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Author Topic: The best selling FPGA board  (Read 6789 times)
Dhomochevsky
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March 12, 2012, 12:59:47 PM
 #1

LAST UPDATED: March 21st

As the title says,what is, in your opinion, the best selling board? Icarus? X6500? Ztex? The BFL single is popular on the forums but afaik only a few have been shipped so far. Is there any way we can get some hard numbers on the models? Maybe buyers chiming in to tell us how many did they purchase... For example, so far I got 2 3 Icarus boards and plan to get another five thirty sometime in the next couple of months. Will update the first post with results if enough people contribute to the thread.

As of now, some (probably highly inaccurate) estimations are:

1st place: Icarus, with 260 boards shipped (all confirmed). FORUM THREAD BOARD DISCONTINUED, TO BE REPLACED IN MAY WITH NEW "LANCELOT" MODEL, SEE THREAD

2nd place: X6500, with over 100 boards shipped (100 confirmed, 100 more shipping). FORUM THREAD

3rd place: ZTex, with over 100 boards shipped (94 confirmed). FORUM THREAD

4th place: BFL Single, with around 50 units shipped (about 20 confirmed). FORUM THREAD


Caveat: These are not to be taken as "official figures". They are gathered from various buyers on the forums and most likely they only vaguely represent the actual sales.


Feel free to comment and correct me if you have better figures.
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March 12, 2012, 07:15:58 PM
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60 ztex 1.15x, pushing ~12.5 GH, 690 watts at the plug
Dhomochevsky
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March 12, 2012, 07:18:59 PM
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All right, since this thread takes off really slow, i gathered a few numbers and I decided to toss them here to get the ball rolling. Keep in mind, these are mostly guesstimates, so feel free to correct me and I'll update the figures.

We currently have 4 existing FPGA designs in the wild:

 - Icarus

 So far 2 batches of them are completely sold out, with the third one selling as we speak. The first batch had around 20 or 30 boards and the second had 30. That's 50-60 boards. The third batch is safe to say it has around or close to 100 boards - I've seen people on the forums mentioning they ordered bulk amounts of 30 or more boards; ngzhang mentioned at one point that "a package of 120 spartan chips" in customs, and that was only part of the shipment. So we have >150 boards sold so far for the Icarus design.

 - X6500

 These babies sold 2 revisions already and the third is slated to start shipment soon (if it hasn't already). My guess is their figures are pretty close to Icarus, maybe even a tie, judging by the popularity of the board on the forums (which is pretty much the same as Icarus). However, they went to market sooner than Icarus so it's quite likely they overtook them in sales. Again, if i'm spewing crap here feel free to call me out on it, I'm interested in real numbers. So, X6500 sold >150 boards too, maybe much more and they lead the sales.

 - ZTex

 Whatever the situation above, this board design definitely takes third place. It's a single chip board and garnered a little less interest than the first two. My hunches tell me it sold in or around the 100 boards mark, but I can be wrong. CAcoins mentions 60 boards, so bulk orders might inflate the number well over 100 units sold. I'm pretty sure though it takes only the third place when opposed by the likes of Icarus and X6500.

 - BFL Single

 This is definitely the LEAST sold design. It just came out of the laboratory and started shipping recently, people have been waiting for it for months. Only a few are working in the wild as of now (less than ten?) but if production ramps up, its low price per MH might put it head to head with the leading designs pretty soon.


So these are the four designs floating around right now. Did I forget anything? You feel the numbers are wrong? Then speak your mind.
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March 12, 2012, 07:42:06 PM
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I am sure BFL has SOLD a lot more than 10 boards.  They may not have delivered as many as the competitors but they certainly have SOLD a lot (at least anecdotally based on forum posts).

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March 12, 2012, 07:50:02 PM
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Yes, I figured they sold a whole bunch, but people were complaining about not receiving them/delivery taking a long time. I threw that figure there based on some extremely lax estimations of Singles in the wild. That's why I ask people to mention here some hard figures, so we can have something to base estimations on.
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March 12, 2012, 08:24:05 PM
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If you really want to compare those models as which is the most selling, I think it'd be best to draw an excel chart of sales per month, for each model. Would be interesting. Grin

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March 12, 2012, 09:01:09 PM
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14x Ztex....175W@wall, AMD E350 Board.

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March 12, 2012, 09:47:42 PM
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If you really want to compare those models as which is the most selling, I think it'd be best to draw an excel chart of sales per month, for each model. Would be interesting. Grin

Yeah, sales figures per month would be nice to have, but right now we don't have exact sales figures overall... We could start charting from now on if people contribute data. Add new models as they appear, remove deprecated models as they fade away etc.

@nyana: That's a nice setup you have there, looks like there's room for 20 pieces there Cheesy. It appears we have at least 74 confirmed ztex boards.
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March 13, 2012, 12:43:58 AM
 #9

I think this might be as easy as to ask the sources directly no? I mean they all have companies that pay taxes, that can be viewed by anyone, so hiding this data is useless.

BTW: 5x ZTEX

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March 13, 2012, 12:47:02 AM
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I think this might be as easy as to ask the sources directly no? I mean they all have companies that pay taxes, that can be viewed by anyone, so hiding this data is useless.

BTW: 5x ZTEX

Companies may have good reasons to play their cards close to the chest, for various reasons such as not wanting to give their competitors any information into lot sizes and price breaks etc.

So, typically, such information will not be disclosed.
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March 13, 2012, 12:58:27 AM
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I can say the Bitcoin Syndicate just bought 17x Icarus, which have been shipped on the 11th and are en route now, if that helps your tally.

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March 13, 2012, 03:42:02 AM
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My BFL Single arrived last Thursday

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March 13, 2012, 08:15:18 AM
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I think this might be as easy as to ask the sources directly no? I mean they all have companies that pay taxes, that can be viewed by anyone, so hiding this data is useless.

BTW: 5x ZTEX

Companies may have good reasons to play their cards close to the chest, for various reasons such as not wanting to give their competitors any information into lot sizes and price breaks etc.

So, typically, such information will not be disclosed.

This. Asking people details about their business might make things awkward for them. If they wish to disclose their exact numbers they can do so freely, but I don't presume to think they have an obligation to do so. Therefore we'll just gather whatever sparse and barely accurate info we can from the clients Tongue.

Now, I know that the first two batches of Icarus boards were around the 60 mark. I bought 2 from the third batch, Glasswalker confirms 17. I saw people mentioning bulk orders on the thread, one of them said something about 30 boards. So we have around 100 confirmed shipped. Will update the numbers.

Any X6500 buyers care to pitch in?
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March 14, 2012, 01:12:35 AM
 #14

Why on earth would the manufacturers reveal sales data on an anonymous message board?

This topic is ridiculous and somewhat childish.
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March 14, 2012, 01:42:46 AM
 #15

As mentioned before, nobody is asking the manufacturers to release sales numbers. I just want a general tally of popularity on currently shipping FPGA designs.

Updated figures for BFL Single.
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March 16, 2012, 09:03:10 AM
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I'm not opposed to letting you know our sales figures. We've sold 100 X6500s so far, and have another 100 produced that will start shipping very soon.

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March 16, 2012, 10:58:07 AM
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I'm not opposed to letting you know our sales figures. We've sold 100 X6500s so far, and have another 100 produced that will start shipping very soon.
Thumbs up!

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March 16, 2012, 03:21:17 PM
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I'm not opposed to letting you know our sales figures. We've sold 100 X6500s so far, and have another 100 produced that will start shipping very soon.
<<== Eating words.
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March 16, 2012, 03:56:31 PM
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Hey, that's nice! Thanks for the info! Will update the first post.
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March 16, 2012, 11:12:53 PM
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My BFL Single arrived last Thursday

When did you order it, and was it exactly 4 to 6 weeks or more?


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March 17, 2012, 07:03:23 AM
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You can add my ztex 1.15x to your confirmed list. running solid at about 224Mhash/s
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March 17, 2012, 02:48:44 PM
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I have 5 Icarus and 3 Ztex 1.15x at this moment.
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March 17, 2012, 02:54:50 PM
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<- 10x ZTEX 1.15x Boards

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March 17, 2012, 06:54:41 PM
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BFL wins, their website actually works...
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March 17, 2012, 08:30:42 PM
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+13 Ztex, +5 Icarus, updating numbers.


BFL wins, their website actually works...


Wat.
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March 17, 2012, 09:59:30 PM
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BFL wins, their website actually works...
Really?

So in your world having a flashy website is more important than having a 3 month backlog of undelivered orders?
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March 17, 2012, 11:19:13 PM
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6 ztex, 1 Icarus

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March 17, 2012, 11:34:07 PM
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BFL wins, their website actually works...
Really?

So in your world having a flashy website is more important than having a 3 month backlog of undelivered orders?

Yes, yes it does. That means you actually have financial backing behind you. Yes I know my world rocks and it makes sense.
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March 17, 2012, 11:41:02 PM
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BFL wins, their website actually works...
Really?

So in your world having a flashy website is more important than having a 3 month backlog of undelivered orders?

Yes, yes it does. That means you actually have financial backing behind you. Yes I know my world rocks and it makes sense.

Cost of a web site is negligible.

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March 18, 2012, 12:24:51 AM
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BFL wins, their website actually works...
Really?

So in your world having a flashy website is more important than having a 3 month backlog of undelivered orders?

Yes, yes it does. That means you actually have financial backing behind you. Yes I know my world rocks and it makes sense.

Cost of a web site is negligible.

He probably meant that the order backlog is financial backing

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March 18, 2012, 01:48:57 AM
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Look people, I can't even find the sites that sell the units your talking about, how can they possibly win? If Google can't find it then it's a fail.
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March 18, 2012, 02:25:56 AM
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Look people, I can't even find the sites that sell the units your talking about, how can they possibly win? If Google can't find it then it's a fail.

If you can't google you fail !

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March 18, 2012, 02:59:50 AM
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Look people, I can't even find the sites that sell the units your talking about, how can they possibly win? If Google can't find it then it's a fail.

Our website is fpgamining.com.

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March 18, 2012, 11:30:31 AM
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Look people, I can't even find the sites that sell the units your talking about, how can they possibly win? If Google can't find it then it's a fail.

Our website is fpgamining.com.

Okay where in the heck of your website is the price per unit? And why does your only supplier not have a unit available, I don't understand....
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March 18, 2012, 12:03:23 PM
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Look people, I can't even find the sites that sell the units your talking about, how can they possibly win? If Google can't find it then it's a fail.

Our website is fpgamining.com.

Okay where in the heck of your website is the price per unit? And why does your only supplier not have a unit available, I don't understand....
Must we hand you everything on a silver platter? If you did some research, you would find out that fizzisist is currently in a production run of another batch, and that's why none are in stock at the moment. Other boutique developers may only accept orders on the forum, and so forth. Ztex mainly sells FPGAs for purposes other than mining, and just happens to also sell a mining board. The Icarus developer is also burning in a production run, since he sold out of his last batches.

TL;DR: It is a fledgling business for most, and you need to do a lot of independent research. Expecting to just go plunk down some money somewhere and get an instant result is disingenuous, because of the number of variables in the equation.

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March 18, 2012, 02:05:36 PM
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If you're trying to persuade me then yes you really must hand me everything on a golden platter.

Also just because they are out of units, that doesn't mean they can't display the price per unit.

More like a hobby really.
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March 18, 2012, 08:12:06 PM
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Click the giant "Buy Now" banner which will lead you to shopping page. Click on the X6500 product which leads you to:

http://cablesaurus.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=58

Buy & Hold
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March 18, 2012, 09:40:04 PM
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WTF? $580 for400 mhs? That's nuts!
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March 18, 2012, 09:41:33 PM
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WTF? $580 for400 mhs? That's nuts!
Obviously not, since he sold out of 2 batches already. If you don't understand why it makes sense, then you don't need to worry about it and you can go on your way.

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March 18, 2012, 09:42:18 PM
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WTF? $580 for400 mhs? That's nuts!
You're late to the party, a troll, and annoying.  Go ask your mom if dinner is ready.
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March 18, 2012, 10:21:12 PM
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shut the fuck up you poor retard

bfl single does 800 mhs and costs the same

goddamned worthless neanderthal
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March 19, 2012, 02:05:48 AM
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shut the fuck up you poor retard

bfl single does 800 mhs and costs the same

goddamned worthless neanderthal

...and uses 4 times the power.

Also, please watch your language.

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March 19, 2012, 02:08:50 AM
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nobody cares about power usage, that is way too cheap
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March 19, 2012, 02:13:22 AM
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nobody cares about power usage, that is way too cheap

Why would anyone buy FPGA miners then?

The reasons are simple:
There are regions on this planet where electricity costs like $0.30/kWh, and running GPUs is just not profitable any more. And it won't be long until the BFL isn't either.
There are often limits on how much power you can actually draw or how much heat you can actually remove at a given place, so sometimes this might be the only option to further expand your hashing power, even if you have cheap electricity.
If you account for the power you need for air conditioning, FPGAs overtake GPU profitability at way lower electricity rates than you'd think.

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March 19, 2012, 02:41:32 AM
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nobody cares about power usage, that is way too cheap

Someday you too will care ... when you move out of mom's basement.

Buy & Hold
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March 19, 2012, 02:43:44 AM
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shut the fuck up you poor retard

bfl single does 800 mhs and costs the same

goddamned worthless neanderthal

Angry neighborhood bastard mod here.

I suggest you never piss off an apex predator.

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March 19, 2012, 08:00:06 AM
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Oh, this thread will probably be a little cleaner from now. Regarding the BFL single - I think it only uses twice the w/MH traditional FPGAs use. Wasn't it ~80 Wh for ~800 MH? Icarus and x6500 use 40 Wh for that amount of hashing.
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March 19, 2012, 10:29:13 AM
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Yup, but for me passive cooling computing means so much more than MH/s... silence to hear yourself think! I have 1GH/s and that draws 40W with ZTEX.

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March 19, 2012, 10:56:51 AM
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Oh, this thread will probably be a little cleaner from now. Regarding the BFL single - I think it only uses twice the w/MH traditional FPGAs use. Wasn't it ~80 Wh for ~800 MH? Icarus and x6500 use 40 Wh for that amount of hashing.

I might correct that it's ~85W for 832MH/s. Of course, the board itself consumes 71-72W, but the inefficiency of the PSU
takes up to ~85W. One could use a central PSU for multiple singles, with a higher efficiency...


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March 19, 2012, 08:49:02 PM
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Oh, this thread will probably be a little cleaner from now. Regarding the BFL single - I think it only uses twice the w/MH traditional FPGAs use. Wasn't it ~80 Wh for ~800 MH? Icarus and x6500 use 40 Wh for that amount of hashing.
I meant four times the power per board (for twice the hashes per board).

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March 20, 2012, 08:28:03 PM
 #51

shut the fuck up you poor retard

bfl single does 800 mhs and costs the same

goddamned worthless neanderthal

order 1 for 599 USD .

wait up to  4 months.

that means, 4 months mining @ 820MH can generate 60 BTCs. about 300 USD.

so this equal to you spent 900+ USD on it...

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March 20, 2012, 08:45:41 PM
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shut the fuck up you poor retard

bfl single does 800 mhs and costs the same

goddamned worthless neanderthal

order 1 for 599 USD .

wait up to  4 months.

that means, 4 months mining @ 820MH can generate 60 BTCs. about 300 USD.

so this equal to you spent 900+ USD on it...

Sad, but true.  I wish I could get some bulk discount on Icarus Wink
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March 21, 2012, 03:25:22 AM
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How about links in the OP to the board threads.

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March 21, 2012, 08:40:10 AM
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Sad, but true.  I wish I could get some bulk discount on Icarus ;)
There are already great bulk discounts on Icarus :)

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March 21, 2012, 10:28:53 AM
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How about links in the OP to the board threads.

Done. Also, updated some figures.
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March 21, 2012, 01:50:21 PM
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Icarus Batch3 shipped out 220 boards.
plus previous 2 batches, there are about 260 total.  Grin

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March 21, 2012, 04:22:21 PM
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Updated.
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March 22, 2012, 01:48:35 PM
 #58

Icarus is the best! For few simple valuable reasons:

1- It can be used as a dev board not just for mining!
2- ONLY ~20 Watts
3- The price "569$" is considered to be the lowest price as it comes fully equipped with fan/heat sink/power adapter/usb cable!
4- Zhang is always in time!

Thank you Zhang for developing such impressive boards "ICARUS" we are looking forward for your new design "Lancelot"!

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March 23, 2012, 01:06:47 AM
 #59

There is no "best".  Considering MPBM has support for everything there is no reason they can't all play nicely together.  At this point I think it all depends on what's available.
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March 23, 2012, 02:20:28 AM
 #60

There is no "best".  Considering MPBM has support for everything there is no reason they can't all play nicely together.  At this point I think it all depends on what's available.

Yes, finally it has support for all of them. Even for BFL Smiley

There are definitely some pros and cons for every board. I'll try to summarize (neutrally):

BFL Single:
  • Excellent price/performance ratio for an FPGA board
  • Temperature sensors
  • Shipped from USA
  • Very high power consumption and heat dissipation for an FPGA board
  • High lead times
  • Very odd communication protocol, causes quite some inefficiencies
  • Completely unusable with P2Pool (>50% stales)
  • Overheats really easily
  • Not stackable

Icarus:
  • Lots of expansion headers and I/Os routed, thus extensible, and possibly usable for other FPGA projects
  • Probably the most heat robust board
  • Stackable
  • Shipped from China
  • Uses speed grade 2 FPGA, thus ~20-30MH/s less than the other Spartan6 boards
  • No heatsink mounting holes
  • No temperature sensors
  • Discontinued

X6500 Rev. 3:
  • Spartan 6 Speed grade 3 FPGA
  • Molex power connector (additionally to barrel connector)
  • Standard 3pin molex fan headers
  • Heatsink mounting holes
  • Temperature sensors
  • Fresh batch currently shipping (available at Cablesaurus)
  • Can be cooled by big fans from the side (low noise level)
  • Stackable
  • Shipped from USA
  • Relatively high miner software CPU load due to interface design issues, will be fixed in future revisions

ZTEX:
  • Spartan 6 Speed grade 3 FPGA
  • Standard 3pin molex fan headers
  • Low lead times
  • Heatsink mounting holes
  • Stackable
  • Shipped from Germany
  • Only a single FPGA, thus relatively high price, especially at low quantities
  • Relatively high miner software CPU load due to interface design issues
  • No temperature sensors

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March 23, 2012, 02:55:54 AM
 #61

Excellent summary, TheSeven. Soon wondermine will apparently be producing his nanominer, and the projected sale price according to him fits in nicely.

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March 23, 2012, 03:07:47 AM
 #62

Excellent summary, TheSeven. Soon wondermine will apparently be producing his nanominer, and the projected sale price according to him fits in nicely.

Competition doesn't sleep though!

Looks like basically all other FPGA board vendors are considering backplane setups as well now, except maybe for ztex.

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March 23, 2012, 05:10:12 AM
 #63

TheSeven, nice summary and thanks for working on the MPBM support for ztex. 

Are you getting high CPU load for the ztex boards with MPBM?  Ztex's java process doesn't use the CPU much and will run on an atom.  There was a bug during firmware programming that caused high CPU loads that was fixed.
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March 23, 2012, 05:42:05 AM
 #64

TheSeven, nice summary and thanks for working on the MPBM support for ztex. 

Are you getting high CPU load for the ztex boards with MPBM?  Ztex's java process doesn't use the CPU much and will run on an atom.  There was a bug during firmware programming that caused high CPU loads that was fixed.

Well, I said relatively high. It's like 5-10% per board on a dualcore 1.8GHz atom, and most of that can probably be done way more efficiently in C or even Java. It's just a damn lot compared to those <1% needed by the SimpleRS232 or Icarus protocol.

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March 23, 2012, 06:10:08 AM
 #65

I see.  Thanks for the clarification.
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March 23, 2012, 07:28:03 AM
 #66


X6500 Rev. 3:
  • Relatively high miner software CPU load due to interface design issues, will be fixed in future revisions

Is that a hardware problem that will be fixed with future revisions of the board or is it software and we can expect a fix also for rev 2 and rev 3 boards?

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March 23, 2012, 10:25:22 AM
 #67


X6500 Rev. 3:
  • Relatively high miner software CPU load due to interface design issues, will be fixed in future revisions

Is that a hardware problem that will be fixed with future revisions of the board or is it software and we can expect a fix also for rev 2 and rev 3 boards?

It's a hardware issue, but it isn't as bad as you might think. It just means running more than about 10 boards with an atom host might cause high stales.

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March 23, 2012, 11:12:26 AM
 #68

Shipped from USA
It's not a pro, may be even the opposite :)

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March 23, 2012, 11:17:03 AM
 #69

I agree with that, it's highly subjective. For example, for me it's a con. Shipping from china is much better. Arrives in a week and some change, and I pay no duties. From the USA though it will take about 2 weeks, and I need to pay almost 50% duties.
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March 23, 2012, 11:53:50 AM
 #70

TheSeven, nice summary and thanks for working on the MPBM support for ztex. 

Are you getting high CPU load for the ztex boards with MPBM?  Ztex's java process doesn't use the CPU much and will run on an atom.  There was a bug during firmware programming that caused high CPU loads that was fixed.

Well, I said relatively high. It's like 5-10% per board on a dualcore 1.8GHz atom, and most of that can probably be done way more efficiently in C or even Java. It's just a damn lot compared to those <1% needed by the SimpleRS232 or Icarus protocol.

No, your setup is buggy, my 5 card cluster has 0% CPU usage on D510MO Atom with Java 1.6 on Suse.

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March 23, 2012, 02:14:08 PM
 #71

TheSeven, nice summary and thanks for working on the MPBM support for ztex.  

Are you getting high CPU load for the ztex boards with MPBM?  Ztex's java process doesn't use the CPU much and will run on an atom.  There was a bug during firmware programming that caused high CPU loads that was fixed.

Well, I said relatively high. It's like 5-10% per board on a dualcore 1.8GHz atom, and most of that can probably be done way more efficiently in C or even Java. It's just a damn lot compared to those <1% needed by the SimpleRS232 or Icarus protocol.

No, your setup is buggy, my 5 card cluster has 0% CPU usage on D510MO Atom with Java 1.6 on Suse.

I would not call it buggy. It's by design. Java is just a lot more efficient than Python, and ztex's interface stresses this a lot. Each board worker needs to calculate about 20 SHA256 hashes per second on the host CPU, and this is currently implemented as python code, which is just generally slow for that kind of thing.
I might be able to use hashlib to improve this particular worker, but I can't use it in a lot of other places because it can't calculate midstates.
But then there's still the rather inefficient (iterating over all possible clock multipliers 10 times a second) overclocking algorithm. It could probably be optimized as well, but I'll stick with it for now for safety reasons, and to avoid unneccessary warranty/liability issues with ztex.

In any case, ztex boards need a relatively high amount of host-side calculations, which should better be done on the board's MCU (if it would be capable enough, which that EZ-USB crap probably isn't). That's what I'd call a bug. With other boards, the miner software just has to push work and gets notified if a nonce was found, which is less than 10% of the CPU usage that ztex's interface needs, usually <1% absolute (and would probably be <0.1% on your CPU, if implemented in Java).

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March 23, 2012, 03:01:37 PM
 #72

I would not call it buggy. It's by design. Java is just a lot more efficient than Python, and ztex's interface stresses this a lot. Each board worker needs to calculate about 20 SHA256 hashes per second on the host CPU, and this is currently implemented as python code, which is just generally slow for that kind of thing.
I might be able to use hashlib to improve this particular worker, but I can't use it in a lot of other places because it can't calculate midstates.
But then there's still the rather inefficient (iterating over all possible clock multipliers 10 times a second) overclocking algorithm. It could probably be optimized as well, but I'll stick with it for now for safety reasons, and to avoid unneccessary warranty/liability issues with ztex.

How does the design of X6500 rev 2 & 3 compare to the Ztex in repsect of the CPU load?
Why is the Icarus protocol better if the problem is the host side SHA256 calculation?

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March 23, 2012, 04:10:13 PM
 #73

How does the design of X6500 rev 2 & 3 compare to the Ztex in repsect of the CPU load?

No difference between rev. 2 and rev. 3.
The kind of workload is very different between the ztex and x6500 board, on the latter it is more I/O bound, while ztex is just CPU-intensive.
I'd expect the x6500 to be slightly worse than the ztex here. In my tests 10 x6500 boards on a quadcore atom were utilizing 1.5-2 CPU cores, while 2 ztex boards were like 10-20% load on one core of a dualcore atom. This wasn't tested on the same machine, so there might be some more factors coming into play here, but I think you get a general idea of what it looks like.
IMHO this is the only drawback that the x6500 currently has, compared to the other boards, and this will definitely be redesigned in a future board revision.


Why is the Icarus protocol better if the problem is the host side SHA256 calculation?

Because for an Icarus worker, the host will only have to calculate one SHA256 per difficulty 1 share that was found, while on the ztex it's 20 per second additionally. Also, the ztex board will need to be polled for shares every 100 milliseconds (configurable), while the Icarus board will report shares by itself via an interrupt endpoint.

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March 23, 2012, 04:18:38 PM
 #74

Ah, sorry it was related to MPBM.  Embarrassed

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March 23, 2012, 04:45:38 PM
 #75

We are very happy to see that based on FPGA mining LLCs research,
it turns out that their products is the best that there is on the market Smiley


Good Luck,

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March 23, 2012, 04:53:31 PM
 #76

We are very happy to see that based on FPGA mining LLCs research,
it turns out that their products is the best that there is on the market Smiley


Good Luck,

Actually I asked several people if they could name any more cons, because I feared exactly this would happen. They couldn't come up with any either.
Hm, now that I think of it, "not supported by cgminer" might be another one...

Can you name some more cons? I'd very happily listen to that. Everyone learns from their mistakes, and the JTAG-based protocol definitely was one.
Some of the cons that I listed for the other boards were present on the x6500 rev. 2 as well, but have been fixed in rev. 3.

I'd really appreciate it if some more experts on this area (whether affiliated with one of the board vendors or not) could chime in and make a better (and neutral) comparison chart. This whould probably be taken to some wiki (http://wiki.btcfpga.com/?) though.

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March 23, 2012, 04:57:41 PM
 #77

Actually I asked several people if they could name any more cons, because I feared exactly this would happen. They couldn't come up with any either.
Hm, now that I think of it, "not supported by cgminer" might be another one...

Can you name some more cons? I'd very happily listen to that. Everyone learns from their mistakes, and the JTAG-based protocol definitely was one.
Some of the cons that I listed for the other boards were present on the x6500 rev. 2 as well, but have been fixed in rev. 3.

I'd really appreciate it if some more experts on this area (whether affiliated with one of the board vendors or not) could chime in and make a better (and neutral) comparison chart. This whould probably be taken to some wiki (http://wiki.btcfpga.com/?) though.
The only other thing I can think of is that Ztex seems to have far lower power use than any of the others. Isn't it like 8 watts for a single chip at 200Mhash? If you double that for 2 chips that makes 16 watts, which is still lower than x6500 iirc.

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March 23, 2012, 05:17:00 PM
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We are very happy to see that based on FPGA mining LLCs research,
it turns out that their products is the best that there is on the market Smiley


Good Luck,

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March 23, 2012, 06:09:39 PM
 #79

Actually I asked several people if they could name any more cons, because I feared exactly this would happen. They couldn't come up with any either.
Hm, now that I think of it, "not supported by cgminer" might be another one...

Can you name some more cons? I'd very happily listen to that. Everyone learns from their mistakes, and the JTAG-based protocol definitely was one.
Some of the cons that I listed for the other boards were present on the x6500 rev. 2 as well, but have been fixed in rev. 3.

I'd really appreciate it if some more experts on this area (whether affiliated with one of the board vendors or not) could chime in and make a better (and neutral) comparison chart. This whould probably be taken to some wiki (http://wiki.btcfpga.com/?) though.
The only other thing I can think of is that Ztex seems to have far lower power use than any of the others. Isn't it like 8 watts for a single chip at 200Mhash? If you double that for 2 chips that makes 16 watts, which is still lower than x6500 iirc.

Actually, we have some power measurements here (albeit on just one board right now, so the sample size is pretty small): http://fpgamining.com/documentation/hardware/power-measurements

Turns out we're in the same ballpark: 16.4 W at 400 MH/s.

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March 23, 2012, 06:16:17 PM
 #80

The only other thing I can think of is that Ztex seems to have far lower power use than any of the others. Isn't it like 8 watts for a single chip at 200Mhash? If you double that for 2 chips that makes 16 watts, which is still lower than x6500 iirc.

Well yeah, half the power for half the hashes...

fizzisist beat me to posting the x6500 numbers, but the ztex is told to be 9.4W for 190-230MH/s.

So there isn't really all that much difference among the FPGA boards in general, except for BFL  Roll Eyes

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March 24, 2012, 01:16:50 AM
 #81

The only other thing I can think of is that Ztex seems to have far lower power use than any of the others. Isn't it like 8 watts for a single chip at 200Mhash? If you double that for 2 chips that makes 16 watts, which is still lower than x6500 iirc.

Well yeah, half the power for half the hashes...

fizzisist beat me to posting the x6500 numbers, but the ztex is told to be 9.4W for 190-230MH/s.

So there isn't really all that much difference among the FPGA boards in general, except for BFL  Roll Eyes
OK, I thought last time I looked that x6500 was closer to 25 watts. I was not correct obviously.

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March 24, 2012, 10:30:40 AM
 #82

I think that was at the wall, including PSU losses, extra fans, ... and probably measured with an inaccurate killawatt. The 16.4W is measured on the 12V rail, directly at the board, using accurate DMMs

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March 30, 2012, 03:03:23 PM
 #83

Hum, why no warranty period is mentioned? Added below.



BFL Single:
  • Excellent price/performance ratio for an FPGA board
  • Temperature sensors
  • Shipped from USA
  • Warranty period: 6 months
  • Very high power consumption and heat dissipation for an FPGA board
  • High lead times
  • Very odd communication protocol, causes quite some inefficiencies
  • Completely unusable with P2Pool (>50% stales)
  • Overheats really easily
  • Not stackable

Icarus:
  • Lots of expansion headers and I/Os routed, thus extensible, and possibly usable for other FPGA projects
  • Probably the most heat robust board
  • Stackable
  • Shipped from China
  • Warranty period: None
  • Uses speed grade 2 FPGA, thus ~20-30MH/s less than the other Spartan6 boards
  • No heatsink mounting holes
  • No temperature sensors
  • Discontinued

X6500 Rev. 3:
  • Spartan 6 Speed grade 3 FPGA
  • Molex power connector (additionally to barrel connector)
  • Standard 3pin molex fan headers
  • Heatsink mounting holes
  • Temperature sensors
  • Fresh batch currently shipping (available at Cablesaurus)
  • Can be cooled by big fans from the side (low noise level)
  • Stackable
  • Shipped from USA
  • Warranty period: None
  • Relatively high miner software CPU load due to interface design issues, will be fixed in future revisions

ZTEX:
  • Spartan 6 Speed grade 3 FPGA
  • Standard 3pin molex fan headers
  • Low lead times
  • Heatsink mounting holes
  • Stackable
  • Warranty period: 2 years
  • Shipped from Germany
  • Only a single FPGA, thus relatively high price, especially at low quantities
  • Relatively high miner software CPU load due to interface design issues
  • No temperature sensors

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March 31, 2012, 01:08:54 AM
 #84

I wonder what Lancelot is

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March 31, 2012, 03:28:52 AM
 #85

My guess for Lancelot

Here is what I gathered from ngzhang's posts:

- Lancelot is a motherboard
- Has a temperature sensor
- Updatable without JTAG/dev cable
  (my guess is USB or whatever it uses to connect to a host)
- Supports CAN or RS485 specification for chaining
- Uses FTDI UART chip
- MCU friendly config port (?? USB > MCU?)
- Will be designed from ground up for Bitcoin mining
  (Icarus was/is a development board)

My own imagination tells me:

- The motherboard itself doesn't have any FPGA chips
- The motherboards uses standard ATX PSU connectors
- The motherboard supports X daughterboards, which have the FPGA's on them
- The daughterboards may have multiple FPGAs on them
- The daughterboards either support stock CPU coolers and/or
  they are arranged in a way that they can be cooled passively

I am not exactly sure what having an FTDI UART chip on board will allow them to do. Is this just for chaining or also for communicating with the host? Does the FTDI UART chip take care of USB communication or is this usually handled by the USB MCU? Would FTDI UART allow using an ethernet interface to connect to the host?
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April 06, 2012, 01:01:42 AM
 #86

Hum, why no warranty period is mentioned? Added below.



BFL Single:
  • Excellent price/performance ratio for an FPGA board
  • Temperature sensors
  • Shipped from USA
  • Warranty period: 6 months
  • Very high power consumption and heat dissipation for an FPGA board
  • High lead times
  • Very odd communication protocol, causes quite some inefficiencies
  • Completely unusable with P2Pool (>50% stales)
  • Overheats really easily
  • Not stackable

Icarus:
  • Lots of expansion headers and I/Os routed, thus extensible, and possibly usable for other FPGA projects
  • Probably the most heat robust board
  • Stackable
  • Shipped from China
  • Warranty period: None
  • Uses speed grade 2 FPGA, thus ~20-30MH/s less than the other Spartan6 boards
  • No heatsink mounting holes
  • No temperature sensors
  • Discontinued

X6500 Rev. 3:
  • Spartan 6 Speed grade 3 FPGA
  • Molex power connector (additionally to barrel connector)
  • Standard 3pin molex fan headers
  • Heatsink mounting holes
  • Temperature sensors
  • Fresh batch currently shipping (available at Cablesaurus)
  • Can be cooled by big fans from the side (low noise level)
  • Stackable
  • Shipped from USA
  • Warranty period: None
  • Relatively high miner software CPU load due to interface design issues, will be fixed in future revisions

ZTEX:
  • Spartan 6 Speed grade 3 FPGA
  • Standard 3pin molex fan headers
  • Low lead times
  • Heatsink mounting holes
  • Stackable
  • Warranty period: 2 years
  • Shipped from Germany
  • Only a single FPGA, thus relatively high price, especially at low quantities
  • Relatively high miner software CPU load due to interface design issues
  • No temperature sensors



hmmmmmmmmmmm... I got about 5 grand I am looking to invest in FPGA.  I think this just sold me.  BFL it is.  I will wait the 2 months.  And I disagree that a BFL is 900 dollars since you could make 300 bucks while you wait.  That is just stupid math lmfao

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April 06, 2012, 01:11:27 AM
 #87

Hum, why no warranty period is mentioned? Added below.



hmmmmmmmmmmm... I got about 5 grand I am looking to invest in FPGA.  I think this just sold me.  BFL it is.  I will wait the 2 months.  And I disagree that a BFL is 900 dollars since you could make 300 bucks while you wait.  That is just stupid math lmfao

I got fed up of waiting for a BFL so cancelled my order for something else.  Also a BFL would take over eight months to pay for its sell at today's difficulty and exchange rate and the warranty is only six months plus none have been running out in the wild for seven months yet.  BFL may just being doing such a short warranty as they don't expect being able to replace the model for another of the same model or they may be worried of a short life for their boards due to the chips burning out?

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April 06, 2012, 04:54:50 AM
 #88

x6500 is king Cheesy

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May 02, 2012, 12:25:01 AM
 #89

It looked like the first post was a little out of date with regard to BFL Single. Here's a G+ "blog" post about it by me:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/108313527900507320366/posts/2ztAhLnXQKm
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May 02, 2012, 10:45:13 AM
 #90

The first post is about numbers of shipped units, not ordered ones. There are people that ordered a single back in february/march and still haven't received them. I do agree though, the first post needs some updating. Ztex recently launched a quad Spartan board and his figures (and x6500's) may need some adjusting. If anyone can give some updates on these figures it would help...
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May 03, 2012, 12:20:06 AM
 #91

hmmmmmmmmmmm... I got about 5 grand I am looking to invest in FPGA.  I think this just sold me.  BFL it is.  I will wait the 2 months.  And I disagree that a BFL is 900 dollars since you could make 300 bucks while you wait.  That is just stupid math lmfao

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=78239.0

Add this one to the list. With the introductory pricing it looks amazing and will probably sell quite a few units very fast. They don't seem to have the production issues BFL is plagued with.

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May 03, 2012, 12:48:55 AM
 #92

Did anybody ever calculate the estimated hashing power coming from (known) FPGAs sold compared to the total network hashing power?

It would be very interesting to see where we are right now. And of course, it will be a guess at best, nothing accurate. If not, I may just do that on a slow day (which is rare these days).
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May 03, 2012, 05:13:35 PM
 #93

Did anybody ever calculate the estimated hashing power coming from (known) FPGAs sold compared to the total network hashing power?

It would be very interesting to see where we are right now. And of course, it will be a guess at best, nothing accurate. If not, I may just do that on a slow day (which is rare these days).


We don't have exact numbers how many FPGAs are in the wild, but I'd estimate that around 5% of the network hashrate are coming from FPGAs these days.

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May 03, 2012, 09:17:22 PM
 #94

Aren't you guys worried about never paying off your wonderfully efficient FPGAs due to Largecoin/ ASICs?

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May 03, 2012, 09:38:16 PM
 #95

Aren't you guys worried about never paying off your wonderfully efficient FPGAs due to Largecoin/ ASICs?

Why would that happen? FPGAs are well within profitable operating range. Even at high electricity prices, the operating expense is just like 10% of the mining income. So unless the difficulty explodes by a factor of ten, this would just delay the payoff.

In order to double difficulty you'd have to invest like $15M into largecoin units. In order to make FPGAs unprofitable you'd have to invest like $150M, and your own payoff would take ages as well, even assuming you control 90% of BTC production (at the current exchange rates, and if those increase you'd have to invest even more to kick the FPGAs out) that would take like 15 years, not counting interest rates.

FPGAs are certainly a threat to GPUs these days, but ASICs aren't one to FPGAs because of the similarly high investment cost (which becomes the dominating factor instead of operating expense, as for the GPUs).

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May 03, 2012, 11:13:16 PM
 #96

Aren't you guys worried about never paying off your wonderfully efficient FPGAs due to Largecoin/ ASICs?

Why would that happen? FPGAs are well within profitable operating range. Even at high electricity prices, the operating expense is just like 10% of the mining income. So unless the difficulty explodes by a factor of ten, this would just delay the payoff.

In order to double difficulty you'd have to invest like $15M into largecoin units. In order to make FPGAs unprofitable you'd have to invest like $150M, and your own payoff would take ages as well, even assuming you control 90% of BTC production (at the current exchange rates, and if those increase you'd have to invest even more to kick the FPGAs out) that would take like 15 years, not counting interest rates.

FPGAs are certainly a threat to GPUs these days, but ASICs aren't one to FPGAs because of the similarly high investment cost (which becomes the dominating factor instead of operating expense, as for the GPUs).

Thank you, I'm now planning to buy some FPGAs. Just not sure which one. I don't want to wait forever and end up paying high duty fees here in Europe for those coming from USA. Aren't their european/chinese alternatives? Anyway, will read some more.

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May 03, 2012, 11:49:46 PM
 #97

Aren't you guys worried about never paying off your wonderfully efficient FPGAs due to Largecoin/ ASICs?

Why would that happen? FPGAs are well within profitable operating range. Even at high electricity prices, the operating expense is just like 10% of the mining income. So unless the difficulty explodes by a factor of ten, this would just delay the payoff.

In order to double difficulty you'd have to invest like $15M into largecoin units. In order to make FPGAs unprofitable you'd have to invest like $150M, and your own payoff would take ages as well, even assuming you control 90% of BTC production (at the current exchange rates, and if those increase you'd have to invest even more to kick the FPGAs out) that would take like 15 years, not counting interest rates.

FPGAs are certainly a threat to GPUs these days, but ASICs aren't one to FPGAs because of the similarly high investment cost (which becomes the dominating factor instead of operating expense, as for the GPUs).

Thank you, I'm now planning to buy some FPGAs. Just not sure which one. I don't want to wait forever and end up paying high duty fees here in Europe for those coming from USA. Aren't their european/chinese alternatives? Anyway, will read some more.

Yeah, ztex.  I think they are in Germany.

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