[Coco] OT: What's the best FPGA/PLD for hobbiest projects?
jdaggett at gate.net
jdaggett at gate.net
Fri Sep 2 21:07:57 EDT 2005
I have the D2FT 300K board with IO-5 and happy so far. I paid $219 fo rthem and
they are one sale for $150. A very good buy. Almost all the reports I have h eard
about the Spartan 3 developemnt boards are great.
Most FPGAs use SRAM to store data for configuration. Thus lose power to the chip
and you have to reprogram from either another MPU, a configuratin ROM, or
download from your computer. Lattice makes Flash based FPGAs. I also believe
CPLDs are EEProm internal configuration and therefore are not brain dead. These
are limited to about the equivalent of 6400 gates. While FPGAs have now exceeded
over 2 million gates equivalence. The bigger the device the more it cost. Xilinx's
Virtex line can exceed $1000 for single unit. Yet the 36 macrocell CPLDs are as low
as $2 single unit price.
Most vendors have free software. Xilinx and Altera are probably the better. Newer
versions of Lattice Software needs to be reloaded every 6 months. All vendors
require a registration to be able to download the free software. All will work with
VHDL and Verilog. Some will also accept ABEL which is used to progrma some of
th eolder legacty PLDs like PAL chips or what is called SPLD ( Simple Programable
I have become fond of XLINX. Besides these groups are good for getting info on
how to and advice:
What is nice is that some of the field application engineers for Altera and Xlinx
frequent the groups and respond to some issues. There are others that are helpful.
Good to just read and pick up bits and pieces of knowledge.
On 2 Sep 2005 at 13:45, Jim Cox wrote:
From: "Jim Cox" <jimcox at miba51.com>
To: <coco at maltedmedia.com>
Date sent: Fri, 02 Sep 2005 13:45:20 -0700
Subject: [Coco] OT: What's the best FPGA/PLD for hobbiest projects?
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> I have a non-CoCo related project that I have had in the
> back of my mind for some time now, and now that some major
> home projects are winding down, I may have time to look
> into it.
> I'd like to get some opinions about what FPGA/PLD's those
> of you out there that work with them prefer to use. I
> would also like to find some low cost or free development
> tools (VHDL or Verilog) and would appreciate any
> recommendations you may have.
> I am looking at the Pegasus development board from
> www.digilentinc.com. Anyone have any experience with
> If you feel it's best to post off the list, feel free to
> send directly to me. Thanks!
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> Coco at maltedmedia.com
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