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Author Topic: Mini Rig card = 2 x Altera Arria II EP2AGX260  (Read 38418 times)
mrb
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June 01, 2012, 11:13:37 AM
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Compare this Altera Arria II EP2AGX260 FPGA against the 2 chips on BFL's Mini Rig card shown in https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=75764.msg906496#msg906496 :




The marking near the bottom edge of the package (blurred in the reference pic) is obviously Altera's Lot Number and Trace Code. The chip's package is identical. Same 4 asymmetric golden dots in the corners. Same PCB traces under the green soldermask on the 4 borders. Same arrow in top left corner. This is an Arria II for sure.

Which one though? Well we know the Single is based on the Stratix III EP3SL150 (142k LEs at 65nm) and mines at 832 Mh/s. BFL claims a Mini Rig card mines at 1.5 Gh/s, so its FPGAs must have 1.8x more LEs, or about 260k... And there is one model matching exactly this prediction: the Arria II EP2AGX260 (257k LEs at 40nm), see http://www.altera.com/devices/fpga/arria-fpgas/arria-ii-gx/overview/aiigx-overview.html

Arria II being 40nm also makes it close to the 45nm Spartan 6 in terms of efficiency (about 20 Mh/Joule), which is exactly what BFL claims (25 Gh/s at 1250 W for the whole rig).
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Lethos
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June 01, 2012, 11:41:40 AM
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I'd agree with you.
However I'm not totally convinced, as the chip size is a little bit different, the main processor is actually smaller on the altera FPGA board.
I'm not refuting that the techy data probably backs it up of course.

Edit: you changed the picture from your original post. It does look more similar now...

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June 01, 2012, 11:56:24 AM
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Edit: you changed the picture from your original post. It does look more similar now...

Yup. The one I had linked to was a much smaller Arria II with only 45k LE.
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June 01, 2012, 12:03:14 PM
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Edit: you changed the picture from your original post. It does look more similar now...

Yup. The one I had linked to was a much smaller Arria II with only 45k LE.

Then you probably have found out their source of chips.
I admit I don't have the same fascination of figuring these stuff out but good detective work.

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June 01, 2012, 12:08:51 PM
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Okay, maybe I see why, most places that sell these chips or the boards they come on have a price tag of $2k+ for these.
They must be getting a really nice deal of them.  Shocked

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June 01, 2012, 12:17:37 PM
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Interesting work.
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June 01, 2012, 12:28:12 PM
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Okay, maybe I see why, most places that sell these chips or the boards they come on have a price tag of $2k+ for these.
They must be getting a really nice deal of them.  Shocked

Well, $2k+ is maybe a little bit too high. On the Altera website you get the chips starting from $1.6k, without volume.
My experience is that you get a (much) better price for Altera FPGA's with a quote from the official distributes. However I doubt that BFL is directly ordering this chips over this distributors. Also this chips are or getting legacy with the Arria V series. So BFL is using for the second time special connections to get "old" generation FPGA's to a VERY good price to make mining products.

The announced BFL ASIC approach is fairly different to what we have seen from BFL up to know...
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June 01, 2012, 12:41:46 PM
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The announced BFL ASIC approach is fairly different to what we have seen from BFL up to know...

So if you look at BFL's timeline for delivering mini rigs, it would suggest that these chips are indeed being manufactured. And if this is the case, and they are not buying second hand chips, then the ASIC would not be a far stretch from their process for delivering products now.

Just a thought.
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June 01, 2012, 12:48:07 PM
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So if you look at BFL's timeline for delivering mini rigs, it would suggest that these chips are indeed being manufactured. And if this is the case, and they are not buying second hand chips, then the ASIC would not be a far stretch from their process for delivering products now.

Why would the timeline suggest the actual chips are being manufactured to order?  We know the Singles used off the shelf chips and had similar long timeline.
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June 01, 2012, 01:07:35 PM
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We know the Singles used off the shelf chips and had similar long timeline.

You do? Can you show me where BFL stated that they didn't have the single chips manufactured?
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June 01, 2012, 01:17:55 PM
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We know the Singles used off the shelf chips and had similar long timeline.

You do? Can you show me where BFL stated that they didn't have the single chips manufactured?

Where BFL stated? No.  If a direct admission of BFL is the minimum level of "proof" well your right.  All of them are custom manufactured chips.  Obviously.
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June 01, 2012, 01:32:36 PM
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I'm fairly sure based on compiling the comments made over a long span of time from BFL, that one or both of these chips are (probably unchanged stock versions) standard FPGAs that were spun up for another wafer run. I have no reason to believe that they scored an amazing deal from a distributor that had them in stock.

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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June 01, 2012, 04:17:56 PM
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Okay, maybe I see why, most places that sell these chips or the boards they come on have a price tag of $2k+ for these.
They must be getting a really nice deal of them.  Shocked

Yes, I'm sure they do.

Ah yes, and subscribing  Tongue

YABMTTF (yet another BFL message thread to follow)

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June 01, 2012, 04:26:58 PM
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Well if they have access to wafer chip manufacturing, then why would they manufacture FPGA when they can do ASIC ?
I think more likely they got a good deal on these chips somewhere.

I remember guy with Extraordinaire rig, had a part that was advertised for $2k officially, yet a phonecall got it for $600.
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June 01, 2012, 04:27:58 PM
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Doesnt Altera offer Hardcopy? BFL could very well be selling ASICs.... just SASICs instead of the kind we wanted.

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June 01, 2012, 04:32:33 PM
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Doesnt Altera offer Hardcopy? BFL could very well be selling ASICs.... just SASICs instead of the kind we wanted.

Yes, Altera has the Hardcopy program.
But BFL has stated to announce full custom ASIC's.
An Altera Hardcopy solution is not the thing which is named a full custom ASIC.
 
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June 01, 2012, 04:35:49 PM
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Doesnt Altera offer Hardcopy? BFL could very well be selling ASICs.... just SASICs instead of the kind we wanted.

Yes, Altera has the Hardcopy program.
But BFL has stated to announce full custom ASIC's.
An Altera Hardcopy solution is not the thing which is named a full custom ASIC.
 

They also announced 1gh in 40 watts.

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June 01, 2012, 04:38:31 PM
 #18

Well if they have access to wafer chip manufacturing, then why would they manufacture FPGA when they can do ASIC ?
I think more likely they got a good deal on these chips somewhere.

I remember guy with Extraordinaire rig, had a part that was advertised for $2k officially, yet a phonecall got it for $600.
LOL no not quite. I meant ringing up Altera and saying "Yo, we want 10K chips, start the foundry pls"

And my board was bought on eBay, that's how I got it cheap. Wink

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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June 01, 2012, 04:41:37 PM
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Doesnt Altera offer Hardcopy? BFL could very well be selling ASICs.... just SASICs instead of the kind we wanted.
[/b
Yes, Altera has the Hardcopy program.
But BFL has stated to announce full custom ASIC's.
An Altera Hardcopy solution is not the thing which is named a full custom ASIC.
 

They also announced 1gh in 40 watts.

I'm not sure, but wasn't it 1.05GH @ 20W.
However, I understand what you want to say and I also have my doubts.
Let's see with what they really will come up. The technical data (e.g. MH/W) will show us what technology they are using....
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June 01, 2012, 04:42:03 PM
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Well if they have access to wafer chip manufacturing, then why would they manufacture FPGA when they can do ASIC ?
I think more likely they got a good deal on these chips somewhere.

I remember guy with Extraordinaire rig, had a part that was advertised for $2k officially, yet a phonecall got it for $600.
LOL no not quite. I meant ringing up Altera and saying "Yo, we want 10K chips, start the foundry pls"

And my board was bought on eBay, that's how I got it cheap. Wink

eBay, the only place you can get $600 parts for $25 just because its an enterprise part and some IT department in some company somewhere is in a protracted war against their accounting department.

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