Earlier this year, Spondoolies-Tech blew me away with their SP10 Dawson Bitcoin ASIC Miner. The SP30 Yukon is the successor to the SP10 and follows the same path of attention to detail. The build quality is top of the line and the underlying software is meticulously coded to provide both the best performance and ease of use. The hardware is also engineered down to the minute details, which has manifested in many improvements from the SP10 beyond a simple speed increase.
Specifications: SP30 Yukon
Effective Hash Rate: 4.5 TH/s ± 5%
Chips: 28nmTotal 30 Spondoolies-Tech Rocker ASICs
Hash Rate: 200 GH/s per chip, with a wide range of overclock/down clock options
Controller: TI Sitara 1GHz (based on Beagle Bone Black)
Controller Board OS Linux (embedded)
Mining Software: cgminer with custom plugin
Form Factor: 2 U rack mountable (mounting ears required)
Network: Single 10/100 Ethernet port
Fans: 4 X 80 mm
Power Supply: 2 x 1200 W
Power Consumption: 3000 watts
This time around, the shipping gods paid me back for the BTC Garden being banged up. The SP30 arrived very fast, Gadi of Spondoolies-Tech told me it was shipping on the 2nd I had it on the 5th. DHL took excellent care of the SP30 as it arrived in perfect shape. Spondoolies-Tech uses all cardboard packing which keeps “your baby” safe and secure. Included in the SP30 box, this time, are adapter cables for those of us who use 110v. You can match up your cables accordingly. They can also be used with 220v PDUs through the direct plugin.
Setup is very simple and similar to the SP10. You can type in myminer.io and it will show you the ip address and other info about your miner. There will also be a direct link to login. This setting saves time when you have multiple miners and don’t want to hunt down ip addresses. Once in the dashboard, I first recommend you put in an administrator password. Always protect your miners when you can with whatever is available. On this panel you will find the familiar screen for clocking, network, admin and ssh PW as well as timezone, backup and factory restore. There is also a box to send device data back to Spondoolies-Tech so they can aggregate data and push out improvements.
The pools page is simple and easy to use, just like MinePeon. Setup your pools and click ‘save,’ it is as simple as that. There is a simple firmware upgrade as well. New versions will prompt you to upgrade. Spondoolies-Tech is one of the top in the industry. They are always working hard on optimization of firmware. For my tests, I ran the SP30 on 110v for the main tests and also for a shorter 16 hr test on 220v.
Spondoolies-Tech had announced before the SP30 shipped that it was not able to hit the predicted 6 th/s as there were some technical issues to deal with on the new chips. Instead the SP30 can hit 4.2 th/s on 110v and 4.5 th/s to 4.6 th/s on 220v. With custom tweaking, you can get close to 4.8 th/s but the fans run full out and the temps get a bit high, ending up at 90+ Celsius on the back end with 32 Celsius on the inlet. On BTC Guild, I normally see at medium setting on 110v 4.2 th/s stable and the only drop in hashrates were seen when the temps were too high. On 220v, it worked solid at 4.5 th/s for me until day time as my mining area with 220v gets warm during the day. On 110v it runs stable 24/7 at 4.2 th/s.
The SP30 is another masterpiece of mining hardware now tucked into a 2U rack mountable chassis. It’s reminiscent of the SP10 but without the high pitched whine that the SP10 had. Spondoolies-Tech has been upfront about their failure to reach the advertised 6 th/s and they are working on compensation plans for customers. In the meantime, Zvi Shteingart, the SW Director, and the rest of the team are hard at work on both optimizing the SP30 and 3rd gen devices. I was able to interview him, and he gave me a different perspective on the development of mining hardware.
What challenges did you have to prepare for the SP30 code wise? I know Guy said you were working more deeply on optimization?
Actually, it was much easier than SP10 because of three reasons: the FPGA does the ntime-rolling, so the FW has much less timing constrains; We have DC converter per each ASIC, and not one per 8 like in SP10; and we have all the experience of SP10. We shipped first 10 units to clients in 1 week from the day we got the ASICs from the factory, 4 days after we got the first miner from Flextronics assembly line. The hard part is that now every wasted 1% is about 50GH. So if SW looses 2-3% because of stale shares, it is 100-150GH for the client – so you have to use 100%. The real challenge is, of course, on the HW side – this is a system that works 100% of the time at 100% utilization, at temperature around 100c, with ASICs set to maximal frequency at minimal voltage. What other HW works like that?
What kind of advances have you been able to implement over the SP10?
We can get better utilization of each ASIC because of the dedicated DC converter.
The new ASICs were not responding quite the way predicted how were you able to change the firmware to improve the performance?
It is very important to find the minimal voltage that supports the maximal frequency per our constrains. The scaling algorithm found the optimal point to be at higher voltage point then what we expected, so we knew right away that the corner was slow, before we got the factory sheets. And that is why the efficiency is lower and for same 2900 watts we get less hashing power with this batch.
Could you tell me a little bit about your background and what brought you to bitcoin?
I have worked in several startups as well as in big corporates like Google, Intel and PMC, working mostly on distributed and real time systems.
I had been working with Guy for a few years before Spondoolies in several start-ups and Intel, in a team that worked on phone CPUs. I always trusted his foresight. When he told me about the opportunity to join him in such a competitive market about one year ago, I knew I wanted to be there.
How has bitcoin changed your life?
Well, I sleep a lot less, but it is fun. I am working on three generations of our product at the same time; I don’t think I would do that in any other company. SP10 went on the market six months ago, and it became end-of-life after four months. That is crazy. The competition is so strong and dynamic, if you stop for one month you can be out of the game.
What kind of advances do you think you and your team can make on the SP30 with the current chips?
I don’t expect much to change. The miner is supposed to do one thing, and do it well, fast, in a stable way, for a long time at competitive price. No need to add bells and whistles to it. We concentrate on stability, uptime and support.
Is there any feedback you need that the community can provide?
The community always reaches me when there are problems with their miner, and that enables me to fix the code for everyone, so the miner knows how to handle more and more complex scenarios. That is good.
Is there anything you would like to share or you think I missed?
I think that with the difficulty slowing down, the market will change, and people will want their miners to work for a longer time than before. People will not buy a miner for a 3-4 months, like first Avalon miners, but for a year and more. A miner is an expensive investment – today a good miner costs like several good laptops and people are starting to understand that they want to get a high-quality product, with proper support and a place they can go to if they have problems with that investment. That is where we try to differentiate ourselves from the competition.
The SP30 Yukon is an excellent miner that combines ease of use with pure power. It worked for me at 4.2 th/s on 110v or 4.5 th/s or better on 220v at less than 3000 watts, which is a good power to gh/s ratio. On 110v, the SP30 is pulling 2640W between the two PSUs. Noise-wise it can get loud when the fans kick up. At its loudest in my main mining room, the miner hits 76 dB but at normal operation it ran at 67dB. Still not a miner you would put in your living room despite looking like it belongs there. The SP30 uses negative pressure to pull the air efficiently over the boards and heat sinks. Spondoolies-Tech has lowered the prices for the SP30 while maintaining the quality that is expected due to the hashrate drop. The SP30’s simple rack mount system is great for network racks. Included are the front ears and a pair of ears for the rear as well if you are using a four post system. I look forward to their 3rd gen Bitcoin ASIC miners as well in the future. Currently, the best bang for your Bitcoin is the Spondoolies-Tech SP30 Yukon followed closely by the Bitmain Antminer S3.
Disclosure: SP30 was provided to review by Spondoolies-Tech.