Good Starter FPGA Boards

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by crazyengineer, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. crazyengineer

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    156
    2
    Hey everyone!

    I'm interested in learning about using FPGAs and VHDL. I thought I could build my own development board like you do with microcontrollers, but I learned FPGAs are much more complicated then MCUs. So I decided I'll just buy and use my own. Can anyone recommend an FPGA that's

    1) Beginner orientated
    2) Cheap (50-100) dollar range.

    Thanks!
     
  2. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    6,357
    718
    Not in that pricerange, no.

    If you add a zero (or two!) to your price ranges, then there are a few. Take a look at Xilinx. You can download their development and simulation suite for free, so you can do everything but have the board and programmer. :)
     
  3. guitarguy12387

    Active Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    359
    12
    Sure!

    I keep meaning to pick up a few of these for myself:

    http://www.xilinx.com/products/boards-and-kits/AES-S6MB-LX9.htm

    Spartan 6 is pretty beefy too. You will easily be able to learn a lot about vhdl/verilog and FPGAs on it. Though you have to find something to interface it to since there's not much more than a few switches/LEDs on that board :)

    Heck, you can learn HDL by downloading webpack for free and using ISim. You really don't even need a board. Though it is admittedly much more gratifying :p
     
  4. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    6,357
    718
    When did you guys sneak that out?

    Maybe I've not seen it because I am looking for speed and lots of I/O when looking for FPGA stuff.

    What are the next two steps up? Employer has all your toys, but none were cheap.
     
  5. guitarguy12387

    Active Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    359
    12
    Haha yeah, I'm not too sure myself. I just discovered it about a month ago! It's an avnet board, which I'm less familiar with. Just saw that it has quite a bit of DRAM too and an ethernet PHY. Could be a real fun platform with microblaze. Not as many toys as on the bigger boards, though.

    Yeah I agree, it's quite hard to justify getting one of the bigger parts for home tinkering :)
     
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