# looking to get back into FPGA boards & microcontrollers

#### blah32

Joined Feb 4, 2012
2
I think this is the right place to ask.

I'm a computer engineer, but I haven't done embedded systems stuff in a few years now. I am looking to get back into it on my own time. I am looking for a modern FPGA board, possibly with attached micro-controller. Just wondering if you have any suggestions?

I used Spartan 3 years ago, it was alright, but anything similar would be good. Don't know which brand is the best, so brand isn't that important. Price range is a few hundred dollars.

Thanks

#### PaulEE

Joined Dec 23, 2011
423
I think this is the right place to ask.

I'm a computer engineer, but I haven't done embedded systems stuff in a few years now. I am looking to get back into it on my own time. I am looking for a modern FPGA board, possibly with attached micro-controller. Just wondering if you have any suggestions?

I used Spartan 3 years ago, it was alright, but anything similar would be good. Don't know which brand is the best, so brand isn't that important. Price range is a few hundred dollars.

Thanks
I've been working with spartan 3a chips at work lately. The jtag programmer is about $100 and the breakout board with power supply is$100 or so from sparkfun (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8458 )...xilinx lets you download the dev. environment for free. Pretty decent, too.

#### guitarguy12387

Joined Apr 10, 2008
359
You didn't say exactly what you needed it for, but i'd also look at the LX9 Microboard.

#### blah32

Joined Feb 4, 2012
2
Thanks for the suggestions.

I don't need it for anything in particular, I just want to mess around with stuff and get back into it. First would be verilog coding of hardware that I would want to run on the FPGA, and test through different ports. Then later, I could use a microcontroller to make some more complex systems.

#### guitarguy12387

Joined Apr 10, 2008
359
Well if you're lookin for a lot of gadgets to play with, i'd go the Spartan 3 or Spartan 3E route. They can be had from digilent for ~100-200 bucks with more than you could ever ask for haha!

However, if you're looking to use Microblaze, you'll need an EDK license which doesn't come with webpack. I think you get an EDK license with the LX9 board from avnet, though.

If you're just looking to learn/brush up on HDL, you can get quite far with nothing more than webpack download of ISE. You will learn more faster running simulations anyway because you can really dig into your code easier. And the RTL/Technology schematic viewers are extremely useful for learning and debugging.