Digilent Arty S7 or Terasic DE10-Nano ?

Thread Starter

supertony

Joined Jan 15, 2013
24
Hi all. I am new to FPGA , I am an electronic Engineer but at my time I didn't dedicate too much time to learn it. Now, knowing that :

- I am learning ARM Cortex processor and have an ST32 board and I might be interested to discover how to interface it with FPGA chip.
- I am interested in retro gaming and emulating C64 on FPGA
- I am interested in learning how FPGA works.

What will be the best option in this case you would recommend ?
Digilent Arty S7 or Terasic DE10-Nano

Should I first start with Arty S7 properly learn it (reading a book about Verilog) and only then get some SOC with ARM/FPGA ? Will be possible to emulate an C64 architetture ? Thanks in advance.
 

tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
780
If you don't have a lot of time to learn - you should find a new hobby. FPGA learning curves are steep.

That said, I'm guessing you can do some retro gaming on them, and code is likely already available in a git repository somewhere. I don't recall much about the C64 architecture, but considering the timeframe, I would suspect that an emulator of the C64 would fit on most modern FPGA's.

I remember the first video game I ever played was on a C64. User was a mouse and you had to get all the cheese before the cat got you. It was basically pac-man. Kinda fun for a 5 year old at the time.
 

FlyingDutch

Joined Mar 16, 2021
49
Hello,

just if you want to try a simple game on FPGA today you can do it on very simple FPGA worth 7$ US. I tried to run very simplified implementation of "Breakout" game (also known as Arkanoid). I tried to run it on "Lichee Tang Nano" FPGA board wich costs 7$ at Aliexpress.com. See link to this board:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100...earchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

I described how to run this game on "Lichee Tang Nano" FPGA on polish electronics forum "forbot.pl". I hope that translation from polish to English made :
by "google translate" will be understandable for you. I also hope that giving link to tutorial on polish forum is not against rules of this forum.

https://forbot.pl/forum/topic/18642...e-fpga-elbert-v2/?tab=comments#comment-152320

The "Gowin EDA" used to syntessis of Verilog code on "Lichee Tang Nano" FPGA is free to download (you have to ask for key by e-mail).

Regarding using SoC on FPGA there is option to use so called Soft-Core CPU on almost every FPGA that has enough resources. I recommend some sort of RISC-V architecture. Very simple and easy to use is "Instant SoC" - see this link:

https://www.fpga-cores.com/instant-soc/

Concerning the choice of first FPGA board it is subjective. For example I prefer Xilinx FPGAs, but Intel also have very good FPGAs and their software tools are very good also. Yes learning FPGAs involves to spend on it many time.

Best regards
 

Gorbag

Joined Aug 29, 2020
1
On your point #1, if you are interested in how to interface an FPGA electrically to your preferred CPU you might be best served through working with small and simple FPGA chips initially such as the ice40 from Lattice which is reasonably well supported with open-source tools. However if you're more interested in the software relationship between hardware (FPGA) based and software (CPU) based approaches to algorithm design, I think you'd be best served with something from the Zynq family as that gives you both ARM cores and FPGA fabric on a single chip. The Diligent Zedboard would be an example.
 

FlyingDutch

Joined Mar 16, 2021
49
However if you're more interested in the software relationship between hardware (FPGA) based and software (CPU) based approaches to algorithm design, I think you'd be best served with something from the Zynq family as that gives you both ARM cores and FPGA fabric on a single chip. The Diligent Zedboard would be an example.
Hello,
regarding ZYNQ7000 ( Zynq-7000S devices feature a single-core ARM Cortex™-A9 processor mated with 28nm Artix®-7 based programmable logic ) currently are for sale very cheap boards from disassembled Bitcoin miners. Se the link:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100...75#235_4452#3098#9599#811_4452#3564#16062#912

This board price is 16$. I had purchased two of such boards and them are full operational. On such board you can try programming ARM Cortex-A9 together with peripherals designed if FPGA fabric in one of HDL languages (Verilog, VHDL).

Best regards
 

Thread Starter

supertony

Joined Jan 15, 2013
24
On your point #1, if you are interested in how to interface an FPGA electrically to your preferred CPU you might be best served through working with small and simple FPGA chips initially such as the ice40 from Lattice which is reasonably well supported with open-source tools. However if you're more interested in the software relationship between hardware (FPGA) based and software (CPU) based approaches to algorithm design, I think you'd be best served with something from the Zynq family as that gives you both ARM cores and FPGA fabric on a single chip. The Diligent Zedboard would be an example.
Yep I have looked also into ice40 . Thanks ;)
 

Thread Starter

supertony

Joined Jan 15, 2013
24
Hello,

just if you want to try a simple game on FPGA today you can do it on very simple FPGA worth 7$ US. I tried to run very simplified implementation of "Breakout" game (also known as Arkanoid). I tried to run it on "Lichee Tang Nano" FPGA board wich costs 7$ at Aliexpress.com. See link to this board:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100...earchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

I described how to run this game on "Lichee Tang Nano" FPGA on polish electronics forum "forbot.pl". I hope that translation from polish to English made :
by "google translate" will be understandable for you. I also hope that giving link to tutorial on polish forum is not against rules of this forum.

https://forbot.pl/forum/topic/18642...e-fpga-elbert-v2/?tab=comments#comment-152320

The "Gowin EDA" used to syntessis of Verilog code on "Lichee Tang Nano" FPGA is free to download (you have to ask for key by e-mail).

Regarding using SoC on FPGA there is option to use so called Soft-Core CPU on almost every FPGA that has enough resources. I recommend some sort of RISC-V architecture. Very simple and easy to use is "Instant SoC" - see this link:

https://www.fpga-cores.com/instant-soc/

Concerning the choice of first FPGA board it is subjective. For example I prefer Xilinx FPGAs, but Intel also have very good FPGAs and their software tools are very good also. Yes learning FPGAs involves to spend on it many time.

Best regards
Thank you. I am not polish but understand it ;)

>>Concerning the choice of first FPGA board it is subjective. For example I prefer Xilinx FPGAs, but Intel also have very good >>FPGAs and their software tools are very good also. Yes learning FPGAs involves to spend on it many time.

So Arty or Terasic won't make any difference ... Thanks.
 

Thread Starter

supertony

Joined Jan 15, 2013
24
I already have a development board with ARM Cortex maybe I can get a proper FPGA with no ARM pocessor and interface the two dev boards?
 

FlyingDutch

Joined Mar 16, 2021
49
I already have a development board with ARM Cortex maybe I can get a proper FPGA with no ARM pocessor and interface the two dev boards?
Hi,
it;s not the same, because CPU on ZYNQ-7000 is connected by fast internal bus (AXI 64-bit) with programable logic. Se ZYNQ-7000 datasheet:

https://www.xilinx.com/support/documentation/data_sheets/ds190-Zynq-7000-Overview.pdf

Regarding the choice of FPGA boards, from these two I would choose Terasic DE10-Nano (It is Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with CycloneV FPGA, and it has more peripherals). I known much better "Xilinx Vivado" then "Quartus Lite" software, but if you are green it doesn't matter for you ;)

Best regards
 

FlyingDutch

Joined Mar 16, 2021
49
Ok Thanks all. I want to choose between :
Terasic DE10-Nano and ICE40HX8K-B-EVN. 5 minute ago I purchased Lichee Tang Nano from aliexpress . ;)
Hello,
here are few links for "Lichee Tang Nano" which might be helpful:

https://www.seeedstudio.com/Sipeed-Tang-Nano-FPGA-board-powered-by-GW1N-1-FPGA-p-4304.html
https://github.com/andrsmllr/tang_nano_devbrd
https://github.com/sipeed/Tang-Nano-Doc
https://github.com/sipeed/Tang-Nano-examples
https://github.com/xesscorp/tang_nano_user

Enjoy and have fun :)

Best regards
 

Thread Starter

supertony

Joined Jan 15, 2013
24
Hello,
regarding ZYNQ7000 ( Zynq-7000S devices feature a single-core ARM Cortex™-A9 processor mated with 28nm Artix®-7 based programmable logic ) currently are for sale very cheap boards from disassembled Bitcoin miners. Se the link:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001754190244.html?spm=a2g0o.detail.1000014.4.140a18634J2Vic&gps-id=pcDetailBottomMoreOtherSeller&scm=1007.14976.192201.0&scm_id=1007.14976.192201.0&scm-url=1007.14976.192201.0&pvid=843f8a81-83fc-4b7a-b449-ad38c1704b52&_t=gps-id:pcDetailBottomMoreOtherSeller,scm-url:1007.14976.192201.0,pvid:843f8a81-83fc-4b7a-b449-ad38c1704b52,tpp_buckets:668#0#131923#0_668#888#3325#10_4976#0#192201#18_4976#2711#7538#273_4976#3104#9653#3_4976#4052#18550#16_4976#3141#9887#1_668#2846#8115#895_668#2717#7563#532_668#1000022185#1000066059#0_668#3422#15392#215_4452#0#194218#0_4452#3474#15675#235_4452#3098#9599#811_4452#3564#16062#912

This board price is 16$. I had purchased two of such boards and them are full operational. On such board you can try programming ARM Cortex-A9 together with peripherals designed if FPGA fabric in one of HDL languages (Verilog, VHDL).

Best regards
I got the board above for less than 9 euro. What tool I need to start working with it ? I would rather initially skip the ARM and focus on the FPGA part. Thanks.
 

FlyingDutch

Joined Mar 16, 2021
49
I got the board above for less than 9 euro. What tool I need to start working with it ? I would rather initially skip the ARM and focus on the FPGA part. Thanks.
Hello,

you need free version (Webpack) of Xilinx "Vivado". I you want run Linux on this board there is an image of "Petalinux". There is image for uSD card with Petalinux which can be run on this board . If you want write C\C++ programs for ARM CPU you additionally need "Vivado SDK".

See these links:
https://www.programmersought.com/article/65574959208/
https://github.com/alexlargacha/ebaz4205_fpga
https://github.com/xjtuecho/EBAZ4205
https://github.com/Elrori/EBAZ4205
https://github.com/blkf2016/ebaz4205

There are much more tutorials and materials about this board on internet.

Best Regards
 

Thread Starter

supertony

Joined Jan 15, 2013
24
Hello,

you need free version (Webpack) of Xilinx "Vivado". I you want run Linux on this board there is an image of "Petalinux". There is image for uSD card with Petalinux which can be run on this board . If you want write C\C++ programs for ARM CPU you additionally need "Vivado SDK".

See these links:
https://www.programmersought.com/article/65574959208/
https://github.com/alexlargacha/ebaz4205_fpga
https://github.com/xjtuecho/EBAZ4205
https://github.com/Elrori/EBAZ4205
https://github.com/blkf2016/ebaz4205

There are much more tutorials and materials about this board on internet.

Best Regards
g
Great , thank you. Right now I am interested to program the FPGA part and create some logic since I am reading books about verilog and FPGA and another about computer architecture/verilog, the idea is to be able to create some system like C64 ecc.. Then I want to program the ARM and see if I can setup a web server to send digital data read by FPGA part to remote clients.
 

FlyingDutch

Joined Mar 16, 2021
49
Guys sorry going cracy with those board : I found this one Mimas v2 - Spartan 6 . What you think ?
Hello,

I have this board and I like it. This is a bit outdated now and for sysntesis you need older software from Xilinx - "ISE Webpack" (also free and available). I like this board because it has helpful peripherals and SDRAM onboard. It was one of my first FPGA boards (I bought it three years ago) I like it also because it is easy to use and relatively cheap.
BTW: If you are interested in C64 emulation on FPGA - see this link:
https://www.syntiac.com/fpga64.html

Also on site opencores.org are many interesting projects - see link:
https://opencores.org/
There is many implementation with soft-cores emulating old CPUs.

Regards
 
Last edited:

Thread Starter

supertony

Joined Jan 15, 2013
24
Hello,

I have this board and I like it. This is a bit outdated now and for sysntesis you need older software from Xilinx - "ISE Webpack" (also free and available). I like this board because it has helpful peripherals and SDRAM onboard. It was one of my first FPGA boards (I bought it three years ago) I like it also because it is easy to use and relatively cheap.
BTW: If you are interested in C64 emulation on FPGA - see this link:
https://www.syntiac.com/fpga64.html

Also on site opencores.org are many interesting projects - see link:
https://opencores.org/
There is many implementation with soft-cores emulating old CPUs.

Regards
https://www.syntiac.com/fpga64.html (nice) thank you. Thank you for the info. If it's outdated I think I need to convince myself to buy Digilent Arty S7
 
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