Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

The AKASHA project is dubbed a next-generation social media network powered by the Ethereum (ETH) world computer and embedded into the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS). It is a project that we’ve been keeping an eye on along with a few similar projects for crypto powered social media platforms and today we got an invitation to check out the latest Alpha version of the AKASHA. It seems however that the alpha has been out for a while already and it seems to be open for everyone interested to check it out, so the email we got was more a kind of reminder that we need to check the status of the project. It seems that the project already has a couple of thousand users and posts with more joining in to give it a try all the time…

We need to start with the fact that AKASHA does not work in your browser, like the similar in concept project Steem for example, instead you need to download and run an application to get access to the network. There are versions available for Linux, Mac and Windows users available, so all major software platforms are pretty much already covered. If you are interested in giving AKASHA a try you might want to head on to their GitHub page where you can download the latest alpha release. There are two separate versions available for each platform, one with an installed and one that is in a Zip archive that you can extract and run directly.

Since AKASHA is based on Ethereum when you first run it and install it you need to wait a bit for it to synchronize, no do not worry it does not need to download the complete Ethereum blockchain from the start or something, though you may still need to wait a couple of minutes while you connect to some peers and get things moving forward.

Once you synchronize AKASHA you will need to create a new identity or essentially a profile on the network. You need to enter a First Name, Akasha ID and a Passphrase as a requirement, the Last Name field is optional and you have some more optional details that you can enter as well is you want to like an short about you or extra links, you can also set an Avatar and a Background image to use. Later on you will be able to edit your Profile details, only the username and password are not available to be changed and there is no password recovery, so make sure you don’t forget your password, even though we are not sure if identities from the Alpha will be available for the launch of the network.

This is the window that welcomes you as soon as you finish with the registration and long in with your profile and is essentially your user interface for accessing the AKASHA network. You may need some time and a bit of tinkering to explore the currently available functionality, even though we are going to show you some of the most basic stuff here anyway. Do note that since this is still an Alpha version of the project not all features are available and working and the whole thing is also running on the testnet for the moment. By default you are being shown the latest posts tagged with the akasha tag, if you want to see the latest publications just switch to the Latest Entries.

The menu is on the left side, starting with a link to your profile page and a number showing the amount of tokens you have available. This is another important part of the whole project, it not only runs on the Ethereum blockchain, but also uses Ethereum tokens to reward users that post content on the network. Since it is still in Alpha the project uses AETH or the so called AKASHA ETH tokens instead of actual ETH tokens and you apparently start up with 5 AETH. As a test token it does not have any value outside the purpose of testing AKASHA, so feel free to spend it voting for posts while you explore the functionality of social network.

Posting content on the AKSAHA social network is one of the key aspects just like with any other social network, as well as reading and voting for content posted by other users of the network. The idea here however is that you get rewarded for your contribution if other users decide to support you with their votes, unlike with traditional social networks where you don’t get rewarded. Posting something is really easy, you start by writing a title of your posts and a content that can be composed of text and images and you can save for later it as a draft or publish it directly.

Before your post appears on AKASHA there are a few more details that you need to add some relevant tags to make your post easier to be found for a certain topic that it covers as well as choose a License for the post. Now, here is the interesting part, on AKASHA you get to choose what type of licensing you want for the content you post… it can be All rights reserved, or Some rights reserved as well as No rights reserved where you get to decide if it is under CC or Public Domain license. Retaining copyright over all your posts or some of them or having everything published and available under Creative Commons license, it is all up to you. The idea is that once you publish something it is not like it you waive all copyright over the content by default, you get to decide and that also gets stored along with your post.

Do note that actually publishing a post on the network does require you to spend some gas for the transaction on the network, so you will essentially be spending some AETH now to do that (ETH in the future). So it is not only earning up, but also spending some tokens to actually use the AKASHA network and “expenses” like these are intended to stimulate users to focus on interesting and useful “good quality” content and not post just about anything they think of. Not sure how many of you actually remember that originally ETH was intended as a crypto token to be spend for executing transactions on the Ethereum network and not to work in the same sense like a more traditional crypto coin such as Bitcoin does for example.

When your post is up you can vote for it as other users can also vote for your post. You can of course also vote for other users posts and you get to decide how much your vote will be worth… the more worth the more AETH you will spend and the more the respective users will get. There is also the option not only to Upvote, but also to Downvote content, however once you vote Up or Down you are not able to retract your vote for that post or change your decision.

You can browse posts by tags, look at the latest publications, or search for posts (cannot yet search for people on the network). You can browse among the users of the network and look for the ones to Follow or see who is Following you, there is a functionality to just tip users directly as well instead of just giving them votes should you decide that you want to do that. There is even a built-in chat in AKASHA, though at the moment there is just a single official channel for the Alpha release. You can of course create your own channel as well, but it will be available for 24 hours and after that all the messages inside it will disappear.

This is pretty much the basic functionality you have available in the current Alpha version of AKASHA, there are more features and functionality on the way as not everything is already implemented. The basic functionality is already there and it works pretty well in our opinion and with some more extra features and improvements this project will have some nice potential. What you will probably notice however is that some things related to posting or reading data may take a bit of time before they finish, this is something that needs some more work is well as nobody likes to wait.

This is an Alpha version of the project and you should remember that should you decide to give it a try at its current state, so things should get better for the final release. The fact that you need to use software that you download and run on your computer to access the AKASHA network might be a bit of inconvenience as compared to other similar projects that you can access directly from your Internet Browser. Aside from slower early adoption this should not prove to be such a problem later on if the project catches on and attracts a lot of user attention and one of the most attractive points here are the rewards for the users of the AKASHA network.

One more thing that needs addressing at the moment is regarding rewards for users that may not have that great and interesting things to post and get a lot of votes for their content or that actually want to contribute in ways different than posting themselves. Getting rewards for good comments or just for voting for interesting content has shown to work well with other similar projects, but here this is not being rewarded. Attracting users initially is one thing, but keeping them on the long run is completely different and for that to happen you need to engage them in different aspects of contributing and communicating with each other, as well as rewarding them for that, especially when the rewards play a key role in the project’s idea.

If you are interested in more details you should just check out the Alpha of AKASHA here…

Time for another group of tests of the newly released GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition video card by Nvidia. This time we have used the latest released of the ccMiner 2.0 RC2 fork by Tpruvot in order to test how all of the supported algorithms perform on the new GPU. Do note that not all of the supported crypto algorithms by this miner may be performing the fastest, so you should use the results as a reference if comparing results from 2.0 RC2 release only. We have managed to successfully test the hashrate on most of the supported algorithms by this miner, though we still did have trouble making some of them work, but that is to be expected with a new GPU release…

We have used ccMiner 2.0 RC2 by tpruvot in benchmark mode with all of the default settings for intensity on all algorithms supported by the miner. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GPU was running at the default 100% TDP or with other words a Power Limiter at 250W, though on the Founders Edition GPUs you can increase it by up to 20% all the way to 300W (mind the cooling though). The tests were performed on stock operating frequencies of the video card with the fan set at 100% in order to keep the GPU cool and prevent thermal throttling (dropping of the boost frequency) because of high temperature that might be reached with auto fans.

As you can see in the table with performance results above we have posted the hashrate and the power usage for each algorithm tested (if the test has successfully passed). The power usage values are the ones reported by the video card itself only and are based on its TDP limit, not the actual values measured at the wall (these will be higher). The algorithms pushing the 250W TDP limit might be able to benefit from a power limit increase, though you might want to be careful with that in terms of being able to properly cool down the card. On the other hand forcing the TDP limited down might bring significant power reduction with a little sacrifice in terms of hashrate thus giving you better performance per Watt than the stock settings.

With the BMW algorithm we got an error at the default intensity of 21, and we’ve had to decrease it down to 15 in order to make it work, resulting in very low hashrate. With Cryptonight we got an error at the default intensity of 10.75, but down to 10.25 it worked and you can see the result in the table. With the Jackpot algorithm we also got an error at the default intensity of 20, however lowering it did not seem to help at all and the same thing also applies to the Quark algorithm. With the Wildkeccak algorithm we had trouble making it work properly in benchmark mode due to the specifics of the algorithm needing a scratchpad file.

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the latest addition in Nvidia’s lineup of high-end gaming GPUs, but here we are more interested in another aspect for using these video cards – crypto mining. Tomorrow, March 10th, the sales of the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti should start priced at $699 USD, though initially there will be only Founders Edition models only with availability of non-reference designs expected to start showing for sale in April. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is based on GDDR5X memory clocked at 11 GHz, so the memory timings might not be the best for memory-based crypto algorithms, but the serious number of CUDA cores is there to compensate in terms of performance. Do note that the TDP of the new cards is set at 250W, though we expect that you should be able to lower the Power Limit a bit and get a better results than at stock settings.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Specifications:
– Graphics Processing Clusters: 6
– Streaming Multiprocessors: 28
– CUDA Cores (single precision): 3584
– Texture Units: 224
– ROP Units: 88
– Base Clock: 1480 MHz
– Boost Clock: 1582 MHz
– Memory Clock: 5505 MHz
– Memory Data Rate: 11 Gbps
– L2 Cache Size: 2816K
– Total Video Memory: 11264MB GDDR5X
– Memory Interface: 352-bit
– Total Memory Bandwidth: 484 GB/s
– Texture Rate (Bilinear): 331.5 GigaTexels/sec
– Fabrication Process: 16 nm
– Transistor Count: 12 Billion
– Connectors: 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI
– Form Factor: Dual Slot
– Power Connectors: One 6-pin, One 8-pin
– Recommended Power Supply: 600 Watts
– Thermal Design Power (TDP): 250 Watts
– Thermal Threshold: 91° C

We have managed to do some quick testing of the new GTX 1080 Ti and the results do seem promising. Starting with the currently more profitable algorithms on NiceHash and benchmarking with their NiceHash Miner that uses various fast performing miners (the miner used is noted after the algorithm). Not all of the latest and highest performing miners may be included, so we also ran some additional tests using the Claymore ETH miner that managed to provide a stable hashrate of about 31.8 MHS with stock settings of the card as well as the latest EWBF CUDA miner that managed to squeeze a bit more at about 625 H/s from the GTX 1080 Ti.

You can use these numbers as a reference, including the expected daily profitability if selling the hashrate form a GTX 1080 Ti on NiceHash that their miner also reports. Hopefully we are going to be able to run some more benchmarks in the next couple of days and play around to see what the GPU is capable in terms of overclocking, though with the pretty high boost frequency and a TDP of 250W you should not be expecting a lot more at least from the Founders Edition version that is launching first. Do note that properly powering and cooling six of these GPUs in a mining rig is not going to be as easy as with GTX 1070 Founders Edition for example that consume much less power and are a much more popular choice by miners using Nvidia GPUs.

Do note that with the launch of the GTX 1080 Ti, Nvidia is also going to have a new pricing for the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition and GeForce GTX 1080 partner boards that will get a bit more cheaper. There is no word on reducing the prices of the GTX 1070 as well however. Furthermore two new models with higher clocked video memory should be available soon, the GeForce GTX 1080 with 11 Gbps along with the already available 10 Gbps model as well as GeForce GTX 1060 9 Gbps along the already available 8 Gbps versions. The faster memory variants might be of interest especially for the miners that are into mining crypto currencies based on algorithms that are more memory dependent such as ZEC or ETH for example.