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Author Topic: Why can't we group buy fpga and get a discount?  (Read 3666 times)
rph
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September 30, 2011, 05:49:04 AM
 #21

Yeah, most disties have the same list prices for "big ticket" single source items like FPGAs.

It's sort of like OPEC.

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
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rph
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September 30, 2011, 09:44:34 AM
 #22

I'm still interested in a group buy..

What are you guys thinking for the exact part #.. xc6slx150-3fgg484c? Or -2?
And does the -3N even exist?

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
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September 30, 2011, 06:48:06 PM
 #23

I'm still interested in a group buy..

What are you guys thinking for the exact part #.. xc6slx150-3fgg484c? Or -2?
And does the -3N even exist?

-rph


Here -3N  is much expensive than -3C

I don't know Y.

I use -2I.

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rph
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October 05, 2011, 04:00:20 AM
 #24

I'm working on a discount.. should know more in a couple days.. if you're interested
in a group buy please feel free to PM me..

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
ElectricMucus
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October 06, 2011, 12:30:12 PM
 #25

I doubt that we will see high volume fpga designs or cell based asics any time soon.

I even think that we can completely skip this step and go all the way to full custom in a few years... but not as most of you think.
Bitcoins popularity is still declining and it will take some time before it's gonna go back up. After that bitcoin will be much more mature.

But there is a trend independent of bitcoin in electronic hardware which is larger than bitcoin itself:
Within a few years there will be hackerspaces which are equipped with a clean room and lithography equipment. The goal will not be to stay there but to have Open Source Designs for the machinery itself.

It will be during this transition period when the first low integration chip designs pop up. One of them will be some sort of bitcoin appliance. (It makes much more sense to make it do more than just mining.) This Development will dwarf everything we have seen so far and bitcoin will be seen as sidekick development and can ride this trend.

Until this comes into reality there will be a tough road ahead though...

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rph
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October 07, 2011, 04:35:05 AM
 #26

I hope you are right - that would be sweet - but there is simply no way a hackerspace IC fab is
going to compete with a 45nm FPGA or GPU for bitcoin mining.

It's not physically possible to build 1200 32 bit adders @ 150MHz on 10 micron.

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
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October 07, 2011, 07:37:12 PM
 #27

I hope you are right - that would be sweet - but there is simply no way a hackerspace IC fab is
going to compete with a 45nm FPGA or GPU for bitcoin mining.

It's not physically possible to build 1200 32 bit adders @ 150MHz on 10 micron.

-rph

I don't think that it would be just 10 micron. If assuming the first ones will be getting used university research equipment I think that 250-180nm is reasonable in the long run. The old stuff was always upgraded and the mechanics can handle it. At this integration a custom design would seriously surpass existing tech.
It wouldn't make sense otherwise to keep the equipment around at all otherwise at all which is still done.

Something like that would obviously be one of the later projects but how I see it the development has been made, and I see no reason to start from scratch in terms of available techniques... They just didn't know how to get to a smaller feature size back then what we are do now and this holds true until we need special laser sources, other atmospheres or phase shifting so replicating anything up to this point should be doable as the working principles are the same.

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October 08, 2011, 03:01:54 AM
 #28

You can do a full-custom 250nm design on MOSIS today for under $100k -- which is definitely way cheaper than building a whole fab --
but I am really skeptical that it will beat a 45nm FPGA. The FPGA overhead seems much less than (250/45)^2 to me.

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
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October 08, 2011, 09:02:33 AM
 #29

Well you can approximate the overhead by using some assumption for the necessary number of 32 bit operations like 3600, the gate count of your fpga and the effective mhash. And you are right the overhead is probably smaller than the disadvantage in feature size.
But if you add the trading margins... well, I have no idea where to start.  Roll Eyes

One can probably buy a wafer, develop it, slice it, test the chips and package them for the price of just one Spartan-6 150. (Not including labor of course Tongue)

But back to the main point of TT...
The problem I think is the quasi monopoly of fpga manufacturers, not that there isn't enough competition between them but their unique position relative to their consumer base. Its like jewelery diamonds, everybody knows that they could be dirt cheap but a few entities control the supply and make sure they are sold for a good price.

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October 08, 2011, 07:27:23 PM
 #30

But back to the main point of TT...
The problem I think is the quasi monopoly of fpga manufacturers, not that there isn't enough competition between them but their unique position relative to their consumer base. Its like jewelery diamonds, everybody knows that they could be dirt cheap but a few entities control the supply and make sure they are sold for a good price.

Also most consumers don't really care.

Take a hypothetical $200 FPGA.  It likely is either used for
a) a prototype.  Cutting the cost to $80 is immaterial compared to entire prototype phase cost
b) for niche high end unit likely selling for 10x to 100x the FPGA cost.  Sure cheaper FPGA might be nice but the companies profits are more based on the IP of their design than the cost of FPGA.

So you have a tightly controlled supply combined with most "consumers" who are not needing to cut prices as low as possible.  That means margins are going to be and stay high.
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October 08, 2011, 08:54:10 PM
 #31

Yup go for it, I would be in for at least 5-10 if you can get 30%+ off the Avnet qty 1 pricing. I think all the guys
selling or building boards should pool together.. it's not a big enough market to save much on our own..

-rph



Interesting idea here. Any thoughts on how to organize this?

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October 11, 2011, 03:05:31 AM
 #32

There are two major challenges: the first is actually getting a discount from Xilinx, and the second is
getting paid reliably by people in the group buy. On the first - none of the authorized distributors
are budging for me. A real discount may only come after a couple large orders to establish credibility.

There are brokers that sell surplus/old inventory at a discount (for example, 2010 ES parts).
I haven't looked into that much for this specific device; in the past, after the broker fee, it's usually
not that much cheaper. And you risk getting damaged/relabeled/stolen/counterfeit parts, etc.

So, in conclusion, meh. DeathAndTaxes pretty much nailed it.

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
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Gerald Davis


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October 11, 2011, 03:42:24 AM
 #33

So, in conclusion, meh. DeathAndTaxes pretty much nailed it. Unless somebody crazy wants to
buy like $100k+ of FPGAs to resell to us, we may all end up paying qty 1 list price. Undecided

This is one time I wish I was wrong.  However it has been my experience pricing of FPGA is very firm.  Only highly valued (i.e. high profit repeat customers with HUGE volumes) get reduced pricing. 

Why?  I don't know.  Maybe not enough players for a true free market.  Maybe because most of the time FPGA are either used in prototypes or high end expensive devices where cost of FPGA is immaterial to project cost.

Your best bet is repeat business.  Not sure if there is enough demand for it but if you can buy 200 units, then next month 200 units, then next month try to push for a discount.  If you can convince them this isn't a 200 unit buy but part of a 24,000 unit buy over the next year they might be able to budge.
rph
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October 12, 2011, 06:43:37 AM
 #34

Once you've already bought 400 parts, they know it's a pain for you to switch to $OTHER_VENDOR,
if you are a small/mid-sized company..

You have to be so large/rich that you can tell your engineering team to change vendors on a whim,
just because the sales guy annoyed you somehow. Bought the $100 champagne instead of the
$1000 champagne at lunch. Then -- only then -- you have some actual pricing power.

-rph

Ultra-Low-Cost DIY FPGA Miner: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891
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October 12, 2011, 07:04:02 AM
 #35

Once you've already bought 400 parts, they know it's a pain in the ass for you
to switch to $OTHER_VENDOR, if you are a small/mid-sized company. So they basically still have
you by the nuts.

You have to be so large/rich that you can tell your engineering team to change vendors on a whim,
just because the sales guy annoyed you somehow. Bought the $100 champagne instead of the
$1000 champagne at lunch. Then -- only then -- you have some actual pricing power.

-rph


Brutal.  Yeah there are just too few players in the space both suppliers and consumers.  Not a very efficient market.
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