Pm to Novak months ago, when the project was launched but still no hardware appeared, offering myself to help.
I am a construction site manager, so i don't pretend to be able to help with chip soldering or frequency testing, but I'D PREFER 1000 TIMES TO PARTECIPATE INTO A PROJECT WITH MONEY.
100$? 1000$? is it really important?
I'd rather prefer to put 1000$ in this project rathe then in a miner itself, or in your burger address.
Why? because IMO the burger address doesnt lead to what YOU forum members are posting in the last pages.. it leads to the GekkoScience USB miner, which is only the demonstration of what i said about "US".

All of the aforementioned teams/departments/divisions will need project management skills to stay on track. Much like the skill set a construction site manager uses only not with 2x4's, concrete, steel, etc. The things one is/are managing are different but the concepts are the same. And both subsets manage human capitol (probably the most important project asset).

Whould i expect a return from my investment? of course! like any other thing in this world. Maybe a miner, maybe a profit share, maybe nothing....

Nothing is an unacceptable compensation amount. As it relegates an individual's effort into the classification of hobby. Can't speak for everyone but my hobbies change, sometimes abruptly. My business and business interests span the test of time. If for no other reason than my obligations to others. Hobbies are self centered, obligations to communities (like companies, BTC community, etc.) are externally oriented.

I envision the compensation to manifest itself in the form of dividends, paid in fiat or BTC, with timing and in amounts determined by voting stakeholders. This timing and amounts may be proposed by any stakeholder at any time to be voted on by all stakeholders regardless of the quantity of ownership. i.e. every dollar contributed gets one vote.

If successful, I can envision a time where, for lack of better words, capital non-voting stock might be offered.

Now if I'm going to get this concept/proposal out in the next couple of days I need to get back to it. But thanks for the distraction, I needed it.

284  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: August 01, 2015, 05:19:51 AM
Wow, that's a lot to digest. It'll take me a few days to chew on all the references. But REALLY appreciate your taking the time to weed through stuff.
Obviously there are some road blocks. The real question looming in my mind is 1) Can this get done in time and 2) in the process of doing it will the entity be forced or coerced into falling into the big 4's business model by economic realities.

If it were easy to do, everybody would be doing it.
One thing that seriously hampers the big Bitcoin mining ASIC vendors is that all of them (thus far) are "pure plays," meaning they do Bitcoin mining ASICs and nothing else. The better strategy seems to be a "conglomerate" approach, where an organization that has other ASIC development program dedicates a fraction of available silicon real estate on their chips to the research/experimental versions of their hashing cores. This can allow them to have a couple of serious test runs for essentially free, provided that the design is intelligent.

The forum user helveticoin (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=profile;u=82676) did try doing the above "compound" chip over 2 years ago, but it had a fatal flaw: it was a full ARM SoC with Bitcoin hashers as additional peripherals. This is a very wrong way to do it, as the optimal operating points for the hashers are outside of the reliable operation zone for the SoC, therefore their design was seriously underperforming.

The intelligent way of doing a "compound" ASIC would be where the primary ASIC function of the chip has only common ground with the mining ASIC function of the chip. Therefore the chip is still commercially useable in their primary function with mining I/O pads declared as no-connect. At the same time it can serve as a mining ASIC testbed by doing the opposite: declaring the primary I/O pads as no-connects.

Bitcoin mining ASIC is not that difficult to do. The reason why hardly anyone is doing it is because of the personality issues and general instability of Bitcoin mining entrepreneurs. It is a subject for separate discussion, but many people in the Bitcoin milieu were seriously hampered by their peculiar outlook that is a MLM-like salesmanship mixed with religious-like fervor, kinda like a mixture of AmWay & Scientology. This was very repelling to many skilled professionals. Thus far only Spondoolies seem to be capable of not pigeonholing themselves into that niche.



Holy crap, are you sneaking around in my brain? Just kidding.

We actually were planning pretty much exactly what you're describing. Multiple circuit designs on the same die, so if one or more designs is FUBAR the run is not for naught. 2 of the designs I can talk about. The third is sooooooo patentable, sooooo simple, and will appeal to such a broad market that this simple concept will make everyone display the "wow I coulda' had a V8" look (in addition to being an interesting method of nonce selection).

So the 2 circuits I am willing to identify are the hash circuit and a simple (read inexpensive) USB 3.0 -> SPI/I2C version of the popular CP2102.

"The reason why hardly anyone is doing it is because of the personality issues and general instability of Bitcoin mining entrepreneurs."
Is an issue I noticed here years ago, "creative differences" or motivations. The technologically creative fight amongst themselves and all the techies fight with the business types (bean counters). Been there, done that, on both sides of the aisle. Additionally what I noticed was that the entities that have managed to survive (the current "big 4") have stable, albeit classic, business models (my second degree was in business admin). Over the last week I've been brain working on a model of an entity that "plays more fairly" with the creative geniuses, allows the "every man" to participate to their respective pain threshold, presents an attractive investment to VC's, can "shift gears" quickly, is totally transparent, and has the administrative and cash controls in place to protect all vested interests (be that IP or $$$).

Your input of the NDA's required by a foundry threw me for a loop, but I think I ironed that one out and the solution will be satisfactory to all concerned.

Currently am working on a document/Power Point Presentation that I'll make public for perusal and comment (which is solicited and desired). Should have it done sometime by the end of the first week in August. Undoubtedly, there'll be some tweaking (maybe major tweaking), but the current plan is to start the entity creation process end of the 2nd week of Aug and be formalized/created by the end of the third week. Sometime during August I'll quit cluttering up sidhack's thread, thanks bro', and if acceptable launch a new thread.

At this juncture I'd like to give a shout out to the sponsor of bitcointalk, PIA and thank them for allowing us to be here and participate.

sidehack - that tabletop PnP you ordered is SWEET!, now if the pricks would just get it to ya' . . . . . Might be worth it next time to take a brief vacation to China, bring it back as carry on luggage, and walk it through customs as a demo unit.

Gotta' run, more l8r.
285  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 31, 2015, 04:21:04 AM
In the Synopsys world of IP things these SHA-256 cells are a proven item down to 14nm. I assume that they have taken that into account (... noise margins for each gate/transistor).
Oh, for sure not. "Proven" means "works correctly", not "works efficiently". The Intellectual Property blocks are sold as encrypted https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register-transfer_level sub-circuits, that completely rely on the underlying implementation technology giving correct results.

This is the essence of digital design workflow: the assumption than the errors/faults are vanishingly small, like 10-10 or better. This is vastly over-reliable for Bitcoin mining where which can easily tolerate some percentage points of erroneus computations, like 10-1.

Besides, the general purpose hashing circuit will be easily outrun, even by the open source dedicated mining circuit that takes all the cheap and trivial optimizations: the nonce only changes 2 block of the inner SHA-256, the bit-lengths of both stages are fixed, last 3 rounds of the outer stage are unnecessary because we only look for zeros in the most-significant word.

https://github.com/progranism/Open-Source-FPGA-Bitcoin-Miner

This is a snippet of info I was totally unaware of. Thanks. Typically, do these clock generators "slide" the freq up and down or are they selecting a predetermined freq from a pool of freqs and then hopping amongst them?
No frequency hopping. This is continuous sliding up and down within the preselected range around the center frequency or below the upper limit frequency. Check out the manual for the example chip that I had in my browser bookmarks for couple of years now:

http://www.ti.com/product/cdce913

That sounds dreamily expensive, if for no other reason than it has the word "Intel" in it. lol
Well, it is worth dreaming sometimes, just so one won't become another bitter Bitcoin miner with perpetually pursed lips:

http://www.hotchips.org/wp-content/uploads/hc_archives/hc23/HC23.17.1-tutorial1/HC23.17.121,Inductence-Gardner-Intel-DG%20081711-correct.pdf

Edit:

Simply stated, if the community (of which I'd like to think we're a part) designs the chip, then the community owns the design (all the stuff one forwards to a foundry to get a run made). Put it up on GitHub. GPL licensed open source hardware? In theory, anyone could take that design and have a foundry make'm a batch. Much like an individual D/L's source compiles it and runs it. Given H/W is a little different as most can't afford a "foundry compiler" but a group might be able to pool resources and have a run made. And this community has pulled together in the past to make things happen.
You have a nice ideology, but it is nearly completely impractical. Any foundry will require you to sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement that prohibits publication of their design kit. So you'll have two options:

1) open-source RTL design, which is really kinda trivial, on the par with student's homework at better schools.

2) open-source uncommitted pre-layout BSIM4 analog model, which is more or less useless for actual design of the masks.

The real value in the mining chip design is on the back-end, in the optimization of the layout. And for that open source is currently helpless. Without violating NDAs one could at most produce a scientific/research paper that could get published in the peer-reviewed journals.

Edit2: I'm so out of date. BSIM is now at BSIM6 and is about to split into more specialized braches:

http://www-device.eecs.berkeley.edu/bsim/

Edit3: Older, now closed, thread about:  OpenBitASIC : The Open Source Bitcoin ASIC Initiative

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=76351.0


Wow, that's a lot to digest. It'll take me a few days to chew on all the references. But REALLY appreciate your taking the time to weed through stuff.
Obviously there are some road blocks. The real question looming in my mind is 1) Can this get done in time and 2) in the process of doing it will the entity be forced or coerced into falling into the big 4's business model by economic realities.

If it were easy to do, everybody would be doing it.
286  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 28, 2015, 04:17:13 AM
Yeah, those three are the ones I could think off offhand and am not particularly fond of any of them. The two that went overtly bankrupt after screwing customers both also built chips in form-factor I despise, and the third that somehow avoided getting thrown in jail should be thrown in jail despite actually eventually coming up with decent gear, so not really too impressive a showing. I'm biased toward US companies because I sorta am one, and there are a whole lot of miners in the US that can only buy imported gear which sucks. That we can only import sucks, not necessarily the gear. Some of it's alright.

Heatsinks for the Compac batch are on order, and probably about that color green. PCBs are also on order. It took a bit longer to get them out because we were discussing what we wanted for panelling and stencils and such.

We're also still having trouble convincing the mother@!#$ pick-and-place manufacturer to actually solve the @!#$ problem and get us our @!#$ machine. We expected delivery actually slightly earlier than they ended up shipping it. We've asked if they'll ship us another unit so we don't get screwed while they work out how to get their returned unit back from DHL, but they'd apparently rather not actually meet customer needs. Which of course the whole thing would have been avoided if some jackass in shipping wasn't too lazy to copy-paste our phone number into the order details - which some less-lazy jackass in shipping specifically asked us for exactly to avoid what's happening now - so US Customs would have actually known who to talk to so it could be cleared. Not happy about that. So, it's entirely possible Compac delivery will be delayed because a problem whose solution was provided IN ADVANCE SEVEN WEEKS AGO happened anyway and has yet to be resolved.

Meanwhile, well, I reckon we'll continue to work on multi-chip designs and Compac driver support. I'll be honest though, the heat index right now is 105F so there's probably not much gonna get done that doesn't get done between 7AM and noon this week.

I got burned by BFL to the tune of ~$4,000.

I hate the hassle and delays of importation. Dealing with companies that are not subject to the laws of the destination country is bogus.

Please don't blow a gasket in the heat over the P'n'P we need you too much (selfish little bastards aren't we).
287  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 28, 2015, 03:59:17 AM
Yeah, a fair bit of discussion lately has shifted away from our BM1384 designs. Should we start a new thread just for chip design ideas? I have no complaints about the thread so far, but it might be handy to keep track of things better if we're not bouncng between two or three different conversations.

I'm all in favor of an American chip supplier - one that's not going to screw everyone over and/or go bankrupt, at least. I mean we've already seen how many US manufacturers come and go in the last couple years? If we can keep the intention fairly community-based instead of single point greed like a lot of the big guys, margins might be slim but a whole lot of people would benefit. If PlanetCrypto is already figuring out how to do the heavy lifting, I'm certainly going to do what I can to help.

Your call on the thread.
I have 0 experience moderator - ing.

Simply stated, if the community (of which I'd like to think we're a part) designs the chip, then the community owns the design (all the stuff one forwards to a foundry to get a run made). Put it up on GitHub. GPL licensed open source hardware? In theory, anyone could take that design and have a foundry make'm a batch. Much like an individual D/L's source compiles it and runs it. Given H/W is a little different as most can't afford a "foundry compiler" but a group might be able to pool resources and have a run made. And this community has pulled together in the past to make things happen.

Our primary goal is to facilitate the availability to the community (big and small, whomever) a ready supply of high quality state-of-the-art raw materials regardless of whom the seller may be. Might be us, might be Gekkoscience, might be Bitmain, might be Bob & Ted's Really Cool Chip Company, might be a group buy, etc. . . . . . Because in the past and present a slim few have controlled the flow of raw materials. Kinda' like DeBeer's does with diamonds. Throttling the volume to maintain an artificially inflated price. The business rationalization is "We paid for the design, it belongs to us, we're the only game in town, and we'll charge what the market will bear." Even the playing field, and that model collapses.

With an even playing field, margins will be what margins will be. Typically, the larger the field the smaller the margins. If we expand the playing field, margins will take care of themselves.

As an example, I offer what happened to PC's. In the early 80's IBM was the only supplier. In 1981 an IBM 5150 PC with two 360K floppies was $25,000 (from IBM's Entry Level Systems Division). By the late 80's there was a plethora of brands/suppliers (I bought a Kaypro in 86 during this era) and the price had dropped to $1200 with a 20meg MFM HD (IBM PCXT clone). With a little brains one could buy the parts and assemble one themselves for less than $1000.

So as long as hash chips remain propriety they'll be priced outta' this world. Standardize the design and . . . .
I think this is an achievable goal given the industry has bumped into the 12-14nm concrete wall, SHA-256 circuitry is about as optimized as it can get, and fabricating ASIC's is common place.
Let the community set the standard not corporations.
288  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 27, 2015, 06:28:36 PM
So the perfect hash chip would be:

1) 10x10mm QFP-EP or QFN-EP
2) Contact pitch = 1.00mm
3) Max Power consumption ~10W
4) Single belly pad for Grnd
5) Vcore supplied on pins on one side exclusively
6) 3 wire SPI interface ground plane referenced
7) Implemented in 14nm
Cool Internal RTD
9) Internal Vcore current shunt
10) Mean targeted Hash Rate 100 GH/s
11) Targeted efficiency less than .1 W/GH/s
12) Cost per chip ~$3

What's the preference for setting clock analog or digital?
I'm assuming digital, but . . . .

What am I missing?


A supplier.............................

Touchè

In brief, this is what (a supplier) we (PlanetCrypto or a spin off LLC) are seriously investigating.
I'll be the first to admit that chip design is not a skill set I possess. In fact, one might say I'm clueless in that regard.
I do know that it is a skill set that can be learned, acquired, and worst case bought and with the guidance and brilliance available here I believe it's a doable thing.
I also believe that with a looming block reward decrease and serious talks about increasing block size to 20 Mb, little miners are doomed.
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/23/bitcoins-war-could-threaten-its-survival.html
This is not something that I believe is a healthy direction for the Bitcoin ecosystem to travel down. But WTF do I know anyway.

Since none of the "big 4" chip makers have any decent chips/boards/miners available, an opportunity to fulfill that need exists.
And if we're gonna "take the plunge" I'm in favor of "doing it right".

Will we get a chip to tape out?
Only time will tell.
But since no one else seems to be pursuing it, we're gonna' give it a shot.
If we fail to tape out a hash chip then at least the "brain working" will be completed for a "next gen" hash chip that another entity could "pick up the ball and run with".

For us as a company the timing is synergistic as we have 2 other chip designs in the conceptual stage of development.
We own some of the physical assets necessary (a small computing farm most notably) to get through the design/simulation process.
Our current plan is to concentrate on the hash chip first because it's the most time constrained and in the "dead spots" of getting that chip to tape out move forward on the other 2 designs.

And at the risk of alienating potential participants, I also believe it's about time for an American supplier (who is the antithesis of BFL) to enter the mix.

Not trying to be caustic, just figured we'd justify/clarify why we're cluttering up sidehack's thread.
289  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 26, 2015, 06:44:46 AM
I am not in favor of one-wire communication. No real reason to make both endpoints more complex in order to save a couple traces/leads.
I'm not in favor either. But I understand the constraints of the lead time. If you had a choice of your ICs delivered in 5-lead packages in 1 month or in 7-lead packages in 6 months, which one would you choose?

What are your thoughts on the previous discussions regarding chained UART versus address-decoded SPI?
I see this question as incorrectly posed. There are actually two independent choices in it:

1) UART vs SPI. On this I have no real preference, but way more experience with USARTs (that includes not only asynchronous but also synchronous devices/protocols.). Even the very lame UARTs have parity error detection, whereas very lame SPIs have nothing but "Hail Mary" protection.
2) Star topology vs daisy-chain topology. On this I prefer star because the ICs need to be running at the edge of failure (thermal or noise), otherwise the project is not competitive.


I'm going with the 5 lead in 1 month, given the rate at which designs become obsolete in the BTC ecosystem.
290  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 26, 2015, 06:33:20 AM
"With a 10x10mm you could probably go 12-15W without a lot of problems, thinking from a chip-level power density scale (though it would depend on actual die size and Tjc) - if we're comfortable with 10W from an 8x8, 10x10 has 1.56 times the surface area for heat transfer."

Couple of reasons I like 10W:
1) Like to try to be conservative for longevity's sake.
2) Overclockers (like me) will push a design way past factory recommendations.
291  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 26, 2015, 06:25:16 AM
Ah, confused by imprecise terminology. A shunt current measurement, yeah that could be handy. However, any resistive power loss is going to affect overall performance. A 10W device at 0.7V runs 14A, so you lose 2% per mOhm shunt resistance unless there's a better way to do it?
There probably is a better way to do it, just me being ignorant.

Isense resistance in bucks is, from my experience, in the mOhms. On/in chip, I think that can be dropped 1 or 2 (maybe 3) orders of magnitude resistance and if necessary use a more sensitive higher precision A/D say a 12 - 14 - 16 bit A/D versus an 8 or 10 bit.

With internal PLL and the ability to send commands to individual chips, it would be possible to set individual chip clocks. If you could also measure voltage and current per chip, that could also be used to help balance and stabilize strings.

Yes, and with an internal RTD one could throw Tj into the calculation mix as well.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has observed the hash rate drop as a unit heats up.
If one can control the Vcore and clock one might be able to mitigate this effect and re-fine tune it for changing ambient conditions.
Additionally, it would, like some CPU's do, allow a sliding scale of operation.
Protecting the chip from damage while allowing reduced capacity operation.
As opposed to say the Bitmain S(odd) which when it hits the magical 80C stops entirely.
292  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 26, 2015, 05:54:42 AM

Perfect for whom?
Bitcoin miners?


I'm going to kinda restate what I wrote 2012 to friedcat, unfortunately he deleted his replies same day he made them.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91173.msg1062969#msg1062969

1) the case needs to be one of the many power analog IC packages, like the one for the popular L298N motor buffer chip. I'm not up to speed on this market anymore, so I don't know the current market trends. In the past the popular power package was an 8-pin variant of the TO-3. There are 7-lead variants of popular TO-220 available cheaply:

http://www.psitechnologies.com/products/todo220.php

F'ing brilliant, have worked with 3 phase motor controllers that were 15 pin packages (if memory serves). Just trying to envision what the chip/heatsink/board combo would look like.

2) the chip has to be from the start designed using the mixed-signal workflow. The hashing cores have such a high tolerance for errors that they have to be from the start designed as analog circuitry with individual choice of noise margins for each gate/transistor.

In the Synopsys world of IP things these SHA-256 cells are a proven item down to 14nm. I assume that they have taken that into account (... noise margins for each gate/transistor).

3) the only digital portions of the chip will be the overall glue logic and clock generation & distribution. UART is probably the best one could do because of the paucity&expense of the synchronous chips handling SDLC/HDLC/other reliable protocols.

First off I've worked more with SPI, so I'm biased in that direction. My gut feeling is that SDLC/HDLC/LAPB et.al seems like overkill from a protocol perspective. Probably am FUBAR. Obviously I need to take a second look.

4) It needs two-stage clock generation system, probably a simple internal multi-phase PLL and more advanced external PLL supporting fine tuning the operating frequency.
Exactly my thought. Was thinking an external clock feeding an adjustable internal PLL clock divider. In/on multiple chip boards one common external clock feeding multiple chips. That clock input could be configured on a chip by chip basis based on a writable register setting. Thereby allowing each chip on the board to be clocked differently.

The hashing chip is by necessity very repetitive and one can be assured of the existence of rather high-Q internal parasitic resonances.
Makes perfect sense.

Some clock generators support spread spectrum clocking where the clock is continuously varied to avoid exciting resonances (both internal and external to the chip). Those spread-spectrum clock generators are cheap because people frequently use them to sidestep the FCC restrictions on spurious radio emissions.
This is a snippet of info I was totally unaware of. Thanks. Typically, do these clock generators "slide" the freq up and down or are they selecting a predetermined freq from a pool of freqs and then hopping amongst them?

5) If we are really into dream leagues then we can think of the Intel's planar integrated magnetics to move the voltage regulators to the surface of the chip.

That sounds dreamily expensive, if for no other reason than it has the word "Intel" in it. lol
293  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 26, 2015, 05:07:02 AM

Could you elaborate on the internal Vcore current shunt?

My thought was to build in the ability to sense individual chip current draw and knowing Vcore yields chip W consumption, which is a component of W/GH/s. This combined with a knowledge of clock freq would provide the data to fine tune individual chips for most economic operating point.

I envision this value would be stored in a register on chip and externally read only. The voltage off the shunt feed to a simple A/D (8 or 10 bit) sampled every 100ms might suffice.
294  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 25, 2015, 05:02:37 PM
So the perfect hash chip would be:

1) 10x10mm QFP-EP or QFN-EP
2) Contact pitch = 1.00mm
3) Max Power consumption ~10W
4) Single belly pad for Grnd
5) Vcore supplied on pins on one side exclusively
6) 3 wire SPI interface ground plane referenced
7) Implemented in 14nm
Cool Internal RTD
9) Internal Vcore current shunt
10) Mean targeted Hash Rate 100 GH/s
11) Targeted efficiency less than .1 W/GH/s
12) Cost per chip ~$3

What's the preference for setting clock analog or digital?
I'm assuming digital, but . . . .

What am I missing?
295  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 24, 2015, 02:25:15 AM
Can you even buy a 4004?
Now I have something to look up. Grin

Looked it up.
Evidently these old CPU's have become collector's items Selling for as much as $1,000 each.
Had I only known.
296  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 23, 2015, 04:22:20 PM
Maybe not the right place to ask this question so am apologizing to Gekko et. al. in advance for posting here.

What would the community think about a wired ethernet stickminer?

i.e. exactly the same thing as a USB stickminer but interfaces via RJ45/48 male plug w/ a 6 pin PCIe power plug on the opposite end.
Could have a minimal web interface to access parameters (CoreV & Clock), miner status, pools, temps, and w/ port 4028 api access.
Thinking it would be a low-count hash-chip stick (2-4) made long and skinny.
DHCP or static IPv4.
Run an abbreviated Linux distro.

Used 12,16,24,48 port managed/unmanaged hubs/switches are cheap ($50-$200).
So on the low end a guy could plug 1 into a port on his/her router, on the high end 48 plugged into a 48 port switch and anything in between.
297  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 22, 2015, 10:25:32 PM
"I was thinking about ethernet working around collisions in the mid 70's but that's because I don't know WWII radio relay history. Nice tidbit of knowledge I'll have to look up now."
I know this cuz' I'm an old fart who did networking with smoke signals.  Grin

Pretty sure it was Bell Labs and not HP or DEC cuz' they each had their own protocols (ARCNET and DECNET).
IBM of course had "choking ring" (token ring).
298  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 22, 2015, 10:18:19 PM
I prefer SPI versus UART. Just cuz' that's what I worked with the most.

As far as I know there are no USB 3.0 to SPI/I2C chips.
Most USB 3.0 stuff is targeted for the storage world. Hence the need for speed and are implemented to interface with other fast interface standards (SATA, PCIe, etc.). SPI/I2C/UART aren't, to the best of my knowledge, multi-gigabit protocols. Hence interfacing something that runs @ Mbps to something that runs @ GBps poses some challenges.

As far as I know USB 3.0 implementations are backwards compatible with 2.0 from a data/signaling standpoint.

But the point is why spend the expense for 3.0 when 2.0 has all the bandwidth required (for hashing) and it's butt loads cheaper. (redundant?)
Although, moving to 3.0 adds a contributing reason to put an MCU on a hash board, cuz' there are many MCU choices that have SPI/I2C/USB 3.0 as interfaces (some have ethernet too).

If I were doing a board, I'd use SPI onboard and USB (whatever) for off board comms. If that meant an MCU (due to a decision to implement USB 3.0 compatibility) then the more the merrier.
But it'd be a "smart" hash board (cuz' ya can w/ an MCU) and likely wouldn't be something inexpensive for the "home" miner.

In my mind, affordable = USB 2.0 and versatile/sophisticated/more expensive = USB 3.0

"Speed costs money, how fast can you afford to go."  -- Stroker McGurk

I have 2 machines with USB 3.0 add-in boards and rarely (if ever) use the ports.

BTW, The Synopsys IP SHA-256 cells come in 32 bit and 64 bit flavors.

Gotta' eat, be back l8r.
299  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 22, 2015, 02:06:13 AM
Thanks guys, this is the stuff I need to hear.

Our other projects (non crypto currency) are low power devices (or will be). They'll need to rad hardened cuz' of what we're gonna engineer inside the carrier. nuff' said.

Was digging around on the Synopsys website, seems they have pre-engineered SHA-256 cells in their IP library (amongst other cool stuff).
Am leaning towards QFP-EP design. I like contacts I can see. But I like the option of through PCB heat dissipation and a solid GP.
Seems QFP-EP starts @ 10 mm3 and goes up from there. So 8x8 is doable.

Like the idea of parallel I/O and stick a brain dead MC on the board for internal/external comms. Also want a the small MC for some refinements (core clock, per chip temp monitoring, per chip power consumption monitoring, hash rate monitoring, work unit buffering, NVRam, etc. . .)

"... but simple collision-resolution protocols for shared IO lines have been around since forever" Radio Talkers in WWII (CSMA/CD) is where ethernet came from. What's old is new again.

Gotta' get to bed so I can pay attention to tomorrow.
L8r folks.
300  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion on: July 21, 2015, 03:06:30 PM
If the connection isn't perfect, which can be really hard to determine when you have to check 400 connections all of which are sandwiched between two boards (so, X-ray), gotta bake it back into shape. If balls fail you need templates and fresh balls to re-ball the chips. Oh also routing sucks when you have to tie signal lines around inside a matrix of several hundred vias.

Using ionizing radiation (x-ray) brings it's own set of issues to semiconductors. Just talk to the guys that designed semiconductor control circuits for the first nuc weapons. And the expense/hassle of getting licensed to operate an industrial strength x-ray emitter.

Unless the footprint and pinout and protocol for successive generations of chips is the same (which is highly unlikely), building a board with sockets would be great for adding expense and slightly increasing the ease of manufacturing but not necessarily make a better end product. And it still doesn't solve the problem of me not wanting to design a couple-hundred-amp multiphase regulator and worry about high-power-density cooling concerns when, in my opinion, that design concept is just about the worst available. Remember, we like simple and efficient and the inherent reliability simplicity and efficiency help bring to the table.

"Unless the footprint and pinout and protocol for successive generations of chips is the same ..." And is a contributing rationalization for getting into designing/implementing chips.
"... design a couple-hundred-amp multiphase regulator ..." = serious PITA.
"... and worry about" board level "high-power-density cooling concerns ..." in addition to chip heat dissipation issues.
"... simple and efficient and the inherent reliability simplicity and efficiency help bring to the table." KISS is always preferred.

The only way to make it worse worse is to greatly increase the required power without substantially increasing the die size available for cooling - so, like Hashfast chip instead of Spondoolies chip. The only reason SP's Rockerbox gear works as well as it does (which, by the way, it doesn't really work for crap if your ambient is over about 30C) is because the chips themselves are built like tanks and handle 120C. As much as I may conceptually dislike SP gear, their chip design design guys are quite skilled and I'm impressed at what their machines can do given the limitations their design concept imposes on efficiency.

"... greatly increase the required power without substantially increasing the die size available for cooling ..." Which is probably why they were playing around with immersion cooling. i.e. larger BTU per mm2 than air can dissipate.

Well, one doesn't know till one asks, thanks.

We have other concepts/projects we're working on that are not in the BTC realm but will ultimately be chip based. Consequently, we're slowly gearing up to design our own propriety chips.
What package types do you prefer to work with (i.e. are easiest to work with)?
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