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Author Topic: X6500 Custom FPGA Miner  (Read 207949 times)
fizzisist
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November 21, 2011, 04:26:00 AM
 #181

Production Update:

Things are moving along smoothly on the production of these boards. The latest news from the manufacturer is that the PCBs are finished and assembly will begin tomorrow (Monday). This puts the delivery date for the boards on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 30th). At that point we'll be mounting the heatsinks and testing each board. They'll then be packed up and shipped to you guys as quickly as possible.

When I get word that assembly has officially started and they can guarantee shipment by that date, Cablesaurus will be allowed to accept payment with Paypal again, because it will be within the 2 week window. Unfortunately, at that point we will probably end the $20/board early bird discount, so if you're hoping to get these at $560 you'll need to order now!


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November 22, 2011, 10:19:55 PM
 #182

Assembly began yesterday on the boards so we now know that the boards will be arriving here on 12/1. We'll be testing and packing boards as quickly as possible at that point, so customers can expect them to start shipping to you on the following Monday, 12/5.

Also, Cablesaurus is accepting Paypal for these boards now!

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November 23, 2011, 12:00:16 PM
 #183

http://cablesaurus.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=10&products_id=56&zenid=ghlo03rb717f21utnh4nheo6d5

Here's a direct link

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
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November 25, 2011, 11:20:20 PM
 #184

No code improvements for higher hashrate yet?

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November 30, 2011, 07:50:19 AM
 #185

No code improvements for higher hashrate yet?

Sorry for the very late reply. Unfortunately, no improvements yet. Once these boards are finally on their way out to customers, we expect to be able to devote a lot more time to that work.

Boards are still on track to arrive on Thursday! I'll post some detailed pictures of the boards and of the testing and packaging operations when they get here. Hopefully that hardware porn will keep everyone happy while the boards make their way through the mail. Smiley

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November 30, 2011, 01:49:10 PM
 #186

No code improvements for higher hashrate yet?

Sorry for the very late reply. Unfortunately, no improvements yet. Once these boards are finally on their way out to customers, we expect to be able to devote a lot more time to that work.

When updating software, can you keep in mind your first customers that have x5000?

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November 30, 2011, 02:18:53 PM
 #187

No code improvements for higher hashrate yet?

Sorry for the very late reply. Unfortunately, no improvements yet. Once these boards are finally on their way out to customers, we expect to be able to devote a lot more time to that work.

When updating software, can you keep in mind your first customers that have x5000?

Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, I really don't know much about the X5000, because it was before my time. We need fpgaminer's help, but he's mostly MIA lately because he is swamped with work and moving to a new apartment right now. Hopefully he will be able to work on this stuff soon.

I do know that if you could switch from the Xilinx platform cable to an FT232R breakout board, the hardware and software interface would be identical to the X6500, so all code would be completely compatible. This would also eliminate the need for ISE.

Actually, this cable soldered to the correct connector would probably be perfect. If you were willing to pay for the cable, I'd be happy to solder it up and send it to you. At that point, I think you would just plug it in and run the X6500 software (with the X6500 bitstream) and you'd be off and running.

fpgaminer, can you confirm that my idea makes sense? Do you have other ideas for how to maintain support for the X5000?

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November 30, 2011, 04:12:22 PM
 #188

No code improvements for higher hashrate yet?

Sorry for the very late reply. Unfortunately, no improvements yet. Once these boards are finally on their way out to customers, we expect to be able to devote a lot more time to that work.

When updating software, can you keep in mind your first customers that have x5000?

Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, I really don't know much about the X5000, because it was before my time. We need fpgaminer's help, but he's mostly MIA lately because he is swamped with work and moving to a new apartment right now. Hopefully he will be able to work on this stuff soon.

I do know that if you could switch from the Xilinx platform cable to an FT232R breakout board, the hardware and software interface would be identical to the X6500, so all code would be completely compatible. This would also eliminate the need for ISE.

Actually, this cable soldered to the correct connector would probably be perfect. If you were willing to pay for the cable, I'd be happy to solder it up and send it to you. At that point, I think you would just plug it in and run the X6500 software (with the X6500 bitstream) and you'd be off and running.

fpgaminer, can you confirm that my idea makes sense? Do you have other ideas for how to maintain support for the X5000?

fizzisist, I would happily pay for the cable if that method works. I hate that "xilinx platform cable" anyway.

You would have to ship it to germany, but it should probably fit in a letter, right? If shipping is prohibitively expensive, I can solder myself given you tell me what goes where.

fpgaminer, would that work?

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November 30, 2011, 07:36:33 PM
 #189

With fpgaminer's imprimatur, I, too, would love to ditch the Xilinx cable & take up your offer. I'm very pleased with my X5000, but looking forward to the X6500's  Smiley
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December 01, 2011, 01:02:07 PM
 #190

fpgaminer actually has an FT232R breakout board so he will test it with his X5000 to confirm that it works. If there are no surprises there, you could either use a board like that with a few wires to jump to the JTAG header on the X5000, or use the cable I linked to, which has the FT232R chip inside it. I think that solution will be cleaner and easier, and about the same cost.

If you want to go that route, I'll gladly make and ship cables to both of you guys if you pay for the cost of the cable. Let's wait for fpgaminer's confirmation that it works, though.

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December 01, 2011, 11:04:25 PM
 #191

Bad news on the production progress, everyone. I didn't receive the boards today and when I called manufacturer to find out why, they are telling me that they won't ship until tomorrow. I was given no warning from them that there might be a delay, so I'm very disappointed in the manufacturer right now.

I'll keep you all updated with any news I hear from them. If they end up offering us a big refund because they didn't meet the agreed upon ship date, we'll find a way to pass that savings on to the customers.

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December 02, 2011, 01:56:17 AM
 #192

I'm a bit curious about the advertised hashrates on these boards compared to other FPGA devices. Specifically, it looks like the ZTEX board is using the same FPGA as the X6000 (in fact, possibly a slightly inferior one), but they claim they're getting an average 190MHash/s rate, which is nearly what your X6500 board claims to get. Is this just a matter of incompatible metrics (minimum MHash versus average MHash), or is there something in their FPGA logic that you could harness to get better hashrates on these boards?

Edit: I reread the thread, and noticed that this is a conversation you had yourself - where it turned out there was, in fact, some logic optimizations they did that aren't incorporated into these boards yet. Well, that's fine, so long as you'll be revisiting it sometime after the first batch have shipped Wink

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fizzisist
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December 02, 2011, 01:29:24 PM
 #193

I'm a bit curious about the advertised hashrates on these boards compared to other FPGA devices. Specifically, it looks like the ZTEX board is using the same FPGA as the X6000 (in fact, possibly a slightly inferior one), but they claim they're getting an average 190MHash/s rate, which is nearly what your X6500 board claims to get. Is this just a matter of incompatible metrics (minimum MHash versus average MHash), or is there something in their FPGA logic that you could harness to get better hashrates on these boards?

Edit: I reread the thread, and noticed that this is a conversation you had yourself - where it turned out there was, in fact, some logic optimizations they did that aren't incorporated into these boards yet. Well, that's fine, so long as you'll be revisiting it sometime after the first batch have shipped Wink

Yep, our code is a little bit lagging behind the other guys right now, but I fully expect that to improve soon. Until we've proven that, I certainly won't make any guarantees about higher performance. As of yet, we have only 2 prototype boards running, both at 125 MHz (250 MH/s), but we are still publishing the guaranteed hashrate at 200 MH/s until we've confirmed that it works perfectly on all of the production batch of boards. I would much prefer to set the bar low and exceed customers' expectations later, then to do the opposite.

Also, the actual real world performance is a bit lower than that because our mining software isn't perfect yet. For example, we don't have long polling yet. This appears to reduce our effective hash rate by about 10%. Still, that is something that can be fixed in software, not a limitation of the hardware.

By the way, I did some calculations of the cost/performance comparison to the ztex boards a while back in this thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=7216.920

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December 02, 2011, 01:57:20 PM
 #194

By the way, I did some calculations of the cost/performance comparison to the ztex boards a while back in this thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=7216.920

But you forgot to mention that there are volume discounts: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=7216.msg638379#msg638379

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December 02, 2011, 03:43:03 PM
 #195

By the way, I did some calculations of the cost/performance comparison to the ztex boards a while back in this thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=7216.920

But you forgot to mention that there are volume discounts: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=7216.msg638379#msg638379

You're right. I compared the single quantity price for each of ours, which I think is fair because we haven't published any bulk prices yet. We have given quite a few bulk quotes out privately, though, and plan to publish a full breakdown like yours as soon as we start shipping boards to customers.

Here's a thorough comparison, although still unfair because ours is at the single quantity price. By the way, no one has actually paid $580, they have all paid $560. Also, as far as I can tell, the ztex board doesn't come with a heatsink. Cablesaurus recently added the option to supply your own heatsink, knocking $10 off the price of the board. At the bottom, I show a comparison to the price if you ordered right now, with no heatsinks ($550).



Note how, if you're optimistic about the future performance of this board, we still beat the ztex quantity 100 price versus our quantity 1.

fizzisist
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December 03, 2011, 09:37:05 AM
 #196

Bad news on the production progress, everyone. I didn't receive the boards today and when I called manufacturer to find out why, they are telling me that they won't ship until tomorrow. I was given no warning from them that there might be a delay, so I'm very disappointed in the manufacturer right now.

I'll keep you all updated with any news I hear from them. If they end up offering us a big refund because they didn't meet the agreed upon ship date, we'll find a way to pass that savings on to the customers.

I have a tracking number and it will be arriving in less than 12 hours! Overnight shipping with Saturday delivery is expensive, but it's worth it to give us the weekend to work on testing and packing these. Unfortunately, they're refusing to give any discount because of the delay, because a few times they had to pause production and call me with questions. Even though I answered right away, they somehow say that explains the 2 day delay...

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December 04, 2011, 01:41:05 AM
 #197

  Looking good. Kept wondering why I was not getting updates on this thread and finally realised I had never posted or flagged it to watch. ;p

  Cheers

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December 04, 2011, 02:51:58 AM
 #198

The boards are here!




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December 04, 2011, 02:57:56 AM
 #199

  That's hotter than a table loaded with playboys!   Shocked

If you're not excited by the idea of being an early adopter 'now', then you should come back in three or four years and either tell us "Told you it'd never work!" or join what should, by then, be a much more stable and easier-to-use system. - GA
It is being worked on by smart people. -DamienBlack
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December 04, 2011, 01:40:13 PM
 #200

Looking good !  Wink

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