DIY FPGA miner | Alpha release of Keccak FPGA miner

Hey guys, a few months ago we talked to you about using a FPGA to do cryptomining and showed a comparison of CPU, GPU, FPGA and ASICs to see how the profitability increased by increasing the hash to watt ratio. Looks like we hit a chord as it became one of the most popular articles on FPGA mining on the internet! Thanks guys!

In the article I mentioned that we would post updates as we loaded/built the bitstreams. This has been an adventure and a big challenge! We had some initial success by loading different bitstreams, but found that they were old algorithms that didn’t provide much profit in todays difficult (pun intended) mining environment. During our development work to build new algos on our FPGAs, Richard from TUL contacted me and wanted to see if I could get something working on the TUL KU115, similar to the KCU1500. This is a pretty amazing board and we took the challenge head on!

Specification of the Xilinx KU-115 UltraScale board

Specs for the TUL KU115

First off the KU115 has a Xilinx Kintex XCKU11502FLVB2104E FPGA with 1.4k LE elements and it has 16 GB of DDR4 (3 at 72bit and 1 at 64bit) with a clock speed of 300Mhz that can be overclocked to 500Mhz. It has a significant heatsink on it, but I do wish it had a fan as it can heat up quite quick. It supports PCI Gen3 x16 allowing a 32GB/s transfer speed. Nice!

All in all this board is pretty fantastic for its price!

It took months to get up to speed, but I am happy to announce that we have a keccak and keccakc algorithm to release! This is designed for the TUL KU115, so this bitstream will only work on this board for now. If you have a different board, we can potentially work at a partial reconfiguration.

Hardware Setup

Our setup is an older machine that I had sitting around, so honestly this is not ideal and likely IS SLOWING down the possible hashrate. The computer consists of the following components:

Test System
Hardware:AMD Athalon II X2 250 2.5Ghz
MSI MS-7641 (760GM-P23 (FX) motherboard
8 GB Corsair DDR3 1333
1TB HP Blue 7200 RPM
JJT (logo looks like WT) 450W power supply
Ubuntu 16.04 (with all updates)
Case:ATX Case with 4x bays

Mining Results

So how did this stack up? That is why we are here right? For using an old computer to test it, it did pretty good for our first bitstream as the keccak algo doesn’t use much of the memory on the board, so it is just hashing off of the chipset. After testing for a few weeks it looks like it is most stable at 2.5Gh/s mining keccakc @ 100W and actually is a bit lower under standard keccak. The issue I ran into was that since it doesn’t have active cooling on it, the clock and cores could not be increased even though there is the potential there by a little bit. I ended up using a box fan blowing into my case to keep it at a nice 70c all the time. Without the box fan (which happened after my kids accidentally unplugged it) caused a rapid shutdown of the computer, good thing we implemented a shutdown sequence on overheat. This feature is limited so make sure you monitor your heat and gently increase the number of cores. The proof is in the pudding as they say though, here is a pictures & video demoing the unit below.

Freelearner.how FPGA miner hashing keccakcFreelearner.how FPGA miner hashing keccakc Freelearner.how FPGA miner hashing keccakc

DIY FPGA miner | Alpha release of Keccak FPGA miner

I worked with a friend to build this bitstream and I want to make sure to honor his work on this, so there is a 5% dev fee on using it, which is built into the bitstream. We have a custom build of ccminer to help optimize the FPGA and allow for easy configuration. This runs on Linux currently, but we are working on building one for windows.

We have the keccak miner and bitstream ready. Click here to download it!

Here are some instructions on how to install and configure the board for the first time and for use:

DIY FPGA | Installing and Configuring the KU115 for Crypto Mining

Please download the file and give your feedback and issues you may have.

Conclusion

We are super excited to officially release our bitstream and looking forward to your comments about it! We continuing to build more individualized bitstreams, but working toward a DIY approach to make building bitstreams easier. It is a huge task but we are working toward this goal! Thank you all for your patience, support, kind words and support. I hope you find this as exciting as we do!

If your interested in purchasing the TUL KU-115 we have a contact at TUL who is giving discounted pricing for our readers at $2000, here is his contact info! Thanks Richard!

Richard Lo
Tul Inc.
Email: richard_lo@tul.com.tw

As always I hope this is one step closer to you living to learn free each and everyday!

 

For the past 20 years I have been advocating and teaching about Renewable Energy and Alternative fuels. I worked in IT for 9 years and ran a few IT businesses during that time. I have worked wind turbines and in fuel cell technology and I currently teach college courses full time in Renewable’s and Alternative fuels. I am passionate about technology, building things, family and having fun outdoors. I love sharing and helping to make the world a better place in my own way.

24
Leave a Reply

avatar
12 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
Abe FouhyShepard SiegelRayErik SzewczykTuwan Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
David Mikesell
Guest
David Mikesell

I’m an experienced Miner, little fpga experience, right now running asic and GPU Miner. Will beta test and white full Daily reports if that’s what you want. Put me on a list ready to go now will order fpga as soon as I know I can get the bit stream

David

Gabriel BAE
Guest

Hi Abe,

I’m interested in both renewable energy and blockchain tech.
I think those two will help to solve some serious problems in this world.
Can you let me join the beta testing?

Darren
Guest
Darren

Hi, I’m very interested in beta testing this. I’m currently a GPU miner, but am planning to move into FPGA asap.

Would I have to have a KU115 board, or would it work on other dev boards? Sorry if that’s a dumb questions, I’m pretty new to the FPGA and bitstream world.

Ben Williams
Guest
Ben Williams

I don’t understand how much the board normally costs? you say in the article TUL will give a discounted price, but I haven’t been able to find the “actual” price of the board anywhere yet. So I can’t figure out if it’s worth contacting TUL to even find out the “discounted” price. I’m keen to get into FPGA mining, but I’m only just starting out GPU mining now (in fact still putting together my first Rig, should be done by the end of this weekend), However, if your goal is to bring FGPA to the masses (or at least enthused… Read more »

Kevin G
Guest
Kevin G

I would like to be a beta tester. I have worked with fpga boards before, and have made my own sha256 bitstrean for fun. I have a cyclone 4 but I would like to get xilinx

Matsuo Kan
Guest

Hi Abe
I am collecting mining data from japan
Would it be possible to see the product actually, because you want to beta test by all means, be explained?

javier
Guest
javier

Soy un minero de España y estoy interesado en la compra de fgpa ya que en Europa no hay forma de comprarlas y probar vuestro programa

alex
Guest
alex

Great work and really interesting to see a different and more approachable FPGA cards.
My question is regarding the bitstream as I understand at the moment was developed for keccak/keccakc, any plans for other algos like X16r or similar? As you might understand is important not only ROI but what projects we mine for and knowing if there are other bitstream available is fundamental to make the investment.

Tuwan
Guest
Tuwan

Much interested in buying one TUL KU-115. How long will the offer last… I mean price wise
Also, is it only limited to mining Keccak?

By the way, very much appreciated for the installing and configuring video

Erik Szewczyk
Editor

We dont have a set timeline, it’s as long as Richard from Tul is willing to run the promotion so if you’re looking for one now is a good time.

It’s not limited to Keccak, although you’d need to create or find bitstreams to do other algorithms.

Ray
Guest
Ray

Hi Abe,

I am very interested in your FPGA as well. But the data your provided here seems it is still not that attractive at this moment. So for a $2,000 FPGA card, it has only 2.5G hashrate on Keccak, however a 1070ti GPU runs Keccak at 0.8G H/S(overclocked) with the price no more than $450. I am wondering do you still think FPGA will beat the GPU later? Or is there still potential to make the FPGA run MUCH faster? Honestly, as a miner, I care more about the hash/price than hash/watt. Thanks.

Erik Szewczyk
Editor

I question the hashrate you’re getting on your 1070ti (on average I see about 300-400 MH/s on an overclocked 1080ti), but directionally you’re correct. At the moment from a hash/price perspective GPU does better with Keccak and the FPGA if you’re looking at hash/watt.

Ray
Guest
Ray

I just ran ccminer with Keccak algo again, and got around 700MH/s, my graphic card is 1070. FYI here is some other’s result https://www.reddit.com/r/EtherMining/comments/7bty7o/1070_vs_1070_ti_hashrates/

Ray
Guest
Ray

We have a growing community with more than 3000 miners. I guess the FPGA will be on our list only if it can run at least 3 times faster than GPU at the same price, since GPU is much more flexiable as your mentioned. Moreover, we can easily sell the GPU if we don’t wanna mine with it anymore.

Shepard Siegel
Guest

What a great post – thanks! I have no experience mining, but am FPGA savvy, had a KCU1500 gathering dust, and figured what the heck? Loaded the 10×250 bitstrem fine. PCIe enumerated on 01:00.0 as expected. Just kicked off the script (I dont even have a wallet to mine too – just wanted to see some Keccak hardware love, and got this far {code} shep@ar-6700k:~/ccminer/ccminer$ sudo ./yiimp-crea.sh Read cores.txt Read core.txt done, 1 core(s) found Read devices.txt 44 44 – /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:01:00.0/resource0 1 Read devices.txt done, 1 device(s) found Open /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:01:00.0/resource0/sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:01:00.0/resource0 opened. Page size is 4096 Error at line 43, file… Read more »

Shepard Siegel
Guest

Update: Jumped to a sister machine and the mmap() no longer returns and error and happily hashing away. This is great. Big kudos for your awesome bootstrap work! -Shep