Electronics > FPGA

ALTERA Nios II Embedded Evaluation Kit - who has tried it?

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I'm studying in university now and we have couple of Nios II Embedded Evaluation Kit from ALTERA. I was thinking to do some projects with it using FPGA(not just processor programming), but I don't know if it is suitable for me. I mean - the kit itself is not so simple circuit and my VHDL and FPGA knowledge are pretty basic.
So, I just wondering if anyone was doing something with it - is this kit architecture too advanced for newbie project?
I just afraid to be lost in it completely.  :(

That kit has a huge amount of power in it, and a lot of price in it too.

If you want something similar to what your using in class, but just for the FPGA, I'd recommend something like these:
Altera DE0
Altera DE1
Altera DE2

These have lots of FPGA power available, and come with some peripherals that you can play with and practice your coding with.

The Nios II kit is quite expensive, and extremely powerful. Unless you're intending on practicing making entire soft-core processors and the like, you almost certainly wont use or need that power. Especially for the price.

Their are even cheaper solutions available than the DE boards, but they generally are more barebones, with no extra peripherals to play with, which is where I think a lot of the fun of learning to code FPGAs comes from.

I would definitely recommend the DE-2 board.  I've been using it for the past year for courses in digital systems and will be continuing to use it for a yearlong sequence in embedded systems using the nios softcore processor.  What I really like though is that through the altera university program, you can get free lab materials specific to your board (DE-1 or DE-2) and your HDL of choice (VHDL or Verilog). Also if you google de-2 labs, you can find a lot of materials through university websites. 

I would also recommend the DE1 board or the DE2 board, I think that with the DE0 board you will be more limited... But you should know what you plan to do with it in the future. If you plan to do more complex projects with it, then the DE2 board would be the best option for you. If you plan to do advanced but not very complex projects, then the DE1 board will suit your needs. The DE0 board is also a good board for the beginning, but the DE1 and DE2 boards have more peripherals you can use...

I started with a DE1 board from the beginning, also with just basic FPGA and HDL knowledge, and I learned almost everything from the tutorials and lab materials from Altera (like Valueduser mentioned). So I also think that the Altera DE-boards are a good choice for you.

Thanks a lot for replies!
I will ask university if they have DE1 or DE2. The problem is that I know that we have 2 Nios II kits, I saw them(Altera sells this kits for half-price for university), but I haven't seen DE1 or DE2, though maybe they are lying somewhere...
So, ok, I'll try to find it out, many thanks again :)


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