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Author Topic: X6500 Custom FPGA Miner  (Read 208030 times)
fizzisist
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December 05, 2011, 12:40:03 AM
 #201

Thanks sadpandatech and Turbor! I have another pic for you, although the ratsnest of cables might not be as sexy...


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O_Shovah
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Watercooling the world of mining


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December 05, 2011, 07:26:38 AM
 #202

Nom nom nom,can't wait to get my toys Cheesy

Then i at least abled to test my code.
I hope the handrouting will get us some new performance numbers. Wink

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December 05, 2011, 01:27:49 PM
 #203

Thanks sadpandatech and Turbor! I have another pic for you, although the ratsnest of cables might not be as sexy...



nice stuff. you should put this in the "pictures of your mining rigs" thread.

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December 05, 2011, 07:15:28 PM
 #204

10 of your boards, 3 be quiet 140mm fans... a miners dream !

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December 06, 2011, 02:48:30 AM
 #205

I have 12 boards running right now, but only for testing. Every board that ships out will be tested for at least an hour to make sure that everything is ok.

When I finally set aside some boards for the FPGA.contract and build some type of enclosure for it, I'll post a pic in the "pictures of your rigs" thread. Smiley

Funny thing about running a bunch of FPGA boards. I'm sitting next to over 3 GH/s and shivering! The fans I have going are overkill, but it doesn't seem safe to run these completely passively. You would probably need to underclock them quite a bit or put on a bigger heatsink. With a little bit of airflow though, they stay cool to the touch. The ideal cooling scheme will need to be worked out, and I'm excited to see how you guys will handle it.

A warning to everyone: Cooling these boards properly is crucial. Improper cooling will increase your power consumption, increase error rates, and shorten the life of the FPGAs. If the board or heatsinks feel hot at all, you are not cooling them properly. We are not responsible for any damages that may arise from insufficient cooling.

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December 06, 2011, 04:03:46 AM
 #206

A warning to everyone: Cooling these boards properly is crucial. Improper cooling will increase your power consumption, increase error rates, and shorten the life of the FPGAs. If the board or heatsinks feel hot at all, you are not cooling them properly. We are not responsible for any damages that may arise from insufficient cooling.

To emphasize here:   Semiconductor devices can be prone to thermal runaway: Higher temperatures make them less efficient which leads to higher temperatures until its dead.

The GPUs most people use to mine today have automatic thermal throttling.   Even if the fan fails the GPU will slow itself down before it self destructs.  The FPGA mining devices do not.   Cheap fans which are acceptable in devices which can self-throttle when the fan fails are not acceptable for devices which do not throttle.

It might be the case that miner will crash and fail into a low power state if it overheats, thus saving you from lasting damage— or it might irreparably harm itself.  You don't want to be the person who finds out which of these failure modes is more likely.


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December 06, 2011, 04:11:55 AM
 #207

A warning to everyone: Cooling these boards properly is crucial. Improper cooling will increase your power consumption, increase error rates, and shorten the life of the FPGAs. If the board or heatsinks feel hot at all, you are not cooling them properly. We are not responsible for any damages that may arise from insufficient cooling.

To emphasize here:   Semiconductor devices can be prone to thermal runaway: Higher temperatures make them less efficient which leads to higher temperatures until its dead.

The GPUs most people use to mine today have automatic thermal throttling.   Even if the fan fails the GPU will slow itself down before it self destructs.  The FPGA mining devices do not.   Cheap fans which are acceptable in devices which can self-throttle when the fan fails are not acceptable for devices which do not throttle.

It might be the case that miner will crash and fail into a low power state if it overheats, thus saving you from lasting damage— or it might irreparably harm itself.  You don't want to be the person who finds out which of these failure modes is more likely.

Thanks for these comments, gmaxwell. You are absolutely correct. The only type of protection you might have on these boards is that the power supply should not be able to supply enough current to completely kill the FPGA. We might be willing to risk sacrificing an FPGA to a test of this, but we haven't yet.

It should also be possible to implement some sort of error checking and force the FPGA to disable itself if the error rate gets above some threshold. I'm adding that to my ever growing to do list now. Until something like that is implemented, everyone should be extremely careful. In fact, everything you do with these boards should be done with extreme caution. We're in pretty much uncharted territory here (as far as bitcoin mining goes), and you don't want to be the one to learn a lesson the hard way.

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December 06, 2011, 07:57:33 AM
 #208

fizzisist, first off, these look awesome!

Second, I swear that I read somewhere that you were, at some point entertaining the idea of quantity discounts. Did anything ever come of this? In all of my reading, I sort of lose track of when things were said/what has happened since. And now I can't find the comment that originally made me think this.

Also, I know that this board is not yet on par performance-wise with other offerings, but improvements are planned. Is there any rough timeline on this?

Not trying to prod/demand anything, I'm just looking at the feasibility of buying a small fpga setup (~10 boards) and I want to get a good idea of what's out there.

Thirdly, these look awesome.
molecular
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December 06, 2011, 02:05:20 PM
 #209

fizzisist, first off, these look awesome!

Second, I swear that I read somewhere that you were, at some point entertaining the idea of quantity discounts. Did anything ever come of this? In all of my reading, I sort of lose track of when things were said/what has happened since. And now I can't find the comment that originally made me think this.

Also, I know that this board is not yet on par performance-wise with other offerings, but improvements are planned. Is there any rough timeline on this?

Not trying to prod/demand anything, I'm just looking at the feasibility of buying a small fpga setup (~10 boards) and I want to get a good idea of what's out there.

Thirdly, these look awesome.

I like how defensively you formulate your inquiry.

Seeing stuff like the following, I must conclude we need more politeness:

We demand regularity of dividend payments!

Automate them!

jeeesh, right?

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December 07, 2011, 04:44:30 AM
 #210

I just find it odd when people take the countless hours to work on products, and some people still cry MAKE THIS BETTER, I NEEDZ DA MONIES!
fizzisist
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December 07, 2011, 08:05:04 AM
 #211

fizzisist, first off, these look awesome!

Second, I swear that I read somewhere that you were, at some point entertaining the idea of quantity discounts. Did anything ever come of this? In all of my reading, I sort of lose track of when things were said/what has happened since. And now I can't find the comment that originally made me think this.

Also, I know that this board is not yet on par performance-wise with other offerings, but improvements are planned. Is there any rough timeline on this?

Not trying to prod/demand anything, I'm just looking at the feasibility of buying a small fpga setup (~10 boards) and I want to get a good idea of what's out there.

Thirdly, these look awesome.

Ask and you shall receive! Actually, your post served as a gentle reminder to get this together:

Quantity
Unit Price
1
$580
5
$565
10
$550
25
$535
50
$515
100
$490
>100
Ask

Yes, improvements to the performance are on the way. We'll be working on this from two angles in parallel: 1) increasing the clock rate on the FPGA, and 2) improving the host software, particularly adding LP support. We'll do our best to make these things happen ASAP!

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December 08, 2011, 09:52:49 PM
 #212

Packed boards ready to go out:



This is the second batch, ready to go. Cablesaurus has the first batch already and they will start going out to customers tomorrow!

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December 09, 2011, 03:28:14 PM
 #213

Packed boards ready to go out:



This is the second batch, ready to go. Cablesaurus has the first batch already and they will start going out to customers tomorrow!

Woohoo! Excited!!!!
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December 09, 2011, 06:27:34 PM
 #214

How are the stock heatsinks attached, by the way? I bought mine with heatsinks included, but given this whole discussion of how important cooling is, I might want to try out some alternatives and want to know what I'm dealing with.

If there is something that will make Bitcoin succeed, it is growth of utility - greater quantity and variety of goods and services offered for BTC. If there is something that will make Bitcoin fail, it is the culture of naive fools and conmen, the former convinced that BTC is a magic box that will turn them into millionaires, and the latter arriving by the busload to devour them.
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December 09, 2011, 08:14:09 PM
 #215

Hypothetically, if you were going to buy a cheap barrel connector from Amazon to use with this, what would you get???  Smiley Smiley
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December 09, 2011, 08:22:42 PM
 #216

Hypothetically, if you were going to buy a cheap barrel connector from Amazon to use with this, what would you get???  Smiley Smiley

  They've got a 4 pin molex on them now. Are you meaning to actually replace that connector on the board?

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
fizzisist
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December 09, 2011, 09:38:28 PM
 #217

How are the stock heatsinks attached, by the way? I bought mine with heatsinks included, but given this whole discussion of how important cooling is, I might want to try out some alternatives and want to know what I'm dealing with.
The heatsinks are attached with thermal tape, so they can be removed if you do it carefully. I'll experiment with it to find the best method, but I think it involves twisting it carefully when the adhesive is either cold or hot. I'll try that out on one of these boards so that you don't have to risk it on your own board.

Hypothetically, if you were going to buy a cheap barrel connector from Amazon to use with this, what would you get???  Smiley Smiley
Good question. Actually, Cablesaurus will have some recommended power supplies for sale soon.

thirdlight seemed to find some good options on ebay in this post. On Amazon, this one would do but the center pin is the wrong size. It might work but I wouldn't recommend it. Better if you have something like one of these to adapt it to the 2.1 mm ID plug. Haven't found that on Amazon yet.

  They've got a 4 pin molex on them now. Are you meaning to actually replace that connector on the board?
Actually, they have both!

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December 09, 2011, 09:40:24 PM
 #218

Actually, they have both!

  ahh, that's freakin awesome. =)

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
fizzisist
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December 09, 2011, 09:53:15 PM
 #219

Cross posting this pic with the "mining rigs" thread because it's so awesome  Grin


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December 12, 2011, 01:09:02 PM
 #220

I am going to get mine in a couple hours! Will you have the software posted on the first post so we will be ready to go? Or does it come with a disk or something?

What will need to be done to get it running?
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