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Author Topic: CoinTerra announces its first ASIC - Hash-Rate greater than 500 GH/s  (Read 230686 times)
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November 11, 2013, 01:36:01 AM
 #781

just out of interest, i found some articles that discuss the watts that a heavily over clocked intel cpu might draw, when running a pretty maximum application... and here's the source... even with max over clocking (and over vaulting), and maxing out the cpu usage, it still doesn't get close to 300 watts!  and this is an extreme test, not an application that will be running 24/7/365 like a bitcoin miner.

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2013/06/01/intel-core-i7-4770k-cpu-review/7
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November 11, 2013, 01:40:46 AM
 #782

Raw wattage isn't the whole story in thermodynamics.  Your lawn on a hot summer day probably absorbs a couple KW of heat.  Do you have exotic water cooling or install heat sinks on your grass blades to keep it from bursting into flames? Smiley

Now that was a intentionally silly example but heat flux especially localized heat flux is relevant in the heat transfer requirements of the cooling system.  This is why both HashFast and Cointerra are able to use OEM CPU coolers despite as you point out no CPU has a TDP of 300W+.  They are designed to handle the much higher heat flux (W/cm2) present in modern CPU and cooling a large die with relatively even and low heat flux is less of a challenge.
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November 11, 2013, 01:46:50 AM
 #783

Raw wattage isn't the whole story in thermodynamics.  Your lawn on a hot summer day probably absorbs a couple KW of heat.  Do you have exotic water cooling or install heat sinks on your grass blades. Smiley

Now that was a intentionally silly example but heat flux especially localized heat flux is relevant in the heat transfer requirements of the cooling system.  This is why both HashFast and Cointerra are able to use OEM CPU coolers despite as you point out no CPU has a TDP of 300W+. 

my point is that a high end bitcoin miner is designed to run at a TDP of over 300W, ALL OF THE TIME - and not just one chip doing that.. all of them are doing that in one box (in ct.'s case thats 4 chips, each with a TDP over 300W, all next to each other)... whereas an Intel cpu, when over clocked, isn't going anywhere near this zone.  In normal usage, even when being maxed out, it runs at 125 watts (for the big ones) and 90w for the smaller ones.   It only ever runs at 250_ watts when its being tweaked by an over clocker, and even then, it doesn't run at that wattage all of the time... it is bursty.  its only during a task, like a video compression or math problem.. that it might do that, for hours maybe.. but not for days and weeks upon a time.  that full time load puts a lot of strain on the cooling system.

and yes, both hashfast and cointerra are using high end pc cooling technology, but even then, I'm sure they're using the extra strength version of it.. not the standard common or garden models.   cointerras radiators look custom (and big!)... they're not similar to anything I've seen in a store.. though hashfast's radiators do look similar to high end pc ones like the Corsair Hydro series (probably H80)
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November 11, 2013, 01:56:09 AM
Last edit: November 11, 2013, 02:44:43 AM by DeathAndTaxes
 #784

and yes, both hashfast and cointerra are using high end pc cooling technology, but even then, I'm sure they're using the extra strength version of it.. not the standard common or garden models.   cointerras radiators look custom (and big!)... they're not similar to anything I've seen in a store.. though hashfast's radiators do look similar to high end pc ones like the Corsair Hydro series (probably H80).

These aren't high end water cooling, they are about as cheap as water cooling gets.  Note this shouldn't be taken as a hit against either company high end water cooling is expensive, maintenance prone, and complex to install.  It really isn't suited for mass production.  These are the OEM (unbranded) version of popular sealed (self contained rad, pump, res, waterblock, & fluid) water cooling systems.

Kudos to both companies for ingeniously using off the shelf parts but I think you overstated the cooling challenges.  Cooling something 24/7 isn't any harder than cooling it for an hour.  You are going to reach equilibrium (especially with water) within minutes and if you don't have sufficient cooling the system isn't going to last an hour.   If it does lat an hour it isn't going to get harder to cool over time, baring a fan or pump failure the temp after an hour, day, week, year will be roughly the same.
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November 11, 2013, 02:43:42 AM
 #785

Dabs New ASIC, Grass-Cooled. Bamboo Heatsinks!

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November 11, 2013, 08:23:07 AM
 #786

I'm still not sure how relevant that is, as the heat dissipates through the entire die, and via the package and board, into the cooling system... so its the total heat generated thats important and I'm not sure how relevant the spot power is... though maybe I'm missing something.

Silicon isnt the best conductor of heat (nor the worst); so yes heat spreads across the die, but its thermal conductivity is about half that of a cheap aluminum heatspreader and closer to 1% of that of a copper heatpipe. 

Quote
anyway, we talk in averages over the 'package' that needs to be 'cooled'... and an intel chip has a TDP of 125 Watts, which pretty much means that the entire package, at most, will generate 125 Watts of power (aka Heat) output, at its maximum usage...   whereas these bitcoin mining chips (both hashfasts and cointerras) will generate 300 watts of power, ALL OF THE TIME.   And if we overclock them, which I'm pretty sure we will all do, they will no doubt hit 350 or maybe even more watts per chip !   A bitcoin mining chip will use a LOT more power, and require much better cooling, than a regular intel chip.

even the heavily over clocked and over-volted intel chips that have been tweaked by enthusiasts, probably don't draw 350 watts of power, 24/7/365 !   thats my point.

Sure, the total cooling requirements for the entire bitcoin machine will generally be higher. But the lower your thermal density of the chips, the easier it is to cope with that.  Just look in the KnC thread; people are disconnecting the case fans and blocking half the chip cooler because for some weird reason, they perform better when running slightly warmer. But even without case fans, and half blocked coolers (which by default are running low speed fans), these 100-150W chips are running pretty darn cool (50-60C). If you'd try the same with an Intel CPU you would get a very different result.

Quote
i also think its questionable whether there's any parts of an intel chip that will toggle faster, in a denser layout than a hashing core... as almost all of the core, toggles almost every cycle.. thus how does it get any more power consumptive than that?

Im going to pass on this question, though I would be interested in hearing the answer. Fact is intel (amd, whatever) cpu's achieve a far far higher thermal density in their cores (especially ALU's and FP units) than any bitcoin asic. Part of this might be due to higher clockspeeds (and in some cases, double pumped alu's). Core voltage of CPU's is also higher, but combined Im not sure thats enough to explain the difference. So I do wonder if it is not a sign of better optimization.
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November 11, 2013, 08:18:30 PM
Last edit: November 11, 2013, 08:30:35 PM by HyperMega
 #787

So what 28nm ASIC concepts do we have?

KnCMiner (running)
-   TSMC 28HPM (probably) @ 0.7V
-   die area ?
-   1 die per package (see KnC news from 7/19/2013)
-   192 double hash engines per die (see KnC news from 7/19/2013)
-   reported max. hash rate per chip package : 144 GH/s
-   resulting operating frequency : 750 MHz

Hashfast (spec)
-   TSMC 28HPM @ ?V (announced)
-   die area : 81 mm² (18x18 mm² announced by Amy divided by 4)
-   4 dies per package (see open source protocol spec)
-   192 double hash engines per die (see open source protocol spec)
-   specified hash rate per multi chip package (4 dies) : 400 GH/s
-   resulting operating frequency : 520 MHz

Cointerra (spec)
-   GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28HPP @ 0.765V (see FPGA video on Cointerra homepage)
-   die area 111 mm² (resulting from press release 1,5 mm² per GH/s & 3 dies per package for 500 GH/s, 100 mm² also mentioned in their FPGA video)
-   3 dies per package (see FPGA video)
-   121 double hash engines per die (see die layout picture on Cointerra homepage)
-   specified hash rate per multi chip package (3 dies) : 500 GH/s
-   resulting operating frequency : 1377 MHz (1.4 GHz also mentioned in FPGA video)

So, from my point of view the KnC and Hashfast concepts are quite comparable, besides the fact that Hashfast tries to integrate 3x the hash power in one package. Okay they will use more efficient water cooling, but they will still have a 3x time higher current density in their package substrate than KnC has. Maybe that explains their substrate concerns/problems.

Cointerra is much more ambitious. With their power density they will be much closer to the power density hot spots Intel or AMD has in their CPUs, because of the high operating frequency of almost 1.4 GHz. I’m curious how this will end.
Oh, I forgot, they have the same high package substrate current densities as Hashfast has.

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November 11, 2013, 08:49:16 PM
 #788

Nice summary however I believe KNC is using a 4 die concept.  Their error reports refers to die 0,1,2,3.  Google "KNC die zero error".  The large size of the package (45mm x 45mm) also would indicate that.  It is unlikely they are using a giant package for a tiny die, and equally unlikely they have a massive single die underneath that package lid.  It will be interesting the first time a KNC module dies out of warranty.  Dissolving the package would give some good insight.



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November 11, 2013, 08:58:18 PM
 #789

Nice summary however I believe KNC is using a 4 die concept.  Their error reports refers to die 0,1,2,3.  Google "KNC die zero error".  The large size of the package (45mm x 45mm) also would indicate that.  It is unlikely they are using a giant package for a tiny die, and equally unlikely they have a massive single die underneath that package lid.  It will be interesting the first time a KNC module dies out of warranty.  Dissolving the package would give some good insight.





I fully agree, I would realize it with 4 dies too instead of one. Should also be possible, because the 4 KnC quads are fully self contained and could be diced to 4 dies easily.
But above I only analyzed published sources and KnC news is showing only one die containing 4 quads.
Maybe they did that to mislead their competitors. The arrow to the PLL is also pointing to nowhere instead to the real PLL macro on the left side. Wink
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November 11, 2013, 09:13:19 PM
 #790

Nice summary however I believe KNC is using a 4 die concept.  Their error reports refers to die 0,1,2,3.  Google "KNC die zero error".  The large size of the package (45mm x 45mm) also would indicate that.  It is unlikely they are using a giant package for a tiny die, and equally unlikely they have a massive single die underneath that package lid.  It will be interesting the first time a KNC module dies out of warranty.  Dissolving the package would give some good insight.





Besides thermal issues, probably the main reason for the huge package is the requirement to reduce the substrate resistance as much as possible.
Just imagine the overall current flowing to the die (or 4 dies if you like) is easily above 120A (@ 0.7V).
If you want to realize a substrate voltage drop below 100 mV, the substrate resistance must be below 0.8 mOhm, which requires a lot of parallel copper connections (and copper vias) resulting in big substrate area.
 
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November 11, 2013, 10:38:48 PM
 #791

Nobody has yet commented on this:

"Warranties. CoinTerra warrants that its Product(s) will, at the time of shipment and for a period of thirty (30) days thereafter, be free from defects in material and workmanship, be free of all liens and encumbrances, and will conform to CoinTerra’s approved specifications. (…)"

This text is an excerpt from: http://cointerra.com/consumer-sales-agreement/
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November 11, 2013, 11:04:44 PM
 #792

Besides thermal issues, probably the main reason for the huge package is the requirement to reduce the substrate resistance as much as possible.
Just imagine the overall current flowing to the die (or 4 dies if you like) is easily above 120A (@ 0.7V).
If you want to realize a substrate voltage drop below 100 mV, the substrate resistance must be below 0.8 mOhm, which requires a lot of parallel copper connections (and copper vias) resulting in big substrate area.
 

You should have told that to hashfast a month ago Smiley
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November 11, 2013, 11:53:03 PM
 #793

These aren't high end water cooling, they are about as cheap as water cooling gets.  Note this shouldn't be taken as a hit against either company high end water cooling is expensive, maintenance prone, and complex to install.  It really isn't suited for mass production.  These are the OEM (unbranded) version of popular sealed (self contained rad, pump, res, waterblock, & fluid) water cooling systems.

Kudos to both companies for ingeniously using off the shelf parts but I think you overstated the cooling challenges.  Cooling something 24/7 isn't any harder than cooling it for an hour.  You are going to reach equilibrium (especially with water) within minutes and if you don't have sufficient cooling the system isn't going to last an hour.   If it does lat an hour it isn't going to get harder to cool over time, baring a fan or pump failure the temp after an hour, day, week, year will be roughly the same.

I've worked with the guys over at Cool IT Systems. They are a good group of people and engineers and I've used their solutions in my personal computer for low acoustic CPU cooling. When I was working with them, we had put together a PICMG 1.3 backplane and SHB into a desktop chassis running 6 GPUs. We had run a custom cooling and manifold system from 3 radiators on the chassis to cool the 2 Xeon CPUs and 6 GeForce GPUs. All this we managed to put together in a week with some help doing custom fabrication on the chassis. This would have been back in 2007/2008.

At that time, they were doing an early prototype cooling system for rackmount computing. They had essentially done the redneck setup by mounting a radiator from a Honda Accord onto the rear panel of the cabinet with a couple large fans. Was cool to see. Actually looked pretty neat too.

There may be some different staff there now as one of the guys I know has moved on, but in general, I have found them to be a very good group of people to work with and they know their stuff. They have done a lot of OEM work for other PC companies, and I believe they currently license their pre-plumbed CPU coolers under the Corsair brand.

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November 14, 2013, 06:39:17 PM
 #794

Nobody has yet commented on this:

"Warranties. CoinTerra warrants that its Product(s) will, at the time of shipment and for a period of thirty (30) days thereafter, be free from defects in material and workmanship, be free of all liens and encumbrances, and will conform to CoinTerra’s approved specifications. (…)"

This text is an excerpt from: http://cointerra.com/consumer-sales-agreement/

It was 90 days at one time. Wonder why they have lowered it to 30?
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November 14, 2013, 09:20:19 PM
 #795

Nobody has yet commented on this:

"Warranties. CoinTerra warrants that its Product(s) will, at the time of shipment and for a period of thirty (30) days thereafter, be free from defects in material and workmanship, be free of all liens and encumbrances, and will conform to CoinTerra’s approved specifications. (…)"

This text is an excerpt from: http://cointerra.com/consumer-sales-agreement/

It was 90 days at one time. Wonder why they have lowered it to 30?
Im worried with these single - four chip miners... when chip burns it´s gone.
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November 14, 2013, 09:22:46 PM
 #796

I've worked with the guys over at Cool IT Systems. They are a good group of people and engineers and I've used their solutions in my personal computer for low acoustic CPU cooling.

I dont want to trivialize water cooling too much (particularly having no experience with it), but at this point, I think the cooling solution is probably among the least of CT customers concerns.
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November 14, 2013, 09:26:29 PM
 #797

I've worked with the guys over at Cool IT Systems. They are a good group of people and engineers and I've used their solutions in my personal computer for low acoustic CPU cooling.

I dont want to trivialize water cooling too much (particularly having no experience with it), but at this point, I think the cooling solution is probably among the least of CT customers concerns.

please elaborate .. what are our greater concerns?

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November 14, 2013, 09:35:28 PM
Last edit: November 14, 2013, 11:44:27 PM by cedivad
 #798

Those signatures are really ugly.
Who designed them, John?

John, you know that there is an hexdec color code that is usually used on websites, right?

My anger against what is wrong in the Bitcoin community is productive:
Bitcointa.lk - Replace "Bitcointalk.org" with "Bitcointa.lk" in this url to see how this page looks like on a proper forum (Announcement Thread)
Hashfast.org - Wiki for screwed customers
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November 14, 2013, 11:39:33 PM
 #799

I've worked with the guys over at Cool IT Systems. They are a good group of people and engineers and I've used their solutions in my personal computer for low acoustic CPU cooling.

I dont want to trivialize water cooling too much (particularly having no experience with it), but at this point, I think the cooling solution is probably among the least of CT customers concerns.

please elaborate .. what are our greater concerns?

Your greater concerns are

1. Cointerra advertised physical performance (GH/W/s) before completing physical simulation.  They sold you a dream, not an actual design.
2. Cointerra took a month longer than scheduled to complete tape-out, telling us the mock tape-out was a disaster.
3. Cointerra is hiring a new team for their next chip, telling us they aren't happy with the current one (ASIC All-Stars? LOL!).
4. Cointerra's chips will take at least 60 days to fabricate, assuming Global Foundries' inferior 28nm tech doesn't botch the job.
5. HashFast already has their first batch of wafers and will have lots 2/3 dumping multiple petahashes on the network by the time batch one Cointerras ship.


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November 15, 2013, 12:59:37 AM
 #800

Your greater concerns are

1. Cointerra advertised physical performance (GH/W/s) before completing physical simulation.  They sold you a dream, not an actual design.

didn't everyone else do that too including your 'home team' ?  hashfast announced their 400 GH chip specs at least a month before they taped out.  How is that any different ?

Quote
2. Cointerra took a month longer than scheduled to complete tape-out, telling us the mock tape-out was a disaster.

What planet are you on?  you're such a fanboy of hashfast you didn't notice they're more than a month late, even after they've got wafers back?   cointerra may have a month delayed tapeout, but they had built in some margin into their production and they say they can still meet their promised delivery schedule.  Possibly they can do this because they didn't promise an overly aggressive date, and just said late december, which they are still targetting.  They didn't over promise an early date then disappoint everyone but instead they gave a date that they believed they had a good chance of hitting.   hashfast now is in the unfortunate position of having sold their systems at october prices and will now deliver in december and beyond, making all their customers unhappy and feeling like they overpaid, whereas cointerra sold their systems significantly cheaper at december and january prices, and they're planning to deliver in december and january.  And if they deliver to those dates, their customers will get what they were promised, at prices that represent the extra time.   Its ironic that hashfast and cointerra will now deliver in the same month, yet they charged very different prices to customers.

Quote
3. Cointerra is hiring a new team for their next chip, telling us they aren't happy with the current one (ASIC All-Stars? LOL!).
Really?  designing the 2nd generation chip tells you they're not happy with their first one?   A chip that outperforms, and is lower power than any other 28nm chip?  and you think that makes them unhappy?  Can you honestly, hand on heart, tell us that your own favoured hashfast team is not already thinking about their next generation chip?  Do you think any asic companies would be so dumb as to not have started designing the 2nd chip the second the first one has been put to bed.   And if they could afford two teams, they'd be doing them in parallel (like Intel does with Tick Tock architecture!)

Absolutely everyone who has taped out their chips, is already working on the next ones.   knc already announced theirs is in the works.   avalon's already announced the next three chips.  bitfury's on the next chip etc.  Good asic design takes time, and any asic company with any sense (and they are all very smart cookies) would most definitely be architecting their next chip the second they can so that in 6+ months' time, they've got a new product to offer their customers.  And I'm quite sure they have all learned a lot from their first chips so their second ones will be wayyy better.   And you know as well as i do that in the bitcoin world, hardware gets obsolete real fast... so you need to have a follow up in development ready for when you need it.

Quote
4. Cointerra's chips will take at least 60 days to fabricate, assuming Global Foundries' inferior 28nm tech doesn't botch the job.

They've paid expedite fees to get their chips delivered as fast as possible.  from tape-out to end of dec is less than 60 days so we'll see if they get them before end of dec.  Only time will tell but i think you're wrong that it will take more than 60 days!

Quote
5. HashFast already has their first batch of wafers and will have lots 2/3 dumping multiple petahashes on the network by the time batch one Cointerras ship.

had hashfast been on time, i think that might've been true... but now that they're nearly two months late, in reality hashfast's multi petahash batches may well land in the same month as cointerras so i think the entire bitcoin mining community may well benefit from hashfast's delay (especially knc's customers who are probably extremely ecstatic right now... but also even cointerra's customers, who will now have much less network hash rate to contend with when their kit arrives, than it was originally going to be!)

Just having wafers back, without substrates is a pretty unfortunate position to be in as I'm sure you realise that wafers are useless without chips to put the dies in.  announcing an unexpected and significant customer delivery delay was pretty shocking for all concerned.. but do you think you can with a straight face accuse cointerra of a mere four week delay (and so far at least, unaffected delivery dates) when your own professed team has similar but much bigger problems (and very unhappy customers)

Delays during the tape-out process aren't unexpected... its an uncertain time and has to be taken into account during project planning... but delays AFTER your chips come back is a more surprising (and disastrous) outcome.  i expected to be mining with my hashfast systems by now.  instead, I'm literally not sure who will deliver sooner out of hashfast and cointerra, and knc is about to announce their new and improved systems in the next few hours!  and my existing knc gear has been hashing away with much less network hashrate than anyone could've expected this month.

you really do have rose-tinted glasses on don't you!?

All three of KNC, Hashfast and Cointerra are making relatively similar products with quite similar ish performance... differentiated only by price, delivery date and performance.  So far KnC has delivered on time.  Hashfast has announced substantial delays.  And Cointerra says they're still on time despite a four week tape-out slip.    Does it make you feel better about your own choice of miner's delay to try and bait another mining company  customers instead?  Perhaps you're better off placating the angry mob on your own forum before they try and storm the castle than spend your time worrying if cointerra will deliver on time.
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