Beginning with FGPA

Started by "reu...@bellsouth.net" January 8, 2014
Hello,
I am a senior in high school and have been studying ALU and CPU design independently. I have just read "Bebop Bytes Back" and have just purchased a book titled "HDL Chip Design". Starting with FPGA's was recommended to me, but I was overwhelmed after trying to choose a board. Would anyone be able to recommend a board for a beginner, one with a generous amount of tools (switches, 7-segment display etc.) but one that does not take away from the experience by having many of the difficult aspects of building a CPU previously completed. Thank you very much and I appreciate any input.



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I have a dozen or so boards. Given your requirements below, I'd recommend you
look at Terasic's DE line of board.

The Cyclone V GX starter Kit looks like incredible value (note, this is a very recent,
very powerful FPGA): http://www.terasic.com.tw/cgi-bin/page/archive.pl?Language=English&CategoryNo5&No0
Tommy
On Jan 8, 2014, at 12:21 , r...@bellsouth.net wrote:

> Hello,
> I am a senior in high school and have been studying ALU and CPU design independently. I have just read "Bebop Bytes Back" and have just purchased a book titled "HDL Chip Design". Starting with FPGA's was recommended to me, but I was overwhelmed after trying to choose a board. Would anyone be able to recommend a board for a beginner, one with a generous amount of tools (switches, 7-segment display etc.) but one that does not take away from the experience by having many of the difficult aspects of building a CPU previously completed. Thank you very much and I appreciate any input.
>
>
> To post a message, send it to: f...
> To unsubscribe, send a blank message to: f...Yahoo Groups Links
>



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Hello i've made this post in portuguese but you can see by the images
http://www.embarcados.com.br/kitsdsvfpga/
it's a collection of kits with the price in USD
On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 8:20 PM, Tommy Thorn wrote:

> I have a dozen or so boards. Given your requirements below, I'd recommend
> you
> look at Terasic's DE line of board.
>
> The Cyclone V GX starter Kit looks like incredible value (note, this is a
> very recent,
> very powerful FPGA):
> http://www.terasic.com.tw/cgi-bin/page/archive.pl?Language=English&CategoryNo5&No0
>
> Tommy
> On Jan 8, 2014, at 12:21 , r...@bellsouth.net wrote:
>
> > Hello,
> > I am a senior in high school and have been studying ALU and CPU design
> independently. I have just read "Bebop Bytes Back" and have just purchased
> a book titled "HDL Chip Design". Starting with FPGA's was recommended to
> me, but I was overwhelmed after trying to choose a board. Would anyone be
> able to recommend a board for a beginner, one with a generous amount of
> tools (switches, 7-segment display etc.) but one that does not take away
> from the experience by having many of the difficult aspects of building a
> CPU previously completed. Thank you very much and I appreciate any input.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
> >
> > To post a message, send it to: f...
> > To unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
> f...Yahoo Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
>

--
Att
Andr
I suspect it all comes down to who you are going to work with. Starting
a FPGA
project without a seasoned mentor can be quite challenging.

I use both Altera and Zilinx products and can express what I consider
their strengths.
All the tools and chip features are very similar, just the lingo changes.

Altera - Terasic

Very nicely fabricated boards. They look great and the user I/O is always
well thought out. The Altera NIOS soft cpu and memory are supplied in
source form. Debug tools are excellent.

Xilinx - Digilent

Good selection of motherboards and huge selection of low cost I/O boards
based
on their PMOD interface. I have about 25 of their PMODs. Everything
thing from
switches to Wifi.

Xilinx - Xess

No nonsense, just work, reasonably priced products. In addition they have
an extensive tutorial on getting started with FPGA's in VHDL (based on
their products).

In addition there are a dozen other vendors with slightly different
products. Find
someone near to you who works in the field and get a first person
introduction
to the technology.

George

On 01/08/2014 03:21 PM, r...@bellsouth.net wrote:
>
> Hello,
> I am a senior in high school and have been studying ALU and CPU design
> independently. I have just read "Bebop Bytes Back" and have just
> purchased a book titled "HDL Chip Design". Starting with FPGA's was
> recommended to me, but I was overwhelmed after trying to choose a
> board. Would anyone be able to recommend a board for a beginner, one
> with a generous amount of tools (switches, 7-segment display etc.) but
> one that does not take away from the experience by having many of the
> difficult aspects of building a CPU previously completed. Thank you
> very much and I appreciate any input.
On 1/8/2014 3:20 PM, Tommy Thorn wrote:
> I have a dozen or so boards. Given your requirements below, I'd
> recommend you
> look at Terasic's DE line of board.
>
> The Cyclone V GX starter Kit looks like incredible value (note, this is
> a very recent,
> very powerful FPGA):
> http://www.terasic.com.tw/cgi-bin/page/archive.pl?Language=English&CategoryNo5&No0
>
> Tommy
I find AHDL ( altera's fpga programing lang) easy compared to VHDL and
VERLOG). Another factor for Tersic's boards.
Ben.



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On Jan 8, 2014, at 16:57 , ben wrote:
> I find AHDL ( altera's fpga programing lang) easy compared to VHDL and
> VERLOG). Another factor for Tersic's boards.
> Ben.

Perhaps, but AHDL proprietary and deprecated, so I'd strongly advice against it.

FWIW, in my experience Verilog is popular in the US and VHDL in Europe.
IMHO, *all* popular HDLs are pretty terrible, but those two are wildly used and
supported. (For what little that's worth, I prefer Altera and Verilog).

Beware - there are a lot of bad, overpriced, and/or outdated FPGA kits out there.
I strongly recommend getting a recent model FPGA as they improve a lot with each generation.
In particular, I find that you never have enough memory (both on FPGA and externally),
but more recent FPGAs will have more blockram than older FPGAs.
It's remarkably easy to outgrow your first FPGA dev kit.

Tommy



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On 1/8/2014 6:34 PM, Tommy Thorn wrote:
> On Jan 8, 2014, at 16:57 , ben wrote:
> > I find AHDL ( altera's fpga programing lang) easy compared to VHDL and
> > VERLOG). Another factor for Tersic's boards.
> > Ben.
>
> Perhaps, but AHDL proprietary and deprecated, so I'd strongly advice
> against it.
>

I can under stand what it compiles too. Can you say the same for the
other stuff.
> FWIW, in my experience Verilog is popular in the US and VHDL in Europe.
> IMHO, *all* popular HDLs are pretty terrible, but those two are wildly
> used and
> supported. (For what little that's worth, I prefer Altera and Verilog).
>
> Beware - there are a lot of bad, overpriced, and/or outdated FPGA kits
> out there.
> I strongly recommend getting a recent model FPGA as they improve a lot
> with each generation.
> In particular, I find that you never have enough memory (both on FPGA
> and externally),
> but more recent FPGAs will have more blockram than older FPGAs.
> It's remarkably easy to outgrow your first FPGA dev kit.
>
> Tommy
>

Get what you need! A DE1 board is ample for most 8 bit stuff.
A full sized mainframe *not*. MINI computer yes.
Ben.



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Ben,

Tom is 100% correct on the tools. I believe that most of the
"do everything for you" tools fit the 90/10 rule. They allow
you to do 90% of the work in 10% of the time. Conversely, it
will take you 90% of the time to do the last 10%. And if the
tool is lacking "the" feature you need, then you never complete.

A good deal of the (my) development time is spent in simulation.
I prefer the free Icarus Verilog simulator. I get vendor independent
results. Occasionally I import IP that does not play nicely and I
then pay the penalty.

George

On 01/08/2014 08:34 PM, Tommy Thorn wrote:
>
> On Jan 8, 2014, at 16:57 , ben wrote:
> > I find AHDL ( altera's fpga programing lang) easy compared to VHDL and
> > VERLOG). Another factor for Tersic's boards.
> > Ben.
>
> Perhaps, but AHDL proprietary and deprecated, so I'd strongly advice
> against it.
>
> FWIW, in my experience Verilog is popular in the US and VHDL in Europe.
> IMHO, *all* popular HDLs are pretty terrible, but those two are wildly
> used and
> supported. (For what little that's worth, I prefer Altera and Verilog).
>
> Beware - there are a lot of bad, overpriced, and/or outdated FPGA kits
> out there.
> I strongly recommend getting a recent model FPGA as they improve a lot
> with each generation.
> In particular, I find that you never have enough memory (both on FPGA
> and externally),
> but more recent FPGAs will have more blockram than older FPGAs.
> It's remarkably easy to outgrow your first FPGA dev kit.
>
> Tommy
Ben,

I know nothing about AHDL. However the input to the FPGA
is a binary bit file that is vendor specific and essentially asserts
a 1 or 0 on a memory cell. Multiple megabits per design. If you
can understand that I'm sure the chip manufacturers want to talk
to you.

George

On 01/08/2014 08:58 PM, ben wrote:
>
> On 1/8/2014 6:34 PM, Tommy Thorn wrote:
> > On Jan 8, 2014, at 16:57 , ben wrote:
> > > I find AHDL ( altera's fpga programing lang) easy compared to VHDL and
> > > VERLOG). Another factor for Tersic's boards.
> > > Ben.
> >
> > Perhaps, but AHDL proprietary and deprecated, so I'd strongly advice
> > against it.
> > I can under stand what it compiles too. Can you say the same for the
> other stuff.
>
> > FWIW, in my experience Verilog is popular in the US and VHDL in Europe.
> > IMHO, *all* popular HDLs are pretty terrible, but those two are wildly
> > used and
> > supported. (For what little that's worth, I prefer Altera and Verilog).
> >
> > Beware - there are a lot of bad, overpriced, and/or outdated FPGA kits
> > out there.
> > I strongly recommend getting a recent model FPGA as they improve a lot
> > with each generation.
> > In particular, I find that you never have enough memory (both on FPGA
> > and externally),
> > but more recent FPGAs will have more blockram than older FPGAs.
> > It's remarkably easy to outgrow your first FPGA dev kit.
> >
> > Tommy
> > Get what you need! A DE1 board is ample for most 8 bit stuff.
> A full sized mainframe *not*. MINI computer yes.
> Ben.
On 1/8/2014 7:05 PM, George Gallant wrote:
> Ben,
>
> Tom is 100% correct on the tools. I believe that most of the
> "do everything for you" tools fit the 90/10 rule. They allow
> you to do 90% of the work in 10% of the time. Conversely, it
> will take you 90% of the time to do the last 10%. And if the
> tool is lacking "the" feature you need, then you never complete.
>

I don't want that! I want to know just what is compiled to the
fpga! Real problems turn up when say 75%+ of your fpga is full
or the software thinks it is smarter than the programer for dumb things.
Pin Locking not locking, routing perhaps today and *REMOVING LOGIC* are
problems I have had. Those things I need to know, not that today's
FPGA can run 10% faster on the latest promo demo.

I use tools that fit my need, that work with windows machine.
Sadly many tools even expensive ones seem all to be THE NEXT UPGRADE
is the one you need!

> A good deal of the (my) development time is spent in simulation.
> I prefer the free Icarus Verilog simulator. I get vendor independent
> results. Occasionally I import IP that does not play nicely and I
> then pay the penalty.

I don't belive in simulation for the reason how do you know simulation
is 100% hardware correct.

I have hardware ... I use CRASH and burn testing!

> George
>

This is hobby for me. DIY audio is where I put my $$$.
As for tools I just got a $55 chinese coil winder.
It has gears and a crank! Now I can build coils and transformers.
I have a pad of paper and pencil, and DE1 card here.I just have
to make up my mind what hardware to design - the hard part.
The rest is easy.
Ben.
PS. I still will use ADHL because it goes with the hardware.
I would use schematic for the other brand of hardware.
As for what is better, what was better Mac or PC's and leave it at that.



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