Electronics > FPGA

FPGA bargain on Ebay


PCB with 4x Stratix V FPGAs listed at over 10K on Digikey for $75 - seems a pity to scrap for gold, though might need paid version of tools.


and "new never used", shame for it to end up in a scrap pile

Quick eval for entertainment purposes, since I also see these pop up on eBay occasionally.

Huge capabilities: 475k LE, PCIe 3.0 support, 696 I/O, 800 MHz fabric, 1066 MHz DDR3 support
Super cheap donor board: $75

Obsolete hardware: Stratix V is out of production, decade-old power-hungry 28 nm process, last produced 3-4 years ago
Cost of entry: $250-3,000 for a Stratix V dev kit to get your design bootstrapped: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?&_nkw=stratix+v+developer+kit
Non-free toolchain: not supported by yosys/nextpnr, requires Intel® Quartus® Prime Standard Edition, which starts at $3600: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/details/fpga/development-tools.html, https://www.mouser.com/c/?marcom=173402987
Host board is DOA: "The boards will no long function as originally intended" could mean anything from "we don't know how to flash it" to "we drilled holes in the buck converters and memory modules for IP reasons"
New board will be needed: good luck getting it right on your first try, you'll no doubt burn $10+k just getting a functioning PCB for any one of these, not even including BOM
Recovery and reballing: you'll probably need several hours of technician time and north of $2k in rework + reballing tools to get even one of the Stratix Vs recovered safely.
Testing: not even going to mention this as it's basically impossible. You'll just have to assume the parts you take off the board are all perfectly functional.

Given the all-in cost is north of $15k, it's hardly relevant that the donor board is $75. It could be $1 or $5k, if you're looking at burning five figures to recover a part like this to actually use it yourself, paying a few more Benjamins for the donor board isn't going to affect the decision to do it. That these boards have fallen to (or below) their precious metal scrap value says a lot. Everyone in the design space has moved on to newer things.

The only buyers for this are established IC recovery outfits whose customers are actively asking for cheap Stratix V (in 2023: why?!) and precious metal recovery hobbyists (who are giving themselves lead poisoning).

For production might not worth, but for students/makers/hobbyists who do not care about the provenience of the .lic files, and also have the time to reverse engineer the PCB, $75 is a bargain.

The only thing that might be a showstopper is when the FPGA is a pre-engineering sample.  These are usually distributed in very small number to big OEM contractors only, so the OEM can develop their own products based on a not yet launched FPGA.  Such samples have "incomplete" silicon, good to load/test HDL designs, but they are not fully working, for example they don't have the IO pins connected, or things like that.

Since the ebay lists many boards, those are most probably fully working FPGAs.


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