Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about Squirrels Research Lab products

Acorn

Acorn is the first ever cryptocurrency mining accelerator card. By using a best-in-class Xilinx FPGA chip in an M.2 slot, Acorn offloads and performs the least GPU efficient parts of cryptocurrency mining.

  • What is Acorn?
  • Acorn is a small form factor, low power, high performance accelerator built around a Xilinx FPGA.

  • How does Acorn work?
  • Acorn offloads compute-intensive portions of mining algorithms from your GPU to a power-efficient, high performance FPGA core. This allows your GPU to mine more efficiently with higher hash rates or less power.

  • What is required for Acorn to work with my system?

  • Acorn requires an available M.2 M Key PCIe 2280 slot or a suitable M.2 M Key adapter card in a traditional PCIe slot. M.2 B Key SSD or M.2 B+M Key SATA slots are not compatible with Acorn. Ensure your M.2 slot has adequate space for the width of Acorn and enough clearance above for the Acorn heatsink. If your M.2 slot is located below a PCIe card, you will likely not have adequate space for Acorn and its heatsink.

  • How many Acorns do I need?
  • Acorn requires adequate PCIe bandwidth available to each GPU it accelerates. Many different combinations can be utilized, ranging from several GPUs per Acorn to multiple Acorns per GPU. The ideal configurations vary depending on the algorithm you mine and the amount of money you want to spend to achieve optimum mining levels. The combinations below are several common examples but are not exhaustive.

    Mining only Ethash or CryptoNight V1 on low- to mid-power GPUs (RX560, RX570, etc)

    · Good - One Acorn CLE-101 per four GPUs
    · Best - One Acorn CLE-101 per two GPUs

    Mining only Ethash or CryptoNight V1 on high-power GPUs (Vega 64, 1080ti, etc)

    · Good - One Acorn CLE-101 per four GPUs
    · Better - One Acorn CLE-101 per two GPUs
    · Best - Two Acorn CLE-101s per GPU

    Mining core-intensive algorithms (Lyra2REv2, X16r, etc) or dual mining Ethash and a core-intensive-algorithm (on high power GPUs)

    · Good - One Acorn CLE-215 for each GPU
    · Best - One Acorn CLE-215+ for each GPU
  • What CPU do I need to use Acorn?
  • If you are only interested in dedicated mining on Acorn or Acorn-assisted GPU mining, you can run up to two Acorns per CPU core. If you have a high-powered CPU (Intel i7, Intel i9 or AMD Ryzen Threadripper), Acorn can also accelerate your CPU for certain algorithms such as CryptoNight V1.

  • Can I run Acorn via USB or on a riser?
  • Acorn does not work as a USB device. PCIe risers that utilize USB cables are compatible.

  • Does Acorn work with PCIe 1.0 and PCIe 2.0?
  • PCIe 1.0 is supported in x4 or higher configurations. PCIe 2.0 is supported in x1 configuration for Ethash and CryptoNight V1 and x4 configuration for all other algorithms.

  • Can I use a x16 to Quad M.2 riser to host multiple Acorns?
  • Yes. If your motherboard supports bifurcation (x16 to 4/4/4), you can use a Quad M.2 M Key adapter such as the Asus Hyper M.2 x16 Card.

  • What miner do I use with Acorn?
  • At launch, Acorn will work exclusivity with SQRL Miner. We'll provide an SDK and API documentation later this Fall for other miners to integrate Acorn support.

  • How much system RAM do I need to use Acorn?
  • It is recommended to have at least 512MB of system RAM per Acorn-accelerated GPU.

  • How big is Acorn?

  • Acorn is 23mm wide x 80mm long x 30mm high, including the heatsink. If your M.2 slot is located under a PCIe slot with a GPU, Acorn likely will not fit due to its height. Many motherboards provide adhesive thermal pads to attach below SSDs in your M.2 slots. Because of the additional components on the lower half of Acorn, you should not use these pads. Acorn should fit comfortably in most M.2 slots, but it is one millimeter wider than the official specifications. Ensure you have width clearance.

    If Acorn won't fit, consider our alternatives for hosting Acorn:
    - In a compatible PCIe M.2 M Key adapter
    - In the SQRL Dual M.2 + USB-Based PCIe Riser Host Board (Coming Soon)
    - In a Quad M.2 M Key adapter
    - Let Mineority host it for you

  • Can I load my own bitstreams on Acorn? How do I develop for Acorn?
  • Yes. Acorn includes a JTAG connector to load your own bitstreams. A step-by-step tutorial will be released prior to the first Acorn shipments. If you would like to develop bitstreams, Contact Us.

  • I'm a miner developer, how do I integrate Acorn into my miner?
  • SQRL will be publishing a complete SDK for developing with Acorn later this Fall. If you would like to add Acorn off-loading accelerator support to your miner software, Contact Us.

  • Is there a developer fee to use Acorn?
  • No. SQRL Miner is fee-free and can work with any Stratum-compatible pool of your choice.

  • What motherboard, CPU and GPU should I use with Acorn?
  • We will be publishing a series of in-depth blog posts that will give detailed attention to these questions. However, most mining hardware is adequate for utilizing Acorn's capabilities.