alex

Another FPGA Kickstarter...

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...that I'm too late for, all the early birds are gone. FPGA shields for BeagleBone and Raspberry PI. Looks very popular, far exceeded the goal by miles with 22 days still to go.   Bah, I don't really need another FPGA board, I got enough for now :)

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... um, yeah, sorry about that - I am sort of mixed up in that a little.

 

They sent me a demo a while back and I used it to work in the SDRAM controller, as it is approximately the same as the Papilio Pro. Once I got it working I ordered a Papilio Pro and it now my SDRAM controller works on both.

 

When I searched for FPGA on Kickstarter they turned up, and I pimped them to Slashdot and Hackaday, as they gave me a board I've only done one project. Much to my surprise it got accepted and published on Slashdot a few days ago and now on Hackaday have run with it. It then appeared on Xilinx's daily blog too.... Suddenly I have an undeserved "Web 2.0 social media god" status. 

 

The board is much like a PapPro, except:

* larger RAM (256Mb)

* not USB powered - host powered

* arduino shields and PMOD headers rather than than my much-more preferred wIngs

* can plug onto the GPIO of a Pi or the BeagleBone

* A SATA for offboard I/O

* being able to SSH remotely into your FPGA dev-board might have benifits.

 

Downsides:

 

* Bandwidth between host and FPGA is still very low (2 or 3 Mb/s) - not really enough for co-processing large amounts of data (e.g. video).

* It has to be pugged into a host for power

* Nothing as nice as the LogicStart. I think inital plans are for a virtual front panel which isn't the same as seeing LEDs and driving real VGA...

* Going from laptop => wifi => ethernet => Pi => FPGA might get a little tedious

* Don't think it has configuration flash (not sure on that one).

 

I really, really hope Jack has sent out his christmas cards, otherwise I don't think I'll get one this year ;-).

 

However it has encouraged a really large number of people to pick up an FPGA board. i look on it as market development for Jack's rumored next leap forward - (I don't know any more than he is looking at using BGA parts allowing larger FPGAs, but I think it should be called the "Papilio KYSO (Knock-Your-Sox-Off)").

 

I did my last eBook for Basys2 and Papilio One as they both used the same Spartan 3E, any new material will be aimed at Spartan 6LX9 - they are pretty much the same wolf in different clothing aimed at different people.

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Then there is also the Saturn board:

http://numato.cc/content/saturn-another-attempt-make-open-source-spartan-6-fpga-board-ddr-sdram

 

One thing I don't think will fly on this board is that there is no jtag acccess via the FTDI chip, only SPI flash programming, so unless you have a Xilinx jtag programming cable the only way to test a bit file is to write it to flash.

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