Forums

SimmStick FPGA module

Started by Martin Schoeberl February 8, 2005
Hi all,

I'm thinking about a new board for JOP (or MB, NIOS). The board should be small and
cheap (below the S3 Starter Kit). It should only contain the absolute necessary parts for a
CPU design. Here is the suggested part list:

    FPGA: Cyclone EP1C3 or Spartan XC3S200
    256Kx16 15ns SRAM
    2 MBit serial Flash
    3.3V linear regulation
    switching regulator for the core voltage
    20MHz clock to the PLL input

I've not yet decided about a X or A device.

A remaining question is about the form factor. I still think it makes sense to build
the board as a module that can be integrated in a board with the peripherals (similar
to the ACEX and Cyclone modules I've done). There are two 'standards' available:

1.) SimmStick, where the boards are designed as the 'old' PC SIMMs (see [1]).

2.) The 'Basic Stamp' design is a board in the form of an old 40-pin (or less) DIL IC.
    An example (from a Java processor competitor): [2]

For a Java solution in an FPGA this board should beat the Systronix aJ100 Java processor
modules (JStamp or JStick [3] - they have both form factors) in performance and price.
One nice thing about the SimmStick is that there are plenty of I/O boards already available
(see [4, 5, 6]).
It seems a relative 'old' design, but it's a bus and I can build my first JOP cluster with those
boards ;-)

What do you guys think about this idea? Does it make sense to build a another FPGA board?

[1]  http://www.simmstick.com/
[2]  http://jstamp.systronix.com/jstamp_photos.htm
[3]  http://www.jstik.com/
[4]  http://www.dontronics.com/dt.html
[5]  http://www.hobbyengineering.com/SectionSS.html
[6]  http://www.simmstick.com/simmstic1.htm

Martin
----------------------------------------------
JOP - a Java Processor core for FPGAs:
http://www.jopdesign.com/ 


Hi Martin,

Nice to see that some of my project are still live - I am the "inventor" of
the "SimmStick(tm)" standard :)

Please see my SHORT first comments below..

>"Martin Schoeberl" <martin.schoeberl@chello.at> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:sO%Nd.34738$2e4.30046@news.chello.at...
> Hi all, > > I'm thinking about a new board for JOP (or MB, NIOS). The board should be
small and
> cheap (below the S3 Starter Kit). It should only contain the absolute
necessary parts for a
> CPU design. Here is the suggested part list: > > FPGA: Cyclone EP1C3 or Spartan XC3S200 > 256Kx16 15ns SRAM
-- here I would like to argue a lot! I understand that JOP runs ok in that memory, but... all the rest (if using XC3S200) is uCLinux ready, except memory is not enough, so I would use 1 16bit SDRAM chip, not SRAM XC3S200 is large enough to hold ucLinux ready MicroBlaze setup.
> 2 MBit serial Flash
-- again the 2MBit is enough for config, not for OS image, so if there would be some means of having more, that would be nice, sure thats an price issue
> 3.3V linear regulation > switching regulator for the core voltage
for a small FPGA linear regulator is ok, too cheaper sure burns more energy, Trenz S3-1000 module as example has small linear regulator supplying max 0.9A for core
> 20MHz clock to the PLL input
NEEDED 5V compliance quickswitches !!! all new FPGAs are not 5V tolerant and for both mech standards simmstick and stamp 5V compliance is highly recommended to have, its a pain for manufacturer but a big + for the user
> > I've not yet decided about a X or A device.
hard decision hugh? answer is simple. BOTH it doesnt cost so much more todo both variants, you may supply more support for either A or X as of your preferences (or customer interest) but from the hardware build expenses its even cheaper (per board) to order a combined pcb patch
> A remaining question is about the form factor. I still think it makes
sense to build
> the board as a module that can be integrated in a board with the
peripherals (similar
> to the ACEX and Cyclone modules I've done). There are two 'standards'
available:
> > 1.) SimmStick, where the boards are designed as the 'old' PC SIMMs (see
[1]).
> > 2.) The 'Basic Stamp' design is a board in the form of an old 40-pin (or
less) DIL IC.
> An example (from a Java processor competitor): [2]
You mean Parallax or those other guys? There are actually several stamp like clones thing. the stamp form factor is more challenging as the pcb are is very constrained :(
> For a Java solution in an FPGA this board should beat the Systronix aJ100
Java processor
> modules (JStamp or JStick [3] - they have both form factors) in
performance and price.
> One nice thing about the SimmStick is that there are plenty of I/O boards
already available
> (see [4, 5, 6]). > It seems a relative 'old' design, but it's a bus and I can build my first
JOP cluster with those
> boards ;-)
hm if you make the simmstick form factor board, here is a deal - I will donate all my leftover simmStick stuff that includes some connectors and protoboards etc, you can use all those boards and stuff as promotional bonus give away for the early customers :)
> What do you guys think about this idea? Does it make sense to build a
another FPGA board? hm.. I just recently looked at the parallax pricing.. still selling basic interpreter for $49 (or more!) and still doing business. highend stamp are in $99 range! So a fpga plugin module in $99 range, sure it might be business idea still
> > [1] http://www.simmstick.com/ > [2] http://jstamp.systronix.com/jstamp_photos.htm > [3] http://www.jstik.com/ > [4] http://www.dontronics.com/dt.html > [5] http://www.hobbyengineering.com/SectionSS.html > [6] http://www.simmstick.com/simmstic1.htm > > Martin > ---------------------------------------------- > JOP - a Java Processor core for FPGAs: > http://www.jopdesign.com/ > >
Hi Antti,

> > Nice to see that some of my project are still live - I am the "inventor" of > the "SimmStick(tm)" standard :)
Sorry, I should have given the credits to you! BTW.: Is this format still alive?
>> CPU design. Here is the suggested part list: >> >> FPGA: Cyclone EP1C3 or Spartan XC3S200 >> 256Kx16 15ns SRAM > -- here I would like to argue a lot! > I understand that JOP runs ok in that memory, but... all the rest (if using > XC3S200) is uCLinux ready, except memory is not enough, so I would use 1 > 16bit SDRAM chip, not SRAM > XC3S200 is large enough to hold ucLinux ready MicroBlaze setup.
However, SRAM is way much simpler to handle. I think SDRAM is a pain.
>> 2 MBit serial Flash > -- again the 2MBit is enough for config, not for OS image, so if there would > be some means of having more, that would be nice, sure thats an price issue
Could be an option. However, handling options are a pain in the manufacturing.
>> 3.3V linear regulation >> switching regulator for the core voltage > for a small FPGA linear regulator is ok, too cheaper sure burns more energy, > Trenz S3-1000 module as example has small linear regulator supplying max > 0.9A for core
The 3.3V linear regulation is only for the IO. The core voltage gets a switching regulator. If you are using this module in a 3.3V SimmStick bus you can go without the linear regulation on board (will be a sloder jumper)
>> 20MHz clock to the PLL input > NEEDED 5V compliance quickswitches !!! > all new FPGAs are not 5V tolerant and for both mech standards simmstick and > stamp 5V compliance is highly recommended to have, its a pain for > manufacturer but a big + for the user
That's again pain. I was thinking about being not 5V compliant. It's time to stop these 5V designs! Or, add series resistors - bad for the bandwidth.
>> >> I've not yet decided about a X or A device. > > hard decision hugh? > answer is simple. BOTH > it doesnt cost so much more todo both variants, you may supply more support > for either A or X as of your preferences (or customer interest) but from the > hardware build expenses its even cheaper (per board) to order a combined pcb > patch
I don't think it's possible to build one pcb for both. I want the module to be small. As small as the 9 part SIMMs (79mm x 21mm).
>> 2.) The 'Basic Stamp' design is a board in the form of an old 40-pin (or > less) DIL IC. >> An example (from a Java processor competitor): [2] > > You mean Parallax or those other guys? There are actually several stamp like > clones thing. > the stamp form factor is more challenging as the pcb are is very constrained > :(
Yes, I would need parts on both sides of the pcb. However, it's only a little bit more expensive in the manufacturing.
> >> One nice thing about the SimmStick is that there are plenty of I/O boards > already available >> (see [4, 5, 6]). >> It seems a relative 'old' design, but it's a bus and I can build my first > JOP cluster with those >> boards ;-) > > hm if you make the simmstick form factor board, here is a deal - I will > donate all my leftover simmStick stuff that includes some connectors and > protoboards etc, you can use all those boards and stuff as promotional bonus > give away for the early customers :)
That's a deal :-) However, it's an indication that you don't buy ino the bus anymore.
> >> What do you guys think about this idea? Does it make sense to build a > another FPGA board? > > hm.. I just recently looked at the parallax pricing.. still selling basic > interpreter for $49 (or more!) and still doing business. highend stamp are > in $99 range! So a fpga plugin module in $99 range, sure it might be > business idea still >
Probably will give it a try. Martin
"Martin Schoeberl" <martin.schoeberl@chello.at> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:H41Od.35105$2e4.21398@news.chello.at...
> Hi Antti, > > > > > Nice to see that some of my project are still live - I am the "inventor"
of
> > the "SimmStick(tm)" standard :) > > Sorry, I should have given the credits to you! > BTW.: Is this format still alive?
no problem. hm alive I think yes, I a havent be doing much (read anything) for years but there are still products around
> >> CPU design. Here is the suggested part list: > >> > >> FPGA: Cyclone EP1C3 or Spartan XC3S200 > >> 256Kx16 15ns SRAM > > -- here I would like to argue a lot! > > I understand that JOP runs ok in that memory, but... all the rest (if
using
> > XC3S200) is uCLinux ready, except memory is not enough, so I would use 1 > > 16bit SDRAM chip, not SRAM > > XC3S200 is large enough to hold ucLinux ready MicroBlaze setup. > > However, SRAM is way much simpler to handle. I think SDRAM is a pain.
yes no, once the SDRAM controller is once configured it works, but agree from the ip core side its more painful, still 4MByte of onboard RAM would just GREAT! hm I think it is possible to make a layout for either 54TSOP sdram and SRAM (that would be beneath it) please consider.. that would be a mount option, :( but well I would consider. I have several FGPA boards with 0.5MB RAM, and all of those are "bad" as they can not boot linux :( hm I have 40 PCS of those SDRAM overleft in cut tape, again if there is place to solder them those are yours for the project...
> >> 2 MBit serial Flash > > -- again the 2MBit is enough for config, not for OS image, so if there
would
> > be some means of having more, that would be nice, sure thats an price
issue
> > Could be an option. However, handling options are a pain in the
manufacturing. yes I, know the manufacturing options are pain, its a mistake I have done and learned as well, I wanted the first simmstick so be cheap and flexible by providing lots of mounting options, that was bad actually would have been better to add it all and sell a bit higher
> >> 3.3V linear regulation > >> switching regulator for the core voltage > > for a small FPGA linear regulator is ok, too cheaper sure burns more
energy,
> > Trenz S3-1000 module as example has small linear regulator supplying max > > 0.9A for core > > The 3.3V linear regulation is only for the IO. The core voltage gets a
switching
> regulator. If you are using this module in a 3.3V SimmStick bus you can go > without the linear regulation on board (will be a sloder jumper)
hm ok, besides for spartan at least 2.5V is also needed !! even if 2.5 ios are not used that an additional small regulator :(
> >> 20MHz clock to the PLL input > > NEEDED 5V compliance quickswitches !!! > > all new FPGAs are not 5V tolerant and for both mech standards simmstick
and
> > stamp 5V compliance is highly recommended to have, its a pain for > > manufacturer but a big + for the user > > That's again pain. I was thinking about being not 5V compliant. It's time
to stop
> these 5V designs! Or, add series resistors - bad for the bandwidth.
yes pain, would be so much easier to go only by 3.3 or 2.5
> >> > >> I've not yet decided about a X or A device. > > > > hard decision hugh? > > answer is simple. BOTH > > it doesnt cost so much more todo both variants, you may supply more
support
> > for either A or X as of your preferences (or customer interest) but from
the
> > hardware build expenses its even cheaper (per board) to order a combined
pcb
> > patch > > I don't think it's possible to build one pcb for both. I want the module
to be small.
> As small as the 9 part SIMMs (79mm x 21mm).
yes that should be the small board, I meant to produce two different boards!! (not one that can be used with both FPGAs) each time you order PCB so you always get both X and A, if there comes big overleft of X or A boards you can etiher sell away the remaining plain PCB or then order the best seller as separate PCB
> >> 2.) The 'Basic Stamp' design is a board in the form of an old 40-pin
(or
> > less) DIL IC. > >> An example (from a Java processor competitor): [2] > > > > You mean Parallax or those other guys? There are actually several stamp
like
> > clones thing. > > the stamp form factor is more challenging as the pcb are is very
constrained
> > :( > > Yes, I would need parts on both sides of the pcb. However, it's only a
little bit
> more expensive in the manufacturing.
depends how much you squeeze and what production quantities are. The original STAMP in DIP28 where partially hand made, the Parallax people had a barbeque at behind the office and a tin-pot in the middle so they had a party and at the same time soldered those DIP pins to the stamp modules - that also in large numbers. I think they dont have those BBQ anymore but for the long time this was the procedure. ah old good days ;)
> >> One nice thing about the SimmStick is that there are plenty of I/O
boards
> > already available > >> (see [4, 5, 6]). > >> It seems a relative 'old' design, but it's a bus and I can build my
first
> > JOP cluster with those > >> boards ;-) > > > > hm if you make the simmstick form factor board, here is a deal - I will > > donate all my leftover simmStick stuff that includes some connectors and > > protoboards etc, you can use all those boards and stuff as promotional
bonus
> > give away for the early customers :) > > That's a deal :-) However, it's an indication that you don't buy ino the
bus anymore. not necessarily - I have been occupied. http://www.case2000.com/gallery/album01 some older pictures of family (part of it) there are now 3 kids. Anna youngest is 1y3months. sick right now :(
> > > >> What do you guys think about this idea? Does it make sense to build a > > another FPGA board? > > > > hm.. I just recently looked at the parallax pricing.. still selling
basic
> > interpreter for $49 (or more!) and still doing business. highend stamp
are
> > in $99 range! So a fpga plugin module in $99 range, sure it might be > > business idea still > > > Probably will give it a try. > > Martin
Good luck, and I see what support I can give on the way, there are some ideas for SimmStick that I did not realize, maybe its time for them to become true.
Martin Schoeberl wrote:
> Hi all, > > I'm thinking about a new board for JOP (or MB, NIOS). The board should be small and > cheap (below the S3 Starter Kit). It should only contain the absolute necessary parts for a > CPU design. Here is the suggested part list: > > FPGA: Cyclone EP1C3 or Spartan XC3S200 > 256Kx16 15ns SRAM > 2 MBit serial Flash > 3.3V linear regulation > switching regulator for the core voltage > 20MHz clock to the PLL input
[..]
> What do you guys think about this idea? Does it make sense to build a another FPGA board?
What you describe is essentially our Micromodule minus USB plus SRAM. http://www.trenz-electronic.de/prod/proden18.htm If you can live with our form factor we could collaborate on a version with sram instead of usb. For a cluster you can build a stack of these boards. However I doubt that it makes sense to have boards that are so similar. Kolja Sulimma
"Kolja Sulimma" <news@sulimma.de> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:4208b1e6$0$810$9b4e6d93@newsread2.arcor-online.net...
> Martin Schoeberl wrote: > > Hi all,
[snip]
> What you describe is essentially our Micromodule minus USB plus SRAM. > http://www.trenz-electronic.de/prod/proden18.htm > > If you can live with our form factor we could collaborate on a version > with sram instead of usb.
Hi Kolja the cheapest mm with XC3S200 is 114.84EUR add 5 EUR for the special connectors, then you would need to always make a custom PCB with those 0.8mm headers that adds up price. A simmstick can be plugged into solderless breadboard or any 0.1 proto board and requires no special connectors, so its a little bit of different in the use. If the fgpa-simmstick is sub 99USD then, well there is room for everybody on this planet. :) the micromodules are nice too of course ! Antti PS I am little disappointed in the designer of the RetroBB for the trenz micomodules, the delta sigma AD DA circuitry, there are some very important caps and resistors missing... for sound applicaiton the input should be AC coupled and comparator biased with vcc/2 and the output again should be AC decoupled (well thats not so big mistake, but still it isnt nice to feed 2V DC into headphones..) I think the circuitry is 1:1 copied from Xilinx appnote without thinking. Sometimes thinking is good, even I consider that as heavy physcial work (to be minized if possible). Sorry - I was really terrified when I looked at the retroBB schematics!
"Martin Schoeberl" <martin.schoeberl@chello.at> wrote in message 
news:H41Od.35105$2e4.21398@news.chello.at...
> Hi Antti, > >> >> Nice to see that some of my project are still live - I am the "inventor" >> of >> the "SimmStick(tm)" standard :) > > Sorry, I should have given the credits to you! > BTW.: Is this format still alive?
Dontronics sells a range of SIMMsticks: http://www.dontronics.com/cat_index_hard.html Leon
Hi

Just my 2cents ...


> However, SRAM is way much simpler to handle. I think SDRAM is a pain.
SDRAM is not that hard and having a lot more capacity is a big plus IMHO, that worth the extra work.
> The 3.3V linear regulation is only for the IO. The core voltage gets a switching > regulator. If you are using this module in a 3.3V SimmStick bus you can go > without the linear regulation on board (will be a sloder jumper)
Have a look at http://focus.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/tps75003.pdf Really nice little chip ;)
>>> 20MHz clock to the PLL input
If there is a spare centimeter square, adding an unpopulated space for another XTAL maybe.
>>NEEDED 5V compliance quickswitches !!! >>all new FPGAs are not 5V tolerant and for both mech standards simmstick and >>stamp 5V compliance is highly recommended to have, its a pain for >>manufacturer but a big + for the user > > > That's again pain. I was thinking about being not 5V compliant. It's time to stop > these 5V designs! Or, add series resistors - bad for the bandwidth.
I agree. 5V compliance shouldn't be necessary ... If you need it, just do it in the board you're plugging this module into. Other remarks : Having a few I/Os routed as differential pair to the connector could be nice Sylvain
"Laurent Gauch" <laurent.gauch@DELETEALLCAPSamontec.com> schrieb im
Newsbeitrag news:4208CF2C.6010504@DELETEALLCAPSamontec.com...
> Kolja Sulimma wrote: > > Martin Schoeberl wrote:
> What is the use of the finger connector on Micromodule > > Larry
HAHA its duplicate of your favorite interface JTAG! Need to get piece of old floppy connector and saw it in pieces! Antti
Kolja Sulimma wrote:
> Martin Schoeberl wrote: > >> Hi all, >> >> I'm thinking about a new board for JOP (or MB, NIOS). The board should >> be small and >> cheap (below the S3 Starter Kit). It should only contain the absolute >> necessary parts for a >> CPU design. Here is the suggested part list: >> >> FPGA: Cyclone EP1C3 or Spartan XC3S200 >> 256Kx16 15ns SRAM >> 2 MBit serial Flash >> 3.3V linear regulation >> switching regulator for the core voltage >> 20MHz clock to the PLL input > > [..] > >> What do you guys think about this idea? Does it make sense to build a >> another FPGA board? > > > What you describe is essentially our Micromodule minus USB plus SRAM. > http://www.trenz-electronic.de/prod/proden18.htm > > If you can live with our form factor we could collaborate on a version > with sram instead of usb. > > For a cluster you can build a stack of these boards. > > However I doubt that it makes sense to have boards that are so similar. > > Kolja Sulimma > > >
What is the use of the finger connector on Micromodule Larry ------------ And now a word from our sponsor ---------------------- For a quality mail server, try SurgeMail, easy to install, fast, efficient and reliable. Run a million users on a standard PC running NT or Unix without running out of power, use the best! ---- See http://netwinsite.com/sponsor/sponsor_surgemail.htm ----