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FPGA dev kit suggestion

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Dave one of the things that always bugged me about FPGA and Microcontroller dev boards is the complexity of these dev boards.

For example the Cyclone II dev board Is loaded with loads of components that aren't directly related to the FPGA's opperation such as an SD card reader some other IC's.

Now on the other hand I found a dev kit on sparkfun that simply contains an FPGA breakout board with all the pins brought up to headers, an eeprom for the config image and a programmer.

I think that the sparkfun kit is a better value to beginners because it's simple, and only consist of hardware necessary to program\operate the FPGA. Also eventually you'll have to build a project on breadboard and the fact that every pin on the FPGA is brought up to a header makes it really easy to breadboard the design.

I just wanted to bring this up since you mentioned in the live podcast that you develop FPGA dev boards.

There are a whole range of FPGA boards available, down to several DIP modules (e.g. Enterpoint, Trenz) . However the reason many boards include other stuff is that FPGA apps often need it - RAM for example. In most cases this stuff can be disabled by holding a  pin or two, but it would be a PITA to manually wire, say a big SRAM. There are about a gazillion different devboards out there, just choose the one that suits your needs.

I personally like this one:,400,799&Prod=S3BOARD

I have built two CPUs on these but they are simple enough that you can do quick things too (e.g., no dynamic RAM controller needed, etc.).

A few links of interest for that: - My one instruction CPU (also see related articles on the cross assembler and Forth compiler; all uses that board)

16-bit CPU design (available on OpenCores): -- even if you don't care, the front panel design for this is pretty cool if I do say so myself or see the monitor at - Tutorial for a kit I used to sell with a Xilinx part. However, with boards like the above selling for about $100 I couldn't keep selling what I was selling

A few other related tutorials at

For $50 US dollars you can get this:,1707,RID%253D0%2526CID%253D46501%2526CCD%253DUSA%2526SID%253D32214%2526DID%253DDF2%2526LID%253D32232%2526PRT%253D0%2526PVW%253D%2526BID%253DDF2%2526CTP%253DEVK,00.html

Here's one I made. I'd like to think its fairly simple :)




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