It happened, ever since last month when Josh from Butterfly Labs let slip that a developer unit of their new 5 GH/s ASIC bitcoin miner might be on its way to me I have had trouble sleeping. I have spent the days watching the courier van come and go, my friends, family and co-workers have even noted to me how down I look.
I had begun to think that Josh and Butterfly labs were running some cruel geek version of the classic Pavlov's dog experiment on me.
That was until yesterday when I received a call saying that there was a package for me that has been sitting in the courier depot since the 2nd of May.... 12 days ago!!!
I don't know how or why, but despite the big sign outside the company I work for (pictured below, Integral Limited, second one down) at 99 Sala Street the FedEx guys did not seem to have been able to find me and this poor ASIC miner had been sitting there gathering dust.
I was not about to get into recrimination though, my heart had literally speed up just hearing the news so I jumped into my car and raced (at a safe 50 km/hour) the 5.7 kilometers to the depot where it has been sitting patiently for me all of this time.
The box was nondescript, not at all like the fancy boxes that I had seen photos of when Dave from codinginmysleep.com received the first demo unit last month on the 20th and apart from my address (correct address that is) there were a few hand scrolled notes on it saying "?Who" and "Where at 99?" (I later found out it was one of their standard boxes, assembled inside out).
I was not expecting anything else though, and the Butterfly Labs logo on the top was a dead giveaway. Barely stopping for breath I handed over my ID, signed the docket and I was on my way back to plug it in.
In my mind there was only one host to plug it into, my Raspberry PI running the development version of MinePeon that had been sitting on my desk faithfully running a ZTEX single core FPGA (that now sits discarded in the corner) that a client had lent me for MinePeon development for over two months without interruption. I quickly striped the peon down, put it on a small coffee table with the BFL ASIC, plugged it in and set it to work.
I have put a lot of work into MinePeon as a ASIC host so I was really hoping that it would work first time so I was pleasantly surprised that in the 10 to 15 seconds that it took me to sit back down at my desk it had booted, detected the BFL 5 GH/s miner and was mining!
Within a few minutes the hashrate had stabilised and my first Butterfly Lab ASIC (or my first bitcoin ASIC of any sort) was running at 5.4 GH/s, a full 12.5% faster than the advertised rate. The graphs on the MinePeon user interface told the story better than anything else.
At the current difficulty of 11,187,257 the hashing output that it is generating of 5.4 GH/s equates to 0.2428 BTC per day, or \$25.92 US Dollars.
The account I used was an old account at Slush's pool, these days I only run a few miners on it and they are old GPU's in machines that sit about in my office doing very basic tasks like word processing and spreadsheets, my notebook is in there too though (for the little that it is worth).
Soon Slush was reporting similar numbers to what the miner was saying, it was averaging about 5.4 GH/s.
In the 24 hours since then it has not missed a beat. It seems to be happy to use about 44 watts all up including the Raspberry PI and while it is warm to the touch the core is only running at 61C. To my great surprise it was only using 1.2% CPU as well.
Stay tuned to find out more as I delve deeper into the workings of this device in the next few days.
As a final word, I would just like to say thank you to Josh and Butterfly labs, both from me and all of the MinePeon users that have been eagerly awaiting this device.
P.S. I will be releasing a new version of MinePeon in the next few days, the first fully ASIC tested release ever!