California-based NGD Systems via its partner SSD Compute is seemingly looking to upend the Chia cryptocurrency farming market with its new computational storage device (CSD), Chia-AutoPlot CSD. Think of it like as an SSD with an integrated FPGA that auto-plots Chia and then moves it to a hard drive.
Chia is one of the newest entrants in the crowded crypto market, and it's quickly become one of the most popular. This is in part due to Bram Cohen's attachment (of BitTorrent protocol fame), alongside its "Proof of Time and Space" protocol, which claims to be a green way of dealing with blockchain security. It's said to cut power consumption requirements usually associated with Proof of Work (POW) cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and (for now) Ethereum. This is where NGD's CSDs come in.
NGD's first CSDs are designed specifically for Chia plotting workloads and look to deliver previously untapped price/performance ratios for would-be entrants to the Chia plotting and farming ecosystem.
The CSDs are available in 8TB, 16TB or 32TB capacities and automate the process of plotting, which is CPU and SSD-intensive, and farming, where your crafted plots are checked against each new Chia network block.
The company claims performance improvements from plotting parallelization, alongside increased power efficiency of their solution compared to a purely host-driven plotting and farming process. Users of NGD System's CSDs can use their hardware resources (CPU, RAM and storage) concurrently with the CSD's own computing power. An Arm-based CPU is at the heart of the CSD (NGD didn't specify which) and is able to instantiate plot creation, plot and move the finished plots absent of any user interaction. This means parallel plotting with no chance of going overbudget on your system's hardware, since the CSDs don't make any significant use of system resources.
According to NGD, there are no issues with endurance failures for their CSDs, and they use proprietary error-correction algorithms. However, NGD hasn't provided any proof of these claims.
NGD is even offering the option to purchase pre-filled CSDs, which NGD will fill with plots crafted according to the user's unique Chia credentials. That makes this a true drop-in farming product.
One could theoretically purchase a pre-plotted 32TB CSD, then choose to move the 300 pre-plotted files already on the storage, 101GB K32 plots, to their final farming destination (usually high-capacity HDDs, which offer the best GB-to-dollar ratio). You could then make use of the drives' compute capabilities to either fill it up once again or continue offloading to additional storage media.
The CSDs have a 4-week shipping window. We've reached out to NGD for pricing information.
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Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.