Squirrels Research Labs’ Acorn FPGA Accelerators Start Shipping After Delays
Squirrels Research Labs (SQRL), a part of the Squirrels Inc. along with Squirrels LLC, announced an FPGA accelerator called “Acorn” that fits in the M.2 (same as nVME drives) form factor and designed to operate both standalone and in conjunction with GPUs . This can be something that will give GPU miners the added edge they need in the ever-tightening mining game… but it does not come without a cost.
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Let the Unboxing Begin
The CLE-215+ we have for the upcoming review costs $329 USD. While not cheap, the projected bumps in performance and power savings can be quite worth it. With a nest they can even be stacked.
After many delays, we received ours the evening before Thanksgiving and finally got to unbox just now. While we are just setting up now and will follow up with our full review from Bitsonline Labs in a few days, here are some of our first impressions a couple images along with the specs.
The Road To Acorn
A bit of background as we start. On June 1st of this year, SQRL announced they were building the FPGA Accelerators for GPU mining on BitcoinTalk. Like most long time miners we were interested, and have several FPGAs we test and use.
This was something a bit different being proposed, in a newer form factor. The Acorn style FPGA was something we were familiar with from the PicoEVB and NanoEVBs that had been announced in late 2017. They can still be found on Crowdsupply. It was great to see them ported to the cryptocurrency and mining world.
With an aggressive shipping projection for the end of the summer, many people were hopeful it could be met — due to the hardware already being out in the wild. But as with everything good, delays happen — mostly in the supply chain, from what info we’ve been given. While they are late, they are starting to arrive. Many of them should start hitting most of the batch one orders the week of November 26th, and some people should be getting them already as well.
The shipping delays definitely caused tension in an already battered mining community worn out by so many scams over the years, so we will be keeping a tight eye on how shipments to everyone go out.
Several well-known and trusted miners other than just myself have ordered as well, so we should see some verification soon outside of Bitsonline. Our communications with Tom at SQRL have been good and open, unlike with some organizations. We will send them some questions during the review for the review so they can share some of their insights into how this whole process went for them.
If things work, the FPGA Accelerators may be a way to extend the life of your GPUs and also be put to work doing others things as well. They are great FPGAs after all.
From the BitcoinTalk Announcement Thread that Started the Interest
The first version to be released has 4x high speed PCIe lanes to communicate between the system/GPUs as well as 512MB or 1GB of onboard DDR3 along with a 100k+ LE or 200k+ LE FPGA of high speed grade. They named it the Acorn, and the three models are the CLE-101, CLE-215, and CLE-215+.
The specs on-board are quite beefy, all while fitting into the M.2 slots on most newer main boards. Some of the boosts in hash rate and reductions in power consumption projections are listed in the screenshot from their website. We will be testing to see if we can reach these numbers in the coming days.
SQRL has its own optimized mining client with no developer fee, which is also supposed to be optimized as well. We’re looking forward to trying out these FPGA Accelerators — it has been quite an anticipated wait for them while difficulties have kept growing and coins’ values have fallen. Hopefully they live up to their potential.
Let us know your thoughts below and if you have any questions you would like us to ask SQRL for our review, please submit them in the comments section. Look for the review in the coming days.
Images via Squirrel Research Labs