Spondoolies-Tech has one of the most impressive new chips on the SHA-256/Bitcoin mining scene at the moment. Their miners based on the Hammer ASIC chip have been very aggressively priced and starting at 1.4 th/s they also start at a high speed from the start.
Having read about them and seeing one up close in NYC, I wanted to know more.
I contacted Gadi Glikberg to see if I could get more information. He did large step better and got me and interview with Guy Corem the CEO of
Spondoolies-tech, was founded in August of last year by Guy Corem and a group of founders.
They come from all over the tech industry Guy himself from Intel, Boxee and Voltaire. Many of them worked in these companies with Guy in the past.
[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap] also asked about the name Spondoolies. Spondoolies is a type of shell that was used as money 5,000 years ago in Europe. It relates well to the crypto currency world.
Could you tell me about how the Hammer Chip development has gone and what challenges you faced in making it?
Guy: We started the development in August, initially we’ve aimed for 2.5 GHs. After BitFury released his 1st gen we improved the design and got to 7.5 GHs, up to 10GHs in a small QFN 8X8 package. We had to solve a lot of problems like IR Drop, etc., but we have two ASICs teams in place, filled with top talent (Spondoolies-Tech Team) from Intel, Mellanox, Broadcom, Broadlight, …
How have they dealt with the heat dissipation and power consumption issues that have been cropping up in so many other chips as the speeds increase so drastically?
Guy: We have an innovative engine with reduced toggle rate activity compared to the standard pipeline engine on top of that.
We have very strong system capabilities, our in-house guys designed communication and servers boxes in the past.
An excellent combination of ASIC + System (and software of course, our SW director is ex Google), and it shows in the results our ASIC and System has currently the best W/GHs ratio in the market. (Not to mention the best hash/volume density and fit for Datacenter deployment)
Spondoolies-Tech Hammer chips generate lots of discussion and are eagerly anticipated that is for sure. They are very fast and run cool. I got to see a Spondoolies miner at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in NYC.
Your team was able to pack it all into such a small rack mountable case. How important was it to get it into such and easy to install and use package?
Guy: We are thinking about the future of mining. It should be cheap scalable deployment methods. DC (data center) is one of them. Our customers can buy SP10 and host them wherever easily. I think that is a very innovative idea. (Another first in the market)
I also see that your pricing is very competitive instead of being price so high like many of the Chinese manufacturers. How were you able to make the units so cost effective?
Guy: We control the entire supply chain.
We manufacture in Israel and able to maintain quality. The mechanics are being produced in China and shipped by sea to reduce costs. In addition to ASIC and System design our COO – Kobi Levin is an operational wizard with a lot of experience in previous companies including Solard Edge.
Did you hand pick everyone or were you friends and colleagues before you started the company?
I’ve worked with all in the past. It is a Bitcoin company and eco-system, you do not have time for mistakes. You need to move fast, in force and do the best job you can.
Could you tell me how you got involved in Bitcoin? Were you a Bitcoin fan and user before you started the company?
Guy: The first time I was exposed to Bitcoin was in February 2011, after reading an article about it in Linux Magazine. I was blown away. I remember researching about it (including at Intel, during my work…) for days. I told myself that I must invest 10,000 Shekels ($3,000) in it but I got lazy – sending money to Japan seems hard :( And then, when the ASIC race started at the end of 2012 I thought that it is a great opportunity. We started to work on a prototype in March (FPGA) and started funding in April.
I went to SJ 2013 conference (May) with two of my lead investors and got the term sheet by June. We enlisted friends and top talent and aimed to be the #1 ASIC and mining equipment company.
We got a little late start to the game and didn’t take pre-orders with our 1st gen units.
I saw with amazement and disbelief the amount of frauds, amateurism and plain simple scammers in this field.
All this time, we’ve worked on our 1st gen and 2nd gen systems. When it was ready, we started to sell it with very satisfactory results.
I greatly respect companies like yours that deliver on time and do not do drawn out pre-orders that never deliver as Butterfly Labs and KNC.
Guy: We do take pre-orders for the 2nd gen, but we 100% we’ll deliver on time and on spec.
We are using the same engine, just doing process shrink.
We won’t take pre-orders for the 3rd gen since its higher risk – a completely redesigned engine. We are taping out this week.
0.34 W/GHs at the ASIC level
0.43 W/GHs at the system level both on the ASIC and on the System level
Very efficient DC2DC design 28nm not 20nm :)
We’re manufacturing at Flextronics Israel.
They are an excellent company. Did you know someone there?
Guy: In previous companies, our team members (Kobi) manufactured several products there SolarEdge, Voltaire, etc. We have an excellent working relationship with Flextronics.
I have heard you have big things in the works is there anything you can tell me about now?
Guy: A few things. We have two ASICs teams; One just completed our 2nd gen and will start to work on Scrypt ASICs soon (to be released in Q4). The other ASIC team is working hard on our gen3; Gen3 will be 28nm ASIC and also will be released in Q4 with much more ambitious specs.
That is an excellent timetable. With the faster specs will heat be more of a problem?
Guy: No, it’ll have the same package and thermal as the 2nd gen but at a much higher hash-rate an much reduced cost :)
It’s a design to compete and win in the 1,000 PH/s era (2015) We want to be able to offer 0.2$/GHs solution to our customers with 0.1W/GHs. We are not there yet, but I’m confident in our team ability to achieve it on 28nm.
Regarding Scrypt it is too early to quote specs just that, again, we’re aiming to be the market leader.
How has bitcoin affected your life and the way you view currency?
Guy: I’m using mobile wallet and searching for places in Tel Aviv that will accept it
I am a true believer.
This is why I’m looking at what KNC is doing as horrible
I really want to help distribute the hash-rate as much as possible to strengthen the eco-system we’ll blast KNC into oblivion and their mine will become obsolete.
Guy Corem and the Spondoolies-Tech team have a clear picture of what they want to do and the know how to do it. Their results with their current mining hardware show that.
They also have Adam Back onboard as well working on side chains. I will be speaking to him in the near future as well and will share with you all what he has to say.
I am really impressed with Spondoolies as a whole.
I have spoken to Matthew Carson of Minersource who recently got a tour of Spondoolies-Tech and said,
Matthew: I am very, very impressed with their operation.
He has seen several manufacturers facilities and I have not heard him be so strongly affected before which gives me an even better outlook on Spondoolies-Tech.
The future looks very bright indeed not only for Spondoolies but also their customers who will see on time deliveries and higher speeds at better prices. With more things in the works for the near future it is a win for us all.