Electronics > FPGA

ICE40 series questions, from a noob

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So i noticed on mouser they they are the cheapest FPGAs by far and on par with some MCUs in terms of price.
I did some googling and they seem to have a open source environment but the tutorials and such are on the older side. This got me worried since i am afraid of tool chain problems since i am very new to verilog.
Why am I asking? : since i am tempted to buy a dev boad and try some code* on it and then potentially use the IC on a boad here and there where i want true parallelism ( since i am sure my SW may crash ,
 basically i think i will make something that is less prone to set a FET on fire). Ideally i would use the ICE40 as an ASIC and tell it what to do with I2C , my ESP32 will have a lot to deal with so i am considering offloading this tak to another MCU or a cheap FPGA.
it may also be my self excuse to play with FPGA HW.........

TLDR are ICE40 FPGA still supported by the open source tool chain? and are they a good starting point for a HW EE to play with some FPGA/control stuff or it something from AMD/Intel letter suited for that ? 

Yes, ice40 is supported by open source tools, however it is quite an old technology now. The cheap fpga's are not very capable, and usually double the price of an equivalent efinix device when comparing similar devices. Search Digikey for Efinix. I have used ice40's with the open toolchain, but for newer projects would use Efinix.

THX, the price range is ok, tho it is only on digikey...
regarding the power i need i  am not sure, i want a I2C/SPI slave and some PWM out ( with controlled phase shift and duty cycle ) + some compactors this is my requirement as of now for my napkin sketch probably anything will work
 i will read more and see what comes out of it
I have no idea about the scale the project will balloon to , or rather the time i will need to spend with the FPGA to get it working so a good tool chain is a very important thing for me
like in SW yea the arduino is ancient but good enough for my LED, lol no need for the newest iMX9 .

I will then continue asking and sketch some verilog and then see what it would need ( i can compile without a certain IC in mind, right?) as in for a generic FPGA family (if i understand right)

If you're starting, I would recommend using Lattice tools instead of an open source toolchain. You can move on to Yosys/nextpnr later on. IMO. Yosys works fine for iCE40 chips, but it has a learning curve, and some things are still quirky or impossible, such as defining IO timing constraints (but that may have changed).

Nominal Animal:
I've been thinking about getting one of the Olimex iCE40HXnK-EVB development boards myself.  Even though it is older tech, it is exactly the open source toolchain that makes them attractive to me.


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