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Author Topic: BFL Hardware - Basic Questions  (Read 902 times)
cilphex
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September 10, 2012, 04:05:49 AM
 #1

Hi there, I'm new to bitcoin and mining and since I'm a noob I thought I'd post this question here.

Basically I am interested in possibly getting some BFL mining hardware, specifically the ASIC stuff that they currently have on preorder.  But as a noob, I don't know what running them actually entails.

Currently I'm running GUIMiner with my nvidia card.  At about 116 Mh/s, I definitely don't get as nice of a return as people with Radeons (I guess most mining software is optimized for Radeon cards?), but it's definitely easy to use, and I like that.

So I guess what I'd like to know is, if I do get some of the new BFL mining hardware, is it a lot more difficult to use, or should it be relatively easy to set up?  Does it depend on whether your mining coins yourself or if you're part of a pool? (I'm currently in one.)  Does it vary based on your OS? (Currently using Windows 7.)

Thanks a lot for any help.

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obisunk
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September 10, 2012, 04:37:59 AM
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Hi cilphex,

To answer why the Radeon lines fare better than GeForce in mining, you may want to read this informative article:
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Why_a_GPU_mines_faster_than_a_CPU

As for FPGA/ASIC setups, the custom boards talk to your computer via USB and performs all the hashing.  You would need a miner program that can interface with your FPGA/ASIC setups.  So if you get a BFL setup, you will have to use a miner program that can interface with it (e.g. Easyminer http://www.butterflylabs.com/drivers/ | https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=90426.0).
freeAgent
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September 10, 2012, 04:40:17 AM
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I would add that you should definitely keep mining in a pool.  Setup shouldn't be hard, as obisunk indicated.  The BFL hardware are essentially just USB peripherals, and they work on Windows just fine.
Sk1p
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September 10, 2012, 04:56:33 AM
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I purchased a Jalapeno last night. I'm still fairly new to all of this as well. I've been running an XFX 6950 2GB at 330Mh/s at 75c steady.

Although I've been pool mining, I haven't solved a block yet, and I don't think I will anytime soon. According to a calculator I found online, it will take me upwards to 408 days to generate a block. However, based on the stats of the Jalapeno(3.5G/hs), it estimates I could solve 9-10 blocks annually.

Does this mean you could successfully Solo mine with a Jalapeno and expect ~10 solved blocks per year?! That's like 5200 USD currently!

I'm not all too pleased with the payout or return on this. I may be with a bad pool, or might just have my expectations set too high for what I already have. Hopefully with the BFL Jalapeno I'll see some reasonable output.
cilphex
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September 10, 2012, 05:03:50 AM
 #5

Awesome, thanks for the help obisunk and freeAgent.

Now I just have to figure out if I order now, will I be too far back in the pre-order line to get it fast enough for it to be worth it or not.  I know when the first ASIC units go out the first few with them will probably have a huge advantage, and that will diminish greatly the longer it takes to get my own.  I think it'll still be worth it but I wish I'd gotten into this a little earlier. Smiley

cilphex
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September 10, 2012, 05:14:41 AM
 #6

Sk1p, if I understand correctly how bitcoin works, mining becomes more difficult as more compute power is put into the mining process.  So when all the ASIC hardware starts rolling out and lots of people are using it, profit per compute power will decrease significantly.  There will be an initial benefit to those who are able to use the new powerful units first, and that will decrease quickly over time as more and more people get them.  So while the jalepeno is very powerful compared to the current average user's compute power, since profit per compute power will inevitably fall, it will not be as good then as it would be if you were able to use it today.  While graphics cards may drop to being near useless in their mining abilities, low-end ASIC devices like the jalepeno will, I guess, take their relative place.  So I would expect a nice bump in profit per time when you first start using it, and then it will fade.  This means you probably would not be able to solve enough blocks on your own to make $5,000/year in BTC.  As for what you would actually make, I have no idea.  It would be really cool to see an estimated curve of total mining compute power over the next year and it's effect on BTC per MH/s.

Someone who knows more about it please critique me!

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September 10, 2012, 05:16:31 AM
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I purchased a Jalapeno last night. I'm still fairly new to all of this as well. I've been running an XFX 6950 2GB at 330Mh/s at 75c steady.

Although I've been pool mining, I haven't solved a block yet, and I don't think I will anytime soon. According to a calculator I found online, it will take me upwards to 408 days to generate a block. However, based on the stats of the Jalapeno(3.5G/hs), it estimates I could solve 9-10 blocks annually.

Does this mean you could successfully Solo mine with a Jalapeno and expect ~10 solved blocks per year?! That's like 5200 USD currently!

I'm not all too pleased with the payout or return on this. I may be with a bad pool, or might just have my expectations set too high for what I already have. Hopefully with the BFL Jalapeno I'll see some reasonable output.
if you were the only person getting a Jalepeno yes, most calculators assume difficulty does not change.
when asic comes out difficulty will skyrocket hundreds of others have ordered jalepenos, at least 10's of others have ordered the sc singles(40Ghash/s)
If you ordered yesterday you are a long way down the que, expect difficulty to increase substantially before you get delivery.
sorry but thats how it is.

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Sk1p
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September 10, 2012, 06:16:03 AM
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Yes I'm fearful of the grand increase in difficulty and computing power. Based on other threads and discussions, I don't think I'll be getting my shipment until Mid to Late November. Today they responded and one of their folks sent me a breakdown/receipt. Although I was surprised they were working on a Sunday, it is expected with such high demand I suppose. I inquired about the expected shipping date so once I hear back i'll return to update.

Even if the return isn't $5000 USD annually, even half of that would be superior. I'm sure the other hundreds of Jalapeno preorder folks thought the same thing a few months ago though. I'm only comfortable having purchased this because I feel the steep increase in computing power won't outweigh the potential return. The return will diminish as the difficulty increases, however If I can make back the $$ spent for the device within 3 months, i'll be pleased.

Also, after some serious research, it almost seems silly to even attempt solo mining unless you're in control of a botnet, or have a basement of machines with GPU's.. The ASICs are going to change the game, and hopefully will make the GPU miners back out of the game enough to stabilize such an influx of computing power that we're all expecting to see in the coming months.
cilphex
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September 10, 2012, 07:02:14 AM
 #9

So Sk1p, you placed an order last night and they said you'd probably be getting yours around mid/late November?  I guess that's not so bad.  Considering the preorder has been open for a while and they'll only start shipping probably mid/late October, a month's wait after initial release for being at the end of the line doesn't sound that bad.  Hopefully a month is a short enough amount of time that everyone else who's hooked up with the new stuff in the meantime hasn't already make mining an order of magnitude more difficult.

Speaking of timelines though, you just sent them an email asking about when you'd probably get yours and they responded with that actual estimation?  I'm kind of curious too but about the higher end stuff.  So I'm wondering if I email them whether I'm more likely to get a positive response or just annoy them.

Sk1p
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September 11, 2012, 04:00:14 AM
 #10

I'm back to respond with the update I promised last night. They did respond, and it wasn't great news. Just as you mentioned, they are not going to even take a shot in the dark with the shipping date. They are working as fast as possible to get all of the orders prepped and ready, and have no ETA for recent purchases.

Emailing them inquiring of any shipping date is a fruitless effort. Also, I asked if there were any more details, images, anything that could be attached to an email whether by PDF or anything. They were also unable to provide further documentation or details about the purchase.

Sorry for the grim update.
Roy Badami
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September 11, 2012, 09:44:16 PM
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I think it's reasonable to assume that there will be many hundreds of SC's on order, not just tens.  Hell, there are certain to be a few mini-rigs on order, too.

Making even half of the prediction based on current difficulty is entirely implausible.  Apart from the fact that difficulty is ramping up rapidly even without ASICs, and the fact that the block reward will drop to BTC 25 soon, ASICs are going to make difficulty sky-rocket.  The people who get in the first batch might do well, but mining is not (and never has been) a guaranteed way to make free money. 

If you're lucky you'll make some money - if you're unlucky you'll never get back your initial outlay.  No one knows what will happen - it's a gamble.

roy
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