Using a PCI-E FPGA for ethereum/zcash mining

I’ve been researching GPU alternatives for ethereum and zcash mining applications and was thinking about using pci-e FPGA’s. The biggest draw for GPU mining on the newer coins is that they are “ASIC-Resistant” by requiring a memory read while mining. This makes USB and RJ45 Asics obsolete compared to graphics cards and as a result has picked clean the GPU shelves of every consumer electronics store in America. Would going through PCI-Express with a beefy ass stratix 10 card and programming it for ethereum mining net better results per watt than GPUs?

Mining requires very little communication between CPU and GPU/ASIC. This is why you see miners use PCI-e x1 risers all the time. They throw away 15/16 of the available bandwidth because it literally doesn’t matter.

So no, PCI-e won’t make a difference because mining takes very little bandwidth. When people say that mining requires fast memory access they refer to the memory on the graphics card itself, not the connection between graphics card and RAM.

The stratix 10 cards have 32 gb of ddr4 and theoritically you could have every transistor on the card pointed at mining.

See the problem there? Computation power is irrelevant, because that’s what ASIC resistant means.

ASIC resistant algorithms effectively limit your mining performance to memory bandwidth and latency. This makes it infeasible to create custom chips (or use FPGAs), because they will all be limited by the memory anyway. So if you want to create a fast miner you’d have to create faster memory, not faster processors.

You may be able to get a little more perf/watt from an FPGA than a GPU, but don’t expect it to be much. It would be cheaper to just buy an overpriced graphics card.

geeze last time i heard about zcash it was called zifter coin. while mining can be beneficial and possibly make you some money right now i would not touch the stuff with a 10ft pole. ( etherum i can argue for but rest of coins no) would you be able to get better perf per wat with your idea possibly. just depends on how much time you spend optimizing the code for the selected coin. and note this is similar to writing a custom driver for your card and will require a lot of effort and time. so unless you are desperate and just have to join the mining craze it is possibly not worth the time and effort needed.

Did you read the rest of my comment? The memory writes on the card could possibly be faster and at a lower latency.

I did. With the board’s computation power being irrelevant all you are left with is the memory. The memory is no faster than the memory on a GPU or CPU though, sooo no point.

Again, you may be able to sqeeze out some advantage, but it won’t be much. The algorithms are designed specifically to defeat purpose designed compute chips, which FPGAs are.