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Author Topic: Recommendation for cheap/low-power PC for controlling FPGA/BFL units  (Read 2013 times)
enmaku
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May 08, 2012, 04:47:25 PM
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If I were to rebuild my mining operation using BFL units or FPGAs it seems to follow that the PC would only need to run the mining software, connect to the internet, support the drivers necessary for USB comms with the BFL/FPGA units and run whatever minimal OS is necessary to support the above. It seems like you could get away with a nettop or even a plug computer for the above, minimizing both PC cost and power cost - but there are some data points I don't have that might change that outcome.

Do the BFL/FPGA units require drivers that are only available for certain versions (or CPU architectures) of Windows/Linux that might limit my selection?

Do the BFL/FPGA units use so much USB bandwidth that throwing a hub or two on the one or two physical USB ports these computers have would be inadequate? Would I need to get a larger PC with more ports/channels?

Are there any BFL/FPGA units that use non-standard mining software that might require a specific platform, thus limiting my selection?

Have I overlooked any other important bits?

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rjk
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May 08, 2012, 05:31:03 PM
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If I were to rebuild my mining operation using BFL units or FPGAs it seems to follow that the PC would only need to run the mining software, connect to the internet, support the drivers necessary for USB comms with the BFL/FPGA units and run whatever minimal OS is necessary to support the above. It seems like you could get away with a nettop or even a plug computer for the above, minimizing both PC cost and power cost - but there are some data points I don't have that might change that outcome.

Do the BFL/FPGA units require drivers that are only available for certain versions (or CPU architectures) of Windows/Linux that might limit my selection?

Do the BFL/FPGA units use so much USB bandwidth that throwing a hub or two on the one or two physical USB ports these computers have would be inadequate? Would I need to get a larger PC with more ports/channels?

Are there any BFL/FPGA units that use non-standard mining software that might require a specific platform, thus limiting my selection?

Have I overlooked any other important bits?
Up to 70 FPGA devices have been tested on a little TP-link router, if that helps you to figure out how much resource you will need for your host.
Basically, there is little to no USB bandwidth needed, very little network bandwidth needed, and the drivers are almost universally compatible.

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
enmaku
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May 08, 2012, 06:16:50 PM
 #3

Up to 70 FPGA devices have been tested on a little TP-link router, if that helps you to figure out how much resource you will need for your host.
Basically, there is little to no USB bandwidth needed, very little network bandwidth needed, and the drivers are almost universally compatible.

Do you happen to have a link to any resources about mining from a TP-link router? I've got one I was intending to use as a piratebox but could easily repurpose for miner control, assuming I don't have to write the software myself...

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May 08, 2012, 06:18:47 PM
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Up to 70 FPGA devices have been tested on a little TP-link router, if that helps you to figure out how much resource you will need for your host.
Basically, there is little to no USB bandwidth needed, very little network bandwidth needed, and the drivers are almost universally compatible.

Do you happen to have a link to any resources about mining from a TP-link router? I've got one I was intending to use as a piratebox but could easily repurpose for miner control, assuming I don't have to write the software myself...
Here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=51371.msg815296#msg815296
Unfortunately the picture that is linked in the post no longer exists, but there was a pic of the setup. In that instance, he is running 31 Icarus boards (62 FPGAs), and it should be able to handle more.

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
enmaku
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May 10, 2012, 10:54:11 PM
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This actually looks like it'll work nicely, assuming the BFLs use the same sort of interface as the Icarus boards from the post. It'll take some experimentation but it sounds like exactly my sort of weekend project  Grin

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