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Electronics => Beginners => Topic started by: sci4me on July 05, 2013, 09:45:54 am

Title: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: sci4me on July 05, 2013, 09:45:54 am
Hey guys. So, I have been working on designing a very simple CPU as a basic simple project for fun. Well, not simple but.. anywho, I was wondering if its in any way possible to have it put on to an actual chip. Not an FPGA but its own custom chip. I am just wondering if it is possible to do for a price that is ... well.. not a lot.. In the hundreds... Any more than a few hundred and i'm out of luck. If I can't have my own chip then I suppose I may settle with an FPGA but I would have to learn how to use FPGA's and get one.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: duskglow on July 05, 2013, 09:48:59 am
This is exactly what FPGAs are for.  Rolling your own custom chip would cost a lot of money, and I don't even think chip houses would do it for orders of less than, say, a hundred thousand devices.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: Stonent on July 05, 2013, 09:54:21 am
Just strip off the Altera/Xilinx/Lattice branding. :)
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: sci4me on July 05, 2013, 09:54:47 am
Okay. In that case, Ill use an FPGA if I ever actually make the CPU.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: sci4me on July 05, 2013, 09:55:02 am
Just strip off the Altera/Xilinx/Lattice branding. :)

Will do :P
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: mariush on July 05, 2013, 09:57:07 am
There was a mention on The Amp Hour podcast a few episodes ago about a company taking your designs and making actual chips out of them.. but all i remember was something about taking 4-8 months to actually have the chip in your hands.

Go to http://www.theamphour.com/ (http://www.theamphour.com/) and read the episode summaries for the last 10-20 episodes or thereabouts if you're interested, sorry I don't know more accurately.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: EEVblog on July 05, 2013, 10:01:36 am
No, it's not possible to do your own chip for that price.
FPGA's are:
- Massively cheaper
- Instant (don't have to wait many months)
- Infinitely reprogrammable
- Easier to use (that's saying a lot) and get help with.

FPGA are designed specifically for what you want to do, use them.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: sci4me on July 05, 2013, 10:07:34 am
Okay, and can anyone recommend me a fairly cheap (hundred dollar or so?) fpga kit that has everything I need to program it and get things working? Thanks.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: free_electron on July 05, 2013, 11:28:16 am
Terasic design board.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: EEVblog on July 05, 2013, 11:52:24 am
Okay, and can anyone recommend me a fairly cheap (hundred dollar or so?) fpga kit that has everything I need to program it and get things working? Thanks.

Depends entirely on your design requirements.
But something like this cheap DE0-Nano should do the job
http://www.terasic.com.tw/cgi-bin/page/archive.pl?Language=English&CategoryNo=139&No=593 (http://www.terasic.com.tw/cgi-bin/page/archive.pl?Language=English&CategoryNo=139&No=593)
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: notsob on July 05, 2013, 12:53:08 pm
Just as a reality check, once you have designed your chip as a silicon entity ($$$ cost), there is a 'photographic' process - overlays etching etc to create the final silicon. Others with real world experience can put their 2 cents worth in here, but the cost of just the photographic 'plates' would be quite a few more times more expensive than the average house and that is before you start the fabrication process.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: sci4me on July 05, 2013, 08:22:23 pm
Okay, now I see why you are saying its not possible in my price range :D
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: romovs on July 06, 2013, 01:40:19 am
Okay, and can anyone recommend me a fairly cheap (hundred dollar or so?) fpga kit that has everything I need to program it and get things working? Thanks.

XuLA (http://www.xess.com) board. Comes with a nice tutorial for beginners and only 55USD.
Title: Re: I know this probably isnt possible but...
Post by: hlavac on July 06, 2013, 03:25:36 am
Terasic DE0 Nano. That has fairly big Altera Cyclone IV E. You can fit whole SoC with OpenRISC running Linux on it.

Or, if your design is small, have a look at MachXO and MachXO2 breakout boards from Lattice.
These are extremely cheap yet good way to learn VHDL/Verilog.

For Xilinx you may look for some Spartan 6 boards like the one from Avnet.