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Author Topic: Will ASIC mining destroy Bitcoin?  (Read 41648 times)
Luke-Jr
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July 07, 2012, 09:47:16 PM
 #41

My GPU's would still be (barely) profitable with 12.5 BTC as a reward if difficulty stays lower than 3,000,000, yes 3 million.
If yours aren't you are doing something wrong. ASIC will ruin GPU's. 25BTC a block shouldn't unless you are doing it wrong Mr. FUD Jr.
I don't get free electric either.
Even if ASICs are the main cause of GPUs being unprofitable, it doesn't justify making up FUD about ASICs harming Bitcoin.

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July 07, 2012, 11:16:48 PM
 #42

The one concern I have is that it makes it effectively impossible to fork the network for any protocol change that would alter mining, because >95% of hashing power will be these ASICs, and so it would be impossible to get a majority of the hashing power to switch.

This may be totally unfounded on my part, as I don't know how likely such a requirement is, but regardless I'll be getting out of BTC once these start shipping until the dust settles and price+difficulty stabilise Wink
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July 08, 2012, 12:39:42 AM
 #43

The one concern I have is that it makes it effectively impossible to fork the network for any protocol change that would alter mining, because >95% of hashing power will be these ASICs, and so it would be impossible to get a majority of the hashing power to switch.

This may be totally unfounded on my part, as I don't know how likely such a requirement is, but regardless I'll be getting out of BTC once these start shipping until the dust settles and price+difficulty stabilise Wink
The ASICs don't do the actual transaction validation part, just the proof-of-work, which is unlikely to change ever (the only reason that's ever been put forward for it was an attack from a single big ASIC miner - but having ASICs available to the general community mostly prevents that). Even quantum computing doesn't break SHA256.

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July 08, 2012, 01:42:18 AM
 #44

Moores law man (kinda). At some point ASIC will become the "new" GPU and it will have to be upgraded or completely changed at some point. Will it destroy bitcoin? That was just a title to entice readers. It will only strengthen competition for miners which can only be good right?
And what can be wrong with strengthening the power of the miners? It will only make it more difficult for a 51% attack.
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July 08, 2012, 01:47:35 AM
 #45

Moores law man (kinda). At some point ASIC will become the "new" GPU and it will have to be upgraded or completely changed at some point. Will it destroy bitcoin? That was just a title to entice readers. It will only strengthen competition for miners which can only be good right?
And what can be wrong with strengthening the power of the miners? It will only make it more difficult for a 51% attack.
Correct, and I don't know why other users find it so hard to figure this out.

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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July 08, 2012, 10:27:31 AM
 #46

Moores law man (kinda). At some point ASIC will become the "new" GPU and it will have to be upgraded or completely changed at some point. Will it destroy bitcoin? That was just a title to entice readers. It will only strengthen competition for miners which can only be good right?
And what can be wrong with strengthening the power of the miners? It will only make it more difficult for a 51% attack.
you don't use ASICs for gaming

how will it strengthen competition for miners?  strengthen competition amongst the 2% that are left?

who cares about a 51% attack when nobody cares about bitcoins anymore?

surely i'm not the only one that solely became interested because I could use my existing equipment to procure my 'own' bitcoins

i wouldn't have thought twice about it had it required some POS that was useless otherwise.

ed: (and why in the hell would more people have ASICs than GPUs, making a "51% attack" less likely?  since when does total hash power figure in here, rather than # of players?)

Dacentec, best deals for US dedicated servers. They regularly restock $20-$25 Opterons with 8-16GB RAM & 2x1-2TB HDD's (ofc, usually lots of other good stuff to choose from).  I did a Serverbear benchmark of one of my $20/mo Opteron (June last year), it's here.  Have had about a half dozen different servers with Dacentec, & none have failed to sustain at least 40MB/s (burst higher). My favorite is a 12-month rent-to-own ZT Systems 2XL5520 16GB 2x2TB SATA for $40/month (got lucky with the 'off-brand', haven't seen a RTO 2xL5520 for under $50/mo since -- at least for monthly contracts).  wholesaleinternet.com has some ancient 2-core intel CPUs @ $10/mo sometimes (I got an Intel Core 2 6300 @ 1.86GHz, with a 250GB HDD with 46000 hours on it, LOL. $20 @ Dacentec is much better, if you can grab one). joesdatacenter.com (same location as Wholesale Internet) also occasionally has specials (or if you don't want to wait, it has an AMD Opteron 170 @ $16/mo).
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July 08, 2012, 02:21:27 PM
 #47

Moores law man (kinda). At some point ASIC will become the "new" GPU and it will have to be upgraded or completely changed at some point. Will it destroy bitcoin? That was just a title to entice readers. It will only strengthen competition for miners which can only be good right?
And what can be wrong with strengthening the power of the miners? It will only make it more difficult for a 51% attack.
you don't use ASICs for gaming

how will it strengthen competition for miners?  strengthen competition amongst the 2% that are left?

who cares about a 51% attack when nobody cares about bitcoins anymore?

surely i'm not the only one that solely became interested because I could use my existing equipment to procure my 'own' bitcoins

i wouldn't have thought twice about it had it required some POS that was useless otherwise.

ed: (and why in the hell would more people have ASICs than GPUs, making a "51% attack" less likely?  since when does total hash power figure in here, rather than # of players?)
What does gaming have to do with anything? That doesn't help Bitcoin.

Perhaps after eliminating all the illegal botnets and miners who are just mining for "free money" with no real interest, there might just be 2% of total miners now - but that's still better than the status quo. Total hash power has always been the important factor of Bitcoin mining, and it was designed to be intentionally highly competitive (and therefore just barely profitable).

If you don't care about Bitcoin, that's another problem entirely. Perhaps you should look into reasons Bitcoin is better than conventional currency.

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July 09, 2012, 05:46:37 AM
 #48

Moores law man (kinda). At some point ASIC will become the "new" GPU and it will have to be upgraded or completely changed at some point. Will it destroy bitcoin? That was just a title to entice readers. It will only strengthen competition for miners which can only be good right?
And what can be wrong with strengthening the power of the miners? It will only make it more difficult for a 51% attack.
you don't use ASICs for gaming

how will it strengthen competition for miners?  strengthen competition amongst the 2% that are left?

who cares about a 51% attack when nobody cares about bitcoins anymore?

surely i'm not the only one that solely became interested because I could use my existing equipment to procure my 'own' bitcoins

i wouldn't have thought twice about it had it required some POS that was useless otherwise.

ed: (and why in the hell would more people have ASICs than GPUs, making a "51% attack" less likely?  since when does total hash power figure in here, rather than # of players?)
If the only reason you like Bitcoin is because you could make money from mining, then it's not much of a loss when you leave.
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July 09, 2012, 07:18:47 AM
 #49

Moores law man (kinda). At some point ASIC will become the "new" GPU and it will have to be upgraded or completely changed at some point. Will it destroy bitcoin? That was just a title to entice readers. It will only strengthen competition for miners which can only be good right?
And what can be wrong with strengthening the power of the miners? It will only make it more difficult for a 51% attack.
you don't use ASICs for gaming

how will it strengthen competition for miners?  strengthen competition amongst the 2% that are left?

who cares about a 51% attack when nobody cares about bitcoins anymore?

surely i'm not the only one that solely became interested because I could use my existing equipment to procure my 'own' bitcoins

i wouldn't have thought twice about it had it required some POS that was useless otherwise.

ed: (and why in the hell would more people have ASICs than GPUs, making a "51% attack" less likely?  since when does total hash power figure in here, rather than # of players?)
If the only reason you like Bitcoin is because you could make money from mining, then it's not much of a loss when you leave.
haha, that's not what I said.

do you think grocery stores leave out those free samples to feed the starving ppls?

what if you had to pay $100 to get a key to gain access to these (not so) free little pieces of diced cheese and what not?  would you ever sample the product?

i doubt it

Quote
Perhaps after eliminating all the illegal botnets and miners who are just mining for "free money" with no real interest, there might just be 2% of total miners now - but that's still better than the status quo. Total hash power has always been the important factor of Bitcoin mining, and it was designed to be intentionally highly competitive (and therefore just barely profitable).

your 1st sentence, i don't find any of it based in actual reality

2nd sentence, yes, total hash power matters to an extent.  with 1/100th as many people mining, a "51% attack" becomes more likely, rather than less likely, however

Dacentec, best deals for US dedicated servers. They regularly restock $20-$25 Opterons with 8-16GB RAM & 2x1-2TB HDD's (ofc, usually lots of other good stuff to choose from).  I did a Serverbear benchmark of one of my $20/mo Opteron (June last year), it's here.  Have had about a half dozen different servers with Dacentec, & none have failed to sustain at least 40MB/s (burst higher). My favorite is a 12-month rent-to-own ZT Systems 2XL5520 16GB 2x2TB SATA for $40/month (got lucky with the 'off-brand', haven't seen a RTO 2xL5520 for under $50/mo since -- at least for monthly contracts).  wholesaleinternet.com has some ancient 2-core intel CPUs @ $10/mo sometimes (I got an Intel Core 2 6300 @ 1.86GHz, with a 250GB HDD with 46000 hours on it, LOL. $20 @ Dacentec is much better, if you can grab one). joesdatacenter.com (same location as Wholesale Internet) also occasionally has specials (or if you don't want to wait, it has an AMD Opteron 170 @ $16/mo).
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July 12, 2012, 08:07:43 PM
 #50

I'm fine with asics as long as there's a reasonable low priced option to spread the mining power among more people (lot's of small miners is safer than a few big miners), and seeing as that 150$ device is priced competitively against it's higher powered siblings things look ok.
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July 12, 2012, 08:10:24 PM
 #51

ASICs will kill the GPU miners.
SgtSpike
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July 12, 2012, 08:11:11 PM
 #52

Moores law man (kinda). At some point ASIC will become the "new" GPU and it will have to be upgraded or completely changed at some point. Will it destroy bitcoin? That was just a title to entice readers. It will only strengthen competition for miners which can only be good right?
And what can be wrong with strengthening the power of the miners? It will only make it more difficult for a 51% attack.
you don't use ASICs for gaming

how will it strengthen competition for miners?  strengthen competition amongst the 2% that are left?

who cares about a 51% attack when nobody cares about bitcoins anymore?

surely i'm not the only one that solely became interested because I could use my existing equipment to procure my 'own' bitcoins

i wouldn't have thought twice about it had it required some POS that was useless otherwise.

ed: (and why in the hell would more people have ASICs than GPUs, making a "51% attack" less likely?  since when does total hash power figure in here, rather than # of players?)
If the only reason you like Bitcoin is because you could make money from mining, then it's not much of a loss when you leave.
haha, that's not what I said.

do you think grocery stores leave out those free samples to feed the starving ppls?

what if you had to pay $100 to get a key to gain access to these (not so) free little pieces of diced cheese and what not?  would you ever sample the product?

i doubt it
Then work on giving out samples.  Don't QQ because the average joe won't be able to mine profitably anymore without buying specialized hardware.  If someone really wants to try out Bitcoins, there are plenty of free faucets and such that give out Bitcoins.  Or they could, you know, always go and buy some.
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July 19, 2012, 02:17:03 PM
 #53

ASIC mining will make it much, much tougher for an entity to borrow a bunch of computing power to attack bitcoin.

For instance, lets suppose BFL sells just $5 million dollars worth of their "coffee warmers". (a highly conservative number that'd probably leave them bankrupt after they paid for the ASIC development costs) That's about 33 thousand coffee warmers, or 234TH/sec. Suppose the attacker decided to requisition a whole bunch of computers to attack Bitcoin, for instance by asking Amazon or Google "nicely" One 4-way Opteron CPU can do about 115MH/s, so for your 51% attack you'll need about 1 million CPU's. If you're renting from Amazon, that's costing you something like a million dollars an hour, assuming you could even get them to let you rent that much computing power. The capital cost of all that computing power is also in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars, heck, easily a billion dollars with server farm overhead.

Finding a whole bunch of GPU's is actually rather tough, as most GPU farms are for scientific computing and use floating-point optimized GPU's that aren't very good at computing hashes.

A final possibility is borrowing an FPGA farm. We could make the rough assumption that the value of the farm's FPGAs will have the same $/Hash ratio as BFL's currently shipping product. So that's 117TH/sec / 0.8GHash/Single * $600/Single = $87.7 Million dollars worth of FPGAs. Intel might have that kind of FPGA farm available - they're used for chip verification - but again, renting it won't be cheap. Also, it looks like BFL is getting it's FPGAs at pretty cheap prices - a $600 single has $2000 worth of FPGAs in it - so with wholesale discounts we still might need to triple or quadruple that $87 million.

With ASIC mining, the cheapest way to computationally attack Bitcoin is probably by doing a run of your own ASICs, and it's not something you can do quickly. All that effort and money just so you can find out the myriad ways that the devs can stop 51% attacks using techniques possible now that Bitcoin is widely established.


For instance, lets suppose the NSA decides to attack Bitcoin. They could probably round up the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of computing power to make it happen, although it'd be a big hit to their black budget. Chances are within a few hours to days the devs will respond with something like a "coin-age" rule and ask everyone to upgrade. Now blocks get rejected, and nodes blacklisted, if they try to pass blocks into the network that don't meet coin age requirements. Transactions start flowing again, although the price on Mt. Gox has dropped severely, lets say 50%. At the same time the "known-legit" mining pools are also taking steps to protect their investment, by temporarily centralizing a bit, and blocking connections to nodes that aren't on a whitelist; the "most-difficult-block-wins" rule has been temporarily suspended. Note that at this point it's still not possible for anyone to steal coins, and not much more possible to do double spends.

Now, one thing the NSA could do is buy a bunch of coins so their blocks get accepted again. The problem is, now they're basically giving people a way to get out of Bitcoin, and boosting the price on the exchanges, restoring confidence. Exactly what they don't want! If they do nothing, they're still burning at least hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour, while the network figures out ways to mitigate the damage.

Honestly, ordering some assassinations on the guys running major exchanges sounds a lot cheaper...
Why wouldn't someone trying to 51 the network just approach BFL? They'd have ready-to-use chips and it would significantly cheaper for them to produce them than the entity doing it themselves.

As far as I can see, bitcoin security is proportional to market capitalization. The more bitcoins are worth the larger the income for miners will be and, thus, more miners will exist. The marginal cost of ASICs is tiny though. So if some entity were to develop their own ASIC, I'm not sure if it would matter that they'd have to produce 100,000 chips instead of 10,000.

Quote
Honestly, ordering some assassinations on the guys running major exchanges sounds a lot cheaper...
And I realize our developers being assassinated is not realistic, but then again I really really really don't want them all on the same plane on any business trips...  
We should instate the Coca Cola rule. No two developers can ever travel on the same plane at once!

EDIT: Also, bike helmets are now mandatory for the devs.
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July 19, 2012, 08:47:09 PM
 #54

ASIC mining will make it much, much tougher for an entity to borrow a bunch of computing power to attack bitcoin.

For instance, lets suppose BFL sells just $5 million dollars worth of their "coffee warmers". (a highly conservative number that'd probably leave them bankrupt after they paid for the ASIC development costs) That's about 33 thousand coffee warmers, or 234TH/sec. Suppose the attacker decided to requisition a whole bunch of computers to attack Bitcoin, for instance by asking Amazon or Google "nicely" One 4-way Opteron CPU can do about 115MH/s, so for your 51% attack you'll need about 1 million CPU's. If you're renting from Amazon, that's costing you something like a million dollars an hour, assuming you could even get them to let you rent that much computing power. The capital cost of all that computing power is also in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars, heck, easily a billion dollars with server farm overhead.

Finding a whole bunch of GPU's is actually rather tough, as most GPU farms are for scientific computing and use floating-point optimized GPU's that aren't very good at computing hashes.

A final possibility is borrowing an FPGA farm. We could make the rough assumption that the value of the farm's FPGAs will have the same $/Hash ratio as BFL's currently shipping product. So that's 117TH/sec / 0.8GHash/Single * $600/Single = $87.7 Million dollars worth of FPGAs. Intel might have that kind of FPGA farm available - they're used for chip verification - but again, renting it won't be cheap. Also, it looks like BFL is getting it's FPGAs at pretty cheap prices - a $600 single has $2000 worth of FPGAs in it - so with wholesale discounts we still might need to triple or quadruple that $87 million.

With ASIC mining, the cheapest way to computationally attack Bitcoin is probably by doing a run of your own ASICs, and it's not something you can do quickly. All that effort and money just so you can find out the myriad ways that the devs can stop 51% attacks using techniques possible now that Bitcoin is widely established.


For instance, lets suppose the NSA decides to attack Bitcoin. They could probably round up the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of computing power to make it happen, although it'd be a big hit to their black budget. Chances are within a few hours to days the devs will respond with something like a "coin-age" rule and ask everyone to upgrade. Now blocks get rejected, and nodes blacklisted, if they try to pass blocks into the network that don't meet coin age requirements. Transactions start flowing again, although the price on Mt. Gox has dropped severely, lets say 50%. At the same time the "known-legit" mining pools are also taking steps to protect their investment, by temporarily centralizing a bit, and blocking connections to nodes that aren't on a whitelist; the "most-difficult-block-wins" rule has been temporarily suspended. Note that at this point it's still not possible for anyone to steal coins, and not much more possible to do double spends.

Now, one thing the NSA could do is buy a bunch of coins so their blocks get accepted again. The problem is, now they're basically giving people a way to get out of Bitcoin, and boosting the price on the exchanges, restoring confidence. Exactly what they don't want! If they do nothing, they're still burning at least hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour, while the network figures out ways to mitigate the damage.

Honestly, ordering some assassinations on the guys running major exchanges sounds a lot cheaper...
Why wouldn't someone trying to 51 the network just approach BFL? They'd have ready-to-use chips and it would significantly cheaper for them to produce them than the entity doing it themselves.

As far as I can see, bitcoin security is proportional to market capitalization. The more bitcoins are worth the larger the income for miners will be and, thus, more miners will exist. The marginal cost of ASICs is tiny though. So if some entity were to develop their own ASIC, I'm not sure if it would matter that they'd have to produce 100,000 chips instead of 10,000.

Quote
Honestly, ordering some assassinations on the guys running major exchanges sounds a lot cheaper...
And I realize our developers being assassinated is not realistic, but then again I really really really don't want them all on the same plane on any business trips...  
We should instate the Coca Cola rule. No two developers can ever travel on the same plane at once!

EDIT: Also, bike helmets are now mandatory for the devs.

+1 lol

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August 03, 2012, 05:07:09 PM
 #55

So someone will all of that mining power would do a 51% ATTACK and destroy Bitcoin rather than use it to solo mine all the time and get loads of cash and then support the currency? I want to see Bitcoin to very well. This planet needs a wordwide currency and is not dependent on what governments do with their money, like for instance printing loads of it devaluing their own currency.

This can't happen To Bitcoin as only so many can be mined and created.   
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August 22, 2012, 03:50:17 PM
 #56

The real question for miners is - Do you spend your money on these machines or do you simply buy the BTC on an exchange.  Historically, are you not better off just buying BTC off MtGox, especially if you believe difficulty will dramatically increase after the first x-number of units are delivered and turned on?
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August 22, 2012, 03:56:42 PM
 #57

The real question for miners is - Do you spend your money on these machines or do you simply buy the BTC on an exchange.  Historically, are you not better off just buying BTC off MtGox, especially if you believe difficulty will dramatically increase after the first x-number of units are delivered and turned on?

+1,

after some analysis and some risk models done with help of professionals back in May 2012 I have suggested to some people I've been in touch with regarding potential ASIC mining project to forget about mining and simply buy BTC instead. After that our ASIC project was scrapped. It was back when BTC was valued at 5$.

My opinion is still the same. BTC represent better risk/reward than mining, provided that one keep em secure in own wallet, of course.

For what it worth,
Vladimir "The Miner".



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August 22, 2012, 04:19:22 PM
 #58

The real question for miners is - Do you spend your money on these machines or do you simply buy the BTC on an exchange.  Historically, are you not better off just buying BTC off MtGox, especially if you believe difficulty will dramatically increase after the first x-number of units are delivered and turned on?

+1,

after some analysis and some risk models done with help of professionals back in May 2012 I have suggested to some people I've been in touch with regarding potential ASIC mining project to forget about mining and simply buy BTC instead. After that our ASIC project was scrapped. It was back when BTC was valued at 5$.

My opinion is still the same. BTC represent better risk/reward than mining, provided that one keep em secure in own wallet, of course.

For what it worth,
Vladimir "The Miner".
This is the first time I've heard that you scrapped your ASIC project.  Interesting...

I don't know anyone besides BFL who is making a legitimate effort towards developing a Bitcoin mining ASIC then.  Anyone else know of someone?
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August 22, 2012, 04:27:14 PM
 #59

The real question for miners is - Do you spend your money on these machines or do you simply buy the BTC on an exchange.  Historically, are you not better off just buying BTC off MtGox, especially if you believe difficulty will dramatically increase after the first x-number of units are delivered and turned on?

+1,

after some analysis and some risk models done with help of professionals back in May 2012 I have suggested to some people I've been in touch with regarding potential ASIC mining project to forget about mining and simply buy BTC instead. After that our ASIC project was scrapped. It was back when BTC was valued at 5$.

My opinion is still the same. BTC represent better risk/reward than mining, provided that one keep em secure in own wallet, of course.

For what it worth,
Vladimir "The Miner".
This is the first time I've heard that you scrapped your ASIC project.  Interesting...

I don't know anyone besides BFL who is making a legitimate effort towards developing a Bitcoin mining ASIC then.  Anyone else know of someone?

I perhaps should clarify that we never actually tried to build our own ASIC's (I would not know where to start). The idea was to rise funds and set up a mining company that would in turn finance one or more ASIC development teams and we would get in return preferential terms, long term discounts, distribution rights, equity shares etc in those chipmakers. However, negotiations took too long, the potential ASIC development partners did no give us what we wanted, there were too many of those potential ASIC teams. In the end we did not like risk/reward and withdrew from the marketplace.

That is the story of it. Thankfully, nobody on our side got hurt financially, except maybe me (some professional fees and time invested and it is all negligible anyway).

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rjk
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August 22, 2012, 07:00:52 PM
 #60

I don't know anyone besides BFL who is making a legitimate effort towards developing a Bitcoin mining ASIC then.  Anyone else know of someone?
friedcat with Block Erupter is raising funds and is working on analog design, last I heard. There is also OpenBitASIC, but I haven't heard anything from them recently. Jason hasn't been on the forum for a while.

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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