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Author Topic: Swedish ASIC miner company kncminer.com  (Read 3008905 times)
DPoS
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September 10, 2013, 11:28:08 PM
 #9061


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/as-worries-over-the-power-grid-rise-a-drill-will-simulate-a-knockout-blow.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&
whoa, maybe better get some solar panels..image they blow something up by accident during the drill  Cheesy

  One thing that sucks about solar panels.  Is if its a grid tide system like mine and most are.    They do not work when the power go out.    Its a safety future so you don't feed electricity back in to the lines and end up frying the guy working on them on the other end.   But you can always do a battery backup.  Witch in that case they would still work.  But cost and maintenance of batteries   Can be costly,  So most people don't bother.    Easier to just have a generator for a black out.

usually when the power goes out, it's not very sunny Cheesy

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September 11, 2013, 12:26:21 AM
 #9062

It makes sense that KnC in partnership with ORSoC would use an ORSoC Linux solution.

If they use the SO-DIMM pictured:
(FYI, SO-DIMM is the form factor typically found for laptop memory)

It's NOT a CPU powerhouse, at only 166MHz.
It does not need to be!

It _IS_ a perephial powerhouse!

It has 5 USB ports.

It has 5 ethernet ports and can do GiG ethernet.

It has an Altera FPGA on it for lots of helpful miner specific things.

Lets consider each in a bit more detail.

The SO-DIMM:
Only 1 connector needed for the brain, everything needing connection to the rest of the system is handled by the PCB that it rides on.
You just snap em in, possibly with screws to retain it.
You can preconfigure/program them on existing dedicated programming stations instead of having to hook up each miner for programming. FAST!
It is an industry standard 'module' in use for many years. (unlike the Pi and BBB form factor)
Most servers have SO-DIMM sockets so you can add a PC to your server to monitor the health etc.

The FPGA:
They are like magical reconfigurable printed circuit boards. (their most basic feature)
All you have to do during design is make sure you have a trace leading from the reconfigurable I/O pins to each external device and you can worry about the exact details as needed.
The FPGA in question has many additional features that address a miners needs.
Mainly lots of configurable logic (22,000 LUT's), clocks, and high speed communication, along with coordinating that communication.
I'm not suggesting that it will(no massive heatsink), but it is in theory possible that a miner with ZERO modules could still hash on the FPGA all by it's lonesome.
They chose a Linux solution that already has an FPGA onboard that the competition has had to add to their controller boards.
An FPGA primer linked below
http://www.ni.com/white-paper/6983/en/para4


The Ethernet Transceivers and Switch Engine:
Ethernet is a good choice for interfacing with the, wait for it,,, internet!
USB has a length limitation that ethernet solves with ease.
Hosting USB units would be a pain and need lots of additional components.

USB onboard:
5ports, 4 for ASICS and one for 'users'.
Utilize existing software that primarily uses USB to communicate with mining units.
We don't know the detail of the 5th port but it is possible that it could support a WiFi connection.

166MHz CPU:
It does not take much brain power to interface with a specialized team of perephials.
Consider "seemingly" incompetent middle managers(very rare but they exist), they are successful because their job is coordination not necessarily whatever specialty they manage.

Here is a link to the info for the pictured(by KnC) solution
http://www.orsoc.se/?page_id=484


In my mind KnC have demonstrated good component choices for getting an ASIC solution to market FAST! Imagine being an employed FPGA engineer with an interest in mining. You take your idea to your boss and they not only listen but say YES. The Mars FPGA evidently did well enough to convince the team to decide to throw down on the competition.

So far the execution of the 'margins on top of margins' KnC plan appears to be on target.
All ASIC vendors are at the mercy of their chosen foundry. An orginization with a long established relationship with a foundry reduces this risk. They can hold future business over their head to help insure timelines are met. They can get production scheduling and predict delivery based on past performance. This is a 'margin' the competition may not have.

We will know one way or the other shortly.

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September 11, 2013, 12:33:30 AM
 #9063


<snip>


TL;DR the ORSoC embedded card is overkill for the miner application.

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September 11, 2013, 12:41:02 AM
 #9064

It has 5 USB ports.

None of which are used.

Quote
It has 5 ethernet ports and can do GiG ethernet.
Only one would be used the rest is just wasted spec.

Quote
It has an Altera FPGA on it for lots of helpful miner specific things.
Completely useless and expensive.  

Quote
Ethernet is a good choice for interfacing with the, wait for it,,, internet!
Lots of cheaper alternatives have Ethernet.  Nobody would use usb for a standalone rig.  Nobody has (Bitfury, Avalon, ASICMiner)

Quote
The SO-DIMM: You can preconfigure/program them on existing dedicated programming stations instead of having to hook up each miner for programming. FAST!
An SD card can be loaded with a linux distro.  No need to connect the miner to a programming station.  

Quote
USB onboard:
5ports, 4 for ASICS and one for 'users'.
We don't know the detail of the 5th port but it is possible that it could support a WiFi connection.

We know none of the ASIC boards connect to the host by USB.  Hint: take a look at the PCB photo.  They are connected to the host using low speed, low cost serial.  If simple works why go complicated.    The same connectivity that Avalon, ASICMiner, and Bitfury use.  


The host simply needs:
Small amount of computing power and memory to run a stripped down single purpose linux distro
Enough storage/flash to store OS, mining software, and optionally webserver for reporting/management
low speed serial interface to the ASICs (we are talking slower than a modem is fine).
Ethernet connectivity
Cheap.  No embedded board is going to cost less than a rPi.

Hate to break it to you but looking at the photos it would appear that KNC ended up going with rPi beaglebone instead of the expensive overkill SO-DIMM system on a board.
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September 11, 2013, 12:44:40 AM
 #9065

DeathAndTaxes sure seems to know alot about the KNCMiner... Do you have a inside hookup or do you work for them? Huh

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September 11, 2013, 12:46:33 AM
 #9066

DeathAndTaxes sure seems to know alot about the KNCMiner... Do you have a inside hookup or do you work for them? Huh

Nope I just read a lot (and have an eidetic memory).
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September 11, 2013, 12:51:48 AM
 #9067

I forget, what does eidetic mean?
demonmaestro
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September 11, 2013, 01:07:57 AM
 #9068



ei·det·ic
īˈdetik/Submit
adjectivePSYCHOLOGY
1.
relating to or denoting mental images having unusual vividness and detail, as if actually visible.
noun
1.
a person able to form or recall eidetic images.

1920s: coined in German from Greek eidētikos , from eidos ‘form.’

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September 11, 2013, 01:12:07 AM
 #9069

I forget, what does eidetic mean?
tolip_wen
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September 11, 2013, 01:12:59 AM
 #9070

DeathAndTaxes sure seems to know alot about the KNCMiner... Do you have a inside hookup or do you work for them? Huh

Nope I just read a lot (and have an eidetic memory).

Perhaps your eidetic memory can recall this link
https://www.kncminer.com/news/news-25

Specifically the statement "Embedded Linux SO_DIMM module"
As far as I know that still stands.

I'm prepared to be proven wrong, even though I never claimed it was a fact.
You no doubt remember me stating "If they use the SO-DIMM pictured"

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ASIC-K
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September 11, 2013, 01:21:40 AM
 #9071

bullshit on the eidetic memory.
Phoenix1969
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September 11, 2013, 01:24:13 AM
 #9072

Nothing holding back any equipment(miner) dev's from ordering their own "ARM-SoC FPGA SO-DIMM", connecting it to a "Beaglebone" and slapping their own miners to it. That's so cool, opensource Orsoc comes to the park with a fully programmable on-board system they've been working on for years. The magic will be seeing them run with the perfect project: our miners with Marcus, Andreas, Sam & the Swedish crew delivering our meatballs! I'm so stoked. We are so very close now... I can almost taste the meatballs. Smiley


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DeathAndTaxes
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September 11, 2013, 01:27:40 AM
 #9073

Perhaps your eidetic memory can recall this link
https://www.kncminer.com/news/news-25

Specifically the statement "Embedded Linux SO_DIMM module"
As far as I know that still stands.

I'm prepared to be proven wrong, even though I never claimed it was a fact.
You no doubt remember me stating "If they use the SO-DIMM pictured"

Yes however that doesn't mean things don't change.   KNC has reported in separate occasions that the package would be 2797 ball and 2046 ball and looking at the PCB today it is clearly neither.  The photos of the board (identified upthread not by me BTW) appear to be .  Still even if the SO-DIMM board is used, the reasons aren't the ones you listed.   USB isn't used, only single Ethernet port used, no need for FPGA to run cgminer, etc.
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September 11, 2013, 01:41:44 AM
 #9074

I'd imagine SPI for the interfaces. BUt that's just a total blind guess.

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September 11, 2013, 01:52:41 AM
 #9075


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/as-worries-over-the-power-grid-rise-a-drill-will-simulate-a-knockout-blow.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&
whoa, maybe better get some solar panels..image they blow something up by accident during the drill  Cheesy

  One thing that sucks about solar panels.  Is if its a grid tide system like mine and most are.    They do not work when the power go out.    Its a safety future so you don't feed electricity back in to the lines and end up frying the guy working on them on the other end.   But you can always do a battery backup.  Witch in that case they would still work.  But cost and maintenance of batteries   Can be costly,  So most people don't bother.    Easier to just have a generator for a black out.
You can buy hybrid inverters that will grid feed and charge batteries so you can continue to mine if the grid goes out. They obviously wont feed the grid from the batteries for safety.

Yup you sure can.  But like i said batteries are not cheap.  And require more maintenance.  And usually last 8-10 with proper maintenance. Inverters we us and panels haver 25 year warranties"  and have to be replaced.  Have to be in a separate ventilated room.   "well at least here in Hawaii"  PV solar systems out here in Hawaii are going up like crazy.   I have installed over 100 systems my self.  And yet ran in to anyone wanting to go battery backup  after finding out the extra cost.    
But yes you can do a battery backup.   But unless you want to be total off grid.  I think a back up generator is much more practical for power outage.  
Just my opinion.



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September 11, 2013, 02:20:20 AM
 #9076

I know I have the arrow pointing at the wrong corner on the first pcb image, but it doesn't matter. Just look and dream that it's a real working miner.

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September 11, 2013, 02:27:31 AM
 #9077

looks empty to me!
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September 11, 2013, 02:44:22 AM
 #9078

looks empty to me!

It's not empty! Its full of hopes and dreams; dreams of becoming millionaires and never having to work evaaaar again!!! Yay for bitcoinz!
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September 11, 2013, 02:59:14 AM
 #9079

No embedded board is going to cost less than a rPi.
Well, the above is probably true. But I don't think additional $50 for a better hardware controller module would matter much.

Several people enumerated advantages of rPi. But this thing has also a lot of drawbacks for the hardware-oriented developer:

1) GPIO pins are weak/insensitive/slow/generally rather low signal quality
2) lack of high-quality and high-productivity low-level/close-to-the metal debugging tools
3) whatever debugging tools are available are seriously hampered by the closed-source and anti-reverse-engineering approach from the BroadCom about the BCM2835 chip architecture
4) The true/main CPU of rPI is VideoCore, the ARM is a peripheral/attached CPU. Under Linux only the small subset of VideoCore is available as a GPU and some power controller. This is a serious drawback when developing/debugging the board-level reset sequencing.
5) Ethernet goes through the internal USB including both hardware hub and software translation layer. Another major drawback during debugging.

I agree with that FPGA chip probably has little use in the normal operation of the miner. It kinda depends on the details of the communciation protocol, apparently Avalon uses one small Xilinx FPGA per 10 hashing chips.

But during the debugging/prototyping/initial-rollout of the miner FPGA is a godsend. With Altera SignalTap (equivalent of Xilinx Chipscope) it is like having a high-quality high-speed logic analyzer for almost free. This is a tremendous help when working on a project where shortest time-to-market is the top objective.

I don't have any specific information about internal design choices of ORSoC. I'm very familiar with competitors' DIMM SoC hardware controllers and I can credit them with at least order-of-magnitude time and effort savings when doing chip-level development. For this particular purpose rPi could be considered a serious step back even in comparison with the hobbyist-level hardware like the BeagleBoard/BeagleBone.

Please comment, critique, criticize or ridicule BIP 2112: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54382.0
Long-term mining prognosis: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91101.0
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September 11, 2013, 03:05:22 AM
 #9080

I don't have any specific information about internal design choices of ORSoC. I'm very familiar with competitors' DIMM SoC hardware controllers and I can credit them with at least order-of-magnitude time and effort savings when doing chip-level development. For this particular purpose rPi could be considered a serious step back even in comparison with the hobbyist-level hardware like the BeagleBoard/BeagleBone.

From the picture it appears to a beaglebone, which I agree is a better choice. Seems to be a much more open platform as well.

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