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Author Topic: FPGA mining - insane?  (Read 1283 times)
passerby
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June 14, 2011, 12:25:22 PM
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While I'm waiting for my noob restrictions to be lifted, here's an idea I find intriguing to discuss - would a properly configured FPGA miner machine "worth" it?

Ideas?

Opinions?

Evidence?
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FlappySocks
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June 14, 2011, 12:30:44 PM
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Nobody can answer that.

How much will this FPGA miner you speak of cost? When will it become profitable? And when will it be obsoleted by something else?
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June 14, 2011, 12:39:37 PM
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current price is about $2000 for 80MH.
the initial cost is very high, but the overall power use is extremely small, so it makes up for itself.

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June 14, 2011, 12:41:43 PM
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forum search function, ftw Smiley

plenty of fpga discussions:
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=9047.0
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=15638.0
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=8543.0
http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=11251.0
[...]
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June 14, 2011, 12:42:43 PM
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It makes up for itself (compared to a GPU) after a few YEARS - by which the difficulty could be so high that someone with a GPU, who got a higher burst in the beginning, still has more BTC than you, even though you solved more hashes per USD spent.

As long as difficulty rises this much, FPGAs are a nice thing to research into. To really deploy them, I'd wait until the "rush" is over.

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June 17, 2011, 03:43:20 PM
 #6

I guess there are more profitable ways for using such a 'properly configured' machine.

But if you hare the Hardware anyway, you could mine in the 'idle time'.
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June 17, 2011, 04:42:00 PM
 #7

While I'm waiting for my noob restrictions to be lifted, here's an idea I find intriguing to discuss - would a properly configured FPGA miner machine "worth" it?

Ideas?

Opinions?

Evidence?

As far as the Idea goes - I have similar thoughts.  I'm EE/software engineer, did Altera development on both hardware and VHDL side and Bitcoin design would be for FUN and PROFIT as well. If I can build a business case out of this, I will develop a special computer for Bitcoin mining. These can be much more efficient in terms of energy and have other advantages (security).

I'm looking for partners/investors, if I find those I can switch to this full time, ( my current software development job& - low level C, video processing/H264 - is similar in spirit to SHA256 calculations),  focus on high-performance Bitcoin systems, that will also have potential use for similar types of number crunching applications. If not - will see if GPU mining brings money as expected and then switch to FPGA development.

Evidence on this BB is that it is way more energy efficient. Development cost is rather high, but if you manufacture your own boards, the cost may be much better. If things go really big - custom FPGA to  ASICS conversion route will reduce per-system cost an order of magnitude, as well as power consumption.
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June 17, 2011, 04:47:19 PM
 #8

Actually, $300 per 80MH/s, plus a slmalla mount of stuff for the interface to the computer.
TeaRex
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June 17, 2011, 05:01:44 PM
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The real next step should be dedicated mining chips (ASICs) hardwired for parallel SHA-256 calculations. FPGAs are an invaluable tool in developing those, but they can't really keep up with general purpose GPUs either price wise or performance wise.

ASICs will happen if Bitcoin survives the next half year or so intact, i.e. neither broken nor devalued too much. They need very big advance investment, which people will probably be willing to do when the risk is a bit more predictable. Then the Wild West, California Gold Rush period of bitcoin will probably end rather quickly as big shops take over mining.

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June 17, 2011, 05:27:23 PM
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Then the Wild West, California Gold Rush period of bitcoin will probably end rather quickly as big shops take over mining.

Isn't that period already over?  It seems like it's already the case that without significant cash outlays, one cannot expect to make much return from bitcoin mining.  The gold rush period was a year ago, when people could make bitcoins easily with little hardware outlay, before almost anybody even realized that bitcoin existed.

It's weird how bitcoin compressed the 'gold rush' period that for real gold lasted over centuries and had the effect of moving people all over the globe, and also enriched millions of people, into a year period in which a couple thousand people got all the spoils for doing almost nothing except burning cpu cycles and power.  Weird and in some ways sad.

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