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Discussion Groups | FPGA-CPU | Standalone system

This list is for discussion of the design and implementation of field-programmable gate array based processors and integrated systems. It is also for discussion and community support of the XSOC Project (see http://www.fpgacpu.org/xsoc).

Standalone system - Frank Kujawski - Jan 12 8:37:00 2003

Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
here:
I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
program it and interface to it, possiably with some memory? All for a
hackers budget?
Frank





Re: Standalone system - Perez Ramas, Javier Basilio - Jan 13 10:07:00 2003


Take a look to the XESS Development boards at http://www.xess.com

Jaba

> -----Mensaje original-----
> De: Frank Kujawski [mailto:]
> Enviado el: domingo, 12 de enero de 2003 14:37
> Para: List Serv
> Asunto: [fpga-cpu] Standalone system > Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
> here:
> I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
> is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
> program it and interface to it, possiably with some memory? All for a
> hackers budget?
> Frank > To post a message, send it to:
> To unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
>
>
> ">http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/ >





Re: Standalone system - Martin Schoeberl - Jan 13 11:20:00 2003

look at http://www.jopdesign.com/board.html
A module with flash, ram and serial interface and an io extension with
ethernet.

Martin
----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank Kujawski" <>
To: "List Serv" <>
Sent: Sunday, January 12, 2003 2:37 PM
Subject: [fpga-cpu] Standalone system > Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
> here:
> I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
> is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
> program it and interface to it, possiably with some memory? All for a
> hackers budget?
> Frank > To post a message, send it to:
> To unsubscribe, send a blank message to:

>
> ">http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/






Re: Standalone system - hadi khani - Jan 14 2:31:00 2003

Hi,

go to www.altera.com and have a look at Excalibur A1
chips and EV boards.

Bye
--- Frank Kujawski <> wrote:
> Being new to this area, I have no idea where to
> start, so I am asking
> here:
> I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have
> thought up.
> is there a standalone fpga system that includes all
> that is needed to
> program it and interface to it, possiably with some
> memory? All for a
> hackers budget?
> Frank >
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been
> removed] >
> To post a message, send it to:
>
> To unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
>
>
> ">http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/


__________________________________________________





Standalone system - Frank Kujawski - Jan 12 18:48:00 2003

Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
here:
I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
Is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
program it and interface to it, and possibly with some memory? All for a
hackers budget?
Frank




Re: Standalone system - Perez Ramas, Javier Basilio - Jan 30 9:49:00 2003


Take a look to the Xess development boards (http://www.xess.com), they've some interesting ones

Best regards,
Javier Basilio

> -----Mensaje original-----
> De: Frank Kujawski [mailto:]
> Enviado el: lunes, 13 de enero de 2003 0:49
> Para: List Serv
> Asunto: [fpga-cpu] Standalone system > Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
> here:
> I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
> Is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
> program it and interface to it, and possibly with some
> memory? All for a
> hackers budget?
> Frank > To post a message, send it to:
> To unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
>
>
> ">http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/ >




_____________________________
 Free pdf download: What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory.


Re: Standalone system - ben franchuk - Jan 30 13:45:00 2003

Frank Kujawski wrote:
> Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
> here:
> I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
> Is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
> program it and interface to it, and possibly with some memory? All for a
> hackers budget?
> Frank

What kind of computer are you planing to build?
Building a computer FPGA,CPLD or just TTL takes
up a lot of design work for the whole system.

There are several places one the web that sells
prototype FPGA boards like here
http://www.burched.com.au/bedalterabase.html

Some people have opted to design a FPGA system
from scratch like here http://www.spies.com/~dgc/pdp8x/

Building a CPU is interesting do on a hackers
budget because you have the cost of desiging the
CPU and the cost of a scratch built computer
around it. Programing PROMS/EPROMS/Config Roms
are another got ya if you are not careful.
Don't forget you often have to write or modify
software for your *GREAT* design.

How ever the advantage of rolling your own
is you can any design you want however I
don't recomend building a HAL-9000 on your first
try. Several people are building classic computers
from the 1950's and 1960's so they can still play
with the blinking lights.
http://www.spies.com/~dgc/pdp4x/

Finding the hardware is the easy part,
however good design takes a long while to finish
because you need to learn how to program the
hardware. Low cost/free FPGA software only
runs under windows and needs a license update
every few months, and is around 50 to 150 megs
to download.

While this seems alot of work, remember you can
work at your own pace and budget. Most computer
design is still by paper and pencil and that
is where you will spend most of your time.

While I have a small computer in a FPGA
with 32kb of memory and a serial port in a
small plastic box, I plan to build a large
computer with a slightly different cpu
(TTL) and make a PC clone. None of the Intel
trash in my COMPUTER :) Right now I am working
on the mother board and front panel.
I plan to add a static memory card with eeprom and
a serial port. Once all that work then I build the
large console so it looks massive and then finaly
the cpu cards. I hope to be done next year at
this time. Some time after that mass storage
and a paper tape punch and reader. A big project
yes, but what I allways wanted in a computer.

Good luck with your design.
Ben.
PS. Long live 12 bit computing. {grin}




Re: Standalone system - Tommy Thorn - Jan 30 13:56:00 2003

Frank Kujawski wrote:
> Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
> here:
> I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
> Is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
> program it and interface to it, and possibly with some memory? All for a
> hackers budget?

Well some of the hackers I know have budgets that makes a small country
green with envy but I digress ;-)

While there are many good boards out there it's hard not to recommend
Xess' XSA-100, partly because it's well designed, documented, and
supported, and partly due to its features: Xilinx Spartan II (alas only
an XC2S100), 16 MB of SDR SDRAM, flash, VGA, PS/2, parallel port, and a
CPLD.

However before hacking Verilog I recommend that you write simulations of
your architecture in your programming language of choice. At least a
functional simulatior (interpreter for your ISA) and a system simulator
(emulating faithfully the pipeline(s)). Not only is in much easier to
debug and evaluate a software model, but it's *SO* much easier to verify
the logic if you have software models to compare against.

Good fun,

Tommy



_____________________________
 Free pdf download: Introduction to Embedded Systems.


Re: Standalone system - Tommy Thorn - Jan 30 14:24:00 2003

ben franchuk wrote:
> Building a CPU is interesting do on a hackers
> budget because you have the cost of desiging the
> CPU and the cost of a scratch built computer
> around it. Programing PROMS/EPROMS/Config Roms
> are another got ya if you are not careful.
> Don't forget you often have to write or modify
> software for your *GREAT* design.

Yup, tools like assemblers, debugger, and especially compilers, seems to
be the bane of many homegrown designs. As long as you stay resonably
close to RISC, LCC is easy to adapt, but good luck for anything fancy,
like a data flow machine or a parallel graph reduction machine [1] :-) > Finding the hardware is the easy part,
> however good design takes a long while to finish
> because you need to learn how to program the
> hardware. Low cost/free FPGA software only
> runs under windows and needs a license update
> every few months, and is around 50 to 150 megs
> to download.

That's a littttle exaggerated:

1) The Xilinx Web Pack is all I use and it's a free download.
In the two years I've been playing with FPGAs there has only
been one update and I didn't strictly have to get it.

2) A student edition of ISE <something> can be had cheap by buying
Wakerly's Digital Design, a good book BTW.

3) The command line tools from Web Pack can be run on Linux under Wine,
but you better have a Windoze install running first so you can figure
out which command line options to use.

I choice a different route, I installed Cygwin, made a project with the
Web Pack IDE, boiled it down to the minimal set of files and wrote a
Makefile, the essence of which is:

xcompile:
rsync -qe ssh --delete -av . xp:/c/FPGA/MyProject/.
ssh xp 'cd /c/FPGA/MyProject;make build'

build:
xst -quiet -ifn __projnav/main.xst -ofn main.syr
ngdbuild -quiet -dd 'c:\fpga\myproject/_ngo' -uc main.ucf -aul -p
xc2s100-tq144-5 main.ngc main.ngd
map -quiet -p xc2s100-tq144-5 -cm speed -pr b -k 4 -c 100 -tx off -o
main_map.ncd main.ngd main.pcf
par -w -ol 5 -t 1 main_map.ncd main.ncd main.pcf
trce -quiet -e 3 -l 3 -xml main main.ncd -o main.twr main.pcf
bitgen -f main.ut main.ncd
xsload -port 1 -b xsa-100 -format hex -fpga main.bit

Thus I edit and `make' on a Linux box, which copies over the files to a
Windows box, builds everything, and flashes the end result. (The
commands and options was extracted from the scripts that the Web Pack
IDE produce).

Regards,

Tommy

[1] Lennart's Big Word Machine would be a fun exercise:
http://www.md.chalmers.se/~augustss/




Re: Standalone system - ben franchuk - Jan 30 15:09:00 2003

Tommy Thorn wrote:

> Yup, tools like assemblers, debugger, and especially compilers, seems to
> be the bane of many homegrown designs. As long as you stay resonably
> close to RISC, LCC is easy to adapt, but good luck for anything fancy,
> like a data flow machine or a parallel graph reduction machine [1] :-)

I have been using a well hacked version of small-C
for compiling stuff. Someday I plan to have dual floppies
on my computer and want a compiler that fits!

> That's a littttle exaggerated:
{snip}
> 3) The command line tools from Web Pack can be run on Linux under Wine,
> but you better have a Windoze install running first so you can figure
> out which command line options to use.

Lets not scare the guy to death now. :)
{snip}

> Thus I edit and `make' on a Linux box, which copies over the files to a
> Windows box, builds everything, and flashes the end result. (The
> commands and options was extracted from the scripts that the Web Pack
> IDE produce).

Good way of doing it! Note I use the OTHER fpga brand and
am stuck in windows. I also need to find a nice free schematic
drawing and pcb layout progams too since I am using ttl.

> [1] Lennart's Big Word Machine would be a fun exercise:
> http://www.md.chalmers.se/~augustss/

I looked at and can't make hide nor hair of the details. I never did
like abstract math. But it does look like a fun machine.
Reminds me of a LISP machine I cpu on a chip I read about once.
Ben.





Re: Standalone system - Tony Burch - Jan 30 16:49:00 2003

Hi Frank,

You may wish to consider the B5-X300 from BurchED.
Or the B5-Super-Value-Pack bundle with B5-X300 and a
selection of plug-on modules, which is a platform suitable
for FPGA-CPU prototyping.
http://www.burched.biz/b5xsvp.html
http://www.burched.biz/products.html

One of our objectives is to keep our prices low, to make
the units affordable for students, development labs, and
hobbyists (we don't neglect hobbyists:) ). The B5-X300
board has the 300K gate Xilinx XC2S300E on it, which
is the largest device supported by the free Xilinx Webpack
software, which is an excellent toolset. Because the
software is free, thanks to Xilinx, the cost of getting
started is only the hardware cost.

And with the B5 modular system, you can select
only the resource and I/O modules that you need,
or that your budget will allow. Very flexible.

Wishing you much fun with your new CPU prototyping.
It's and excting area that you have just entered!

Best regards,
Tony Burch
http://www.BurchED.biz
FPGA boards for System-On-Chip prototyping and education

> Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
> here:
> I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
> Is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
> program it and interface to it, and possibly with some memory? All for a
> hackers budget?
> Frank > To post a message, send it to:
> To unsubscribe, send a blank message to:

>
> ">http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/ >






_____________________________
 Free pdf download: What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory.


Re: Standalone system - Ed Corter - Jan 31 21:00:00 2003



a while back I posted some info on how to construct a 'home brew'
FPGA development board. Here is a link to a couple of pictures: hope they might inspire sombody. The board depicted has a XCV600 BGA 300 somthing. Using 27 mHz input clock and the DLL's to double to 54, all tested desigs have run without problems.

In order to achieve this stable operation, special technique was used for wiring the vcc's and ground. This can be seen in the pictures.
http://ca.geocities.com/artiedc/files/1.jpg
http://ca.geocities.com/artiedc/files/2.jpg

Feel free to email me any questions.
http://ca.geocities.com/artiedc/

Ed
---------------------------------




Re: Standalone system - Martin Schoeberl - Feb 3 12:39:00 2003

I can't resist to write some AD for my board:

Altera ACEX 1K50 FPGA
128 KB Ram
512 KB Flash (for configuration data and program memory)
MAX7032 PLD to load configuration from Flash
Byteblaster connector
watchdog (with LED)
serial line driver (MAX3232)

as module to plug in a board with your own peripherials or use
baseio extension:
EMI/ESD protected digital in/out and analog input on big connectors
voltage regulator with wide input range
Ethernet interface with CS8900

More info (and schematics) at: http://www.jopdesign.com/board.html

The ACEX FPGA is big enough for a CPU design. My Java Processor (JOP) runns
on this board.

Martin

One more word: Could this be spam? Does someone ask this question to promote
a product?
Absolte the same question was sent on January 12, 2003.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank Kujawski" <>
To: "List Serv" <>
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2003 12:48 AM
Subject: [fpga-cpu] Standalone system > Being new to this area, I have no idea where to start, so I am asking
> here:
> I would like to prototype a CPU design that I have thought up.
> Is there a standalone fpga system that includes all that is needed to
> program it and interface to it, and possibly with some memory? All for a
> hackers budget?
> Frank > To post a message, send it to:
> To unsubscribe, send a blank message to:

>
> ">http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/







Re: Standalone system - Martin Schoeberl - Feb 3 13:00:00 2003

> In order to achieve this stable operation, special technique was used for
wiring the vcc's and ground. This can be seen in the pictures.
> http://ca.geocities.com/artiedc/files/1.jpg
> http://ca.geocities.com/artiedc/files/2.jpg
>
Cool!!!
You'll get the golden solder iron :-)

Martin




Re: Standalone system - Tommy Thorn - Feb 3 22:10:00 2003

Martin Schoeberl wrote:
> I can't resist to write some AD for my board:
>
> Altera ACEX 1K50 FPGA

But there are no free tools for Altera, is there?

> One more word: Could this be spam? Does someone ask this question to promote
> a product?

In my humble opinion, no. As long as it doesn't go overboard, I'd
imagine that most readers of FPGA-CPU would be very interested in
hearing about available FPGA boards. I am definitely interested (esp.
anything with a XC2S300E and 16MB+ DDR or SDR SDRAM).

/Tommy





Re: Standalone system - Jan Gray - Feb 3 22:22:00 2003

> One more word: Could this be spam? Does someone ask this
> question to promote a product? Absolte the same question was
> sent on January 12, 2003.

No, an error on my part.

Only members can post to the list, and even new members' first posts are
moderated to preclude joining the list just to spam it. Thus for new
members, there is a delay from when their message is sent, to when I get
around to OK'ing the message and explicitly unmoderating them.

In this case, the new member sent his message and must have sent it a
second time when the first did not appear to get through immediately.

I approved the one message but forgot to delete the second one from the
list approval queue. Recently I visited the queue to approve another
such new member message, and I mistakenly approved the second copy of
the original message.

Jan Gray, Gray Research LLC
fpga-cpu list moderator




Re: Standalone system - Dries Driessens - Feb 4 2:36:00 2003

Tommy Thorn wrote:

>Martin Schoeberl wrote: >>I can't resist to write some AD for my board:
>>
>>Altera ACEX 1K50 FPGA
>>
>>
>
>But there are no free tools for Altera, is there?
>

No free tools for Altera? Maybe not for EVERY Altera device, but it's
the same story as with Xilinx...

You can check out the Quartus II Web Edition @
http://www.altera.com/products/software/pld/products/quartus2/sof-quarwebmain.html?xy=sups2_quawe



_____________________________
 Free pdf download: Introduction to Embedded Systems.


Re: Standalone system - Martin Schoeberl - Feb 4 2:58:00 2003

> Martin Schoeberl wrote:
> > I can't resist to write some AD for my board:
> >
> > Altera ACEX 1K50 FPGA
>
> But there are no free tools for Altera, is there?
>
There are two free tools for Altera, both supporting the full family of
ACEX. Max Plus II and Quartus Web edition. And for synthesis you can use the
free Altera OEM Leonardo.

I've used Leonardo with Max Plus for years and it was ok for me. Now I'm
switching to Leonardo and Quartus, because Quartus also supports the new
Cyclone devices (the whole family) in the free version.

Martin




Re: Standalone system - Robert Brookes - Feb 4 8:34:00 2003

Well, since you asked...

My company will be making two FPGA development boards available soon, one
based on Stratix (www.microtronix.com/products/stratixdevkit.html) and one
on Cyclone (www.microtronix.com/products/cycldevkit.html). Interestingly,
in regard to the question about the tools, our Stratix board will come with
a full year license for Quartus II (the Cyclone board includes Quartus Web
Edition). All pricing and features are available at the links above; I
wanted to keep this reasonably brief!

For those using embedded operating systems, our boards will be supported by
our embedded Linux packages, and we are also going to be announcing a small
RTOS that we are working with to run entirely inside of the Cyclone FPGA.

Best regards,
Robert
>In my humble opinion, no. As long as it doesn't go overboard, I'd
>imagine that most readers of FPGA-CPU would be very interested in
>hearing about available FPGA boards. I am definitely interested (esp.
>anything with a XC2S300E and 16MB+ DDR or SDR SDRAM).

>/Tommy