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Author Topic: Are GPU's actually a good thing?  (Read 1713 times)
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November 09, 2010, 02:37:01 PM

It seems that many people (including myself) dislike the idea that GPU's run BitCoin so much faster than a regular computer.  But think of it this way:  If the hash algorithm was designed so that it had to run on a CPU, then the only way to really make it faster would be with expensive custom hardware.  But with SHA2 and the proliferation of $300 graphics cards that can do 1,000,000 khash/sec, it'll be easy for the average joe to pump out custom-hardware-level speed.

Right now you need to be a bit of a hacker to get it going, but I bet in a few months there will be easy-to-download binaries.

The graphics card companies put so much effort into the design of these things that I think it's unlikely that custom hardware will be that much faster as to cost-effective.  Using SHA2 may actually spread generation more evenly and thus be a good thing.

Custom hardware would make it cheaper per Ghash/sec (or else there would be no point), but if it costs everyone the same, then the advantage will go to the hobbiest who already has the hardware for games and uses the excess heat to heat their home instead of paying for aircon to remove it from the building.

Since server farms usually don't have high-end graphics cards (if any at all) it's another advantage for the "little guy".
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November 09, 2010, 02:52:10 PM

I think the more CPU power the better, if lots of people mine on GPUs it will be harder for anyone to overpower the network.

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November 09, 2010, 04:25:51 PM

Makes it a lot harder for a botnet to take over, too, since that's unlikely to use GPU computing.

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November 09, 2010, 04:31:09 PM

I think the main thing to consider is that there is absolutely no way to stop people form using GPUs anyway so discouraging honest people form using them only makes it easier for a take over. We should want everyone to use the most efficient methods available to them.

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November 12, 2010, 11:30:36 PM

It does not matter at all.. the algorithm will adjust itself
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November 12, 2010, 11:46:32 PM
Suggestion :

Since the coins are generated faster on fast machines, many people will want to use their GPU power to do this, too.

So, my suggestion is to implement a GPU-computing support using ATI Stream and Nvidia CUDA.
The average total coins generated across the network per day stays the same.  Faster machines just get a larger share than slower machines.  If everyone bought faster machines, they wouldn't get more coins than before.

We should have a gentleman's agreement to postpone the GPU arms race as long as we can for the good of the network.  It's much easer to get new users up to speed if they don't have to worry about GPU drivers and compatibility.  It's nice how anyone with just a CPU can compete fairly equally right now.
Well, guess that gentleman's agreement has expired ;P

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November 13, 2010, 12:41:19 AM

i dont really get the topic starter,
you dislike GPU-miners, but want to create/build/buy custom hardware to make it cheaper per Ghash/sec?
well, isnt that exactly what GPUs do, make it cheaper, more effective, bring generation back into profit?
it's not even expensive custom hardware that little joe can't afford, everyone can.

and what if we really limit generation to CPUs (or whatever), who's next to blame, multi-core users? or those running custom hardware?

for me personally it's just a matter of cost-effectiveness,
i'v been generating on (up to 10) CPUs 24/7 till it became a loss to me about a month ago, makes no sense anymore if i have to pay more for electricity than i can expect to get back in form of coins.
i still generate on a few low-power CPUs, but they just get 250-800khash/s, so i don't expect to win the lottery, although i do sometimes (800khash-miner won 2blocks in the last 3 weeks).

GPUs brought me back into generating and i dont lose money anymore while doing it.
if there weren't GPU-miners i (and a few others i guess) would stop generating immediately and botnets would be back in business, not sure if you'd like that more than "us".

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November 15, 2010, 12:56:35 AM

GPU mining has had an interesting effect on Bitcoin even in the short time I have been involved.

When I first heard about Bitcoin (through Slashdot or similar) I was intrigued by the idea and ran the client to see if I could generate some coins even though it's a non-trivial security risk.  Generating some coins then made me have some sort of emotional investment in the project. Similarly, I think that a lot of people who currently support the project would no longer be so interested if they lost all their coins. I think there's some hostility to people who suggest that the current scheme should be scrapped and restarted in an improved form purely on the grounds that the existing balances might be wiped out.

GPU mining now means that running the client is no longer so apparently rewarding and it means that a lot of the superficial appeal of Bitcoin has gone. A lot of the forum posts have been concerned with valuing bitcoins or predicting the future value while seeming to ignore that you can't actually buy or sell very much with them. I think that the current situation where generation is not a significant factor in most people's decision to support the network is a more realistic environment in which to judge the success of the scheme.

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