Electronics > FPGA

Initial (un)impressions of xilinx

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naimis:
add:
7) tar (a unix format derived from streaming tape back-ups) is a really terrible way to ship windows binaries.

Mark:

--- Quote from: naimis on April 08, 2012, 04:42:55 pm ---1) It's freaking huge.  More than 5GB. 
--- End quote ---
I have installed the System Edition (everything).  The size on disc is 17.0 GB (18,347,073,536 bytes) :D 
It's a HUGE chunk when talking about the limited space on a laptop HDD for example.  Add 6.5GB for Altium, 4.4GB for Matlab etc etc and it starts to fill up very quickly. 


--- Quote from: naimis on April 08, 2012, 04:42:55 pm ---2) It takes forever to install.  Honestly, if the source file is on my local system, it really ought not to take more than an hour to install, but it did.
3) Licensing was a small hassle.  I understand the need to generate license files (this is the '90s, after all, oops wait a minute), but having to go through several manual steps to install a license file that was emailed to me seems absurd.  I guess they don't trust that people might try to pirate their software by faking someone's identity or something, so they always mail the license file to the registered user.  Seems like a pain, though, especially if you're using the free license.
4) Internet Explorer integration really stinks.  Again, I don't recall seeing anything like that since the early 90s, though the AVR dev environments might do something similar.  If they do, it wasn't anywhere near as clunky as it is in ISE, IMO.
--- End quote ---
Time to install , licensing and IE haven't really bothered me.  Once it's licensed, it's done, unless you want to install on another PC instead. 


--- Quote from: naimis on April 08, 2012, 04:42:55 pm ---5) Tutorials files are only available through their "standard" software fulfillment center.  And they were linked in the ISE via their terrible IE integration.  AND I had to enter my username and password to download the free tutorial files.  AND I had to enter my username and password for each tutorial file I wanted to download.
--- End quote ---
A PITA, as I always forget my password.  Not sure why this is needed, it must be so Xilinx can track which customers are interested in which areas. 

--- Quote from: naimis on April 08, 2012, 04:42:55 pm ---6) I tried starting the ISE a few minutes ago to see if there was anything else I wanted to comment on while filling out their survey.  It won't even start.
--- End quote ---
Oops.  Have you checked your OS version is supported? 
I had problems getting parts of the tools to work in the past, for example there was a very handy statecad editor which output VHDL, last version with this feature was 10.1 which works on XP but the statecad tool won't run even after I dusted off my old XP machine. 

naimis:

--- Quote from: Mark on April 09, 2012, 04:18:45 pm ---Time to install , licensing and IE haven't really bothered me.  Once it's licensed, it's done, unless you want to install on another PC instead. 
--- End quote ---
I ended up installing the webpack on another windows 7 computer, this time a desktop, using the webpack license they already sent me.  No obvious issues so far, though I doubt that would be the case if it was a paid license.  I'm guessing computer upgrades a pain for paying customers.


--- Quote from: Mark on April 09, 2012, 04:18:45 pm ---Oops.  Have you checked your OS version is supported? 
I had problems getting parts of the tools to work in the past, for example there was a very handy statecad editor which output VHDL, last version with this feature was 10.1 which works on XP but the statecad tool won't run even after I dusted off my old XP machine. 
--- End quote ---
I didn't look too closely, I just grabbed the latest version to play around with before I decided if I really wanted to pull the trigger and start doing some FPGA work.  One would *think* that windows 7 would be supported by the latest version, but as indicated in my earlier posts, a lot of this stuff looks early 90s to me.


I mentioned my gripes to a coworker who uses altium designer regularly and he pointed out the very valid fact that if dynamic downloads were the only way to get stuff, we wouldn't be able to use the tool at all at the office.  IT has closed off all direct external internet access from our desks.  In that case I can definitely see why having the full download would be preferable.  He can't get AD updates anymore, it seems.

DarkPrince:
One of my classes in college was around digital systems, and instead of breadboarding each circuit we used FPGA development boards from Xilinx. We used the ISE WebPACK software. Downloading and installation wasn't a problem, and in most modern equipment memory is plentiful (750GB+ in mobile devices, 1 or 2TB in modern desktop systems), so not too concerned. Actually I was quite suprised, even with how large the software is, a lot of it is that, just tools. I wrote my own mapping files instead of using their tools, etc. Schematic editor, and Verilog.

Systems:
1)   Windows 7 - 64 Bit
      64GB SSD

2)   Windows 7 - 64 Bit
      500GB HDD

Granted the software seemed overwhelming at first, but with some effort you can get comfortable. I am not trying to advertise it or anything, but for being my first FPGA experience I was quite satisfied. Unfortunately that is about as far as my experience goes, we are no longer using an FPGA at the moment. Hopefully again. :)

slateraptor:

--- Quote from: DarkPrince on April 10, 2012, 03:02:51 am ---...we are no longer using an FPGA at the moment. Hopefully again. :)

--- End quote ---

If your passion is strong enough, you'll fabricate your own excuse in short time without having to wait for academia to hand you one...and if you get a good enough head start, it won't cost you $136 for a single multi-layer board to support a custom platform either. ;)

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