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Author Topic: Bitforce Single, ASIC & other questions...  (Read 1215 times)
Paladin69
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April 30, 2012, 04:37:31 AM
 #1

Hi,

I'd prefer to post this on the mining board but I guess n00bs are stuck here.  Anyway, I've been researching bitcoins and mining for the last couple of weeks or so now and I am intrigued but also still have many questions.  After looking things over, it seems the Bitforce Singles seem to be the best place to get a persons feet wet because their power consumption is so low.  You could hook quite a few of these up to a single 1200w PSU computer @ 80w per usb device.  I just wish the damn things weren't $600 a piece.  That is the only thing holding me back...let me explain that later...

The one thing I am really curious about is what the future can hold for these little devices.  On the Butterfly Labs website it says the Bitforce Single contains both FPGA & ASIC technology.  Does that mean these things are upgradable via firmware in the future to attain speeds much faster than the current 800~ Mhash/s?  Is Rev3 what is needed for upgradable firmware?  Hopefully that is what they are only shipping with now?

What exactly is ASIC going to do in terms of performance?  There is very little information out about this.  Some say it'll do to the GPU what the GPU did to the CPU in terms of raw number crunching?

Also I'm still confused if these things are profitable?  Right now four of these singles is about $2400.  That is about 3.3 Ghash/s which will produce 2 BTC per day.  That is about $300 per month at the current going rate that seems to be stuck @ $5 per BTC.  That means these singles will take about 8 months to pay themselves off not including additional electricity costs.  Then of course in Dec 2012 when the amount of BTC's per block halves from 50 to 25, then a person will only be able to produce 1 BTC per day with four of these expensive monsters running 24/7?

I guess we can always hope that the going rate for a BTC gets back up near $20 again and beyond...  Weighing all these numbers, I sort of feel like I missed the boat since it sounds like 80% of the "easy" bitcoins have already been mined.  Then on top of that my Bitforce Singles, if I were to order right now, won't arrive for another 2 months according to the 'wait list'.

The one saving grace I feel is if these BitForce Singles will get a dramatic boost in speed with an ASIC firmware update?  But then again I may not know what I'm talking about there...

Yeah I'm loaded with questions and apathy about mining right now.  I was initially kind of excited until I started crunching the numbers.  Maybe someone can turn my frown upside-down and point out where I am horribly wrong?  I suppose people have a lot of faith in BTC going for much higher than $5 per coin.  Since governments love to ring up trillions of dollars of debt every year, I wouldn't exactly argue with anyone that it is a high probability they can and will go up in price as the USD devalues.

Thanks for reading my long diatribe.  Any answers are greatly appreciated.
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mem
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April 30, 2012, 05:36:13 AM
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Take everything written on the BFL website (especially shipping dates) with a grain of salt.
If you were to order now, your delivery time would be ~3+ months (perhaps less if you are lucky).

With that in mind, for price per mH the BFL is the current winner.
You wont find cheaper product atm thats being manufactured and shipped.

Yes 8 months ROI is about standard (better than nearly any other investment opportunity out there currently), if you want a cheaper (but more power hungry) option do what Im doing and buy up 2nd hand 5970's.
They have a ROI of about 3 months and achieve similar mH speeds.

Impossible to predict what will happen when the reward halves, my guess is btc prices will go up but not double. Difficulty may drop a bit as smaller miners hop out of the market.

ASIC's are expensive to design, cheap to mass produce (FPGA's are the reverse).
Once an efficient ASIC design is completed expect all FPGA's to be put out of the market due to a lower priced ASIC.
This is a gross generalization but accurate enough I feel (hardware nerds feel free to flame my ignorance).

I wouldnt expect a dramatic speedboost a firmware update - but who knows.

Everyone feels like they missed the boat, I was moaning that a month ago then realized its basically the same to jump on board now as it was 1 year ago.

My advice, either order an FPGA with a realistic shipping time (if you can get one, they go like hotcakes) or scoop up some 2nd hand GPU's.

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April 30, 2012, 09:45:01 AM
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do what Im doing and buy up 2nd hand 5970's.
They have a ROI of about 3 months

That could be misleading.  Even if the cost of electricity is not being figured into the equation and you find a steal and pay only $350 for a good, working 5970, you are still close to 5 months.

If ROI is the term being used, then ROI is negative until the accumulated operating profits equal the amount invested.

So to calculate ROI you need to calculate operating profits.  The known variables of price per kWh, cost of the hardware and the hashing strength of the hardware are known.  What is unknown is future exchange rates and future difficulty levels.

At today's difficulty level a 5970 earns about half a bitcoin a day, and electricity at the U.S. average of $0.15 per kWh means it costs a little over a dollar a day in electricity, a little more when adding in the draw for the mobo/psu/display.   So that's about a year to reach breakeven, just on the cost of a GPU itself (0% ROI).  That is, assuming, the exchange rate to difficulty ratio doesn't doesn't move against you in the meantime.
 - http://beta.ivc.no/bitcoin/calc/#

Paladin69
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April 30, 2012, 06:27:52 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys.

Yeah I estimate one solo bitforce single to be exactly that; about 0.5 bitcoins per day.  What intrigues me about this particular FPGA though is what it says on BFL's website in their FAQ...

Quote
3. Is your system based on FPGA or ASIC technology?
The BitForce processor card is a proprietary implementation of both FPGA and ASIC technology.

But mem, you say I should take that with a grain of salt 'eh?  That's why I am very interested in these products.  Not only does it suck on much less electricity, but the mention of ASIC future proofs it to adapt to changing technology which is why I am steering towards these over GPU's.

Is this hoping for too much out of these little singles?  Am I getting conned?

Now on the flip-side, Radeon GPU's probably have a better resale value for the simple fact a graphics card can be used for other things.

I ordered four of them last night thru paypal.  Can always cancel if enough people talk me out of it.  I also have some paper silver I've never really trusted and I'm thinking about selling it for a mini-rig...well it is actually a private bullion custodian but it feels like paper to me if I don't have it.  (No way am I getting rid of my physical silver though)
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April 30, 2012, 09:51:01 PM
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My electric rate is .11 kwh,mining with 1-6950 & 2-6970's I get 1.6 gh/s.They consume about 1000 watts together.It costs about 65% of my earnings to pay for the extra electricity.

With the BFL single's I can run almost 11 of them for the same amount @ 8.8 gh/s,reducing overhead by 8x Grin

I'm buying these (BFL's) with earned BTC from my GPU's (no more cash out of pocket,since buying the GPU's) & will sell off my GPU's when I get 2 BFL's running & will buy more as the BTC are earned.

ROI is about 4-5 months in my case because of my current GPU's making up the difference.I used 2 million as the difficulty @ $4 per BTC for my calculations.

As for Ztex,X6500 & other FPGA's (singles) the ROI is around 12-15 months,even with my GPU's helping.

Yes BFL's shipping time is crap,but I'm patient & willing to wait for them,the shipping times seem to be coming down slowly.

Hope my scenario helps you decide Cool

Good Luck Paladin69 !!!!!!!!! Wink





"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day long, you are the asshole."  -Raylan Givens
Got GOXXED ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiqRpPiJAU&feature=youtu.be
"An ASIC being late is perfectly normal, predictable, and legal..."Hashfast & BFL slogan Smiley
Paladin69
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May 01, 2012, 02:00:04 AM
 #6

I guess I got the answer I was looking for here in post #2...

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=66314.0

Seems like BFL is intentionally trying to sound misleading.  The actual chips that do the mining work, the part that matters, is not ASIC compatible.  Only various components that connect to the board naturally are.  Kinda shady IMO.  BFL knows that ASIC is an exciting buzzword right now as it relates to bitcoins.  I wish they were more clear on that.
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May 01, 2012, 02:43:11 AM
 #7

do what Im doing and buy up 2nd hand 5970's.
They have a ROI of about 3 months

That could be misleading.  Even if the cost of electricity is not being figured into the equation and you find a steal and pay only $350 for a good, working 5970, you are still close to 5 months.

If ROI is the term being used, then ROI is negative until the accumulated operating profits equal the amount invested.

So to calculate ROI you need to calculate operating profits.  The known variables of price per kWh, cost of the hardware and the hashing strength of the hardware are known.  What is unknown is future exchange rates and future difficulty levels.

At today's difficulty level a 5970 earns about half a bitcoin a day, and electricity at the U.S. average of $0.15 per kWh means it costs a little over a dollar a day in electricity, a little more when adding in the draw for the mobo/psu/display.   So that's about a year to reach breakeven, just on the cost of a GPU itself (0% ROI).  That is, assuming, the exchange rate to difficulty ratio doesn't doesn't move against you in the meantime.
 - http://beta.ivc.no/bitcoin/calc/#


Yep all factored in, I should quote that YMMV Wink
It also assumes constant prices etc which is false, just a rule of thumb.
Your electricity in the states is nearly as bad as mine in AU (0.22c) - I managed to save on power by running the miners at a commercial area that gets discounted rates Cheesy .

Ive been super lucky so far, my 1st two I scored for under $300 ea (got my eyes on another for $230 right now).

I should also note I push my 5970's very hard.

I guess I got the answer I was looking for here in post #2...

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=66314.0

Seems like BFL is intentionally trying to sound misleading.  The actual chips that do the mining work, the part that matters, is not ASIC compatible.  Only various components that connect to the board naturally are.  Kinda shady IMO.  BFL knows that ASIC is an exciting buzzword right now as it relates to bitcoins.  I wish they were more clear on that.

That is BFL through and through.
They are FPGA's with some little atmel chips on there which at a guess provide hardware monitoring and possible the uART's used to communicate with the FPGA. Thats where their asic claim comes from and you are correct it is intended to be purposefully misleading just like their advertised shipping times.

My electric rate is .11 kwh,mining with 1-6950 & 2-6970's I get 1.6 gh/s.They consume about 1000 watts together.It costs about 65% of my earnings to pay for the extra electricity.

With the BFL single's I can run almost 11 of them for the same amount @ 8.8 gh/s,reducing overhead by 8x Grin

I'm buying these (BFL's) with earned BTC from my GPU's (no more cash out of pocket,since buying the GPU's) & will sell off my GPU's when I get 2 BFL's running & will buy more as the BTC are earned.

ROI is about 4-5 months in my case because of my current GPU's making up the difference.I used 2 million as the difficulty @ $4 per BTC for my calculations.

As for Ztex,X6500 & other FPGA's (singles) the ROI is around 12-15 months,even with my GPU's helping.

Yes BFL's shipping time is crap,but I'm patient & willing to wait for them,the shipping times seem to be coming down slowly.

Hope my scenario helps you decide Cool

Good Luck Paladin69 !!!!!!!!! Wink

Thats a good plan and basically what Im doing (but about 8 months behind you). If you can keep your initial investment amount low things get much easier.
BFL currently is definitely the clear winner for pricing atm. Given their ~3month shipping (3 months of them grinding bitcoins out on your single to help pay production costs) delay it still has a better ROI time that any other FPGA currently.

Keep on mining them bits guys Wink

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