Another FPGA Kickstarter...


alex

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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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