Today BitSyncom, the bitcoin company known for producing Avalon miners, announced details about their second generation chip, as well as plans for a contest to create an open source PCB (printed circuit board) design for their chips. The new chips will use a 55nm technology and run 4x as fast as their first generation 110nm chips. The winner of their open source contest will receive 5,000 chips, totaling 7.5 TH/s overclocked.
Avalon will be selling both fully-assembled units as well as bulk chips, similar to their strategy for first generation products. While exact pricing has not been determined for the new products, they will not take any pre-orders and will only sell inventory they have immediately available. Avalon had been the focus of attention within the bitcoin mining community this September after refunding tens of thousands of bitcoins to Generation 1 customers who were affected by Chinese customs delays.
Generation 2 Chips
As expected, their 2nd generation chips will be created using a 55nm process and utilize the same packaging as their first generation 110nm chips, with small changes to padding but the same communications protocol. Although this constrained their design options, it will enable full backward compatibility with PCBs developed for their first generation chips. The new chips are seeing typical performance of 1 GH/s at 500Mhz, however they’re expected to overclock to 1.5 GH/s per chip at 3W (2 W/GHs). Generation 1 chips were originally clocked at 256Mhz, however they were able to run stable overclocked at 400Mhz. It would be reasonable to expect similar overhead in Generation 2 chips.
BitSyncom expects to receive products in late October or early November and will begin sales when they have inventory in their warehouse. Their fully assembled units are estimated to run at 250 GH/s and will be housed in 2U server racks. Bulk chips sales will also be available and will be offered a discounted rate for customers that were affected by Generation 1 delays.
Open Source Contest
ASIC chips that are sold in bulk quantities must be mounted by customers in PCBs. Avalon released a reference design after announcing sales of their first generation products in April, and several members of the community began working on developing open source designs. Unfortunately many of these were never completed – most famously the Klondike design – and significantly impacted customers relying on its completion. BitSyncom hopes to resolve that issue by offering a 5,000 chip prize for the best open source design.
Starting almost immediately, Avalon will begin taking applications for hardware developers that would like to enter the contest. The application process will include basic questions guiding experience and past projects to filter viable candidates. There are 50 slots available, and Individuals or teams that are accepted will receive 10 55nm chips for use in developing their boards.
The contest will begin on October 10 and entrants will have one month to submit their designs. The team will internally assess each candidate design and select one winner to receive the 5,000-chip prize. After the contest is completed all designs will be open-sourced and provided to the bitcoin community.
Update 10/5: Avalon has posted the 55nm chip data sheet to the github storing their Reference Documentation, Bill of Materials and Chip Communication
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