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Author Topic: Antminer re-engineering  (Read 1290 times)
Mr. Kashif
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June 02, 2016, 01:26:17 PM
 #1

Can old Antminers be re-engineered and designed to use these new 14nm chips by BW?
And do BITMAIN ever sell their chips?
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notlist3d
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June 02, 2016, 03:29:50 PM
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Can old Antminers be re-engineered and designed to use these new 14nm chips by BW?
And do BITMAIN ever sell their chips?

It is unlikely that there will be a "re-engineered" design for older antminers to use BW's new chips.  And I don't think it will happen with Bitmain's new chip either.  They focus on selling a entire miner it's been quite a long time since we have seen a upgrade kit.   They could suprise us, but I doubt it.

Again they focus on selling full miners.  From their perspective I can understand some of their reasons for it.   I think sidehack managed to buy a few BM1384's for the compacs.  But he could not get them again so took chips from full miners (correct me if I remember story wrong).    But getting chips is not easy at this point from any company.
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June 02, 2016, 03:50:23 PM
 #3

Can old Antminers be re-engineered and designed to use these new 14nm chips by BW?
And do BITMAIN ever sell their chips?
If you mean redesigned to reuse the main heatsinks/frame layout and possibly the controller boards, yes. It entails just making new hashboards to fit the heatsinks. This is along the lines for what Sidehack thinking of doing to begin with. The old RasPi boards from s1 and s3's might not be handle the data throughput but looks like a BeagleBone as used on the s5/7/9 can.

Which comes back to the problem of getting the chips themselves....

For bitcoin to succeed the community must police itself - Joshua Zipkin aka Joshua Alexander leaked AMT A1 miner skype chats
How a miner mfgr SHOULD operate: HaggsFIN trip to Canaan My info useful? Donations welcome! 1Fuzzyk398kDWVjuC5qPX5v6CjSkvbgAbd
-Support Sidehacks miner development. Donations to:   1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
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June 02, 2016, 04:13:22 PM
 #4

Can old Antminers be re-engineered and designed to use these new 14nm chips by BW?
And do BITMAIN ever sell their chips?
If you mean redesigned to reuse the main heatsinks/frame layout and possibly the controller boards, yes. It entails just making new hashboards to fit the heatsinks. This is along the lines for what Sidehack thinking of doing to begin with. The old RasPi boards from s1 and s3's might not be handle the data throughput but looks like a BeagleBone as used on the s5/7/9 can.

Which comes back to the problem of getting the chips themselves....

And I should add sidehack and novak did a great job on the compac's.  I bought them and they still work today.   So I'm not doubting his ability when I say I don't think there will be upgrade kit's.  Its been since S1 to S3 since last upgrade kit on Bitmain... so quite a while.  I think it will remain buying new gear vs upgrading.

I just think getting chips is very hard.  Espically when you go to current gen chips, and next gen.  I may be surprised by someone getting a source on chips.... but I think it's a tough road to put it mildly.
cloudnthings
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June 02, 2016, 07:55:43 PM
 #5

+1 on sourcing chips. Some places are asking for MOQ of 100k @ ~$10 each meaning an investment of $1M. That is no mean feat for the small guy.
Mr. Kashif
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June 04, 2016, 05:47:45 PM
 #6

I might sound novice here but the PCB manufacturing unit here near my place have asked me to bring in the miner so that they can reengineer it and study its built so that they can give me my desired PCB's for my miner but if I bring in these S7's in to them it'll be of no use until I get my hands on these new 14nm BW chips, data sheets, schematics, etc. Any suggestions?
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June 04, 2016, 05:53:07 PM
 #7

An S7 won't be of much use to you anyway since the important mechanical parts are pretty much epoxied onto the ASICs themselves. It'd be more effort to salvage them than it would be to just replace 'em outright.

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June 05, 2016, 12:18:12 AM
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I think that Mr. Kashif is referring to is the PCB house taking x-rays of the pcb's and then generating layout files from them along with figuring out the schematics.

Problem is, that's fine and dandy if you want to clone/improve the s7 design but usless for using any other ASIC other than what the board was made for. Pinouts for signals and power are no doubt different as are the com protocols. Then there is the micro-controller driver issue which is pretty much unique to each ASIC chip family and the mc's they use..

Again, the only reusable parts are heatsinks, endplates/fans, and perhaps the RasPi/BB control boards.

For bitcoin to succeed the community must police itself - Joshua Zipkin aka Joshua Alexander leaked AMT A1 miner skype chats
How a miner mfgr SHOULD operate: HaggsFIN trip to Canaan My info useful? Donations welcome! 1Fuzzyk398kDWVjuC5qPX5v6CjSkvbgAbd
-Support Sidehacks miner development. Donations to:   1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
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June 05, 2016, 01:13:43 AM
 #9

Again, the only reusable parts are heatsinks, endplates/fans, and perhaps the RasPi/BB control boards.

But in the case of S5+, S7, S9 I wouldn't consider heatsinks reusable. The controller board would only be if you were able to use the same IO and cabling for the new chip's protocol. If you're going to build new boards for old hardware, the S7 and its twins would be just about the worst thing to pick since, at practical best, you get to reuse a shell with fans. S1/3/5, A1 Dragon, Tube or Prisma, RockMiner, most old Avalons - all better options for reusing mechanical parts with updated electronics.

Mr. Kashif
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June 05, 2016, 11:10:07 AM
 #10

I think that Mr. Kashif is referring to is the PCB house taking x-rays of the pcb's and then generating layout files from them along with figuring out the schematics.

Problem is, that's fine and dandy if you want to clone/improve the s7 design but usless for using any other ASIC other than what the board was made for. Pinouts for signals and power are no doubt different as are the com protocols. Then there is the micro-controller driver issue which is pretty much unique to each ASIC chip family and the mc's they use..

Again, the only reusable parts are heatsinks, endplates/fans, and perhaps the RasPi/BB control boards.

Exactly Mr. NotFuzzyWarm. I was referring to taking X-rays, etc, to study and make new custom boards to fit in these BW 14nm. But my question is that 'Is using an S7 for reference for the boards a good idea?' and 'What will be the difficulties we'll be facing if I use S7's as a ref.?'
NotFuzzyWarm
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June 05, 2016, 04:47:01 PM
 #11

<snip>

Exactly Mr. NotFuzzyWarm. I was referring to taking X-rays, etc, to study and make new custom boards to fit in these BW 14nm. But my question is that 'Is using an S7 for reference for the boards a good idea?' and 'What will be the difficulties we'll be facing if I use S7's as a ref.?'
+1 for thinking out-of-the-box but...
To answer directly - it is NOT a good idea to use an Ant hashboard as a reference for a different miner. Probably the only major function block they would have in common is the Vcore power regulators and even that would only serve as a gross reference to how string load balancing is handled.

The best you will get from forensics of an existing miner is knowledge of how that particular design addressed their particular design problems targets. Yes you will be able to tell how thick various copper layers need to be and how they chose to route signals along with seeing if they took care to shield the signal lines. All that is nice to know but not directly helpful with a new design.

It would be like using an Intel PC mobo as a reference to make a mobo that uses AMD cpu's. Yes the concept of what happens on the motherboards and the input/output from them is the same but the signals methodology and support circuits used with the chips are very very different.

More to the point is that so far no chip maker is releasing data sheets detailing pinouts and com protocols for their chips. That vital piece of information is the starting point for any miner design. There are folks here that know how to make miners (Sidehack for one) and can design all the support circuits the ASIC's use as well as do board layout. Then there is the micro-controller driver coding for everything between the ASIC and the outside world. That is not an off-the-shelf bit of software and is not part of CGminer or BFGminer. But again, there are people here who can do that.

While Bitmain does release data sheets for their chips they do not provide reference designs. Understandable since they actually make miners. But BitFury and BW -- they make chips, not miners so if they want folks to buy their chips (to make miners) why do they not, a) provide full data sheets and b) provide a simple 2-4 chip reference design so folks can see how it should work and then expand on the reference with their own ideas for more/longer string nodes? That is how every other semiconductor mfgr on the planet works...

Having a reference board (or not) and knowledge of hashboard design is not the main problem. Getting the data sheets and chips is.  Angry

For bitcoin to succeed the community must police itself - Joshua Zipkin aka Joshua Alexander leaked AMT A1 miner skype chats
How a miner mfgr SHOULD operate: HaggsFIN trip to Canaan My info useful? Donations welcome! 1Fuzzyk398kDWVjuC5qPX5v6CjSkvbgAbd
-Support Sidehacks miner development. Donations to:   1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
Mr. Kashif
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June 06, 2016, 08:13:54 AM
 #12



Having a reference board (or not) and knowledge of hashboard design is not the main problem. Getting the data sheets and chips is.  Angry
[/quote]

There's this guy by the name of jstefanop who got hold of 14nm BW chips and he has all the data. God knows what price he paid for it. I guess if he can throw some light we might have some progress.
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