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Author Topic: Can anyone tell me what chip is used in BFL single?  (Read 11988 times)
grue
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February 25, 2012, 05:34:19 PM
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Can anyone tell me what chip is used in BFL single? Just want to know if it's custom made, or a mass produced fpga.

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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February 25, 2012, 05:36:41 PM
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Can anyone tell me what chip is used in BFL single? Just want to know if it's custom made, or a mass produced fpga.

Nobody knows and BFL isn't telling (even going so far as to remove markings from heat spreader and using epoxy to attach the heatsink.  The board does look like it has a JTAG so someone with right tools can query the chip.

Based on voltage and wattage my guess is a 65nm (last gen) FPGA however that would mean they obtained a lot at a significant discount to retail pricing.
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February 25, 2012, 06:44:05 PM
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Can anyone tell me what chip is used in BFL single? Just want to know if it's custom made, or a mass produced fpga.

Nobody knows and BFL isn't telling (even going so far as to remove markings from heat spreader and using epoxy to attach the heatsink.  The board does look like it has a JTAG so someone with right tools can query the chip.

Based on voltage and wattage my guess is a 65nm (last gen) FPGA however that would mean they obtained a lot at a significant discount to retail pricing.

I thought it had been determined that it was a FPGA/ASIC hybrid ie developed on a fpga then hardcoded into a fixed FPGA run (in otherwords it would never be able to run another bitstream.) It's certainly on this board somewhere where the images had been shown of a populated board without a heatsink. I'll search for it, but currently have to go out. Should be about an hour or so...

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cypherdoc
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February 25, 2012, 06:55:03 PM
 #4

is there one or two fpga's in the Single?
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Gerald Davis


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February 25, 2012, 07:01:08 PM
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Two.
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February 25, 2012, 07:14:29 PM
 #6

Two.

if they are indeed older chips how do u presume they're getting over twice the Mh/s performance vs. the spartans?
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Gerald Davis


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February 25, 2012, 07:20:06 PM
 #7

Two.

if they are indeed older chips how do u presume they're getting over twice the Mh/s performance vs. the spartans?

Spartan is a small chip.   The Spartan 6 LX-150 wasn't chosen because it is the fastest.  It was chosen because it is the most economical.  It only has 150K LUTs there are FPGAs with 300K, 400K, even 800K LUTs (new 28nm FPGA have up to 2 million LUTs).
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February 25, 2012, 07:28:03 PM
 #8

Two.

if they are indeed older chips how do u presume they're getting over twice the Mh/s performance vs. the spartans?

Spartan is a small chip.   The Spartan 6 LX-150 wasn't chosen because it is the fastest.  It was chosen because it is the most economical.  It only has 150K LUTs there are FPGAs with 300K, 400K, even 800K LUTs (new 28nm FPGA have up to 2 million LUTs).

its probably better just to say they chose the "cheapest".  "economical" could be applied to the BFL as in having the highest Mh/$.  can't say much about longevity though.
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Gerald Davis


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February 25, 2012, 07:35:36 PM
 #9

Two.

if they are indeed older chips how do u presume they're getting over twice the Mh/s performance vs. the spartans?

Spartan is a small chip.   The Spartan 6 LX-150 wasn't chosen because it is the fastest.  It was chosen because it is the most economical.  It only has 150K LUTs there are FPGAs with 300K, 400K, even 800K LUTs (new 28nm FPGA have up to 2 million LUTs).

its probably better just to say they chose the "cheapest".  "economical" could be applied to the BFL as in having the highest Mh/$.  can't say much about longevity though.

Maybe I wasn't clear.

With open market prices (no special deals, no close outs) there is no chip available which has a lower cost per LUT and thus lower cost per MH than Spartan-6 LX150.  That is why it is used by all 3 other boards.  There are plenty of cheaper chips.  Hell they make $20 FPGAs but they are less economical.  

So I suspect BFL obtained some special pricing which allowed them to purchase in bulk chips which retail for $800+ for $200 to $300.   That is just my theory though.  Since BFL doesn't want anyone to know what chips they are using we won't know until if/when someone probes it with the JTAG header.
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February 25, 2012, 11:10:31 PM
 #10

I thought it had been determined that it was a FPGA/ASIC hybrid ie developed on a fpga then hardcoded into a fixed FPGA run (in otherwords it would never be able to run another bitstream.)
Nothing has been determined. But much has been speculated.
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February 26, 2012, 12:20:11 AM
 #11

Just wait till ArtForz gets his unit.

He will expose the chip in 2 minutes using JTAG probing Grin

BFL : all your secrets are belong to us !

Can anyone say Chinese BFL copy in 3 months or less Cheesy ?
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February 26, 2012, 12:22:27 AM
 #12

Just wait till ArtForz gets his unit.

He will expose the chip in 2 minutes using JTAG probing Grin

BFL : all your secrets are belong to us !

Can anyone say Chinese BFL copy in 3 months or less Cheesy ?

Yah, but what you dont know, is 15% of your hashing power would then end up in a Chinese pool...lol

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grue
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February 26, 2012, 05:10:57 PM
 #13

Just wait till ArtForz gets his unit.

He will expose the chip in 2 minutes using JTAG probing Grin

BFL : all your secrets are belong to us !

Can anyone say Chinese BFL copy in 3 months or less Cheesy ?

Yah, but what you dont know, is 15% of your hashing power would then end up in a Chinese pool...lol
As long as the net hash output is better than BFL, i'm ok.

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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February 26, 2012, 05:38:54 PM
 #14

Just wait till ArtForz gets his unit.

He will expose the chip in 2 minutes using JTAG probing Grin

BFL : all your secrets are belong to us !

Can anyone say Chinese BFL copy in 3 months or less Cheesy ?

Yah, but what you dont know, is 15% of your hashing power would then end up in a Chinese pool...lol
As long as the net hash output is better than BFL, i'm ok.

if the net output was better then it wouldn't be a copy...

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February 27, 2012, 12:38:00 PM
 #15

Just wait till ArtForz gets his unit.

He will expose the chip in 2 minutes using JTAG probing Grin

BFL : all your secrets are belong to us !

Can anyone say Chinese BFL copy in 3 months or less Cheesy ?


I'm sorry to say that a part of every business (include ours) includes trade-secrects
which unfortunately cannot be disclosed. We really wished that this would not have
turned into a challenge for our users, since our business goal is to deliver high-tech
equipment for our targeted industry. JTAG probing will not help either...

Regards,

BF Labs Inc.  www.butterflylabs.com   -  Bitcoin Mining Hardware
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February 27, 2012, 01:11:13 PM
 #16

Just wait till ArtForz gets his unit.

He will expose the chip in 2 minutes using JTAG probing Grin

BFL : all your secrets are belong to us !

Can anyone say Chinese BFL copy in 3 months or less Cheesy ?


I'm sorry to say that a part of every business (include ours) includes trade-secrects
which unfortunately cannot be disclosed. We really wished that this would not have
turned into a challenge for our users, since our business goal is to deliver high-tech
equipment for our targeted industry. JTAG probing will not help either...

Regards,

if you're targeted industry is miners than you should know they tend to like transparency, and open sourcedness, and to take things apart to find out what makes them tick :p

14ga8dJ6NGpiwQkNTXg7KzwozasfaXNfEU
bulanula
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February 27, 2012, 01:14:01 PM
 #17

Just wait till ArtForz gets his unit.

He will expose the chip in 2 minutes using JTAG probing Grin

BFL : all your secrets are belong to us !

Can anyone say Chinese BFL copy in 3 months or less Cheesy ?


I'm sorry to say that a part of every business (include ours) includes trade-secrects
which unfortunately cannot be disclosed. We really wished that this would not have
turned into a challenge for our users, since our business goal is to deliver high-tech
equipment for our targeted industry. JTAG probing will not help either...

Regards,

I bet ArtForz would disagree.

There are ways to make the chips talk just as there are ways to make people talk Wink
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1ngldh


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February 27, 2012, 01:51:09 PM
 #18

if you're targeted industry is miners than you should know they tend to like transparency, and open sourcedness, and to take things apart to find out what makes them tick :p

My feeling is that Bitcoin mining is just a small stepping stone on their way to greatness. So they probably will not want to make everything open-source at the outset.

That's how business work, remember? Even though all of Facebook's datacenter plans are open-source (http://opencompute.org/), they certainly weren't at the initial outset of the project. And that is only one example.

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
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February 27, 2012, 06:22:31 PM
 #19

What are the chances of this being some ATI GPU or other stripped of everything else, just doing opencl? Kind of makes sense from both a price and performance standpoint Wink
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February 27, 2012, 07:39:36 PM
 #20

What are the chances of this being some ATI GPU or other stripped of everything else, just doing opencl? Kind of makes sense from both a price and performance standpoint Wink

Pretty low, the wattage is much lower than a GPU. Looks like an outdated FCPGA chip that was bought in bulk for a dirt cheap price.
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