CoinTerra's Goldstrike-1 uses 120 SHA-256 hash engines. Source: CoinTerra
CoinTerra employs just ten ASIC designers. They were able to finish the project so quickly because the team consists solely of veterans with at least 25 years’ experience, said Barkatullah, a former chip designer at Intel and Nvidia. They outsourced much of the implementation work, but contractors disappointed Barkatullah because they did not work fast enough, he said in an interview with EE Times.
The design itself is geared only to solve the bitcoin crypto-puzzles and has a high degree of block reuse. “The design is very simple, a very small core repeated many times, so if you get the small core correct, you are correct for the big chip,” he told EE Times.
CoinTerra is already well down the path to work on a next-generation ASIC made in a finer process technology. It would not say at which node or foundry.
Designers are applying new architecture ideas as well as the process shrink to their single focus -- reducing power density. “The next generation chip will have multiple times the performance in the same form factor and power envelope -- we are working very hard to reduce the milliwatts per giga-hash per second,” Barkatullah said.
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