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Author Topic: FPGA mining for fun and profit  (Read 63953 times)
marcus_of_augustus
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May 20, 2011, 03:03:06 AM
 #141

FPGAs are only cost effective if you already have them for other purposes.

That was my original contention .... now I wonder where there are scrap-yards full of discarded FPGAs??

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caston
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May 20, 2011, 03:06:50 AM
 #142

Why is everyone getting upset over FPGAs? They're not a threat at all, and when they do become a "threat", they will be freely marketed to miners.

The best price (academic) I can get on an Altera 115K is $330. It is theorized they can do about 100mhash/s (currently only 80mhash). That comes out to $3.30 per mhash, compared to the $0.50 per mhash of a 5870. Thus it would take over six times as long to breakeven on the hardware, which increases variability (risk) by a ton. Not only that, but FPGAs have little resale value. I can easily turn around and sell my 5870/5970 for what I purchased it for.


Where are these FPGA's with "little resale value" being resold?

Looks like Moa beat me to the punch... maybe they end up at auction houses in silicon valley or there are government regulations mandating their disposal...

I could imagine going to my local auction and they suddenly have a pallet of them and no one bids on them because they have no idea what the hell they are.

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marcus_of_augustus
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May 20, 2011, 03:34:38 AM
 #143

Why is everyone getting upset over FPGAs? They're not a threat at all, and when they do become a "threat", they will be freely marketed to miners.

The best price (academic) I can get on an Altera 115K is $330. It is theorized they can do about 100mhash/s (currently only 80mhash). That comes out to $3.30 per mhash, compared to the $0.50 per mhash of a 5870. Thus it would take over six times as long to breakeven on the hardware, which increases variability (risk) by a ton. Not only that, but FPGAs have little resale value. I can easily turn around and sell my 5870/5970 for what I purchased it for.


Where are these FPGA's with "little resale value" being resold?

Looks like Moa beat me to the punch... maybe they end up at auction houses in silicon valley or there are government regulations mandating their disposal...

I could imagine going to my local auction and they suddenly have a pallet of them and no one bids on them because they have no idea what the hell they are.

Yep, could easily happen.

Wall St. and City of London have been knee-deep in them for at least the last 5 years. They use them for real-time, super-fast, algorithm trading. Sure to be some scrap coming outta there since they are always upgrading to latest to keep up with the competition ... hey why does that sound familiar?

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May 20, 2011, 05:32:10 AM
 #144

Well they have stock exchanges all over the world...  Melbourne, Singapore and so on. I know a guy that got a free computer once from a stock broking firm that was always upgrading so its possible there's a nice guy out there that would love to us have his old FPGAs

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marcus_of_augustus
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May 20, 2011, 07:21:05 AM
 #145

Well they have stock exchanges all over the world...  Melbourne, Singapore and so on. I know a guy that got a free computer once from a stock broking firm that was always upgrading so its possible there's a nice guy out there that would love to us have his old FPGAs

Hmmmm ... that's got me thinking I'm gonna make some enquiries ... I knew a guy who was supplying them into the City a few years (5?) back.

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May 20, 2011, 07:29:57 AM
 #146

With more than 50% of the hashing power, you can hide a double spend for a few minutes, and only from funds that you have legitimately.  You can not counterfeit anything.
With more than 50% you can just define every transaction that is not in one of your blocks is invalid, by not validating the blocks found by others. There's no need to double spend or counterfeit.
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May 20, 2011, 07:48:17 AM
 #147

Are you sure they are on?  I can't see a noticeable bump in total network power.  The increase is steady within normal variance.  Perhaps a lot of GPU miners shut down their systems at the exact same time?
If so they have become really good at turning them on and off at the same time:
http://bitcoin.sipa.be/speed-lin-2k.png
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May 20, 2011, 09:18:56 AM
 #148

Are you sure they are on?  I can't see a noticeable bump in total network power.  The increase is steady within normal variance.  Perhaps a lot of GPU miners shut down their systems at the exact same time?
If so they have become really good at turning them on and off at the same time:
http://bitcoin.sipa.be/speed-lin-2k.png
NOW there's been a spike.  Big time.

Hrm.

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May 20, 2011, 09:19:41 AM
 #149

Quote
Hmmmm ... that's got me thinking I'm gonna make some enquiries ... I knew a guy who was supplying them into the City a few years (5?) back.

Where can I find some FPGAs in the City Huh Do you mean London uk financial district eg the city ??

Located here and would be quite interested etc. thanks !
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May 20, 2011, 09:30:27 AM
 #150

Are you sure they are on?  I can't see a noticeable bump in total network power.  The increase is steady within normal variance.  Perhaps a lot of GPU miners shut down their systems at the exact same time?
If so they have become really good at turning them on and off at the same time:
http://bitcoin.sipa.be/speed-lin-2k.png
NOW there's been a spike.  Big time.
Note that the spike goes in the wrong direction when the FPGA clusters "just went online", and also compare with this historical chart which shows the variance on a longer time scale.

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May 20, 2011, 09:41:34 AM
 #151

Are you sure they are on?  I can't see a noticeable bump in total network power.  The increase is steady within normal variance.  Perhaps a lot of GPU miners shut down their systems at the exact same time?
If so they have become really good at turning them on and off at the same time:
http://bitcoin.sipa.be/speed-lin-2k.png
NOW there's been a spike.  Big time.
Note that the spike goes in the wrong direction when the FPGA clusters "just went online", and also compare with this historical chart which shows the variance on a longer time scale.
Yup, I'm aware of both of these things.  Just pointing out that the hashrate has gone from "below the difficulty" to "double the difficulty" in the past several hours.  This may or may not be significant, but it's at least eyebrow-raising.

EDIT:  It looks like it's peaked and dropped down closer to the trendline now, though.

Vires In Numeris.
marcus_of_augustus
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May 20, 2011, 09:49:39 AM
 #152


It has seemed pretty lumpy the last couple of days ... are there any tools to see if this is outside "normal" variance ?

Mike Hearn
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May 20, 2011, 01:51:55 PM
 #153

Miners can trivially prove their capacity by signing a challenge nonce with the private keys of the coinbase transactions in their found blocks.
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May 20, 2011, 07:41:28 PM
 #154

With more than 50% of the hashing power, you can hide a double spend for a few minutes, and only from funds that you have legitimately.  You can not counterfeit anything.
With more than 50% you can just define every transaction that is not in one of your blocks is invalid, by not validating the blocks found by others. There's no need to double spend or counterfeit.

Sorry, you are just completely wrong about this.  Validity of a transaction is not determined by being in a block or not.  A transaction that isn't in a block merely hasn't been accepted (yet).

Say you had 51% of the total mining capacity.

What are the odds of getting the next block, and being able to prevent transactions that you don't approve of for ~10 minutes?  51%
And the odds of getting the block after that and continuing the blockade out to ~20 minutes?  26%
Add if you need ~30 minutes?  13%
40 minutes?  7%
50 minutes?  3%
An hour?  2%
Two hours?  0.031%

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May 20, 2011, 08:44:29 PM
 #155

AMD 7000 series round the corner in the next few months, i'm starting think the GPU's are just gonna progress far quicker and faster than than the FPGA can keep up with for cost ratio, i mean the next gen cards are likely to be close to a 1 ghash each, save your money and wait for the 7 series.

Put your soldering irons away your just going to burn yourselves.  Cheesy
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May 20, 2011, 09:23:02 PM
 #156

What are the odds of getting the next block, and being able to prevent transactions that you don't approve of for ~10 minutes?  51%
You don't get it. If you have more than 50% of the mining power you can just continue searching for a valid block even after somebody else has found one before you. This way you can make sure that you control every block. This is listed in the weaknesses on the Wiki. Yes, you can technically still add transactions, but there's not much point if they'll never get confirmed.
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May 20, 2011, 10:13:44 PM
 #157

What are the odds of getting the next block, and being able to prevent transactions that you don't approve of for ~10 minutes?  51%
You don't get it. If you have more than 50% of the mining power you can just continue searching for a valid block even after somebody else has found one before you. This way you can make sure that you control every block. This is listed in the weaknesses on the Wiki. Yes, you can technically still add transactions, but there's not much point if they'll never get confirmed.

No, he gets it, and you are still a little behind on the curve.  Having control of 51% of the hashing power of the whole network makes it possible to successfully attack the blockchain for a short period of time.  That period of time being one 10 minute interval.  The whitepaper doesn't go into detail about the odds of success of such an attack, other than to show how it's not really possible at all at less than 50%.  Having just over 50% of the network hashing power doesn't really give you very good odds of success past one block, and an attacker intending to deny transactions into the blockchain for longer than one block has to be able to be certain that no blocks can sneak in under him, for if one gets in and the next is built on top of that before he build one to overwrite that one and one on top to secure his false one then it become exponentially more difficult for him to overwrite two blocks back.  In practice, an attacker wishing to keep this up for an extended period of time needs at least double the hashing power of the network because it's like the attacker is trying to wade up river while the honest nodes are wading down river.  And even with double the rest of the network, some blocks are going to slip in and be covered up again anyway.  At which point the attacker has to choose between trying to overwrite two blocks and then write another before a third is made by the network or simply ignore the one that got away and overwrite the last one to take the network back.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

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May 20, 2011, 10:26:02 PM
 #158

What are the odds of getting the next block, and being able to prevent transactions that you don't approve of for ~10 minutes?  51%
You don't get it. If you have more than 50% of the mining power you can just continue searching for a valid block even after somebody else has found one before you. This way you can make sure that you control every block. This is listed in the weaknesses on the Wiki. Yes, you can technically still add transactions, but there's not much point if they'll never get confirmed.

Read it again.  It doesn't say anything even remotely resembling what you are claiming it says.

Generating a valid block after the rest of the network has already moved on to the next one is very nearly pointless.  Do you understand what circumstances must be present for someone to replace the existing chain with a side branch of their own?  How many times do you think they could get away with what the network operators would consider to be a very major event before someone notices?

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May 20, 2011, 11:41:15 PM
 #159

Did anyone see this yet?

https://github.com/progranism/Open-Source-FPGA-Bitcoin-Miner


found it through http://www.bitcoinminer.com/post/5672391181/open-source-fpga-bitcoin-miner-announced

Thoughts? 50MHash/s or 80MH with proper cooling with an DE2-115 Development Kit (this is not a DE2. It has a Cyclone IV EP4CE115.)

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May 20, 2011, 11:44:29 PM
 #160

Did anyone see this yet?

https://github.com/progranism/Open-Source-FPGA-Bitcoin-Miner


found it through http://www.bitcoinminer.com/post/5672391181/open-source-fpga-bitcoin-miner-announced

Thoughts? 50MHash/s or 80MH with proper cooling with an DE2-115 Development Kit (this is not a DE2. It has a Cyclone IV EP4CE115.)
80MH/s for a $600 piece of equipment?  No thanks.
http://www.terasic.com.tw/cgi-bin/page/archive.pl?Language=English&CategoryNo=139&No=502&PartNo=7

Good find nonetheless.
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