Cryptocurrency Mining: Why Use FPGA for Mining? FPGA vs GPU vs ASIC Explained

It’s been more than a year since we switched from GPU mining to FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) mining. Why did we choose FPGA over other hardware? Why use FPGAs for cryptocurrency mining?

FPGA Guide
Jun 27, 2019 · 5 min read
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Why should I care about FPGAs?

On June 2018, we stumbled across the renowned whitefire990’s bitcointalk article. The claimed numbers were too good to be true and it would be a loss not to try them ourselves. Wanting to test them out without having to invest a lot of money, we proceeded to try FPGA mining via AWS (Amazon Web Services).

After successfully trying FPGA mining on AWS, it did prove a critical point.

The results were astonishing. After discovering that the VCU-1525 only consumes 80–90 Watts with 300Mhz clock speed, we quickly realized that there was an unfulfilled potential here. The FPGA mining card, VCU-1525, can run certain algorithms 6–20x faster than GPU while consuming the same amount of power!

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Subsequently, we decided to jump on the FPGA mining train 🚂

In today’s market condition, FPGA can make roughly $12/day. — June 21, 2019

What is an FPGA?

CPU is a digital circuit which has a general purpose of running multiple tasks/things, and we usually build software to run on the CPU. Unlike CPU, FPGA is a blank digital circuit. All you have to do is to design the digital circuit and the FPGA will behave accordingly. In other words, you have control over the hardware.


Let’s make an analogy!

Let’s say that you have a task of mowing the lawn and are looking for the most efficient tool to utilize.

First, let’s take a look at a GPU. GPU is a toolbox with a set of random tools such as a screwdriver, wrench, hammer, etc. Not all of the items inside are useful but luckily, the box consists of a few items such as scissors, machete, and hand-held grass cutter, which can be used for lawn mowing. It provides you with a lot of options, but they are not the most efficient.

Second, you have an FPGA. FPGA is a LEGO engineering kit. You can build a lawnmower with this kit, which takes more time and more effort to build. However, FPGA can finish the lawn mowing faster than GPU. Once you’ve finished with the lawn mowing, you can create another tool using this kit.

Last but not least, is an ASIC. ASIC is a lawnmower. Technically, it’s the best tool to mow the lawn. Fast and easy to use. However, there’s no other use for this tool besides lawn mowing. Hence, if you decide to do other gardening tasks such as watering plants, you will have to buy a new tool. In other words, you will need to buy a new ASIC to mine other coins.

Continuing the explanation above, let’s take a look at this table:

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ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit)

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)

FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)


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FPGA has several advantages; such as being faster than GPU and more flexible than ASIC, meaning FPGA can be very profitable mining coins that are ASIC-resistant. Therefore, FPGA shouldn’t compete with ASIC, but with GPU.


So, why don’t you switch to FPGA? Let us know! — Team

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Your guide to FPGA Cryptocurrency Mining

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