there are people with over 500 Ghash (pool owners you mean?) and I can only conclude that these are full industrial operations, either financed independently by already-rich Bitcoin enthusiasts, or blagged as a 'business plan' and financed by some hapless bank.
I'd say the *corporation* becomes a 'respectable' miner when they start making enough to invest in custom hardware, and I mean re-investment in R&D, not just buying as many FPGAs as they're allowed.
Erm. Blame heat exhaustion - I've got 4.5 of my 9.5 Ghash built into a shelf rig in the first floor spare bedroom next to an open window - that heats the entire upper floor. Sadly the ground floor is open plan, living room / dining room / kitchen and there's nowhere to put loud, hot dedicated mining rigs without either (a) getting into an almighty ruck with a red-headed emotion-bomb girlfriend (don't assume young age - we're just not married - been together 17 years), or (b) endangering
the frame rigs (they're Maine Coons, and were kittens when these open-frame rigs were built, the fans would have hurt them back then... now Ozzy the boy cat is big enough to pull the GPUs out of the rigs and chase them around the kitchen as if they were oversized rats).
Hence the other 5 Ghash has been relegated to my office. Which is a cellar conversion without air-con. I'd spent the usual 14 hours down there when I wrote that comment, and ambient temperature... well, using my infrared thermometer, the desk surface away from any equipment is 35.7˚C, the back of my office chair is 35.5˚C, and the bare walls that *should* be conducting heat out into the *cool* ground below are 29.0˚C. No excuses here - it's a Victorian end terrace and the wall I'm pointing at now does NOT have another house (and hence perhaps another cellar office, filled with dedicated bitcoin mining rigs
) on the other side of it. At this depth, the ground temperature on the other side of the wall ought to be in the single digits ˚C - it's still only very early spring in England and it's not warm outside.
The plan was always to chuck a small air-con unit on the end-terrace wall, and feed two room heat exchangers - one in the office (which I spend a lot of time in), and one in the master bedroom (which can get too warm in summer - this was *before* bitcoin... and it's 24.6˚C in there *now* without any central heating in operation). But air-con units on individual houses are rare as hell in England and getting planning permission to stick the required external fan / compressor / heat exchanger on a 200 yr old building with bizarre ownership covenants (I'm not allowed to run a pub, or a brothel, according to the deeds, amongst others) may be tricky.
Surely proper air conditioning is cheap these days - it's simply that due to our climate I know no-one other than the rich who actually install it - and as 'luxury home equipment' there's the traditional Rip-Off Britain approach to pricing. Also, I've been warned that I'd need a hefty outdoors unit if I wanted to run one interior cooler 10m away on the first floor (where the outdoor unit would have to be fitted) AND also run pipes down to ground level, in order to drill 45˚ downwards to access my cellar office. I can see why - pumping the refrigerant back *up* from the office cooler to the compressor / condenser would need decent pumps, both pipe runs are quite long.
Presumably running air-con capable of dealing with over 5 kW of BTC miner power consumption will also involve its own high electricity cost too - running the compressors and refrigerant pumps isn't going to be free. With English electricity costs (helpfully provided for us by the French, so hardly at charitable rates), adding more to the electricity bill could make mining get too close to the 'discomfort zone' of bare profitability (why do all this work for hardly any payback?).
I know nothing about domestic air-conditioning - I'd appreciate both American input (where air-con is AFAIK de rigeur in houses costing over $500k, if not substantially less) and also any English input (on pricing, planning issues, etc.).
Hence I'm normally borderline delerious towards the evening when I've been dehydrated for 8 hours
Sadly I'm not earning the money I was, otherwise I'd seriously be considering chucking it all away and risking an early-adopter penalty with FPGAs - I've got one test unit and it's brilliant, but to replace my current hashpower (let's say I'd have to feel an *upgrade* so I'd have to hit 10 Ghash), with the most viable UK retail solution at the moment, I'm looking at an investment of £17,500 - which is out of my reach given my other plans... and it's a big risk, because whilst 10 Ghash is a nice number that gives a reasonable income, if any of these ASIC based rumours are real and 20 Ghash boxes can be purchased for datacentre racks at 100W consumption each... a lot of already-wealthy ISP owners will buy up and all FPGA investment will be lost.
OK.... what I meant was I've seen people *on my pool* with over 50
Ghash - they tend to hop around pools - I was out by an order of magnitude, but I'm sure I've seen a single login with over 100 Ghash, and as I support the medium sized pools, I'm sure there must be bigger players on places like Deepbit etc. Other than a very few independently wealthy geeks, I can't imagine this sort of capacity being delivered by GPU technology in any way other than commercial enterprises - you need hundreds of GPUs, and depending on setup, a quarter or half that number in supporting PC machines (even bare-bones needs logic board, memory, CPU (maybe integrated) and expensive PSU). It's the same sort of initial capital investment, but with an ongoing cost (assuming professional hosting) of electricity and cooling that is beyond feasibility for a hobbyist or even a serious enthusiast. Unless you owned the datacentre / ISP and could run it for fun, and weren't bothered about the running costs eating into standard profits...
Apologies, ranting again. Need to get more FPGAs, but they're expensive and have the ASIC sword of Damocles hanging over them. It's a cast-iron bitch that I'm not in the financial position I was last March... time's running out for even the cheapest FPGAs to pay for themselves before the 50 to 25 BTC block reward wipes out many miners' profitability (i.e. mine - anyone in Europe with expensive electricity and GPUs will be underwater with 25 BTC block reward)...