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Author Topic: ASICMINER: Entering the Future of ASIC Mining by Inventing It  (Read 3899793 times)
MrTeal
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October 09, 2014, 03:23:27 PM
 #23601

I don't think 28nm is the node size where we're going to hit Moore's law. 20nm chips are already being produced and TSMC will mass-produce 16nm chips in Q1 2015 (for Apple at first). I suspect the targeted 0.1J/GH are to be achieved with a smaller node size than 28nm.
A (bad) 20nm chip was produced, but it was also funded at a time when
1. 6 month preorders were still SOP
2. Margins were extremely high
3. Mining income was still an order of magnitude higher than operational cost

Even the likes of nVidia are complaining that the economics of moving to 20nm don't make sense and that the performance gains aren't there, which is part of the reason even the new top of the line GTX980 is on the same mature 28nm node as the GPUs that debuted in Jan 2012.

Even then, Bitcoin mining is so embarrassingly parallel that it makes even a GPU look inherently serial. Unlike a GPU where two 1152-core GTX760s in SLI will perform noticeably worse than a single 2304-core GTX780, Bitcoin mining scales perfectly. There is much less pressure to move down a node as new hardware doesn't really give any new capability outside of possible efficiency gains.

Similarly to the question above, by summer 2015 if the price doesn't move Bitcoin mining hardware will be sold essentially at cost as the market saturates. Given that per gigahash 16nm isn't likely to be any cheaper than 28nm, who is going to fund the development and production of a 16nm ASIC when they would have to hope to sell a couple exahash/s worth of hardware just to recover their initial investment?
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jimmothy
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October 09, 2014, 04:20:20 PM
 #23602

I think you're missing the point of the graph. It's purpose is to illustrate, given certain parameters, what the final steady state network hashrate could end up being. Barring large changes in price or available technology, eventually the network will get to the point that even a large operation in a location with extremely cheap electricity will not be able to break even in X days even without difficulty changing.

The assumption is fundamentally invalid because there will always be changes in "available technology". Even once bitcoin mining ASICs reach the cutting edge in terms of modern process size, algorithm optimization, computational efficiency, etc, major companies in larger markets will continue to push the bounds of technology forward and ASIC manufacturers will benefit from these new technologies, releasing better and better products. The cost of a given amount of computing power is cut in half on about a yearly basis. So long as advanced human civilization exists, technology will continue to progress and there will never be a "steady state". And, so long as bitcoin remains valuable enough to warrant anyone to bother mining it with custom equipment, any miner bought at a given point in time will provide less hash rate than a miner bought a year later for the same amount of money. And that makes the graph not applicable in any real situation.

Remember where the discussion originated. I made the claim that even today, many miners fail to ever break even or just barely break even. The graph was posted as a rebuttal to that, to show that in fact capital expenditures are easy to recover and that we are far from the point where that would no longer be the case. But it only shows that in a constant difficulty environment. In a rising difficulty environment, say 10% per period, my statement is closer to the truth, as can be quickly checked with any of the conventional online mining profit calculators. And, said rising difficulty environment is the real world in which miners are trying to make back their investment and profit.
I think there's still room to go in terms of power efficiency, but I don't know how much higher it will go. A lot of it is predicated on price. I honestly don't think there is much left to be done algorithmically to improve efficiency; the simplicity of the SHA256 means it's pretty easy to optimize. There's probably still a good bit of work to do on layout, but even that will taper out as people get designs optimized. Looking at what is currently the best implementation (Bitfury), with perfect scaling he might get ~0.2J/GH on his existing 55nm design shrunk to 28nm.
I personally think the limit of 28nm will be closer to 0.2J/GH than 0.1J/GH. You're being quite optimistic on the cost of computing power halving every year, IMO.

The biggest variable in all of this is price though. It was easy to tape out new 28nm designs and order a bunch of wafer starts when you could charge $5k for a box with <$1k in parts other than the ASIC itself. If you do get someone down to 0.2J/GH, you're already 3x better that anything else on the market at 28nm. Going from there, you're going to be looking at marginal improvements with each new spin. With margins very tight, you need to really look at what kind of income you'll generate in order to justify the cost of the new design.

I take Puppet's spreadsheet to be a simple demonstration tool, I don't think his intention is to imply it's an accurate model. I would say his assumptions are much more sound than your main premise though. If even with free electricity a miner cannot recover their capital cost, NO ONE WILL BUY MINING EQUIPMENT. Sorry for the caps, but this keeps on coming up and it's a fundamental logic flaw. With free electricity your costs of running equipment are negligible. To say that the capital costs will never be recovered assumes that income approaches 0 as the network hashrate approaches infinity.

Answer one simple question, with the assumption that continued increases in difficulty will mean that even people with free electricity can't recovery their capital costs in equipment, who do you think will be buying the ~250PH/s worth of mining hardware necessary to even double the current hashrate?

Puppets tool is not meant to predict when/howfast the difficulty will increase. It's only meant to demonstrate how the parameters affect the difficulty and give you a rough idea of what you would expect if we reached equilibrium and technology stopped advancing.

Of course technology will still advance but it won't be at the current 10%/2 weeks rate. I'd guess ~1%/diff increases if it follows Moore's law.

Quote
If even with free electricity a miner cannot recover their capital cost, NO ONE WILL BUY MINING EQUIPMENT.

Exactly this. Large scale mining operations do not have access to free electricity and need to be earning massive profits if they want to continue spending millions on NRE.

I don't understand how people can say that nobody can make a profit mining because there is some entity out there that will continue adding hashing power far beyond the point everyone is mining at a loss.
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October 09, 2014, 06:37:13 PM
 #23603

Moore's law states that transistor density doubles every 18 months. Something which no longer is true, but even it where, for bitcoin transistor density is almost irrelevant at this point; so what if you can cram twice as many cores in a chip, if it consume twice as much power you havent really gained much. You reduced the silicon cost per GH, but thats arguably one of the least important metrics right now.  Moore's law says nothing about compute efficiency, and I think its fair to say the industry is heading in to a brick wall in that regard too.

Thats not to say I dont expect improvements over where we are now, there is probably still a lot to be had from improving power delivery and riding down the schmoo plot from high voltage/highest performance per mm² to low voltage/highest power efficiency, but thats pretty much going to be a one time deal.
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October 09, 2014, 06:57:57 PM
 #23604

Moore's law states that transistor density doubles every 18 months. Something which no longer is true, but even it where, for bitcoin transistor density is almost irrelevant at this point; so what if you can cram twice as many cores in a chip, if it consume twice as much power you havent really gained much. You reduced the silicon cost per GH, but thats arguably one of the least important metrics right now.  Moore's law says nothing about compute efficiency, and I think its fair to say the industry is heading in to a brick wall in that regard too.

Thats not to say I dont expect improvements over where we are now, there is probably still a lot to be had from improving power delivery and riding down the schmoo plot from high voltage/highest performance per mm² to low voltage/highest power efficiency, but thats pretty much going to be a one time deal.

Source for Moore's law no longer being true?

It's true Moore's law says nothing about efficiency but Koomey's law says it should double even quicker.
Mabsark
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October 09, 2014, 07:09:23 PM
 #23605

Moore's law states that transistor density doubles every 18 months. Something which no longer is true, but even it where, for bitcoin transistor density is almost irrelevant at this point; so what if you can cram twice as many cores in a chip, if it consume twice as much power you havent really gained much.

It's not irrelevant at all. The smaller transistors use less power. Just because the transistor density doubles, that doesn't mean that the power consumption doubles too. For example, you could end up with twice the hash power for the same power consumption with a die shrink.

What it means is that you can fit more hash power in your DC.
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October 09, 2014, 07:41:19 PM
 #23606

The smaller transistors use less power.

Not as a rule. Generally smaller gates can work with lower voltage, and that is what is increases power efficiency, its not a direct result and its increasingly untrue. 20 and 16nm offer next to no voltage drop, other than what can be achieved using finfets (unrelated to feature size).

Quote
Just because the transistor density doubles, that doesn't mean that the power consumption doubles too. For example, you could end up with twice the hash power for the same power consumption with a die shrink.

quite the opposite, just because you can shrink a transistor doesnt mean it will use less, let alone half as much power.  So you cram more on a die, but power density goes up, not exactly a huge advantage for bitcoin asics which already stretch the limits of power delivery, packaging and cooling.
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October 09, 2014, 08:00:09 PM
 #23607

I take Puppet's spreadsheet to be a simple demonstration tool, I don't think his intention is to imply it's an accurate model. I would say his assumptions are much more sound than your main premise though. If even with free electricity a miner cannot recover their capital cost, NO ONE WILL BUY MINING EQUIPMENT. Sorry for the caps, but this keeps on coming up and it's a fundamental logic flaw. With free electricity your costs of running equipment are negligible. To say that the capital costs will never be recovered assumes that income approaches 0 as the network hashrate approaches infinity.

Answer one simple question, with the assumption that continued increases in difficulty will mean that even people with free electricity can't recovery their capital costs in equipment, who do you think will be buying the ~250PH/s worth of mining hardware necessary to even double the current hashrate?

People who can get the mining equipment a lot cheaper than it is normally priced for the "consumer". That is, people placing gigantic bulk orders, people with exclusive partnerships with manufacturers, and the manufacturers themselves.
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October 09, 2014, 08:10:11 PM
 #23608

I take Puppet's spreadsheet to be a simple demonstration tool, I don't think his intention is to imply it's an accurate model. I would say his assumptions are much more sound than your main premise though. If even with free electricity a miner cannot recover their capital cost, NO ONE WILL BUY MINING EQUIPMENT. Sorry for the caps, but this keeps on coming up and it's a fundamental logic flaw. With free electricity your costs of running equipment are negligible. To say that the capital costs will never be recovered assumes that income approaches 0 as the network hashrate approaches infinity.

Answer one simple question, with the assumption that continued increases in difficulty will mean that even people with free electricity can't recovery their capital costs in equipment, who do you think will be buying the ~250PH/s worth of mining hardware necessary to even double the current hashrate?

People who can get the mining equipment a lot cheaper than it is normally priced for the "consumer". That is, people placing gigantic bulk orders, people with exclusive partnerships with manufacturers, and the manufacturers themselves.

Doesn't matter what the J/GH is if you can never recover the capital cost of miners even with free electricity, which is where bitcoin mining stands right now.

So can some people profit from mining or not?
MrTeal
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October 09, 2014, 08:11:40 PM
 #23609

I take Puppet's spreadsheet to be a simple demonstration tool, I don't think his intention is to imply it's an accurate model. I would say his assumptions are much more sound than your main premise though. If even with free electricity a miner cannot recover their capital cost, NO ONE WILL BUY MINING EQUIPMENT. Sorry for the caps, but this keeps on coming up and it's a fundamental logic flaw. With free electricity your costs of running equipment are negligible. To say that the capital costs will never be recovered assumes that income approaches 0 as the network hashrate approaches infinity.

Answer one simple question, with the assumption that continued increases in difficulty will mean that even people with free electricity can't recovery their capital costs in equipment, who do you think will be buying the ~250PH/s worth of mining hardware necessary to even double the current hashrate?

People who can get the mining equipment a lot cheaper than it is normally priced for the "consumer". That is, people placing gigantic bulk orders, people with exclusive partnerships with manufacturers, and the manufacturers themselves.
What are you going on about? All you're describing is that some larger groups can get equipment cheaper than others, which is no different than some people getting cheaper power than others. Change $330 per TH/s to something else like $200/TH/s, and you're done. All that does is change one variable. In the end, you still end up with the same result; even the manufacturer won't make more equipment as it is not cost effective to do so, and the hashrate will stabilize.
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October 09, 2014, 08:23:11 PM
 #23610

The smaller transistors use less power.

Not as a rule. Generally smaller gates can work with lower voltage, and that is what is increases power efficiency, its not a direct result and its increasingly untrue. 20 and 16nm offer next to no voltage drop, other than what can be achieved using finfets (unrelated to feature size).

Quote
Just because the transistor density doubles, that doesn't mean that the power consumption doubles too. For example, you could end up with twice the hash power for the same power consumption with a die shrink.

quite the opposite, just because you can shrink a transistor doesnt mean it will use less, let alone half as much power.  So you cram more on a die, but power density goes up, not exactly a huge advantage for bitcoin asics which already stretch the limits of power delivery, packaging and cooling.

Yes, as a rule. What you are saying is simply wrong.

TSMC's 20nm process technology can provide 30 percent higher speed, 1.9 times the density, or 25 percent less power than its 28nm technology.

Comparing with 20SoC technology, 16FF+ provides extra 40% higher speed and 60% power saving.

Also, I didn't say a die shrink would use half the power, I said it could. For example, going from 130nm to 40nm.

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October 09, 2014, 09:52:24 PM
 #23611


You're basically proving my point even with TSMC marketing material. The real gain by their own admission is just transistor density. Note the word "OR". Speed and power improvements are a joke, ask anyone who's actually used their process like nVidia.

Quote

Yes, due to finfet, just like I said. Not because of the shrink.

Quote
Also, I didn't say a die shrink would use half the power, I said it could. For example, going from 130nm to 40nm.

Which only took what, 10 years? 
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October 09, 2014, 10:09:37 PM
 #23612

What are you going on about? All you're describing is that some larger groups can get equipment cheaper than others, which is no different than some people getting cheaper power than others. Change $330 per TH/s to something else like $200/TH/s, and you're done. All that does is change one variable. In the end, you still end up with the same result; even the manufacturer won't make more equipment as it is not cost effective to do so, and the hashrate will stabilize.

My original point was that people buying miners are likely to make very little profit if any at all. Implicit in that statement is that this refers to consumers buying these products at "retail" prices. That is the statement I was defending. Which, I agree, is at this point only tangentially related to the discussion that is now going on.

I do agree that manufacturers will not make equipment when it is not cost effective to do so. That much is obvious. But the graph still does not accurately describe this, as, again, implicit in the graph is a technologically static environment, which does not correspond to reality.

As for the discussions about nearing the limits of Moore's Law, or how that corresponds to power efficiency, etc... the thing that people often forget is that the current paradigm of silicon integrated circuits is just one embodiment of the general trend of exponentially accelerating technological progress. There are many aspects of progress that we are just getting started on now: three-dimensional as opposed to two-dimensional elements and ICs, materials other than silicon with better performance, optical computing, quantum computing, etc. As any particular paradigm like just shrinking integrated circuit process size runs out of steam, other ones will pick up the slack. We're not gonna suddenly hit a brick wall where computational power just stands still... at least, not for a very long time, until we start to reach the fundamental physical limits that come from information theory.



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October 10, 2014, 12:13:41 AM
 #23613

You're basically proving my point even with TSMC marketing material. The real gain by their own admission is just transistor density. Note the word "OR". Speed and power improvements are a joke, ask anyone who's actually used their process like nVidia.

I'm not proving your point at all. The only way you could think that is if you completely misunderstood what you just read. The greater transistor density means that you can fit more transistors into the same space. In other words, you can keep the chip the same size and increase processing power and possibly power consumption or you can keep the processing power the same and decrease the power consumption and chip size.

Also, nVidia's argument against 20nm had nothing whatsoever to do with power consumption, it was based on transistor and wafer cost.

Yes, due to finfet, just like I said. Not because of the shrink.

Because of both actually.

Which only took what, 10 years?  

1 year for AM.
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October 10, 2014, 12:14:49 AM
 #23614

 
Quote
author=zinodaur link=topic=99497.msg9147280#msg9147280 date=1412897748]
Still nothing about dividends ? ...
when share price explodes up, you will know that divs have been announced.
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October 10, 2014, 02:43:46 AM
 #23615

Bitfury just raised another $20M, so there's some confidence out there that asic development can still be a profitable.
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October 10, 2014, 03:40:49 AM
 #23616

Which only took what, 10 years?  

1 year for AM.

You are lacking reading comprehension.

Bitfury just raised another $20M, so there's some confidence out there that asic development can still be a profitable.

Source?

H/w Hosting Directory & Reputation - https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=622998.0
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October 10, 2014, 03:56:22 AM
 #23617

There is still a tremendous amount of "stupid" money out there just waiting to be plucked. The ability to raise capital has almost nothing to do with the ability to deliver value to consumers.
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October 10, 2014, 04:21:48 AM
 #23618


Bitfury just raised another $20M, so there's some confidence out there that asic development can still be a profitable.

Source?

From the Press Feeds
http://www.coindesk.com/bitfury-raises-20-million-asic-development-mining-output/

Or just here I guess

BitFury Raises $20 Million to Power New ASIC Chips, Increase Bitcoin Mining Output
BitFury has raised $20m in additional funding to complete development of its 28nm ASIC chip capable of achieving energy efficiency of 0.2 joules-per-gigahash (J/GH) and first announced in September.
[...]
The funding will seek to power the company’s development of what it hopes will be industry-leading ASIC chips, as well. BitFury announced in September that it is seeking to achieve energy efficiency of 0.2 J/GH by the fourth quarter of 2014, and sub-0.1 J/GH efficiency by mid-2015.
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October 10, 2014, 06:36:07 AM
 #23619

Still nothing about dividends ? ...

Wait...ASICMINER pays dividends?



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October 10, 2014, 07:13:38 AM
 #23620


from your link:
BitFury further indicated it would use the funds to increase the capacity of its data centers to 100 megawatts

100MW. Thats ~125PH with todays tech and if he achieves his 0.2J/GH goal later this year, thats 500 PH. Or 1EH next year if he does get it down to 0.1JGH Shocked
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