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Author Topic: [Archive] BFL trolling museum  (Read 68114 times)
becoin
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January 14, 2013, 07:14:52 PM
 #2121

What are you left with then?
It is easy. It is called class action lawsuit on behalf of all their customers that do not get full BTC refunds!
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January 14, 2013, 07:15:03 PM
 #2122

Pay $13 000 to have a booth at CES and bring empty boxes. The only product BFL produces is trolling, they even hired a troll as PR.


Good points, people on this forum probably do not know how much it costs to have a booth at CES.

In some cases, more than some make here in a year. (spent in a few days on a tiny area at CES)


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January 14, 2013, 07:16:03 PM
 #2123

It'll be fun to come back to posts like this and say "I told you so" when I receive my ASICs.  Wink
Don't be an asshole. It may backfire and if BFL really is a scam people will come back to your posts and tell you "We told you so".

It's not a scam.  All signs point towards a company inexperienced in producing Bitcoin ASICs attempting to produce Bitcoin ASICs. Unexpected delays happen in a LOT of startup companies.  Target dates are missed over and over again in a LOT of startup companies.  Modifying the end product in the middle of the production process happens in a LOT of startup companies.
Going bankrupt before being able to deliver its first product happens in a LOT of startup companies. Managers going nuts and attempting to fuck shareholders over happens in a LOT of startup companies too. Why does it seem so unbelievable to you? Has it never occured to you that we might be right?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If BFL was going to run with the money, they would have done so long ago.  Far more people are cancelling their orders than are keeping them, so they would be stupid to continue the scam (if it was one) and continue to give refunds.  It would be money out of their pockets for no reason at all if it was a scam.  If you believe that anyone with "reasonable intelligence" could conclude BFL is some kind of scam, please do tell why they haven't run yet.
I remember people saying the very same thing about Pirate. He managed to keep his business running flawlessly for about 8 months. People kept asking : if he's a scammer, why hasn't he run with our money yet? Well because a good scammer never runs with his first money. He builds trust over time. He wants to get as many faithful clients as possible and he only runs with their money if the scam is no longer sustainable. Why? Because it's more profitable than to run away with the first few bucks he gets.
Sure, they could go bankrupt.  But that is NOT a scam.  A scam is purposefully taking other people's money for profit or other personal gain, whilst knowing you cannot deliver on the promises you make.  I do not discount the fact that BFL could go bankrupt (though I personally find that scenario unlikely).

Yeah, the big difference being that Pirate had incentive to keep going.  BFL's incentive to keep the scam going is GONE.  Out the window.  Bye-bye.  Refunds have exceeded new orders by a large margin for at least the past month.  BFL is not gaining any more faithful clients like Pirate was.  If anything, they are gaining more distrust and paying out far more in refunds than they are gaining in new pre-orders.  It makes ZERO sense for them to continue the scam if it was a scam.  "he only runs with their money if the scam is no longer sustainable" - that point was reached by BFL a month ago.


they would be stupid to continue the scam (if it was one) and continue to give refunds.
They give only partial refunds! My pre-order is paid in BTC and now they do not honor full BTC refunds!

If you believe that anyone with "reasonable intelligence" could conclude BFL is some kind of scam, please do tell why they haven't run yet.
Because they think they can have perfectly legal profit without doing anything!
You didn't know where the BTC price was going to be 6 months ago.  Neither did BFL.  BFL converted their BTC to USD as soon as they received each order to protect themselves against a BTC price drop.  If BTC was now worth $0.50, I'd bet anything that you'd be demanding a full refund in USD equivalent, not BTC.  And that is exactly what BFL would give you, same as they are giving you today.

The units were priced in USD, and you got the USD equivalent for your return. It would be a FREE hedge against the price of BTC dropping if BFL was to give you a full refund of your entire BTC amount.  That wouldn't be fair to the company at all.

If you wish to continue to propagate this lie (that BFL doesn't give a full refund), then please do take it to a court of law and see if you can get ANY judge to agree with you.

they would be stupid to continue the scam (if it was one) and continue to give refunds.
Pirate gave "refunds" right up until he shut down. If BFL was running a scam, they would continue accepting preorders and giving refunds until the rate of refunds exceeded the rate of preorders.
Right - that's exactly what I am saying.  The rate of refunds has exceeded the rate of new preorders for quite some time (at least a month).  A quick perusal of the various related threads here tells that story quite easily.

I can see how BFL was put in a tough spot a couple months back...  They find out that the QFN package won't be able to be cooled as effectively as they thought it would.  So, what can they do?

If that were true, they would have working sample chips and be able to demo them. No demo, therefore no chips, therefore they are still just spewing lies.
Perhaps.  Maybe they killed all their initial samples by not being able to cool them effectively?  I don't know, I'd like to hear more about that part from Josh.
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January 14, 2013, 07:17:13 PM
 #2124

BFL says non-refundable since, well 1st of January though.
Look it up asshamser.

What are you saying? Are you saying they won't refund after January first?

Now you are telling me that BFL might refund out of good will, regardless, aren't you?
Now isn't that nice.  Roll Eyes

Quote
Payments made for pre-orders of ASIC based products now under development should be considered non-refundable until products begin shipping or 1 January 2013, whichever is earlier.

That means they planned to start sending refunds after January first. They actually changed their minds and refunded people as soon as they asked, and continue to do so.

I'm still not sure what you were trying to say...


You wont get back the bitcoins you paid only the usd value so thats bullshit too.
That is because no ASIC [Vendor] is using BTC as an actual currency (IMO). They are simply using it as a transfer of value in USD.


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January 14, 2013, 07:21:16 PM
 #2125

They're refunding anyone who asks...
No, they don't. They do not honor full BTC refunds.

If you mean that you paid 100btc 6 months ago and intend to receive 100btc today ... go astray, do not be a hustler.
No, I do not intend. I WANT! Because I've the right to receive the refund in the currency and amount I had originally paid!!!

BFL didn't ask me to pay US dollar, they asked me to pay BTC. I did what they ask me to do. I've send the EXACT amount BTC to the EXACT BTC address they specified.
Bingo, that is exactly my point. ASIC companies should treat Bitcoin as a legitimate currency.

I fully understand they have to pay other companies in USD or Yuan or Yen. But they should try to market Bitcoin in some way beyond the superficial aspects of money conversion.


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January 14, 2013, 07:24:31 PM
 #2126

You want more back from them as you send them.
Not at all. I want back EXACTLY what I send them up to the last Satoshi!

If BFL, or any ASIC developer for that matter, owed me money at this point I'd be thanking my lucky stars to get half of it back.

It's actually hard to believe that BFL pre-orders are not being dwarfed by refunds at this point, but I don't know the business or the numbers...and I cronically underestimate the propensity of the Bitcoin community to fall for scams.

If BFL are still giving refunds (normalized to USD which seems legitimate to me) this strikes me as evidence against the hypothesis that they are straight up scamming.  Again though, without good data on their books it's hard to make a call here.  It was interesting that bASIC let a few refunds sneak under the door after it slammed shut.  Lack of coordination it looked like to me, and BFL strikes me as having it together much better in this way than did cablepair.

BTW, does anyone know the details of credit card chargebacks in this areana?  I mean, with pay-pal I can issue a charge-back up to a month after I made a purchase if the counter-party does not deliver.  In the few times I've leveraged this capability I've had to be on-the-ball and at least start a claim before this cut-off or I lose the ability.  I've never had to do such a thing with a credit card purchase.  I thought it interesting that the (apparently upstanding) bASIC PR guy suggested chargebacks but expected that the 'statute of limitations' had probably kicked in for a lot of 'customers' (or 'marks' to be more accurate in terminology.)


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January 14, 2013, 07:26:54 PM
 #2127

I can see how BFL was put in a tough spot a couple months back...  They find out that the QFN package won't be able to be cooled as effectively as they thought it would.  So, what can they do?


Lower speed for first batch then upgrade those later on.
People would be more than happy with 'reduced ASIC performance' then 'no ASIC at all performance' which they get at the moment...
I don't think the dates were realistical in the first place because of how they suddenly decided to redesign the board after the original shipping date.
They didn't have a final product at that october date and you cannot set a shipping date if you haven't even seen your final working product.
That, combined with several more delays pretty much means their dates are meaningless as such and their primary goal was, i assume, to get people exited so they get the funding.

Since BFL claims that the FPGA run gave them heaps of experience in handling delays and Josh has stated that these delays are because they want a perfect chip it is impossible for BFL to ever have taken their dates seriously. There must have been, like, a 90% chance that the first date would never happen. This next date i'd say there is a  Roll Eyes 40% chance they will deliver. I think that the likelyhood of them shipping increases as we approach March.
 
BFL must fully understand that they are still in the design stage of their project and that the likelyhood for errors is high.
No responsible company could have set these dates in such a situation. The fact that the date has been moved several time shows that BFL lost control of the process several times.
They should have said from the beginning that they will ship propably early 2013 and not set a hard date at all unless they are sure.
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January 14, 2013, 07:27:13 PM
 #2128

You didn't know where the BTC price was going to be 6 months ago.  Neither did BFL.
Simple. If they can't control currency exchange risk, they shouldn't have accepted payments in BTC in the first place!

BFL converted their BTC to USD as soon as they received each order to protect themselves against a BTC price drop.
Well, they should have protected themselves against a BTC price rise as well? It is not my fault if they've speculated and didn't do that!
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January 14, 2013, 07:31:37 PM
 #2129

And you used a service to transfer BTC to $..... they received USD....
NO!!!
I did not use a service to transfer USD to BTC. BFL did use it! BitPay is doing currency conversion on behalf of BFL, not me! I don't have any contract with BitPay! BFL have! BFL have the FULL control what % of the BTC they want converted in USD!


You should contact BitPay and get them to clarify this for you in writing. If you aren't sure you should always ask first for an official statement.

And you used a service to transfer BTC to $..... they received USD....
NO!!!
I did not use a service to transfer USD to BTC. BFL did use it! BitPay is doing currency conversion on behalf of BFL, not me! I don't have any contract with BitPay! BFL have! BFL have the FULL control what % of the BTC they want converted in USD!



Argumentation for BFL Lawyer will be simple:

This Address is certainly not ours..... sue Bitpay for your BTC?


Come on, no one can be that stupid not to know this beforehand ordering.  On their website you can preorder your  "CASE WITH FANS AND BOLTS" and choose to pay with BTC. All values are denominated in USD $ not BTC. You will be redirected to bitpay (escrow) and they'll recieve your BTC (NOT BFL). Bitpay is then sending fixed USD $ to BFL.

You choose this service, you accept their Agreement of Terms (AGB Allgemeine Geschäfts Bedungungen in german)....

Maybe you could argue that you are not responsible for your decisions because of ....?

I would advise to get your money out fast. Even if you get less BTC then you paid (meaning conversion from USD value "now" to BTC "now"). You should be able to sue them later for the rest ..... 
If Bitpay does act like paypal and is a BTC account with [USD conversion] deposited into a registered account at the sole election of the merchant, then yes, people probably have a case.

If BitPay converts it directly without BFL approval or handling (as in transparent) then you are SOL. (Sorry Out of Luck)

Does anyone here have a BitPay account that they could use to shed light on this particular point?


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January 14, 2013, 07:42:12 PM
 #2130

Looking at the way things are now, I think anyone with reasonable intelligence could conclude that BFL is probably some kind of scam.

Of course the obvious exception are those with significant pre-orders, who are putting their fingers in their ears and saying "I'm not listening!" They can't afford for it to be a scam, so therefore it must not be one.

And of course anyone who points out the scam warning signs is abused.

It's Pirateat40 all over again, just a different type of scam. The CEO is a convicted fraudster for fucks sake, how dumb do you need to be?
It'll be fun to come back to posts like this and say "I told you so" when I receive my ASICs.  Wink

It's not a scam.  All signs point towards a company inexperienced in producing Bitcoin ASICs attempting to produce Bitcoin ASICs.  Unexpected delays happen in a LOT of startup companies.  Target dates are missed over and over again in a LOT of startup companies.  Modifying the end product in the middle of the production process happens in a LOT of startup companies.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If BFL was going to run with the money, they would have done so long ago.  Far more people are cancelling their orders than are keeping them, so they would be stupid to continue the scam (if it was one) and continue to give refunds.  It would be money out of their pockets for no reason at all if it was a scam.  If you believe that anyone with "reasonable intelligence" could conclude BFL is some kind of scam, please do tell why they haven't run yet.

yes, You are right, only inexperienced company can order 100 000 chips without a prototype and testing, without sure if these chips will work, hoping for a miracle.
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January 14, 2013, 07:45:21 PM
 #2131

Looking at the way things are now, I think anyone with reasonable intelligence could conclude that BFL is probably some kind of scam.

Of course the obvious exception are those with significant pre-orders, who are putting their fingers in their ears and saying "I'm not listening!" They can't afford for it to be a scam, so therefore it must not be one.

And of course anyone who points out the scam warning signs is abused.

It's Pirateat40 all over again, just a different type of scam. The CEO is a convicted fraudster for fucks sake, how dumb do you need to be?
A wise person has spoken (IMO).


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January 14, 2013, 07:46:30 PM
 #2132

I can see how BFL was put in a tough spot a couple months back...  They find out that the QFN package won't be able to be cooled as effectively as they thought it would.  So, what can they do?


Lower speed for first batch then upgrade those later on.
People would be more than happy with 'reduced ASIC performance' then 'no ASIC at all performance' which they get at the moment...
I don't think the dates were realistical in the first place because of how they suddenly decided to redesign the board after the original shipping date.
They didn't have a final product at that october date and you cannot set a shipping date if you haven't even seen your final working product.
That, combined with several more delays pretty much means their dates are meaningless as such and their primary goal was, i assume, to get people exited so they get the funding.

Since BFL claims that the FPGA run gave them heaps of experience in handling delays and Josh has stated that these delays are because they want a perfect chip it is impossible for BFL to ever have taken their dates seriously. There must have been, like, a 90% chance that the first date would never happen. This next date i'd say there is a  Roll Eyes 40% chance they will deliver. I think that the likelyhood of them shipping increases as we approach March.
 
BFL must fully understand that they are still in the design stage of their project and that the likelyhood for errors is high.
No responsible company could have set these dates in such a situation. The fact that the date has been moved several time shows that BFL lost control of the process several times.
They should have said from the beginning that they will ship propably early 2013 and not set a hard date at all unless they are sure.
I would have liked them to do that (release lower speed on the first batch with promise to upgrade).  Seems like a good alternative; even though it would have been expensive for them to do so, it would have staved a large majority of reputation-tarnishing, and would have most certainly made their preorder customers quite happy.

Good post.

You didn't know where the BTC price was going to be 6 months ago.  Neither did BFL.
Simple. If they can't control currency exchange risk, they shouldn't have accepted payments in BTC in the first place!
If you take that attitude, it makes Bitcoin worthless as a currency.
Quote
BFL converted their BTC to USD as soon as they received each order to protect themselves against a BTC price drop.
Well, they should have protected themselves against a BTC price rise as well? It is not my fault if they've speculated and didn't do that!
How could they have protected themselves against both a rise and a fall in BTC price at the same time?  If you know how to do that, then you should be a billionaire already.

Please go look at legal rulings regarding currency transfer risk.  In ALL cases, the courts have decided that the base currency of the transaction designates the refund amount.  If the Euro rises relative to USD after someone pays for a USD-priced item with Euro, then the refund for that item would drop in terms of Euro, just like the refund for BFL's miners dropped in terms of BTC.  I don't really care that you disagree, but that's what the courts dictate.  When you get them to agree with you instead, please do let us all know and proclaim your viewpoint as the more logical one.  Until then, there's not a thing you can do about it.

Looking at the way things are now, I think anyone with reasonable intelligence could conclude that BFL is probably some kind of scam.

Of course the obvious exception are those with significant pre-orders, who are putting their fingers in their ears and saying "I'm not listening!" They can't afford for it to be a scam, so therefore it must not be one.

And of course anyone who points out the scam warning signs is abused.

It's Pirateat40 all over again, just a different type of scam. The CEO is a convicted fraudster for fucks sake, how dumb do you need to be?
It'll be fun to come back to posts like this and say "I told you so" when I receive my ASICs.  Wink

It's not a scam. All signs point towards a company inexperienced in producing Bitcoin ASICs attempting to produce Bitcoin ASICs. Unexpected delays happen in a LOT of startup companies.  Target dates are missed over and over again in a LOT of startup companies.  Modifying the end product in the middle of the production process happens in a LOT of startup companies.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If BFL was going to run with the money, they would have done so long ago.  Far more people are cancelling their orders than are keeping them, so they would be stupid to continue the scam (if it was one) and continue to give refunds.  It would be money out of their pockets for no reason at all if it was a scam.  If you believe that anyone with "reasonable intelligence" could conclude BFL is some kind of scam, please do tell why they haven't run yet.

yes, You are right, only inexperienced company can order 100 000 chips without a prototype and testing, without sure if these chips will work, hoping for a miracle.
Or a company who realizes that expedient delivery of product is what drives their profit, and risking $3M of preorders on an additional 4-6 week delay isn't worth saving $80k on a chip run.
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January 14, 2013, 07:56:33 PM
 #2133

I can see how BFL was put in a tough spot a couple months back...  They find out that the QFN package won't be able to be cooled as effectively as they thought it would.  So, what can they do?


Lower speed for first batch then upgrade those later on.
People would be more than happy with 'reduced ASIC performance' then 'no ASIC at all performance' which they get at the moment...

...

Right.  I actually am potentially interested in aquiring some mining capability but it was a no-brainer to me to wait until something was proven rather than try to capitalize on some theorized early-bird advantage.  Better just to buy enough Bitcoin to compare to what I might have been able to mine should all the planets align.

To your point though, I expected that as with almost any new technology a first-generation will be pretty rough and many lessons from it will feed into follow-up generations.

For my purposes, first generation Avalon (if it is not a scam) might be perfectly adequate as long as I can do my own OS images.  And might even be a screaming deal if a 2nd generation comes along.  That's my best hope.

What I won't be doing is buying any gear which I cannot fully manipulate to my specifications no matter what the price/performance.  Said another way, if it is not fully open-source, or at the very least fully analyzable and able to be made open-source, I'm not interested.


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January 14, 2013, 08:21:34 PM
 #2134


Or a company who realizes that expedient delivery of product is what drives their profit, and risking $3M of preorders on an additional 4-6 week delay isn't worth saving $80k on a chip run.

It's not a matter of what they want. Without a prototype mass production is pointless. What if the chips will not work?  another delay - few weeks / months. Unplanned delay is higher risk. What are the chances that these chips will work ? Can You  imagine serial production cars/CPU's/any electronics without a prototype and testing?
Quote

 Phases of a Custom ASIC Design.
1. Feasibility Study
2. Design
3. Prototyping !!!!
4. Engineering Runs
5. Industrialization
6. Management of full IC Fabrication Process
7. Wide Selection of Processes and Technologies
8. Series Production
http://www.trias-mikro.de/html/prod_asic_overview_chipAlliance.html?1,1,0

BFL Phases:

1. Design
2. Series Production
3. Waiting for a miracle that the chips will work
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January 14, 2013, 08:27:11 PM
 #2135

they would be stupid to continue the scam (if it was one) and continue to give refunds.
They give only partial refunds! My pre-order is paid in BTC and now they do not honor full BTC refunds!

If you believe that anyone with "reasonable intelligence" could conclude BFL is some kind of scam, please do tell why they haven't run yet.
Because they think they can have perfectly legal profit without doing anything!

@ BECOIN : if you managed to understand their policy and your risk taking action, you could assume.

6 Month ago, I've bought in BTC, knowing that if I ask for a refund it will be un U$.

Please just assume and stop whinning here, it's kinda anoying !
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January 14, 2013, 08:31:43 PM
 #2136

More details on the QFN packaging and reasons for delays:

Quote
We made the decision to go with QFN in December. I can't really talk about our development process itself, but we have gone through extensive design and testing phases... at one point in early December we decided to look at a worst case scenario if the chips were in a really hot environment (you can see the bubbled chip in one of the pictures, I think someone pointed it out.). We paid a company out of California quite a bit of money to run a run of simulations under different scenarios on our boards, as well as if we made changes to various portions of the PCB if we could salvage the QFN package's thermal envelope. We were able to get the thermal loads down about 6C off the current mark, but we were still within single digits of the max temperatures of surrounding components once the heat started to migrate through the ground plane. If someone in a really hot area ran these things, the fan would be on full blast the entire time, and as dust and other detritus collected on the HSF the unit would start to overheat and throttle (or worst case, you'd get bubbled chips). The internal junction temp of our ASICs, if I recall is around 121C, however the MCU and a couple other components are around 100C or less if memory serves and we were butting up against that in some cases, in the 90's.

I've already touched on some of the roadblocks we've had. One of the more annoying ones was the diffraction issue ... for example, at 65nm if you try to make a square shape on a wafer, you can't just make a square shape on the mask, you'll end up with an ellipsis of some sort due to the wavelength of light. So you have to shape the mask to accommodate the wavelength so what ends up on the wafer is a square, though it looks very different on the mask. So you have to go through just about everything, making sure what you want is actually what ends up on the wafer... the delay this caused was not anticipated to the extent it delayed us and since this is a full custom, hand routed chip, basically it had to be gone over by hand from top to bottom.

Another delay we've had to endure is the fact that we have effectively tied the ASIC teams payment to the success of the chip. If the chip were to be a failure they don't get paid... so they have incentive to get it right but that has made them very cautious and slow to approve final masks (This is why we can refund all pre-orders we want and why we have the capital to do what we need to do without a failure putting us in bankruptcy).

Ultimately, it has all boiled down to the incredible complexity of the chip (I mean, look at that beast, it's all black in the shot it's so dense). If the chip were not so complex and so efficient there wouldn't be a heat issue, there wouldn't be the wariness of releasing the mask, etc... This is why I find it patently ridiculous that Tom kept claiming his 90nm sASIC or PnR chip would be 100w, it's ludicrous. Avalons claims are far more reasonable at 400w for their design and is why I haven't given them such a hard time. I think Avalon is going to run into some problems that we've run into, but I don't think they will be anything insurmountable, but I suspect it will delay them a bit while they try to figure out how to mount all the heat sinks or the giant heatsink they are going to need to keep the thing cool, and the board itself has to be massive. Tom was estimating 7 x 9" if I recall for his 16 chip 90nm process... the Avalon is 110nm with at least 80 chips I estimate... though I'm sure the chip footprint is much smaller, we're still talking about a bucket load of chips that all have to be cooled. If their package, and I think they are using QFN, is not letting enough heat out the top they are going to flood their thermal and ground planes with 300w+ of heat and cook everything in sight. We were fighting 60w of heat (granted, on a much smaller surface area) and it was a problem, I can't imagine trying to fight 300w of heat. For their sakes, I hope they have already considered these issues or it's going to be a nasty surprise the first time they turn a unit on and the chips start popping and letting the magic smoke out.

https://forums.butterflylabs.com/bfl-forum-miscellaneous/690-13-jan-2013-asic-update-discussion-thread-6.html
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January 14, 2013, 08:36:03 PM
 #2137

Please just assume and stop whinning here, it's kinda anoying !
Assume what?
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January 14, 2013, 08:37:28 PM
 #2138

More details on the QFN packaging and reasons for delays:

Quote
We made the decision to go with QFN in December. I can't really talk about our development process itself, but we have gone through extensive design and testing phases... at one point in early December we decided to look at a worst case scenario if the chips were in a really hot environment (you can see the bubbled chip in one of the pictures, I think someone pointed it out.). We paid a company out of California quite a bit of money to run a run of simulations under different scenarios on our boards, as well as if we made changes to various portions of the PCB if we could salvage the QFN package's thermal envelope. We were able to get the thermal loads down about 6C off the current mark, but we were still within single digits of the max temperatures of surrounding components once the heat started to migrate through the ground plane. If someone in a really hot area ran these things, the fan would be on full blast the entire time, and as dust and other detritus collected on the HSF the unit would start to overheat and throttle (or worst case, you'd get bubbled chips). The internal junction temp of our ASICs, if I recall is around 121C, however the MCU and a couple other components are around 100C or less if memory serves and we were butting up against that in some cases, in the 90's.

I've already touched on some of the roadblocks we've had. One of the more annoying ones was the diffraction issue ... for example, at 65nm if you try to make a square shape on a wafer, you can't just make a square shape on the mask, you'll end up with an ellipsis of some sort due to the wavelength of light. So you have to shape the mask to accommodate the wavelength so what ends up on the wafer is a square, though it looks very different on the mask. So you have to go through just about everything, making sure what you want is actually what ends up on the wafer... the delay this caused was not anticipated to the extent it delayed us and since this is a full custom, hand routed chip, basically it had to be gone over by hand from top to bottom.

Another delay we've had to endure is the fact that we have effectively tied the ASIC teams payment to the success of the chip. If the chip were to be a failure they don't get paid... so they have incentive to get it right but that has made them very cautious and slow to approve final masks (This is why we can refund all pre-orders we want and why we have the capital to do what we need to do without a failure putting us in bankruptcy).

Ultimately, it has all boiled down to the incredible complexity of the chip (I mean, look at that beast, it's all black in the shot it's so dense). If the chip were not so complex and so efficient there wouldn't be a heat issue, there wouldn't be the wariness of releasing the mask, etc... This is why I find it patently ridiculous that Tom kept claiming his 90nm sASIC or PnR chip would be 100w, it's ludicrous. Avalons claims are far more reasonable at 400w for their design and is why I haven't given them such a hard time. I think Avalon is going to run into some problems that we've run into, but I don't think they will be anything insurmountable, but I suspect it will delay them a bit while they try to figure out how to mount all the heat sinks or the giant heatsink they are going to need to keep the thing cool, and the board itself has to be massive. Tom was estimating 7 x 9" if I recall for his 16 chip 90nm process... the Avalon is 110nm with at least 80 chips I estimate... though I'm sure the chip footprint is much smaller, we're still talking about a bucket load of chips that all have to be cooled. If their package, and I think they are using QFN, is not letting enough heat out the top they are going to flood their thermal and ground planes with 300w+ of heat and cook everything in sight. We were fighting 60w of heat (granted, on a much smaller surface area) and it was a problem, I can't imagine trying to fight 300w of heat. For their sakes, I hope they have already considered these issues or it's going to be a nasty surprise the first time they turn a unit on and the chips start popping and letting the magic smoke out.

https://forums.butterflylabs.com/bfl-forum-miscellaneous/690-13-jan-2013-asic-update-discussion-thread-6.html

Wasn't the picture of the bubbled chip posted in late-ish October? Did you blow it up in October than then have the simulations done in December, and then decided to switch away from QFN?
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January 14, 2013, 08:50:26 PM
 #2139

Please just assume and stop whinning here, it's kinda anoying !
Assume what?

Assume that buying stuff with your BTC was like selling your BTC for USD.

I don't know how you are reasonning, but for me, it was clear that it was refundable in USD.

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January 14, 2013, 08:56:20 PM
 #2140

More details on the QFN packaging and reasons for delays:

Quote
We made the decision to go with QFN in December. I can't really talk about our development process itself, but we have gone through extensive design and testing phases... at one point in early December we decided to look at a worst case scenario if the chips were in a really hot environment (you can see the bubbled chip in one of the pictures, I think someone pointed it out.). We paid a company out of California quite a bit of money to run a run of simulations under different scenarios on our boards, as well as if we made changes to various portions of the PCB if we could salvage the QFN package's thermal envelope. We were able to get the thermal loads down about 6C off the current mark, but we were still within single digits of the max temperatures of surrounding components once the heat started to migrate through the ground plane. If someone in a really hot area ran these things, the fan would be on full blast the entire time, and as dust and other detritus collected on the HSF the unit would start to overheat and throttle (or worst case, you'd get bubbled chips). The internal junction temp of our ASICs, if I recall is around 121C, however the MCU and a couple other components are around 100C or less if memory serves and we were butting up against that in some cases, in the 90's.

I've already touched on some of the roadblocks we've had. One of the more annoying ones was the diffraction issue ... for example, at 65nm if you try to make a square shape on a wafer, you can't just make a square shape on the mask, you'll end up with an ellipsis of some sort due to the wavelength of light. So you have to shape the mask to accommodate the wavelength so what ends up on the wafer is a square, though it looks very different on the mask. So you have to go through just about everything, making sure what you want is actually what ends up on the wafer... the delay this caused was not anticipated to the extent it delayed us and since this is a full custom, hand routed chip, basically it had to be gone over by hand from top to bottom.

Another delay we've had to endure is the fact that we have effectively tied the ASIC teams payment to the success of the chip. If the chip were to be a failure they don't get paid... so they have incentive to get it right but that has made them very cautious and slow to approve final masks (This is why we can refund all pre-orders we want and why we have the capital to do what we need to do without a failure putting us in bankruptcy).

Ultimately, it has all boiled down to the incredible complexity of the chip (I mean, look at that beast, it's all black in the shot it's so dense). If the chip were not so complex and so efficient there wouldn't be a heat issue, there wouldn't be the wariness of releasing the mask, etc... This is why I find it patently ridiculous that Tom kept claiming his 90nm sASIC or PnR chip would be 100w, it's ludicrous. Avalons claims are far more reasonable at 400w for their design and is why I haven't given them such a hard time. I think Avalon is going to run into some problems that we've run into, but I don't think they will be anything insurmountable, but I suspect it will delay them a bit while they try to figure out how to mount all the heat sinks or the giant heatsink they are going to need to keep the thing cool, and the board itself has to be massive. Tom was estimating 7 x 9" if I recall for his 16 chip 90nm process... the Avalon is 110nm with at least 80 chips I estimate... though I'm sure the chip footprint is much smaller, we're still talking about a bucket load of chips that all have to be cooled. If their package, and I think they are using QFN, is not letting enough heat out the top they are going to flood their thermal and ground planes with 300w+ of heat and cook everything in sight. We were fighting 60w of heat (granted, on a much smaller surface area) and it was a problem, I can't imagine trying to fight 300w of heat. For their sakes, I hope they have already considered these issues or it's going to be a nasty surprise the first time they turn a unit on and the chips start popping and letting the magic smoke out.

https://forums.butterflylabs.com/bfl-forum-miscellaneous/690-13-jan-2013-asic-update-discussion-thread-6.html

Wasn't the picture of the bubbled chip posted in late-ish October? Did you blow it up in October than then have the simulations done in December, and then decided to switch away from QFN?
It sounds like that's about how it went, yeah.  They got the QFN prototypes, figured out they couldn't cool them properly as they thought they could, did some "worst case scenario" self testing, bubbled a chip, decided to have an outside company do some similar testing in December, and then concluded they couldn't properly cool a QFN chip in a heated environment.
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