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Author Topic: 1GH/s, 20w, $700 (was $500) — Butterflylabs, is it for real? (Part 2)  (Read 138800 times)
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January 29, 2012, 05:26:24 PM
 #1001

I'm not sure that being more open here would have helped BFL all that much. To many that have already posted, this product has been (and perhaps still is) nothing more than vapourware, or the 'magic unicorn'. Being more open wouldn't have changed the 'photos or it didn't happen' sentiments floating around here. BTW, I am not in that camp.

One powerful strategic advantage for BFL is that they could announce the imminent availability of a 1Ghps @ 20W FPGA box. Surely that would scare the living daylights out of any existing FPGA competitor. And not only the ones already shipping product; perhaps more importantly for BFL, it would scare anyone even THINKING about designing/developing a new FPGA design. The designers familiar with FPGA designs in general, and bitcoin mining requirements specifically, would be left scratching their collective heads how such performance/price numbers are even remotely possible.

For BFL, witholding these details is maintains their competitive advantage. And was (and continues to be) in their best interests to keep public details to a minimum, so that FUD would hang over any potential competitor contemplating a similar product.

Providing the chip details to the public (i.e. from us, the forum members) doesn't really help BFL. So what if we know what chip they are using? Does it matter? What matters is that they get the claimed performance/power/price. Granted, if they told us they are using a Stratix III EP3SL200 or 260 we could at least be confident that the performance numbers are kosher. However, knowing that these are $4k chips, there would be disbelief that they could somehow sell a $10k board for under $1k.

So how would that help their credibility with us? It wouldn't. It would still be a 'magic unicorn' to the same group of people here, only a different colored one. The only thing that would dispell the FUD for this sometimes-vocal group of forum members would be product shipments and subsequent test results.

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January 29, 2012, 05:38:43 PM
 #1002

So how would that help their credibility with us? It wouldn't. It would still be a 'magic unicorn' to the same group of people here, only a different colored one. The only thing that would dispell the FUD for this sometimes-vocal group of forum members would be product shipments and subsequent test results.

It would for me.  Nobody buys FPGA retail.  Nobody except someone who needs a SINGLE chip for a prototype.  Wholesale FPGA go for 30% to 50% off at that is normal business.  Deeper pricecuts are certainly possible when the company is looking to dump them.  

Look the Statix III is a 65nm chip.  Alterra isn't even making it anymore.  They want to sell Stratix IV and soon they will need to sell Stratix V.  They want that inventory gone.  Gone from their website, gone from wholesalers, gone from retail outlets.  when Stratix V is in full production it becomes the high end part and the Statix IV becomes the value segment.  The Stratix III is just a third wheel.

Using a product anyone can relate to a top of the line Pentium 4 was $400 chip at launch.  If today someone found a tray of 1000 of them would it be impossible to believe they would unload them for say $20,000 ($20 ea).  95% off.  Holy shit.  Unbelievable.   No just business as usual.

While getting a last gen chip cheap is no guarantee they will deliver on their promises, it at least makes their claims plausible.

Marketing nonsense like "hybrid blend of FPGA and ASIC technology" just fueled speculation on sASIC but the performance, voltage, timeline, and issues all pointed to it not being an sASIC.  On the other hand their claim of 1GH @ 20W is not possible on a 65nm FPGA at any price.  I don't care if you want to pay $1000 per MH you aren't getting 50MH/W on a 65nm FPGA.

So you take everything the company did say (in double speak and half truths) and it becomes impossible and fraud/scam starts looking more probable.

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January 29, 2012, 05:47:37 PM
 #1003

So my guess is, that they use EP3SL200 or 260.
It is definitely possible to put 3 fully unrolled pipelines into the 260
(at 150MH/s each) and, with some tuning, gain the advertised speed.

One question.  Do you think it is possible for anyone with the experience necessary to design a custom FGPA board to get the power draw so wrong like BFL claims they did.

I mean 1GH @ 20W on a 65nm FPGA?  My albeit indirect knowledge says that isn't just good it is downright impossible.  I don't care what chip you use you aren't getting that level of performance from a 65nm tech.  They should have known it was impossible right?  I mean it would be like Toyota changing one component in their Prius and the simulated/tested gas mileage goes from 40mpg to 300 mpg.  It is obvious that is impossible.  Toyota wouldn't be announcing the 2013 Prius getting 300 mpg.
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January 29, 2012, 06:41:55 PM
 #1004

Quote
So how would that help their credibility with us? It wouldn't. It would still be a 'magic unicorn' to the same group of people here, only a different colored one. The only thing that would dispell the FUD for this sometimes-vocal group of forum members would be product shipments and subsequent test results.

God, this is the stupidest thing I ever heard.  WTF? Everyone knows Unicorns only come in white.  DUh.   Cool


If you're searching these lines for a point, you've probably missed it.  There was never anything there in the first place.
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January 29, 2012, 07:49:54 PM
 #1005

So my guess is, that they use EP3SL200 or 260.
It is definitely possible to put 3 fully unrolled pipelines into the 260
(at 150MH/s each) and, with some tuning, gain the advertised speed.

One question.  Do you think it is possible for anyone with the experience necessary to design a custom FGPA board to get the power draw so wrong like BFL claims they did.


Yes, in fact that's an easy mistake to make.

Case in point: The CEO (and probably sole proprietor) of ZTEX did.

Before the 1.15x module, with its 8 Amp core voltage supply, came the 1.15d module, and the originally recommended supply for it
http://www.ztex.de/usb-fpga-1/pwr-1.0.e.html only sported a 3 Amp core voltage supply!

He found out the hard way that all these unrolled loops of SHA-2 cause something like 50% of all flip-flops on the FPGA to switch simultaneously, and
thus blowing even the most conservative power estimations out of the water.

Now he has discontinued the power supply module 1.0 and is instead offering the power supply module 1.1
http://www.ztex.de/usb-fpga-1/pwr-1.1.e.html with an 8 Amp core voltage supply, i.e. the same number of Amps that module 1.15x has.

Q.E.D.
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January 29, 2012, 07:50:07 PM
 #1006


One question.  Do you think it is possible for anyone with the experience necessary to design a custom FGPA board to get the power draw so wrong like BFL claims they did.


They might just rougly estimate the power draw.
It seems as if they took information from this document:
http://www.ti.com/general/docs/gencontent.tsp?contentId=70774
-x
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January 29, 2012, 08:42:05 PM
 #1007

January production update from BFL

http://www.butterflylabs.com/january-production-update/
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January 29, 2012, 08:54:54 PM
 #1008

What's funny is that the information in this forum has consistently been more up-to-date than the 'updates' on BFL's site. And that's thanks to all those who have posted BFL's answers to their questions, as well as photos provided to customers directly from BFL.

I think those with orders are following the BFL site updates closely, but it has become clear that this forum has become a more relevant source of up-to-date information. Regardless of the occasional troll, fud, or off-topic post.

Keep up the information flow everyone; this coming week should see the first shipment assuming nothing 'bad' has turned up over at BFL during assembly and test.

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January 29, 2012, 09:03:26 PM
 #1009


So, it's safe to assume 4-6 weeks?

What a bullshit update. Chinese New Year's, my ass...

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January 29, 2012, 09:04:36 PM
 #1010

LOL. At least we got the chips data !
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January 29, 2012, 09:05:38 PM
 #1011

So, it's safe to assume 4-6 weeks?

What a bullshit update. Chinese New Year's, my ass...

I was wondering when you'd come out! Wink

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January 29, 2012, 09:07:37 PM
 #1012

So, it's safe to assume 4-6 weeks?

What a bullshit update. Chinese New Year's, my ass...

I was wondering when you'd come out! Wink

Who's got their tracking info? Two days until they totally fucking blow another deadline...amateurs.

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January 29, 2012, 09:31:08 PM
 #1013

So, it's safe to assume 4-6 weeks?

What a bullshit update. Chinese New Year's, my ass...

I was wondering when you'd come out! Wink

Seems to have a bit of a limited vocab doesn't he, kind of like Timmy from South Park.  

4 to 6 weeks!
4 to 6 weeks!

Comedy genius right there  Roll Eyes
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January 29, 2012, 09:42:58 PM
 #1014

So,

 - how many have actually recieved something from the company after ordering?
 - do we have linux drivers? (couldn't seem to get the link to work on the "drivers" page)
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January 30, 2012, 12:05:30 AM
 #1015

So, it's safe to assume 4-6 weeks?

What a bullshit update. Chinese New Year's, my ass...

I was wondering when you'd come out! Wink

Seems to have a bit of a limited vocab doesn't he, kind of like Timmy from South Park.  

4 to 6 weeks!
4 to 6 weeks!

Comedy genius right there  Roll Eyes

Where are your singles, homie? It's the end of January, if my memory serves me correctly.

This shit is still vapourware until ONE. SINGLE. PERSON. GETS. A. UNIT.

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January 30, 2012, 12:25:49 AM
 #1016

So,

 - how many have actually recieved something from the company after ordering?
 - do we have linux drivers? (couldn't seem to get the link to work on the "drivers" page)

So far roughly .... 0.0.

At this point though I am pretty convinced that it isn't a scam just a poorly run operation.  They made promises they couldn't keep.

A smart company would have had the finalized product tested, mining 24/7 for weeks with accurate hashrates, yields, and wattage before ever offering pre-orders.  The production run still would have taken a month and maybe delayed another month but they would look significantly more competent.
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January 30, 2012, 12:34:19 AM
 #1017

There is still 2 more days Smiley
Suddenly in the next 2 days everyone in the first batch is going to get them in the next 2 days Smiley

You do realise that every company in China shuts down for 30 days over new year right? So you can blame the whole country for making the batch late ... ... ... ... ... ... ... wow 8% yearly downtime in just one month ...
/sarcasm

But seriously, no I'd expect probably another week at the minimum.
I'm sure if anyone actually knew they were going to get one in a day or two they'd have said so by now.
Since that is what most people are waiting to hear ...

So yeah once someone makes a comment about getting one we can guess at least a few days after that ... if they say it has already been sent.
Until then, well, speak to sonny and see what his latest excuse is.
(That 10 years of experience comment BFL made really makes me wonder what industry that 10 years of experience is in ...)

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January 30, 2012, 03:12:58 AM
 #1018

Quote from: kano
You do realise that every company in China shuts down for 30 days over new year right? So you can blame the whole country for making the batch late ... ... ... ... ... ... ... wow 8% yearly downtime in just one month ...
/sarcasm

I am not defending BFL I just want to comment on the Chinese New Year (CNY) thing.

I worked for 10 years in Hong Kong for an electronics supplier with a huge warehouse and shipping operation. Most of the stuff came from China. Two months before Chinese New Year they'd have toplace orders with the factories and suppliers in China just because if they wouldn't, there would be chaos for at least a month or two after CNY (under normal circumstances they could just order and get stock within a week or two). And the best of all, the Chinese factories wouldn't even prepare or let their customers know up front. They just accept orders till the last day and then close down. All they'd say to a delay of weeks is 'Happy Chinese New Year!!'. The company had to learn this the hard way for a few years. There is a cultural difference and there is nothing you can do about it. Everyone who worked with China can write novels about this. If you have a product in development during CNY, you can add two months to your time frame. Factories shut down, people go home to their hometown, forwarding companies close, customs don't process imports or exports, raw material stops arriving, etc. If your supplier is closed for only 8 days, that doesn't mean that the rest of the infrastructure is running as usual on day 9.

So yes, if you are not working with Foxconn and you are not Apple or Microsoft or Sony, you are doomed during CNY.

Again, I am not defending BFL but I just thought I'd comment on this since it's really not that far fetched. May or may not be an excuse from BFL though, but for us western employees of that Hong Kong company it was just a mystery how Chinese could conduct business like this ("8% downtime in one month" as stated by somebody above). But it's true...
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January 30, 2012, 07:42:15 AM
 #1019

But they avoided that issue. Interesting info though. So what's this further unexplained delay?

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January 30, 2012, 10:29:28 AM
 #1020

But they avoided that issue. Interesting info though. So what's this further unexplained delay?

*yawn* Reported. Tired of all the trolling. We can't even have a conversation in here without you butting in and being a dick. Don't you have a job, a hobby or something?

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