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Author Topic: Custom built graphics card?  (Read 2748 times)
Hawkix
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May 28, 2011, 05:45:49 AM
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I think that instead of going a rather expensive FPGA or custom ASIC path, the future mining machine could be built as custom designed "graphics" card. Using a several RV870 ATI GPU chips in single box.



Of course, designing and later manufacturing a GPU card is not something one could do in a garage, but I think that standard PCIe card producer could do that. For example, there is a lot of very small companies manufacturing 1x PCIe cards for CAN bus, I/O switching, GHz analog sampling, etc. Compared to motherboards, these Radeon 5870 cards have much simpler design with less layers.

My idea is that 4 or 8 GPU chips would be wrapped into large water-cooled copper block.  All these would share a 1x PCIe card slot (using extender cable). And eat a lot of Watts, of course. Probably using industrial strength power supply (e.g. 200 Amps at 12V). Also, there will be needed a custom, special built of OpenCL drivers for this beast.

You could combine several blocks in paralel and let the water pump through it. That warm water could be used in house for showers, heating in cold days or even to regain some energy back.

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According to NIST and ECRYPT II, the cryptographic algorithms used in Bitcoin are expected to be strong until at least 2030. (After that, it will not be too difficult to transition to different algorithms.)
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commlinx
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May 28, 2011, 05:57:39 AM
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Depending on the culture of ATI the biggest problem might be getting access to the technical info and smallish quantities of chips, you'd probably want to start with their reference design. I've never done any work with video cards but for example some GPS chipset manufacturers charge around $50K to become a partner and get the information and some samples, then will only sell in 10K units at a time.

No harm asking them the question though and finding out what their MOQs are.

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May 28, 2011, 06:16:37 AM
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I'll bet some  good BTC that there are plenty of chip engineers out there, including ATI ones that know all about BitCoin mining and have put together custom clusters that are minting a fortune.....
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May 28, 2011, 08:57:03 AM
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I'll bet some  good BTC that there are plenty of chip engineers out there, including ATI ones that know all about BitCoin mining and have put together custom clusters that are minting a fortune.....

I know I would if I had the knowledge and wherewithal. Damn, I should have taken Computer Systems Engineering instead of Computer Science !!!

Actually, forget that, I much prefer code to circuits.
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