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Author Topic: GekkoScience BM1384 Project Development Discussion  (Read 143215 times)
novak@gekkoscience
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March 23, 2015, 04:55:41 AM
 #141


Question is if the chips continue down the Spondoolies like path there would be no "simplicity" left since all future chips would be geared to a larger more powerful board. So that dead ends this project unless you are willing to adapt to those types of chips. No one is going to be able to compete (those who would be willing to sell chips) with Spondoolies if the trend continues as they seem to be ahead since they have the team. It is doubtful that a new Avalon or Bitmain chip will be able to compete given the claims of Spondoolies next chip. Meaning this is probably the last chip iteration from Avalon and Bitmain will definitely be very careful not to finance a losing chip.

Which likely means you have about less than a year to build on the chips that exist.




Entirely possible, but I think maybe a little more unlikely than you make it out to be.  Spondoolies is doing very well right now but several of their design decisions really up the price on any design using their chips.  Sure, right now they're cleaning house with their rockerbox stuff stacking up well against an S5 (if not really the BM1384), and everyone loves them as their support is second to none- but the required components on a Spondoolies miner besides the chips are typically more expensive than a design which uses smaller chips with standard protocols (basically all other companies).

We'll have to see if they continue killing off the competition, I can't imagine that they have lower parts cost per hashrate.  Then again, the quality support they provide goes a long way.

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novak@gekkoscience
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March 23, 2015, 05:00:17 AM
 #142

KFC

All of the bonus points for that "typo."

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March 23, 2015, 05:22:43 AM
 #143

I understand that the components to support the Rockerbox are more expensive but the number of components to support a bunch of smaller chips may offset it.  I was wondering if you have done a comparison in that manner. 

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March 23, 2015, 05:30:18 AM
 #144

Also, looks like I might be done with the BM1384 two-chip breakout board. I'll hopefully have time to verify it tomorrow and we can send off for some prototype PCBs.

We have a 3.3V UART input (so it can tie off a CP2102 USB-UART adapter like Novak cooked up for Prismas) with an integrated 1.8V level shifter for UART comms to the chips. The two chips on the board can be jumpered for series or parallel operation, and each node has a separate VDD and GND so you can externally power them on a common rail for parallel operation, or tie Node 1 GND to Node 0 VCORE and put a twice-voltage regulator across Node 1 VDD and Node 0 GND for string operation. Multiple boards can be tied in parallel or in series to test different matrix dimensions.

I could test a two-chip string with this board, which once I design the regulator would basically be a breadboard version of Phil's 2-chip USB stick. I'd go for a two-chip string instead of a parallel node because the higher voltage regulator at the same current output will be more efficient, and also because I can probably use the same parts as on the single-chip version.



The silkscreen is loaded with notes for proper use, just in case. If it works as expected I'll be quite pleased.

kilo17 - have you looked at an SP20 board and compared it to an S5 board? The S5 board has zero regulation, just some node-level current buffering capacitors. It has some passive comm level-shifting components. And it uses a standard protocol so no converters are necessary to talk directly to literally any controller ever. Each SP20 board has FOUR four-phase buck converters on it, the parts count for each of which approaches the total count for our entire board. And their protocol is non-standard so it'd have to be bit-banged by software, the timings for which would probably be implementation-dependent.
For another example, compare a Habanero board to an S3. The stock hashrate is about the same, but where the S3 has eight simple 53355DQP regulators, the Habanero has FOUR six-phase digital VRMs. Nothing against the Hab; if it were a woman I'd stick it in 'er, but the level of complexity required to support a large single low-voltage-high-current ASIC is about half an order of magnitude higher than a standard many-small-chips-in-parallel design and a full order higher than a well-thought-out string/matrix of small chips.

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March 23, 2015, 05:39:30 AM
 #145

And their protocol is non-standard so it'd have to be bit-banged by software, the timings for which would probably be implementation-dependent.


Apparently at least their hammer implementations actually use an FPGA for chip control, which is actually most likely even more expensive and complex. 

Haven't checked their Rockerbox stuff.

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March 23, 2015, 05:46:38 AM
 #146

Thank you for taking the time for the explanation... I see your point....

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March 23, 2015, 05:47:22 AM
 #147


Question is if the chips continue down the Spondoolies like path there would be no "simplicity" left since all future chips would be geared to a larger more powerful board. So that dead ends this project unless you are willing to adapt to those types of chips. No one is going to be able to compete (those who would be willing to sell chips) with Spondoolies if the trend continues as they seem to be ahead since they have the team. It is doubtful that a new Avalon or Bitmain chip will be able to compete given the claims of Spondoolies next chip. Meaning this is probably the last chip iteration from Avalon and Bitmain will definitely be very careful not to finance a losing chip.

Which likely means you have about less than a year to build on the chips that exist.




Entirely possible, but I think maybe a little more unlikely than you make it out to be.  Spondoolies is doing very well right now but several of their design decisions really up the price on any design using their chips.  Sure, right now they're cleaning house with their rockerbox stuff stacking up well against an S5 (if not really the BM1384), and everyone loves them as their support is second to none- but the required components on a Spondoolies miner besides the chips are typically more expensive than a design which uses smaller chips with standard protocols (basically all other companies).

We'll have to see if they continue killing off the competition, I can't imagine that they have lower parts cost per hashrate.  Then again, the quality support they provide goes a long way.

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I hope I am wrong. Like to see smaller units for everyone I just don't think Spondoolies is likely to screw the pooch so badly they don't put out a killer B2B offering that would likely sink the consumer market. Bitmain may need to hire some more chip designers. Who knows.

Great to see your progress guys keep at her. Can't wait to see what you guys do eventually produce. So many good people have got tripped up on the chips just being in hand I hope nothing funny happens. Bitfury was a really nasty twist when they cut off chip sales.

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novak@gekkoscience
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March 23, 2015, 06:22:05 AM
 #148


I hope I am wrong. Like to see smaller units for everyone I just don't think Spondoolies is likely to screw the pooch so badly they don't put out a killer B2B offering that would likely sink the consumer market. Bitmain may need to hire some more chip designers who knows.

I don't think bitmain is anywhere near dead, although they are almost certainly behind spondoolies (technically they are ahead for now- but the assumption is that spondoolies is about to pass them when their chip due in "Q1 2015" comes out).  If Spondoolies puts out a weaker chip bitmain could still use its current gen chips at the bottom end until their own new chips come out.  The S5 is bottom end BM1384 efficiency, top end W/GH.  And unless I'm misremembering, no one has EVER put out a chip sized like rockerbox that hit efficiency targets AND timeline- though rockerbox was close- as close as anyone ever got (KNC, Black Arrow, Hashfast, BFL).

In the end, anything could happen.  ASICMiner's total disappearance really didn't help, though.  Between them and other smaller companies that used their chips they were a really great option for home mining.

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March 23, 2015, 07:05:53 AM
 #149

Also, looks like I might be done with the BM1384 two-chip breakout board. I'll hopefully have time to verify it tomorrow and we can send off for some prototype PCBs.
Very nice! I decided to spend the afternoon modifying my BE200 USB design and got the following ready for fab:


The design even features adjustable VCORE. Now I just needs some samples ;-)

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March 23, 2015, 07:52:33 AM
 #150

This thread has becom converted to a home brew club, amazing Smiley I'm interested in the brewing

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March 23, 2015, 07:54:38 AM
 #151

Snazzy board. What regulator controller are you using? I haven't really found one with the features I want but I can work around what I got.

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March 23, 2015, 12:10:51 PM
 #152





Clean job sidehack!  Grin

Can wait to see the first proto!

And nice to see other people getting in.

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March 23, 2015, 12:12:52 PM
 #153




The design even features adjustable VCORE. Now I just needs some samples ;-)

-a[g


Is it BE200 or BM1384 because it is written BM84 on your board ??

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March 23, 2015, 12:34:41 PM
 #154

If i can get 100Mh/s for $50-100 Shipped to me, im good with that.
I sure hope you meant 100Gh/s Wink

Is it BE200 or BM1384 because it is written BM84 on your board ??
He did say he spent the afternoon modifying his BE200 USB design.  I'm sure modifying the silkscreen was part of that Wink

I love this thread, probably the most interesting on the forum right now.
Agreed - lots of nostalgia here, and quite a few of the usual suspects of lore chiming in and/or watching the thread.  I'll take this over meme-filled threads any time.

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March 23, 2015, 12:57:40 PM
 #155

If i can get 100Mh/s for $50-100 Shipped to me, im good with that.
I sure hope you meant 100Gh/s Wink

Is it BE200 or BM1384 because it is written BM84 on your board ??
He did say he spent the afternoon modifying his BE200 USB design.  I'm sure modifying the silkscreen was part of that Wink

I love this thread, probably the most interesting on the forum right now.
Agreed - lots of nostalgia here, and quite a few of the usual suspects of lore chiming in and/or watching the thread.  I'll take this over meme-filled threads any time.



Sorry,couldn't resist  Cheesy Grin

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March 23, 2015, 01:09:20 PM
 #156

Instead of building USB Miners why won't you build something like this.

Put the most chips you can on one board, since its lower power it probably won't start a fire like the Prisma. I can see it running at 5-6Th/s and using only 1000Watts.



Here is why.  If you have a set of 3 or 6 usb sticks  mining balanced  on 3 or 4 pools you earn some btc with the standard pools and have a chance at a solo pool.  If they can dial down to very low watt/gh it is possible to do a positive roi in a years time.  and of course it gives you a shot at hitting the solo pool block.  All this for very little out of pocket cash.

The middle sized boards also allow for this.
 The real key is to get a wide range in watts per gh.  say .6 on the high end and hopefully .3 on the low end.
It allows for longer life on the gear. say 1 year or 18 months.



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March 23, 2015, 01:24:24 PM
 #157

I just don't think Spondoolies is likely to screw the pooch so badly they don't put out a killer B2B offering that would likely sink the consumer market. Bitmain may need to hire some more chip designers. Who knows.
The way I read the Spondoolies announcements, I don't think they're going to completely forget the consumer market.  The way I read it was that they were concentrating first on the large market consumers, and then would eventually come down to the other levels - mid/small farms, prosumer, home/hobby miners - in turn.  Doing that they would be able to make return on their new chip design investment first, and then come up with the designs for smaller form factors.  The main question instead would be "when", not "if".  If they wait too long to get to the smaller consumers, it would be the same as just ignoring them completely.

Personally, I don't think they could ignore the smaller markets given the quickness they sold out.  Even if at that point they're still only breaking even on those sales, it's still worth that much more in positive PR.

But, back to the topic on hand... really cool PCB design mockups!
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March 23, 2015, 01:27:41 PM
 #158

Instead of building USB Miners why won't you build something like this.

Put the most chips you can on one board, since its lower power it probably won't start a fire like the Prisma. I can see it running at 5-6Th/s and using only 1000Watts.



Here is why.  If you have a set of 3 or 6 usb sticks  mining balanced  on 3 or 4 pools you earn some btc with the standard pools and have a chance at a solo pool.  If they can dial down to very low watt/gh it is possible to do a positive roi in a years time.  and of course it gives you a shot at hitting the solo pool block.  All this for very little out of pocket cash.

The middle sized boards also allow for this.
 The real key is to get a wide range in watts per gh.  say .6 on the high end and hopefully .3 on the low end.
It allows for longer life on the gear. say 1 year or 18 months.




Can you share your config, I'm interested in split the hashrate to various mining pools, but I don't know how.

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March 23, 2015, 02:12:36 PM
 #159

Yeah I'm still running some S1s at the shop. It's actually time to take them down to the bottom-end 0.8W/GH I just keep forgetting to do so and/or have no time. Full-range control of clock and voltage is key to a miner's longevity, so that's why we're working on what should be pretty much the most electrically efficient full-control topology available.

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March 23, 2015, 02:14:38 PM
 #160


I hope I am wrong. Like to see smaller units for everyone I just don't think Spondoolies is likely to screw the pooch so badly they don't put out a killer B2B offering that would likely sink the consumer market. Bitmain may need to hire some more chip designers who knows.

I don't think bitmain is anywhere near dead, although they are almost certainly behind spondoolies (technically they are ahead for now- but the assumption is that spondoolies is about to pass them when their chip due in "Q1 2015" comes out).  If Spondoolies puts out a weaker chip bitmain could still use its current gen chips at the bottom end until their own new chips come out.  The S5 is bottom end BM1384 efficiency, top end W/GH.  And unless I'm misremembering, no one has EVER put out a chip sized like rockerbox that hit efficiency targets AND timeline- though rockerbox was close- as close as anyone ever got (KNC, Black Arrow, Hashfast, BFL).

In the end, anything could happen.  ASICMiner's total disappearance really didn't help, though.  Between them and other smaller companies that used their chips they were a really great option for home mining.

--
novak
Bitmain lies on their status even with their chips, but they can make chips (not miners for shit but chips) but they're under such bad rep I can't see them being able to develop anything but chips to make money.

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