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Author Topic: X6500 Custom FPGA Miner  (Read 207952 times)
li_gangyi
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September 17, 2011, 04:52:04 PM
 #101

Electric: why would you need the jtag connector? The board has jtag for debug purposes only, everything should be handled via USB during real world usage.

Not too sure if you can mount 2 boards in a bay without needing a high CFM fan to push air to cool the FPGAs. Maybe it'd be possible if we can find some custom or weird heatsink that has 2 flat sides and then mount the top board upside down onto the same heatsink, and then put 2 fans to blow air across, if you get what I'm thinking.

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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ElectricMucus
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September 17, 2011, 05:39:55 PM
 #102

Electric: why would you need the jtag connector? The board has jtag for debug purposes only, everything should be handled via USB during real world usage.

Not too sure if you can mount 2 boards in a bay without needing a high CFM fan to push air to cool the FPGAs. Maybe it'd be possible if we can find some custom or weird heatsink that has 2 flat sides and then mount the top board upside down onto the same heatsink, and then put 2 fans to blow air across, if you get what I'm thinking.
Well, you're right it's probably not really necessary but might be a nice to have for people who would like to actively develop the miner.
I probably will make 2 a version with and without a frontpanel, so that the version without the header is basically a frame (probably all people who use it for strict mining need)

On the heat issue: I am working on a hexagonal grid top/bottom wall for the enclosure so that optimal convection and rigidness is provided, lets say the concept already looks awesome Wink
I will also provide mounting options for fans where ever possible so that heat will be no issue but from what I figured so far it probably won't be necessary.
The full cases will also work as a standalone unit outside the PC and they will be stackable! It will have hexagonal feet with will fit into the hex pattern on top of the enclosure.

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fizzisist
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September 17, 2011, 08:01:54 PM
 #103

Electric: why would you need the jtag connector? The board has jtag for debug purposes only, everything should be handled via USB during real world usage.

Not too sure if you can mount 2 boards in a bay without needing a high CFM fan to push air to cool the FPGAs. Maybe it'd be possible if we can find some custom or weird heatsink that has 2 flat sides and then mount the top board upside down onto the same heatsink, and then put 2 fans to blow air across, if you get what I'm thinking.
Well, you're right it's probably not really necessary but might be a nice to have for people who would like to actively develop the miner.
I probably will make 2 a version with and without a frontpanel, so that the version without the header is basically a frame (probably all people who use it for strict mining need)

On the heat issue: I am working on a hexagonal grid top/bottom wall for the enclosure so that optimal convection and rigidness is provided, lets say the concept already looks awesome Wink
I will also provide mounting options for fans where ever possible so that heat will be no issue but from what I figured so far it probably won't be necessary.
The full cases will also work as a standalone unit outside the PC and they will be stackable! It will have hexagonal feet with will fit into the hex pattern on top of the enclosure.

I like your profile pic, Mucus, and I really like these ideas you're coming up with! For my own FPGA boards, I'm liking that internal 5.25" drive bay idea! Making the enclosure work outside the computer is a great idea, too, when people end up with more boards than will fit inside their case.

As li_gangyi said, the JTAG connectors should never need to be used. The USB interface can be used for development (it is JTAG over USB). If someone really wants direct access to the JTAG headers, they'll probably just keep the board sitting on the desk.

The heat issue is going to be very important, especially as people push the FPGAs to higher and higher clock rates. Some fan inside the enclosure is definitely required, with the air blowing across the heatsinks. If we get horizontal air flow, venting above and below the board can actually be a bad thing. It's better for the enclosure to basically become a little wind tunnel. Another option is to mount a larger fan (80 mm) directly above the board (to the inside of the lid) and blow air down on the heatsinks. The venting would then be out the sides.

Great work! I'm excited to see the first sketches.

li_gangyi
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September 24, 2011, 06:39:44 PM
 #104

Alright, the boards are in, still waiting on some parts to arrive.

http://fillwithcoolblogname.blogspot.com/2011/09/boards-are-in.html

Will let you guys know how it turns out. The boards are looking fantastic.

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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September 24, 2011, 08:59:02 PM
 #105

I just want to announce to everybody that I'm leaving this FPGA project. This is due to disagreements over project direction and pace.

People who were waiting for this board might be interested in this instead: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=45532


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September 25, 2011, 04:28:54 AM
 #106

through hole capacitors .....  Huh

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fizzisist
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September 26, 2011, 09:35:47 PM
 #107

Alright, the boards are in, still waiting on some parts to arrive.

http://fillwithcoolblogname.blogspot.com/2011/09/boards-are-in.html

Will let you guys know how it turns out. The boards are looking fantastic.

Just so it's clear, these are the first 5 PCBs, which need to be stress tested to prove that our design has no problems. After that's done and all looks good (knock on wood), we will be placing large orders. We'll keep you updated!

teek
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September 26, 2011, 09:39:05 PM
 #108

Alright, the boards are in, still waiting on some parts to arrive.

http://fillwithcoolblogname.blogspot.com/2011/09/boards-are-in.html

Will let you guys know how it turns out. The boards are looking fantastic.

Just so it's clear, these are the first 5 PCBs, which need to be stress tested to prove that our design has no problems. After that's done and all looks good (knock on wood), we will be placing large orders. We'll keep you updated!


Do you know when you will allow pre-orders again?  Timeline for 2nd wave?

li_gangyi
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October 01, 2011, 03:39:15 PM
 #109

Received the parts, populated the board and now onto testing. Looks good so far hardware-wise, software side of things it looks like we need to iron out some small issues and we should be set.



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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October 01, 2011, 03:40:17 PM
 #110

Alright, the boards are in, still waiting on some parts to arrive.

http://fillwithcoolblogname.blogspot.com/2011/09/boards-are-in.html

Will let you guys know how it turns out. The boards are looking fantastic.

Just so it's clear, these are the first 5 PCBs, which need to be stress tested to prove that our design has no problems. After that's done and all looks good (knock on wood), we will be placing large orders. We'll keep you updated!


Do you know when you will allow pre-orders again?  Timeline for 2nd wave?

We're still concurrently working on the logistics of shipping the orders. Look forward to the news soon. I believe that sorting it out properly will result in better pricing and availability.

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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c_k
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October 04, 2011, 07:48:23 AM
 #111

Isn't 90MH/s about half of what can be expected from a Spartan 6 LX150?

fizzisist
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October 04, 2011, 02:42:44 PM
 #112

Isn't 90MH/s about half of what can be expected from a Spartan 6 LX150?

Well, 90MH/s is definitely a conservative estimate. We wanted to make sure that we didn't over-promise and not be able to deliver in the end.

Our boards will be loaded with the -3 speed grade FPGA, so the hash rate should be limited only by the code. I think 130 MH/s seems reasonable, but we'll have to see!

Karmicads
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October 06, 2011, 02:05:49 PM
 #113

 Shocked Sorry Li, but I have to report the above post with the picture of our new boards to the moderators. It should be considered offensive to post something that makes one wet themselves.  Grin

Nice!!  Cool Yep, I can't wait for my shipment, but I s'pose I have to. It's worth the extra time to see a little more attention is paid to details like quality of parts, power protection, and reliable shipping logistics. Well done to all of you. I would submit the Dominator as the model of a good (no - make that ideal) bitcoin project and a template for how great things can be done with careful incremental planning and fostering of goodwill in the community. You've dealt with minor quibbles about intellectual property rights and held open arms to those who may have formerly snubbed you. You've shone trough the tough, direct questions and challenges to the technical specifications. You've dealt with contingencies (such as fluctuating bitcoin value and order volumes) and offered reasonable parameters. You've kept your customers informed and involved. You've balanced a whole slew of trade offs in the final detail to hardware and code and simply pulled it all together. I hope you are all very proud of yourselves. And might I add, that board looks just beautiful.

PS: Might I suggest you print up an official pre-order voucher for the next lot (using the existing design). If it works as a normal voucher, it could be out in time for Christmas. Just honor refunds in USD at face value if recipients wish to bow out. This answers the question: What to buy the obsessive bitcoin geek in your life, who has everything? I bet s/he doesn't have a FPGA  mining board. Being given a gift voucher for a 10-15% deposit on the Dominator, may be all it takes to nudge them in the right direction. Make the vouchers redeemable right up till and even past the final shipment date. Even if it generated a dozen or two extra orders I bet it would be worth it.

Thanks again to all of you, for the wonderful job you have done.

PS My money has been sitting there on MtGox (in USD) since I first got worried about the fluctuating price. Today BTC dipped down from about 4.9 to about $4.5 USD. I managed to get back in at 4.65 - 4.7 and were still trending up. So I hope you can call for final payments soon. Just before a market 'correction' but just towards the end of a frenzied, bullish bubble would be nice.  Cheesy
fizzisist
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October 06, 2011, 06:27:25 PM
 #114

Thank you, Karmicads! We would be nowhere without your and the rest of community's fervent support!

We'll be making some important announcements very soon. Right now our focus is testing every aspect of this board to make sure it doesn't have any problems. So far, so good, but our software has some kinks that need ironing out.

rph
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October 11, 2011, 03:28:38 AM
 #115

That's a sexy PCB.. well done guys..

You're probably going to need a bigger heatsink  Grin

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
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October 11, 2011, 04:05:49 AM
 #116

That's a sexy PCB.. well done guys..

You're probably going to need a bigger heatsink  Grin

-rph


Thanks! li_gangyi took a pic with the second FPGA loaded:



And, yes, bigger heatsinks most definitely! They were back-ordered but I have two in my hands right now. I'll post a final pic with the barrel power connector and the heatsinks when it's all put together.

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October 12, 2011, 02:41:15 AM
 #117

Just wondering if you guys have measured power consumption on VCCAUX/VCCO & can share the numbers?

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
ElectricMucus
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October 12, 2011, 03:00:05 AM
 #118

So is the USB interface on the front after all?

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October 12, 2011, 05:51:02 AM
 #119

So is the USB interface on the front after all?

Yeah, the USB port and the power connectors are on opposite sides. I know that seems strange, but it makes the board layout much cleaner.

If you're serious about building an enclosure, it might make sense to do a slight revision of the board in the future that might be better suited to it. I know how difficult it can be to design something to fit around something else, instead of being able to design both at the same time. It's really not that much work to just modify the board a little bit, depending on what you want to change, of course! Don't rule that out completely.

Just wondering if you guys have measured power consumption on VCCAUX/VCCO & can share the numbers?

-rph

I'm not sure on exact numbers but I know it's very small compared to VCCINT, of course. li_gangyi is shipping a board to me right now, so I'll measure everything when I get it. I'll let you know what I find.

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October 12, 2011, 04:11:52 PM
 #120

Just wondering if you guys have measured power consumption on VCCAUX/VCCO & can share the numbers?

-rph


Wow! The board looks so great! Just pitty there are pin headers in between the FPGAs, which may prevent installing single wide heatsink. Eagerly waiting for someone who will stack them up and post a pic!

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