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Author Topic: What else can our FPGA mining boards be used for?  (Read 6371 times)
kokjo
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June 18, 2012, 11:38:10 AM
 #21

I'm actually repeating the OP but ...

Yeah I see this often around here and other places on the net ... "Password Cracker"
But seriously why? What use is there to this except hacking into other stuff you aren't supposed to be hacking into?
... and by use I mean something that you would do night and day and pay $600 for a device to do it.
i.e. like BTC mining where there is a financial return.
Password Cracking seems like a complete and total waste of time IMO
yes, but....? he asked what it was useful for. i just gave examples.

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interlagos
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June 18, 2012, 12:21:12 PM
 #22

What else can our FPGA mining boards be used for?

Mining Litecoins? Smiley
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June 18, 2012, 01:11:33 PM
 #23

Yeah I see this often around here and other places on the net ... "Password Cracker"
But seriously why? What use is there to this except hacking into other stuff you aren't supposed to be hacking into?
Please read mrb's blog. He has an example of using password cracker to liberate the cell phones that are carrier-locked or SIM-locked. So it has both freedom angle and financial angle.

http://blog.zorinaq.com/

Please comment, critique, criticize or ridicule BIP 2112: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54382.0
Long-term mining prognosis: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91101.0
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June 18, 2012, 02:16:48 PM
 #24

Yeah I see this often around here and other places on the net ... "Password Cracker"
But seriously why? What use is there to this except hacking into other stuff you aren't supposed to be hacking into?
Please read mrb's blog. He has an example of using password cracker to liberate the cell phones that are carrier-locked or SIM-locked. So it has both freedom angle and financial angle.

http://blog.zorinaq.com/

Hmm well when my daughter's iPhone was carrier locked I simply unlocked it visiting a web site ... took a few seconds.
So I guess we can find a 24/7 job for one FPGA device doing this for everyone on the planet.
What about the other thousands of FPGAs ...

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June 18, 2012, 02:18:21 PM
 #25

Hmm well when my daughter's iPhone was carrier locked I simply unlocked it visiting a web site ... took a few seconds.
So I guess we can find a 24/7 job for one FPGA device doing this for everyone on the planet.
What about the other thousands of FPGAs ...

Pen testing is big business, and cracking passwords in real time without having to spend a week on an expensive GPU cluster is attractive.

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June 18, 2012, 03:53:22 PM
 #26

From what I read and could collect by looking for information, you need to pay several hundred (thousand?) dollars to get the Xilinx tools and the bitcoin miner bitstreams seems to need 10s of gigabytes or RAM to build. I don't know about others but my hobbies usually start smaller than that...

Xilinx ISE has a free version available. And if you can afford a $400 FPGA board, you can surely spend $80 for 16GB RAM...
The free version (ISE Webpack tool if I'm not mistaken) doesn't seem to support the Spartan used in miner boards (at least not according to Wikipedia, and I'm not downloading a ~6GB tar.gz just to verify this), I don't have any computer available that would support 16GB RAM (one of my rig could, but it's kind of used for other things...). So the barrier to entry isn't that low : just to begin hacking I'd have to purchase a new computer and a development board with a supported FPGA instead of trying my hand on a Cairnsmore1 or ztex.

And the subject is about FPGA mining boards, not the FPGAs the free ISE supports : what good is the free ISE if it doesn't work for mining boards ?

It's kind of unrelated to the subject because its a matter of taste but I'm very reluctant to use a proprietary development platform too. I don't know of any free complete toolchain and I don't feel like beginning working on something like this with no free alternative.

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Dexter770221
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June 18, 2012, 03:57:09 PM
 #27

WebPack ISE do not support LX150 but you can download 30day tial that supports all parts. And according to Xillinx documents synthesis and PAR requires little above 3GB of RAM for LX150. Higher end Virtexes requires more.

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June 18, 2012, 04:03:46 PM
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i guess they can be sold solely for the FPGAs if some company (or individual) can reap 'em off the board and use them elsewhere Wink
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June 18, 2012, 04:35:40 PM
 #29

WebPack ISE do not support LX150 but you can download 30day tial that supports all parts. And according to Xillinx documents synthesis and PAR requires little above 3GB of RAM for LX150. Higher end Virtexes requires more.
4GB may not be enough, see :

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891.msg619585;topicseen#msg619585

I think I saw another post saying pretty much the same thing but can't find it again.

If your build takes 24hours, you'd certainly want to benefit from several processor cores and more memory to test several designs. I'm the kind of guy who prefers interpreted language because testing the code is faster... Waiting 24 hours is kind of frustrating, so I'd definitely want to test several designs in parallel if I can.

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Dexter770221
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June 18, 2012, 04:36:46 PM
 #30

i guess they can be sold solely for the FPGAs if some company (or individual) can reap 'em off the board and use them elsewhere Wink
You can do it yourself. With a liitle skills and cheap equipment (200$).

Under development Modular UPGRADEABLE Miner (MUM). Looking for investors.
Changing one PCB with screwdriver and you have brand new miner in hand... Plug&Play, scalable from one module to thousands.
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June 18, 2012, 04:39:11 PM
 #31

Hmm well when my daughter's iPhone was carrier locked I simply unlocked it visiting a web site ... took a few seconds.
I know kano is trolling here but it is worth further comment.

The grey market is has literally truckloads of cell phones and cellular modems that can be purchased for just slightly above scrap value. They are always not-so-recent generation and frequently have branding and logos that are obsolete.

This type of business requires factory-style work arrangements, not a customer accessible web site. The unlocking needs to be done before the end-user sale.

Please comment, critique, criticize or ridicule BIP 2112: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54382.0
Long-term mining prognosis: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91101.0
Dexter770221
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June 18, 2012, 04:42:19 PM
 #32

WebPack ISE do not support LX150 but you can download 30day tial that supports all parts. And according to Xillinx documents synthesis and PAR requires little above 3GB of RAM for LX150. Higher end Virtexes requires more.
4GB may not be enough, see :

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44891.msg619585;topicseen#msg619585

I think I saw another post saying pretty much the same thing but can't find it again.

If your build takes 24hours, you'd certainly want to benefit from several processor cores and more memory to test several designs. I'm the kind of guy who prefers interpreted language because testing the code is faster... Waiting 24 hours is kind of frustrating, so I'd definitely want to test several designs in parallel if I can.
And I see 3700MB peak for 64 bit sytem. So 4GB should be good. Propably in amateur designs you will never see that amount occupied. Besides it's always a virtual memory Wink Fast SSD reqiured though. ISE do not support pararelism so more cores don't help. But virtual machines and ISE on each one is of course possible...

Under development Modular UPGRADEABLE Miner (MUM). Looking for investors.
Changing one PCB with screwdriver and you have brand new miner in hand... Plug&Play, scalable from one module to thousands.
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June 18, 2012, 04:47:46 PM
 #33

Sorry but what does system memory have to do with FPGA reuse ?

I mean for $100 you can have 16GB RAM, or for $240 you can have 32GB RAM in an almost budget motherboard with budget CPU.
kokjo
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June 18, 2012, 04:50:31 PM
 #34

Sorry but what does system memory have to do with FPGA reuse ?

I mean for $100 you can have 16GB RAM, or for $240 you can have 32GB RAM in an almost budget motherboard with budget CPU.
if you want to use your fpga for other things, you must make your own code and compile it.
to compile fpga code, alot of memory is required. so, if you want to use your fpga for other things you must have alot of ram.

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June 18, 2012, 04:51:06 PM
 #35

And I see 3700MB peak for 64 bit sytem. So 4GB should be good.
4GB wont be good enough. You will get into a swapping storm with almost no CPU use and 100% disk wait. I made that mistake by installing ISE on a 4GB laptop that cannot be upgraded beyond that.

8GB laptop works just fine with total memory usage in the 5-6GB range and at least one core is 100% occupied most of the time.

Please comment, critique, criticize or ridicule BIP 2112: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54382.0
Long-term mining prognosis: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91101.0
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June 18, 2012, 04:56:13 PM
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And I see 3700MB peak for 64 bit sytem. So 4GB should be good.
4GB wont be good enough. You will get into a swapping storm with almost no CPU use and 100% disk wait. I made that mistake by installing ISE on a 4GB laptop that cannot be upgraded beyond that.

8GB laptop works just fine with total memory usage in the 5-6GB range and at least one core is 100% occupied most of the time.
If system at startup consumes 1GB then of course at some point it will cause HDD to heart attack Wink I have old laptop with 4GB and 32 bit XP (It sees only 3.75GB) And I never saw a "swapping storm" as you called.

Under development Modular UPGRADEABLE Miner (MUM). Looking for investors.
Changing one PCB with screwdriver and you have brand new miner in hand... Plug&Play, scalable from one module to thousands.
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June 18, 2012, 05:07:21 PM
 #37

Sorry but what does system memory have to do with FPGA reuse ?

I mean for $100 you can have 16GB RAM, or for $240 you can have 32GB RAM in an almost budget motherboard with budget CPU.
There are reuse scenarios that I did't address : you can install another bitstream prepared by someone with the tools and know-how or you can sell the board.

Here's the scenario. You paid $600 for a board, connected it to one of your system to mine. Bitcoin mining isn't profitable and you want to hack your own boards as a hobby (or for profit, who knows ?).

The question is how can you use your $600 board ?

Here are the question you have to ask yourself : do you want to invest in a ISE license to use ISE more than 30 days ?
Here are the ones you *may* have to ask yourself :
- do you need 16GB RAM or more to do what you want with the board and ISE... apparently serious hackers do, but will you, do you know anyone that did hack the boards with ISE running on a 4GB laptop and wasn't frustrated ?
- if positive, do you already have a system lying around that support such an amount (I don't if I don't count the mining rig in the basement which would probably be sold long before I ask myself this kind of question) ? Are you prepared to upgrade your existing desktop if you have one or build one if you use a thin laptop like me (thin laptops don't support 16+ GB RAM...) ?

In the end, using your board for playing around could be quite costly and given that they don't have any RAM, you won't even be able to tinker with any algorithm needing any meaningful amount of local memory to work.

All these unknowns, costs and limitations make me believe that it would probably be frustrating to try hacking these boards as a hobbyist (not that I wouldn't like to try myself, I'd love to see a free toolchain that doesn't need humongous amount of RAM).

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June 18, 2012, 05:09:15 PM
 #38

I have old laptop with 4GB and 32 bit XP (It sees only 3.75GB) And I never saw a "swapping storm" as you called.
What's the point of your post? Install the ISE and implement one of the open source LX150 designs.

For the people who actually like to read with understanding I have one more recommendation: have a dedicated ISE machine. The full implementation runs for LX150 take in the order of one to two days. It is worthwhile to not use your normal workstation for such lenghty jobs in case you'll discover you need to run some maintenance tasks that may require reboot or other systemwide changes.

Please comment, critique, criticize or ridicule BIP 2112: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54382.0
Long-term mining prognosis: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91101.0
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June 18, 2012, 05:35:27 PM
 #39

- if positive, do you already have a system lying around that support such an amount (I don't if I don't count the mining rig in the basement which would probably be sold long before I ask myself this kind of question) ? Are you prepared to upgrade your existing desktop if you have one or build one if you use a thin laptop like me (thin laptops don't support 16+ GB RAM...) ?
Well, at least that's no problem... I have multiple systems with i5 or i7 CPUs and 4-8 GB RAM (can be upgraded to 32 GB and no, those are not my mining rigs). Also loads of SSDs.

The way I see it now, at least for computations/number crunching, the missing RAM could be critical? And there is probably no way working around missing RAM, is it?

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June 18, 2012, 05:49:36 PM
 #40

I have old laptop with 4GB and 32 bit XP (It sees only 3.75GB) And I never saw a "swapping storm" as you called.
What's the point of your post? Install the ISE and implement one of the open source LX150 designs.

For the people who actually like to read with understanding I have one more recommendation: have a dedicated ISE machine. The full implementation runs for LX150 take in the order of one to two days. It is worthwhile to not use your normal workstation for such lenghty jobs in case you'll discover you need to run some maintenance tasks that may require reboot or other systemwide changes.
My next planned build is going to have 64GB of RAM to start with, to be upgraded in the future, and will have a virtualization platform of some kind so that I can avoid having multiple machines. The plan is to run the high-cpu and high-memory stuff in a VM with 40GB of RAM and several processor cores, and use the remainder for my daily desktop needs.

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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