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Author Topic: Custom FPGA Board for Sale!  (Read 56129 times)
newMeat1
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August 18, 2011, 03:23:29 PM
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I have been working with 2 other members of the bitcoin community to develop a custom FPGA mining board. Our goal was a quiet, efficient, highly profitable platform for bitcoin mining… with a much lower pricetag than previous FPGA boards.



We have made and tested a prototype with pool mining. With the most recent program it gets 100 MHash/s and uses 6.8W of power. In the future we expect incremental improvements to the mining speed due to better software. You can see from the Mining Hardware Comparison that our custom board is far better than the commercial FPGA alternatives in terms of $/Mhash.

The primary members of this FPGA team were:
fpgaminer, USA, Engineer
li_gangyi, Singapore, Electronics Hobbyist
newMeat1, USA, Engineer

We also want to thank makomk for his contributions to optimizing the code and NF6X for his advice on communication interfaces. It is a testament to the global nature of the bitcoin community that we were able to bring together such great talent from across the world.

Check out Li’s blog on the development of the board for more pictures!

We have 4 boards for sale at this moment. The cost is $440 equivalent based on the MT Gox weighted average, to be paid in BTC. Shipping costs will be added. We do international shipping—please message me if interested and we’ll work out the details. Up-front payment is required to cover our hardware costs. The boards will ship within 7 days after receipt of payment.

In the next few weeks, we will be putting together a bulk order, so don’t worry much if you miss out on this initial batch.

What do you need to run these boards on your computer?
•   An open USB port
•   An open 4-pin Molex power connector. Most computers have an extra one or two of these inside (my PC has 4!)

•   Download and install Xilinx's free ISE software, here
•   A Xilinx Platform Cable- we recommend eBay to get it cheap
•   Operating system: Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS and SUSE Linux Enterprise are supported
o   Other versions of Linux may work, but no guarantees

We'll be posting a walk-through soon about how to set up the board. If you got the bitcoin client running, you shouldn’t have any problems setting up the FPGA board  Smiley

Get yours now- the Bitcoin Dominator X5000!

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shakaru
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August 18, 2011, 03:38:34 PM
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Give me a price. Let me know about bulk orders too in terms of price, qty and shipping to LAX.

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August 18, 2011, 03:40:51 PM
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It might take me a while to respond to a message because I can only reply to 10 msgs per hour. Sorry about that. We're only selling 1 to each customer at the moment, to help spread the word. If you want to buy all 4, go for it! We will certainly discount shipping and maybe we can work on another discount for you

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Give me a price. Let me know about bulk orders too in terms of price, qty and shipping to LAX.
It will take us at least a week to work out the details of the bulk order to come.

kookiekrak
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August 18, 2011, 03:51:22 PM
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question though, if it only uses 6.8W of power, why not give it a male molex connector + female usb connector so that you can stack these cards?

you should look into optimizing these so that you can build custom boxes to store rows of these without needing tons of molex connectors and usb ports

FREE 100 GME if you post your Cryptsy TradeKey on the official GameCoinTalk forums

http://www.gamecointalk.org/index.php?topic=7.msg9#new
newMeat1
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August 18, 2011, 03:54:57 PM
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question though, if it only uses 6.8W of power, why not give it a male molex connector + female usb connector so that you can stack these cards?

you should look into optimizing these so that you can build custom boxes to store rows of these without needing tons of molex connectors and usb ports

This design is fairly modular already. Yes, you need multiple USB ports and Molex connectors, but those are cheap. We went for a simple solution first, to make sure it would work. Communicating over USB isn't trivial

Down the road... we have some changes in store, along those lines.

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August 18, 2011, 04:00:28 PM
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question though, if it only uses 6.8W of power, why not give it a male molex connector + female usb connector so that you can stack these cards?

you should look into optimizing these so that you can build custom boxes to store rows of these without needing tons of molex connectors and usb ports

While stackable would indeed be nice, you can use splitters for the time being. Each rail on a regular computer power supply is 12v @ 5a, or about 60 watts. Even the cheapest power supplies have two rails with regular molex connectors for a total of 120 watts. If you load both rails to 80% (96 watts) you could put 7 boards on each rail, thus pulling 1.4 GH/s for less power draw than a single 5830. Of course right now that'd cost you $3,080 but who knows, given enough time price could very feasibly come down Smiley

Edit: oh yeah, and a couple USB hubs. I'm assuming the amount of bandwidth these things take is trivial, right?

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August 18, 2011, 04:04:05 PM
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oh yeah, and a couple USB hubs. I'm assuming the amount of bandwidth these things take is trivial, right?

Yeah. I don't know exactly (not my part of the project), but Xilinx says you can run 127 from one computer.

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August 18, 2011, 04:04:44 PM
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Jtag itself is fairly scalable, you can chain multiple devices into the loops I.E use the same Xilinx Platform cable to manage multiple boards with a modified harness.

I've yet to test this out properly though, so it'll take some time to implement (software side).

The cool thing about this minimalist design is that, with this as the base, we can add functionality later without having to ditch the entire board and dropping support. This avoids us having to re-spin the entire board, going through all the testing processes and then screwing the previous buyers over.

And yes, the bandwidth required is trivial.

Currently active on Custom FPGA board https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=37904.0
And on X6*** FPGA board https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=40058.0
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newMeat1
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August 18, 2011, 04:31:30 PM
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Let me know about bulk orders too in terms of price, qty and shipping to LAX.

Shakaru- looks like shipping to the US will be $10 for one.

molecular
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August 18, 2011, 04:31:43 PM
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Awesome! I'm almost buying it. Unfortunately you will not allow using an escrow service for my protection, because you need the money up front, right?

newMeat1
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August 18, 2011, 04:32:50 PM
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What do you think, Li? He's a senior member. Should we let our first buyer use an escrow service? I think we have enough dough to cover the first 1 or 2 out-of-pocket

Please message me, molecular, so we can work out payment addresses and escrow stuff

li_gangyi
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August 18, 2011, 04:33:44 PM
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Go ahead, we've got no reputation at this point of time, and we need to build the confidence. Alternatively we can use offer to use paypal or something. Whichever the buyer prefers.

Currently active on Custom FPGA board https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=37904.0
And on X6*** FPGA board https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=40058.0
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molecular
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August 18, 2011, 04:44:21 PM
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Go ahead, we've got no reputation at this point of time, and we need to build the confidence. Alternatively we can use offer to use paypal or something. Whichever the buyer prefers.

I would really prefer bitcoin, it's just way cooler. Unfortunately I cannot find an escrow service. Clearcoin is closed. Maybe we could find a trusted community member? Paypal is an option however, if we cannot find someone.

Also: I would prefer some form of secured, tracked shipping, would hate to see this precious thing lost in shipping. I'm in germany. Can you give me a quote on shipping?

EDIT: it seems all xilinx platform cables I can find on ebay.de (german site) are shipped from hongkong... maybe you could even get one for me and include it to save a little on shipping? I'd have to shell out $57 incl. shipping to get one myself.

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August 18, 2011, 04:51:07 PM
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I have to admit I'm kind of jealous of you guys.  Embarrassed

But isn't the Board overengineered? Those voltage regulators look like they could drive at least a dozen spartan-6s. Out of curiosity how much LUTs do the 32bit rotations consume?

From the immortal Dumb and Dumber "Were in a hole... We just gotta dig ourselves out"
newMeat1
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August 18, 2011, 04:54:39 PM
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Overengineered- absolutely! Like I said, our priority was making sure it worked. I've had problems before with noisy or inadequate PSU's. These voltage regulators were chosen because they have especially low radiated EMI. On the version that we sell, we will downgrade them to a cheaper version, but with the same package.

I'll mention, too, that we will test everything before we ship it.

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Out of curiosity how much LUTs do the 32bit rotations consume?
That's a question for fpgaminer, who is at work right now...

Quote
I would really prefer bitcoin, it's just way cooler. Unfortunately I cannot find an escrow service. Clearcoin is closed. Maybe we could find a trusted community member? Paypal is an option however, if we cannot find someone.

Also: I would prefer some form of secured, tracked shipping, would hate to see this precious thing lost in shipping. I'm in germany. Can you give me a quote on shipping?

EDIT: it seems all xilinx platform cables I can find on ebay.de (german site) are shipped from hongkong... maybe you could even get one for me and include it to save a little on shipping? I'd have to shell out $57 incl. shipping to get one myself.

Molecular- we talked about including a Platform cable with the FPGA board. I think we should do this for you. Let me see what Li works out as far as shipping and stuff is concerned.

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August 18, 2011, 05:03:46 PM
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I have to admit I'm kind of jealous of you guys.  Embarrassed

But isn't the Board overengineered? Those voltage regulators look like they could drive at least a dozen spartan-6s. Out of curiosity how much LUTs do the 32bit rotations consume?

Molecular: I can register the mail and then we'd be able to track it, I can't seem to find how much it'll cost to register everything, but I do know the base charges. Shouldn't cost more then USD$12 to get this packed and shipped to you registered.

ElectricMucus: wow what a nick, yeah it was over-engineered, I had no idea how much current the 1.2V rail will consume in the future, didn't want to re-roll or re-work everything if there is a limitation, going by the measurements I've carried out so far, that size (10A capable) is about right for VccINT, so I wouldn't say it'd be enough to power a dozen Spartan-6s, maybe another 1 at the current power consumption levels. The VccIO and VccAux rails require fair less current then I thought it would, a lower spec part is avail in the same footprint, I'll put it into the remaining production boards.

Currently active on Custom FPGA board https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=37904.0
And on X6*** FPGA board https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=40058.0
1PvzLC3FKEjBiWejWe4BXbnXTJe4pKCpU5
newMeat1
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August 18, 2011, 05:43:56 PM
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it seems all xilinx platform cables I can find on ebay.de (german site) are shipped from hongkong... maybe you could even get one for me and include it to save a little on shipping? I'd have to shell out $57 incl. shipping to get one myself.

Here's where we stand... if you buy a Platform cable on eBay, it will take 2 weeks to ship to you. We could buy it for you, but then we just have to ship it twice and there's no cost/time savings.

We are working on a design now to eliminate the Platform cable. If that ever comes to fruition, it will lower the board cost quite a bit. Also, with future bulk orders, price will go down more.

So, we need to cover our costs now. We want to get some boards out in the community for evaluation. At the same time, we don't want to screw our first buyers by charging a ridiculous amount, then undercutting that price by $50 or so in a month's time.

Here's the best solution I can come up with-- $440+shipping for the board. Buy your own Platform cable on eBay (it is a knockoff, but we use them- they work). If you ever decide to buy from us again, you get 10% off. This offer stands for our first 4 buyers.

Essentially, you trade a high cost right now for a much better bargain in the future. What do you think?

Here's a link to the absolute cheapest Platform cable- http://cgi.ebay.com/Xilinx-FPGA-CPLD-USB-download-Cable-JTAG-programmer-new-/250831239457?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a66b4f921#ht_2447wt_993

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August 18, 2011, 05:56:42 PM
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Quote
it seems all xilinx platform cables I can find on ebay.de (german site) are shipped from hongkong... maybe you could even get one for me and include it to save a little on shipping? I'd have to shell out $57 incl. shipping to get one myself.

Here's where we stand... if you buy a Platform cable on eBay, it will take 2 weeks to ship to you. We could buy it for you, but then we just have to ship it twice and there's no cost/time savings.

We are working on a design now to eliminate the Platform cable. If that ever comes to fruition, it will lower the board cost quite a bit. Also, with future bulk orders, price will go down more.

So, we need to cover our costs now. We want to get some boards out in the community for evaluation. At the same time, we don't want to screw our first buyers by charging a ridiculous amount, then undercutting that price by $50 or so in a month's time.

Here's the best solution I can come up with, molecular-- $440+shipping for the board. Buy your own Platform cable on eBay (it is a knockoff, but we use them- they work). If you ever decide to buy from us again, you get 10% off. This offer stands for our first 4 buyers.

Essentially, you trade a high cost right now for a much better bargain in the future. What do you think?

Here's a link to the absolute cheapest Platform cable- http://cgi.ebay.com/Xilinx-FPGA-CPLD-USB-download-Cable-JTAG-programmer-new-/250831239457?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a66b4f921#ht_2447wt_993


OMG.....

When I followed your link to eBay, then I do a search on it using key words:"Xilinx FPGA USB Cable".
I found there more than half of them are designed  and produced by me, at least they use my product pictures for advertisement... I sell more then 2000 pcs of this staff in China, on TAOBAO.com, and some for middle man. In the past year....




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newMeat1
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August 18, 2011, 05:58:11 PM
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Well can you hook us up with an insider price?    Grin   Maybe you could help us design an on-board alternative?

Man I love the global connections of bitcoin

Remember, GPU mining may or may not be profitable 2 months from now. An FPGA miner should be profitable for years to come

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August 18, 2011, 06:14:11 PM
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Well can you hook us up with an insider price?    Grin   Maybe you could help us design an on-board alternative?

Man I love the global connections of bitcoin

Remember, GPU mining may or may not be profitable 2 months from now. An FPGA miner should be profitable for years to come

The on board jtag cable's SCH  is public. Xilinx open source of it in SP605 Development Board

follow this link:

http://www.xilinx.com/support/documentation/boards_and_kits/xtp067_sp605_schematics.pdf

on page 32.

But what I want to say is: would you like to implement a more universe interface for the FPGA? For example, an UART port. This protocol is very easy to achieve in FPGA logic, and easy to use. It's only needs a MAX232 chip for voltage level translator.

Have A Nice Day

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