An Ultimate Guide to the Acorn FPGA GPU Mining Accelerator 6620

Introducing the Acorn

A couple of months ago, mining firm Squirrels Research Lab announced the creation of Acorn, an FPGA GPU mining accelerator.

While high-performance GPU’s are the best solution to mine algorithms like X16r, or Lyra2Rec2, they lack optimization for several tasks that exist in the algorithm chain. Because of this, GPUs will mine at much lower hash rates, hence leaving a lot of room for improvement. Until now, the common choice when faced with this issue was to replace the GPU with an FPGA, yet programming bit streams are bound to take a lot of time.

Fully optimizing the mining code on FPGA requires all code, for all algorithms to be written by hand. Additionally, this also implies larger hardware costs, associated with building FPGA rigs, as using a GPU on an FPGA board isn’t possible.

Acorn fixes this issue by providing miners with an FPGA capable of making the GPUs hash faster, with a much lower time and money investment.

How it Works

Here’s the short version of how the Acorn GPU mining accelerator works:

It is a small FPGA capable of fitting into the M.2 slot present on your motherboard. Thanks to plug-n-play functionality, once it has been plugged in, the Acorn will increase the GPU hash by approximately 30MH/s for algorithms that are memory intensive – think CryptoNight V1 or Ethash.

fpga acorn

For less intensive algorithms like Monacoin, Ravencoin, X16r, or LyraREv2, the Acorn can provide an additional 60 MH/s,

From a technical standpoint, GPUs are effective when working on tasks that constantly change, whereas FPGAs can effectively split tasks into functions, and replicate them. With this in mind, the accelerator basically makes the job easier for the hardware by organizing computing tasks – which are therefore split into processor-intensive and memory-intensive tasks that are then offloaded accordingly.

Check out the Acorn product page for more estimations on hash-rate, power usage, and acorn usage, for the CLE-101, CLE-215, CLE-215+ and Dual CLE-215+ devices.

fpga chart

Hardware Compatibility

To run the Acorn, miners will need a motherboard that supports M.2 2280 M-Key (PCIe) slots, which are generally used to connect SSD’s to the motherboard. Squirrels Research suggests doing a hybrid form of mining that uses the GPU alongside the Acorn FPGA – in other words, you need at least one graphics card and one Acorn. Do keep in mind that the Acorn is 1mm wider than the official specifications, so check whether there is enough clearance room on your motherboard for the device to fit.

In terms of system requirements, the hardware supports Windows 7 and above, alongside Ubuntu 16.04 and above.

Future Perspective

acorn

Squirrels Research believes that the Acorn will extend the life of mining GPUs. Additionally, the company has a future-oriented philosophy. Based on this, as new algorithms and coins become relevant, the accelerator will adapt. SQRL products have an open community, which means that developers will likely create new bit streams that they’ll share with others.  Additionally, the SQRL developers have promised to actively make performance optimizations for the chip.

Production Roadmap

According to the company, the first commercial batch of the Acorn mining accelerator will be available at some point in September. Yet, reports indicate that this batch has already been exhausted, therefore customers can pre-order from the batches available in the next three months.

Developers are trying their best to make the accelerator plug-n-play regardless of the motherboard being used. Additionally, Squirrels Research has confirmed that manufacturing facilities are ready to kick-off timely production of the product. In other words, the device is just about ready to be manufactured and sold as soon as the pre-order period is finished.

Where to Pre-Order

acorn 215+

At this moment in time, the device is available for pre-order on SQRL and Mineority. While the websites offer the same prices and likely share the same stock, it is important to point out the fact that Mineority accepts digital currencies only, whereas SQRL also accepts traditional payment methods.

According to David Stanfill, the President of Squirrels LLC, “We are handling all CE, FCC, RoHS, and other certifications as well as ITAR and export compliance, so we will be able to ship to all non-US embargoed countries. Taxes and import duties will fall on the purchaser. We will be offering at least a 90-day warranty”.

 Should You Buy?

should you buy

Because the Acorn accelerator is completely new on the market, it hasn’t been tested accordingly until now. With this in mind, MH/s estimates are to be taken with a grain of salt. In case you do not mind risking $300ish USD on the device, then, by all means, purchase it. On the other hand, if you want to be sure that the accelerator is worth it, simply wait a few more weeks until other miners have had enough time to test out the product and determine its true value.

Based on everything that has been outlined so far, the Acorn FPGA GPU Mining Accelerator could be a game-changer for miners throughout the world, by offering a noticeable MH/s increase with a minimal investment.

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Daniel Dob
Daniel is a digital currency expert, writer, consultant and investor. He has five years of experience with the crypto market, and is now in the process of kick-starting his entrepreneurial career. In his free time, Daniel enjoys traveling the world, and collecting thrilling experiences.

ICON Introduces Staking, New Roadmap, ICX Staking Calculator: Everything You Need to Know 27135

icx staking calculator

The ICON (ICX) Foundation has been hard at work pumping out updates before the year close.

The last 24 hours have been especially exciting with the release of the highly anticipated Yellow Paper Part 3 which outlines ICON’s Incentives Scoring System (IISS). An artificial intelligence (AI) based assessment system that accurately measures a users contribution to the ICON Network.

But that’s not all, a new and improved ICON Development Roadmap aims to both highlight project achievements as well as improve engagement with users.

ICON Incentives Scoring System (Staking) Explained

The philosophy of the ICON Network is embodied by the Delegated Proof of Contribution (DPoC) governance model. It creates an environment that encourages innovation and progress through unbiased and quantifiable reward policies.

With such a model in place, each network participant can be assured that their contribution is immutable, provable, and fairly weighted against that of another ICONist.

Each ICONist also has the right to delegate their contribution to whatever entity they see fit. This system has been designed to motivate each individual to act in accordance with traditional economic principles, where those that contribute most to society are rewarded accordingly.

iconist examples

Staking ICX is required in order to receive rewards. No minimum amount of ICX is required to stake. Everyone who holds ICX is an ICONist. Delegating your ICX to Reps, EEPs and DApps is how you receive rewards. Rewards are dictated by Reps (C-Reps and P-Reps).

How do you stake?

ICON hasn’t released technical details as of yet.

Is there a lock-up period?

As of right now, there doesn’t seem to be a lockup period.

What is an active staker?

An active staker as an ICONist that participates in all of the staking sectors in
the ICON network (Rep, EEP and DApp) and adjusts when necessary.

Active stakers will be able to earn more rewards than passive stakers.

What is a “passive” staker?

An example of a “passive” staker would be one who stakes all their ICX to
P-Rep A, EEP A, and DApp A, only.

An Illustrative example and ICX Staking Reward Calculator

Illustrative example icx

Updated ICX Roadmap (Stablecoins, STO Smart Contract Support)

The new and updated roadmap is a huge step forward towards transparancy and overall community engagement. ICON has been well known to “underpromise and overdeliver“, and they truly didn’t dissapoint.

Similarly to projects like Cardano (ADA) the new ICON (ICX) roadmap has moved away from date-based deadlines towards a more interactive format.

icx roadmap

Users will be able to track each specific task as they progress through four key milestones – research, development, stabilization, and complete.

An unexpected twist in the development of the ICON Platform are the additions of a Stablecoin as well as support of “Security Token Offerings“. An STO is similar to an ICO. The ICON Platform is already capable of launching ICO’s, but the addition of STO support could prove to be the next big thing in 2019 for token offerings.

icx Stablecoin sto

The next roadmap update is scheduled for January 31, 2019.

With so many new developments in the works, it is safe to say that underpromise and overdeliver is looking to start off the new year with a bang.

South Korea Push for Major Cryptocurrency Adoption: ICON (ICX) Fundamentals Are Moving Forward 14317

icon icx

There’s no doubt that South Korea has become one of the leading countries in cryptocurrency adoption. A relatively small, yet tech-savvy population combined with government backing is setting up South Korea as the central hub for blockchain innovation for years to come.

South Korea’s highly evolved cryptocurrency regulatory framework, as well as exchange infrastructure, will lead the way, a report published by Cindicator confirms.

These projects and their eventual success are obviously a great indication of what crypto believers in the country feel the new technology could do in the future.

South Korea’s largest blockchain project ICON (ICX) is poised to lead the way.

Build it and they will come. This has been the motto for ICON throughout 2018. Building in a bear market has not been an easy task for any project. Every step is thoroughly scrutinized by disgruntled investors and even the biggest achievements get swept aside due to ever dropping market sentiment.

While a lot of projects went dead silent and many of them will close doors due to lack of funds, ICON’s treasury management has been proven to impressive with most of its ICO raised funds still in cold storage.

Experience The Future of Seoul

ICONLOOP currently partners with Seoul to launch the pilot for its blockchain platform. The goal – transform Seoul into a smart blockchain-based city.

icx phone

ICON has continued to recruit world-class talent, build and expand their reach with business-to-business partnerships within South Korea. Partnerships with Line, Samsung, and even government-backed blockchain projects, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. ICON has been busy at work setting up the pieces for long-term success.

ICONLOOP Receives the ‘Minister of Science and ICT Award’ as Blockchain Industry Leader in Korea

ICONLOOP

LINE, Smilegate, Kyobo Insurance, Seoul City Government, Jeju Island, these are just a few recent examples of ICON’s recent progress. Every partnership, business deal and private blockchain implemantation through ICONLOOP should be viewed as a potential use case for the public ICON (ICX) network. They all work towards the same goal – interoperability.

Analysing ICON’s ICO Funds

A member of the ICON Community Alliance (HX57) has been kind enough to share his analysis on the current state of ICON’s ICO funds below (Note: These are just estimations based on publicly available information, feel free to conduct your own due diligence).

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