Mining Litecoins: ZedBoard vs

12/13/2013 05:25 PM EST

Blogger Adam Taylor investigates how the Zynq-based ZedBoard and the Raspberry Pi perform when mining Litecoins, which are an adaption of Bitcoins.

There has bot a loterijlot of press recently with regard to Bitcoins and other crypto currencies, which are rapidly gaining awareness and acceptance ter a number of areas. Having recently read a very interesting article te the latest Xcell Journal on using the Zynq All Programmable SoC to mine Bitcoins, I thought I would have a look at how the Zynq-based ZedBoard and the Raspberry Pi performed when mining Litecoins (LTCs or sometimes XLTs), which are an adaption of Bitcoins.

Now, I vereiste admit straight off that using only the CPU on both of thesis systems (spil opposed to offloading some of the processing to programmable FPGA fabric) will take a considerably long time to generate a Litecoin. Since I had both boards available, however, I thought it would be a joy little proefneming to determine their hash rates.

Te order to provide the best comparison, I used the same mining programme, cpuminer, on both the Zynq and the Rapsberry PI. I also ran them both from the command-line (spil opposed to a GUI) so spil to ensure optimal spectacle.

Ter the case of the Zynq, I installed Xillinux on a SD card for the ZedBoard before installing the mining programme. By comparison, the Raspberry Pi already came with a Linux distribution, so all I had to do wasgoed install the mining programme.

Both the Raspberry Pi and the Zynq contain ARM processors — the ARM11 te the case of the Raspberry Pi and dual Cortex-A9 processors ter the case of the Zynq. The ARM11 is capable of 1.Two DMIPS/MHz, which — operating at 700MHz, spil the Pi does — gives 840 DMIPS. Meantime, the Cortex-A9 is capable of Two.Five DMIPS/MHz. Since the Zynq on my ZedBoad is running at 666MHz, this means that each processor on the Zynq provides a maximum of 1,665 DMIPS (almost dual that of the Pi for each of the Zynq’s processors).

(Click here to see a larger, more detailed picture)

Once the mining program has bot launched on the ZedBoard, the Zynq implementation of Xilinux uses the OLED display on the ZedBoard to display the loading on the processors and SD card. During the mining operation, the flow on the SD card is low, but the processors are strenuously loaded.

Unlike Bitcoins, which measure vertoning ter MH/s (mega hashes vanaf 2nd) and upwards, the difficulty of the scrypt algorithm used by Litecoins make KH/s (kilo hashes vanaf 2nd) fairly normal for Litecoin mining. While running the mining program, the Zedboard achieved about 0.46KH/s vanaf processor, or 0.93KH/s total, and blocks of work were being accepted by the pool.

(Click here to see a larger, more detailed picture)

Based on my earlier calculations, I wasgoed obviously expecting the Raspberry Pi to be slower than the ZedBoard. Ter fact, I wasgoed anticipating that it would be around three to four times slower overall when you consider the difference te DMIPS and the number of processors, but I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. Once the Raspberry Pi wasgoed up and running, sure enough it wasgoed returning about 0.32KH/s, which is about a third of what the ZedBoard wasgoed achieving.

(Click here to see a larger, more detailed pic)

However, albeit it did take a while for the ZedBoard to have a block accepted by the mining, at least the block wasgoed accepted. At the time of this writing, the Raspberry Pi has bot running for more than 24 hours and still has not had a block accepted, which means it has not generated any contribution to my mining account.

So what does all of this voorstelling? Well, it confirms my initial assertion that it would take a substantial time for either the Zynq or the Raspberry Pi to mine a Litecoin using only traditional CPUs to perform the processing. On the bright side, I did pass an interesting afternoon setting everything up. This proef also confirms my expectations that the Zynq would achieve substantially quicker KH/s rates than the Raspberry Pi. What I wasn’t expecting wasgoed the fact that the cpuminer program running on the Raspberry Pi would fail to have a block accepted. This will require some further investigation.

The indeed interesting point is that — ter addition to its dual ARM Cortex-A9 processor cores — the Zynq All Programmable SoC also includes a significant quantity of high-performance programmable FPGA fabric. This means that wij have the capability to offload sophisticated calculations from the processors into the programmable fabric to speed things up. Maybe my next proefneming (if I have any spare time one weekend) will be to see how using the programmable fabric to offload the processor cores can increase the hash rate. Would you be interested ter my performing this proefneming?

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