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Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:32:10 +0400
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] Lyra2 initial review

On Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 05:10:49PM -0400, Bill Cox wrote:
> I found that 16 KiB block size for TwoCats is quite a bit faster than
> smaller sizes.  Dropping to 4KiB slows it down by 16%.  I think this is the
> main remaining difference in memory bandwidth between TwoCats and Yescript.
>  Alexander uses 1KiB block sizes.  That's better for GPU defense, and I'm
> not surprised Alexander prefers this trade-off.  Being mostly unfamiliar
> with GPUs, I cringe at weakening defense against ASIC attacks, and prefer
> the 16KiB size for its speed.

My preference for 1 KiB (r=8) as the recommended default for yescrypt is
mostly not because of GPUs.  It's too large a block size to help against
GPUs anyway: even Litecoin mining with its 128 byte blocks works well on
GPUs.  (On the other hand, with much higher than Litecoin's m_cost, the
available concurrency on GPUs would be lower due to limited global
memory size, and then lower r could reduce the GPU attacker's ability to
hide memory access latency.)

Rather, it is to increase reliance specifically on RAM as opposed e.g.
to an array of fast SSDs.  (And when using SSDs for defense, I do
recommend a higher r accordingly - see the PERFORMANCE-SSD file.)

Also, there's not that much speedup from going to higher r, especially
not when running multiple concurrent threads (which is the primary case
yescrypt is tuned for by default, where the concurrency may come from
either p>1 or from the machine's use of multiple instances e.g. for user
authentication).  With such setups (not the single thread benchmarks you
ran for the comparison in this discussion thread), there's slight
speedup with r=16 (over r=8), and slight slowdown with r=32 and higher.

In yescrypt, pwxform S-boxes require an extra 8 KiB (by default) of L1
cache, on top of that required by two r-sized blocks.  In TwoCats, you
don't have that, and you instead have to use larger blocks to use more
L1 cache in anti-GPU fashion.  So it makes sense that lower r is optimal
for yescrypt than its equivalent for TwoCats.  It stems from differences
in design of yescrypt vs. TwoCats, and not only from differences in use
cases and authors' preferences.


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