All Things IT: Why the idea of FPGA Bitcoin Mining is stupidAn argument is made as to why the higher cost of FPGA hardware should not be an acceptable alternative for Bitcoin mining. Excerpts:
General processors have lower startup costs (dedicated ATI GPU’s for example) and higher operational costs due to power consumption, FPGA’s have a higher startup cost (~$60-$100 per chip currently at 100 Mhash/sec) with a lower operational cost. 6990 Break Even Point: 1 Year, 1 MonthFPGA Break Even Point: 2 Years, 7 Months
There’s a revelation at the end of the article that isn’t shared here as to not be a spoiler.
What wasn’t considered were the indirect costs – heat removal systems, repair or replacement of failing graphics card hardware and the constant, high-pitched noise.
Any one of those might lessen the sting from an FPGA’s higher cost, but add all of them together and the two options become overall much more equal. If the mining profitability continues to deteriorate the break even levels can cause FPGA to tip the scale even – though GPU miners are likely to drop off before that happens.
Written on 30 Aug 2011.