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Author Topic: Custom FPGA Board for Sale!  (Read 85728 times)
li_gangyi
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August 19, 2011, 03:59:46 AM
 #61

It's just helps to justify it more, there's no easy way to cool these things well with such a small footprint, I haven't seen a heatsink that's alot higher then it's length/width (at least not where I live), I can't cool these passively, so adding a small fan ontop was the easiest way without having to scrounge for specialty heatsinks (the current heatsinks I use are about USD$1 each, affordable, the fan adds a few more bucks.)

Without a fan you'd be running into finger scorching temps. I have no idea what the actual on die temps are like (the chip is encased in a plastic epoxy package), but I'd definitely not be running 24/7 at those temps.

I know at this point the board may seem to be pricey, but the costs for the board and components for low volume orders are high, let me put it into context. The spartan-6 based dev board that FPGAminer uses during dev costs USD$1000, this is less then 1/2 that cost, yes it doesn't have all the other features, but that's what we want for a mining board.

We'd like to at this point sell off a couple of the boards I have on hand and recoup some of the original investment to continue spinning the next batch of boards.

Support for the original board (this batch) will continue for as long as feasible, upgrades may come in little modules that you can plug into the Jtag port (for chaining etc.), we aren't planning to screw the early adopters over.

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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bitjet
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August 19, 2011, 04:05:17 AM
 #62

Very cool. Looks promising! Unfortunately the investment price is too high to make much sense.
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August 19, 2011, 04:17:04 AM
 #63

nice stuff !! i support but price put me down!  Grin
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August 19, 2011, 04:20:37 AM
 #64

Well, look up how much an LX150 dev board costs! I'll tell you- it's gonna be at least $600. And a board like that probably won't stand up to mining for very long.

Now maybe does the price look a little better?

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August 19, 2011, 05:55:03 AM
 #65

That price is definitely good for an FPGA miner, I think though the most savings will come from mass production due to the power, heat and space saving costs. If you can manage to get 5 on a board and sell it for ~1k and make it stackable it would not be a bad investment. I'm sure people would put down some serious $$ then.
li_gangyi
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August 19, 2011, 06:07:18 AM
 #66

That price is definitely good for an FPGA miner, I think though the most savings will come from mass production due to the power, heat and space saving costs. If you can manage to get 5 on a board and sell it for ~1k and make it stackable it would not be a bad investment. I'm sure people would put down some serious $$ then.

5 FPGAs alone (without board any parts yet), will suck up the 1k budget already. We aren't trying to sell the boards with a sky high margin, the costs of the parts alone are just quite high at the moment.

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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Keninishna
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August 19, 2011, 06:44:34 AM
 #67

That price is definitely good for an FPGA miner, I think though the most savings will come from mass production due to the power, heat and space saving costs. If you can manage to get 5 on a board and sell it for ~1k and make it stackable it would not be a bad investment. I'm sure people would put down some serious $$ then.

5 FPGAs alone (without board any parts yet), will suck up the 1k budget already. We aren't trying to sell the boards with a sky high margin, the costs of the parts alone are just quite high at the moment.

Well the wiki says "-3N 484-pin chip is ~$150" which is cheap for a spartan 6 but 5 of them would only be 750$ the rest of the board can be 250$ and you could charge 200$ per board to make it worth your while and It would still be a good investment.
li_gangyi
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August 19, 2011, 06:53:08 AM
 #68

That price is definitely good for an FPGA miner, I think though the most savings will come from mass production due to the power, heat and space saving costs. If you can manage to get 5 on a board and sell it for ~1k and make it stackable it would not be a bad investment. I'm sure people would put down some serious $$ then.

5 FPGAs alone (without board any parts yet), will suck up the 1k budget already. We aren't trying to sell the boards with a sky high margin, the costs of the parts alone are just quite high at the moment.

Well the wiki says "-3N 484-pin chip is ~$150" which is cheap for a spartan 6 but 5 of them would only be 750$ the rest of the board can be 250$ and you could charge 200$ per board to make it worth your while and It would still be a good investment.

That's where the wiki is wrong and needs to be edited. I couldn't find -3N parts in the 484 package in stock with any of the distributors (Digikey and Avnet), else I would've gone with them. Even if you go with a super cheap power supply, at small quantities, it's quite impossible to make a good PCB and keep component costs below $200 (a cheap PSU maybe $30 per FPGA? x5 that's $150 right there and then you'd need to include the PCB). Not to factor in the cost of soldering the BGAs. Maybe at 1.3k it might be doable.

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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August 19, 2011, 06:57:13 AM
 #69

With the most recent program it gets 100 MHash/s and uses 6.8W of power. 

How about 1 Ghash/s and 68W of power?
and <$500

How about world peace?

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molecular
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August 19, 2011, 07:06:16 AM
 #70

I would so buy one or two but $440 is a bit too much to invest in 100 Mhash. It would take a seriously long time to earn back that original investment. I just picked up a 5870 for $180 and that nets me 393 Mhash/s , so 3x the amount this board does at a more reasonable cost.

According to my calculations it would take  23.66 months to pay for this board - assuming btc prices stay at ~10.98.


It would probably take even longer if prices rise again, because that would attract a lot of gpu and increase difficulty. It might be faster if price falls to $1, because that would drive out power-inefficient mining and puts loads of pressure on difficulty. So this is actually insurance against price drop Wink

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August 19, 2011, 07:42:26 AM
 #71

I'm happy to report to the thread that I just ordered my FPGA miner.

Both guys (Li and newMeat1) have been very helpful so far in providing me with documents I asked for (an invoice).

I'm now waiting for them to send me an order confirmation with payment instructions. I will pay using paypal, unfortunately, because that's safer for me.

So I'd say: probably ONLY 3 LEFT!

I'll keep you guys updated on how it goes and I hope Li and newMeat1 can build some confidence this way.

UPDATE0 Aug 19th 10:00 - I ordered Xilinx USB platform cable through ebay.de for €41.50 = $59 incl. shipping from HongKong.

UPDATE1 Aug 19th 10:10 - I received an invoice from Li via paypal and payed $440 (+$12 for shipping and handling) = $452. I noticed my shipping address in paypal was a very old address of mine and PMed Li with the correct address. I hope it'll work out.

UPDATE2 Aug 19th 10:20 - Li confirmed receiving the payment and also confirmed he would send to the correct shipping address.

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makomk
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August 19, 2011, 08:52:44 AM
 #72

I presume you have done the obvious optimisations that clearly mean less calculations per double hash:
pre-calculating the first 3 rounds and not bothering to calculate the last 3.5 rounds since you don't need them at all ...
It should have the second of those two optimisations (not calculating the last 3.5 rounds) but I don't think it has the first one, mostly because it's harder to do and requires changes to the supporting software.

Even if you go with a super cheap power supply, at small quantities, it's quite impossible to make a good PCB and keep component costs below $200 (a cheap PSU maybe $30 per FPGA? x5 that's $150 right there and then you'd need to include the PCB).
That's surprising actually. PC motherboards and graphics cards have similar power supply requirements, and they're definitely available for below $200...

Quad XC6SLX150 Board: 860 MHash/s or so.
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August 19, 2011, 08:59:33 AM
 #73

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PC motherboards and graphics cards have similar power supply requirements, and they're definitely available for below $200...
The effect volume has on component price blows my mind too. It's really quite unfair, but that's supply and demand for ya :/

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I'm happy to report to the thread that I just ordered my FPGA miner.
Congrats! Who wants to chisel that into the Bitcoin history book?  Cheesy

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August 19, 2011, 12:01:00 PM
 #74

That's surprising actually. PC motherboards and graphics cards have similar power supply requirements, and they're definitely available for below $200...

I'm sorry but they manufacture motherboards and other stuffs in millions quantity. If we can build our mining boards in this quantity, we even can build them with ASIC, which 10 times cheaper than fpga, and 10 times faster than fpga, and the power consuming is 10 times lower than fpga, all these features are provided on a single board.


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August 19, 2011, 01:49:28 PM
 #75

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I'm happy to report to the thread that I just ordered my FPGA miner.

molecular, thank you very much! You won't be disappointed. Also, as one of our first customers, you locked in a 10% discount for life

Edit: We are down to 2 boards left now. And we are trying to work out a selling deal with Cablesaurus!!!

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August 19, 2011, 03:47:25 PM
 #76

Happy to report as well we'll be working together to maintain a seamless vein of supply to the community as this begins to find utilization.

PCIe Extender Cables; Dummy Plugs, Fans; PSU Cables; Cases & More
Visit www.Cablesaurus.com and our forum thread at http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=6128.0
enmaku
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August 19, 2011, 03:51:33 PM
 #77

Another important question: what is the expected lifespan of such an FPGA board running at 100% 24 hours a day 7 days a week? 6.8 watts sounds awesome but without knowing an average lifespan to amortize the hefty initial cost over I can't say with any certainty whether this is better than GPU mining, and if so by how large a factor.

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August 19, 2011, 04:00:25 PM
 #78

That price is definitely good for an FPGA miner, I think though the most savings will come from mass production due to the power, heat and space saving costs. If you can manage to get 5 on a board and sell it for ~1k and make it stackable it would not be a bad investment. I'm sure people would put down some serious $$ then.

5 FPGAs alone (without board any parts yet), will suck up the 1k budget already. We aren't trying to sell the boards with a sky high margin, the costs of the parts alone are just quite high at the moment.
Have you looked at the microsemi smartfusion devices? They offer a huge amount of gates at a much lower price & you get a extra arm processor.

am I missing something  Huh

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li_gangyi
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August 19, 2011, 04:04:52 PM
 #79

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We aren't using the LX45, that's a puny part with 43+k logic cells. We've on the board a LX150 part that has 147+k logic cells, also the -2 plays a part in how fast the chip can run. -3 is what we have.

http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=122-1725-ND

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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li_gangyi
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August 19, 2011, 04:11:42 PM
 #80

Another important question: what is the expected lifespan of such an FPGA board running at 100% 24 hours a day 7 days a week? 6.8 watts sounds awesome but without knowing an average lifespan to amortize the hefty initial cost over I can't say with any certainty whether this is better than GPU mining, and if so by how large a factor.

I have no reason to believe it won't last as long as any Graphics card, if not better. The current cooling solution keeps the chip under 50deg, GPUs constantly run higher then that. The board itself is populated with quality components, most capacitors are ceramic and the remaining are polymer capacitors (that don't leak electrolyte).

The question remains of course, what if the fan fails? I'm sourcing for good ball bearing reliable fans. That probably is the thing that'd kill the FPGA, the rest of the board should still work though, those LMZ modules are very hardy and can take a direct short to the output. If you send the board back I can fix it at the cost of a new FPGA.

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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