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Author Topic: X6500 Custom FPGA Miner  (Read 208119 times)
ElectricMucus
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September 03, 2011, 03:48:54 AM
 #61

What seems to be a real bummer here and at the competition is that these fpgas cannot be developed for with the free xilinx webpack.
That's real bad for anyone interested in hdl design as well.  Undecided

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September 03, 2011, 08:03:55 AM
 #62

How exactly did you go about programming your chip? I'm curious, quite honestly.

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September 03, 2011, 08:20:59 AM
 #63

How exactly did you go about programming your chip? I'm curious, quite honestly.
Nah that is just a cpld with a parallel board for learning  a little vhdl. Those chips are obviously a different caliber but the reason why it shouldn't work all the same are just licensing issues. But I'm not exactly sure if this really is the case for private use but from what I've heard the free xilinx software refuses to work all the same.

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September 03, 2011, 03:22:55 PM
 #64

What seems to be a real bummer here and at the competition is that these fpgas cannot be developed for with the free xilinx webpack.
That's real bad for anyone interested in hdl design as well.  Undecided

It's true, it is a bummer. I don't know why Xilinx would want to limit anyone's ability to develop for their chips. There are a few ways around this though:
  • If you're a student, ask Xilinx for a free license. Heck, ask them even if you're not a student. Who knows!
  • Get a 30 day trial of ISE. Before I had a full license, I once extended my 30 day trial 3 or 4 times, and it never complained. Hopefully they haven't changed that.
  • Develop HDL without the software, but send it off to a friend to synthesize it for you. For example, PM me!

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September 03, 2011, 03:35:13 PM
 #65

Well, there is always piracy  Embarrassed
Damn you xilinx, I would buy it if it were affordable but their prices are just plain ridiculous.


But to be honest this makes me loose interest in their products, and the more I read about the technology involved I think it would be best if bitcoin miners were developed with the help of the underdog competition. I have to research this further but there seems to be alot of designs which utilize parallel processing new to the market which also provide foss toolchains.

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September 04, 2011, 05:36:53 PM
 #66

There's an interesting discussion going on about FPGA's here:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=40865.20

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September 04, 2011, 10:54:37 PM
 #67

Was given an interesting link last night, to some sort of 3D logic device that claims to combine the advantages of FGPA's and ASIC into a real time reprogramable logic device. Sounds Interesting.  http://www.tabula.com/technology/technology.php
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September 04, 2011, 11:04:47 PM
 #68

Was given an interesting link last night, to some sort of 3D logic device that claims to combine the advantages of FGPA's and ASIC into a real time reprogramable logic device. Sounds Interesting.  http://www.tabula.com/technology/technology.php
This won't improve actual performance though and the cost would likely be higher than a regular fpga.
It could remove the need for floorplanning to get the best performance possible but I seriously doubt this advantage would turn into a better hash/price ratio in practice.

And the additional clocking would seriously hurt the performance/watt. If anything we should look to get rid of clocks, not add some!

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September 05, 2011, 12:59:21 AM
 #69

I was thinking about clocks as well. Whats are the chances of some kind of user clock and voltage control? I can't speak for everybody but that would mean a lot to me.
I'm just thinking aloud now but I was wondering if smaller, less expensive FPGAs could be used in some kind of serial configuration.
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September 05, 2011, 02:41:09 PM
 #70

Well, there is always piracy  Embarrassed
Damn you xilinx, I would buy it if it were affordable but their prices are just plain ridiculous.


But to be honest this makes me loose interest in their products, and the more I read about the technology involved I think it would be best if bitcoin miners were developed with the help of the underdog competition. I have to research this further but there seems to be alot of designs which utilize parallel processing new to the market which also provide foss toolchains.

I apologize, but why not just search the internet, find a full license , download and use it?

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September 06, 2011, 10:21:27 PM
 #71

Well, there is always piracy  Embarrassed
Damn you xilinx, I would buy it if it were affordable but their prices are just plain ridiculous.

But to be honest this makes me loose interest in their products, and the more I read about the technology involved I think it would be best if bitcoin miners were developed with the help of the underdog competition. I have to research this further but there seems to be alot of designs which utilize parallel processing new to the market which also provide foss toolchains.

I apologize, but why not just search the internet, find a full license , download and use it?

I'm sorry, ngzhang, but there are valid objections to this. While I do not have strong objections against piracy, I believe that supporting a more open supplier will do good in general, especially in the long run. Also, imagine Torvalds and Stallman had thought in this way.

I know this idealistic thinking might not be easily applicable in this case, but I just had to add my opinion here.

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ngzhang
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September 07, 2011, 04:11:29 AM
 #72

Well, there is always piracy  Embarrassed
Damn you xilinx, I would buy it if it were affordable but their prices are just plain ridiculous.

But to be honest this makes me loose interest in their products, and the more I read about the technology involved I think it would be best if bitcoin miners were developed with the help of the underdog competition. I have to research this further but there seems to be alot of designs which utilize parallel processing new to the market which also provide foss toolchains.

I apologize, but why not just search the internet, find a full license , download and use it?

I'm sorry, ngzhang, but there are valid objections to this. While I do not have strong objections against piracy, I believe that supporting a more open supplier will do good in general, especially in the long run. Also, imagine Torvalds and Stallman had thought in this way.

I know this idealistic thinking might not be easily applicable in this case, but I just had to add my opinion here.

Maybe there are some different comprehension  there, haha.
Usually, the FAEs are very happy to give you there software license, because either XILINX or Altera or some others are semiconductor corps. Their profit based on chips selling. They also sell softwares in high cost just because there are lots of technical assistance cost. When I attend a XILINX conference for New Products, they present ISE license as a gift, I'm just a PH.d student. I have a friend working for Altera as a FAE, when I tell him I'm thinking over to use XILINX or Altera FPGAs for bitcoin mining platform, a Quartus II with license in a DVD just ship to me for free. They really don't care about this.

My opinion is, DO NOT let the best 2 of FPGA venders out just because the lack of development software license. Other products are far behind. Just find a FAE, email him, make friends with him, and let him give you a license for free. If you have some contact with college, it will even easier. Another way is ask the sells, in my country, sells also can solve your software license problems, XILINX give them a Volume License for all there costumers. These are all legal ways to get a full license.


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September 07, 2011, 08:54:28 AM
 #73

Maybe there are some different comprehension  there, haha.
Usually, the FAEs are very happy to give you there software license, because either XILINX or Altera or some others are semiconductor corps. Their profit based on chips selling. They also sell softwares in high cost just because there are lots of technical assistance cost. When I attend a XILINX conference for New Products, they present ISE license as a gift, I'm just a PH.d student. I have a friend working for Altera as a FAE, when I tell him I'm thinking over to use XILINX or Altera FPGAs for bitcoin mining platform, a Quartus II with license in a DVD just ship to me for free. They really don't care about this.

My opinion is, DO NOT let the best 2 of FPGA venders out just because the lack of development software license. Other products are far behind. Just find a FAE, email him, make friends with him, and let him give you a license for free. If you have some contact with college, it will even easier. Another way is ask the sells, in my country, sells also can solve your software license problems, XILINX give them a Volume License for all there costumers. These are all legal ways to get a full license.

Ok, I understand now. My post was kind of off-topic ^^

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September 07, 2011, 07:32:05 PM
 #74

So ngzhang, maybe you will be so kind to share your licence with us? Since you get it for free... Just a thought...

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September 08, 2011, 04:41:23 PM
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Maybe there are some different comprehension  there, haha.
Usually, the FAEs are very happy to give you there software license, because either XILINX or Altera or some others are semiconductor corps. Their profit based on chips selling. They also sell softwares in high cost just because there are lots of technical assistance cost. When I attend a XILINX conference for New Products, they present ISE license as a gift, I'm just a PH.d student. I have a friend working for Altera as a FAE, when I tell him I'm thinking over to use XILINX or Altera FPGAs for bitcoin mining platform, a Quartus II with license in a DVD just ship to me for free. They really don't care about this.

My opinion is, DO NOT let the best 2 of FPGA venders out just because the lack of development software license. Other products are far behind. Just find a FAE, email him, make friends with him, and let him give you a license for free. If you have some contact with college, it will even easier. Another way is ask the sells, in my country, sells also can solve your software license problems, XILINX give them a Volume License for all there costumers. These are all legal ways to get a full license.

This is a pretty good point, but you might have easier access because you don't have the language barrier and nationality advantage that we do. It's easier for them to share licenses with people in their own country because the vendors they provide the hardware to in other countries don't get upset when they do that outside of the US and Europe. If the manufacturer was giving away licenses to people in the US and Europe, they might get scolded heavily by the vendor they sell their products to.

I would totally agree with you that maybe there is some advantage to saying to both major players: "Listen, we are going to use your competitor if you don't let us have a license to test this for free."

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September 09, 2011, 05:17:00 PM
 #76

Well, good news. The prototype PCBs were finally ordered by Li yesterday. Here's a little glimpse of what the board will look like...


We've added a few features... like the barrel connector, some fuses, and reverse polarity protection. Also small changes to the text, etc. But it will give you a good idea. It's going to be very cool-looking, especially with the heatsinks (which are going to be passive).

The board size is ~100 x 80mm.

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September 11, 2011, 09:39:16 AM
 #77

Here's a render of the board done in POV ray, I haven't got models of all the parts, so some of them are unpopulated, but this should give us a good idea of how the final product will look like.



Personally I haven't been posting all that much on the forums, due to me working in the background on the board routing, parts and logistics of getting the boards out. Hopefully I'll be able to hang around more after most of that is done with.

I should have the 1st few boards within 2 weeks, and then a couple of days to populate and test that out, will update this thread again.

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 11, 2011, 03:45:55 PM
 #78

Quick suggestion - it may be worthwhile to offer some boards with SATA power connectors.

I've been buying a lot of higher-end PSUs lately, and even the 'cheapo' CX600 I just picked up has 6 SATA power connectors but only 4 molex.  I've also got more molex > SATA converters than I can count, as I'm sure most system builders do.

I imagine the SATA power connector is slightly more expensive, but it'd take appx the same board real estate, and will help 'future proof' the design.

I could power 10 of these on this CX600 using SATA power cables, but only just 4 with molex.  My HX750 has twelve SATA connectors and only 8 molex - it could power 20 of these (on the 12V rail anyway, are these pulling 5V?).

SATA > molex adapters are sure to be difficult to find as well.

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September 11, 2011, 04:36:44 PM
 #79

Here's a render of the board done in POV ray, I haven't got models of all the parts, so some of them are unpopulated, but this should give us a good idea of how the final product will look like.



Personally I haven't been posting all that much on the forums, due to me working in the background on the board routing, parts and logistics of getting the boards out. Hopefully I'll be able to hang around more after most of that is done with.

I should have the 1st few boards within 2 weeks, and then a couple of days to populate and test that out, will update this thread again.
Looks nice.

oh btw are there plans for cases yet? I've got myself a brand new 3D Printer and am willing to participate  Smiley

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September 11, 2011, 04:59:22 PM
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Quick suggestion - it may be worthwhile to offer some boards with SATA power connectors.

I've thought about it, however at that time I couldn't find on digikey any male sata power connector alone (they were either the combined data + power, or data alone), might just be me using the wrong search strings. I have also not seen any sata splitters around locally, which led me to use a molex, the next best solution would be to see if we can get Cablesaurus to stock SATA to molex converters.

Quote
oh btw are there plans for cases yet?

I've not put alot of thought into this yet, I don't personally feel any1 will appreciate a case, and if I can't somehow pickout a already mass produced case and go with something custom, that's gonna add alot of cost to the final product. You're free to do whatever you want to your board though =P.


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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