Mojo 3 or Papilio Duo as an entry level dev board?


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Hello everyone,,

This question has already been asked but not for a very long time. Given the long time since the last discussion, I would hazard a guess that both have had major improvements. To which I ask which is the best out of the two?

I will be using the board as an introduction to FPGAs as I have developed a keen interest in them as of late. As a theoretical physicist I never really encountered any electronics but an FPGA programmer at work gave me a CPLD to play around with after spending a few months of learning electronics. As such I already know a little about VHDL and could probably shift to Verilog without much fuss.

The project I am thinking of doing first is to make the FPGA into a logic analyser for other project testing. I know the Papilio has this feature as standard but given I want to make the project myself that doesn't really matter. What I want to know is, is the I/O routing on the Mojo good enough to allow the 100/200 MHz speeds the Papilio can reach?

The Mojo is much easier to get hold of here in the UK whereas the Papilio would have to be imported. That being said the Papilio does have a bundle for everything to make it into a logic analyser (5V buffer boards and test clips) and I guess code which already works out of the box.

PS: I would also appreciate any tips for getting a job in FPGA programming as a physicist given that the usual path would be for an electronics engineer. I am only a hobbyist yet but wouldn't mind having the option of my hobby becoming a career. I have already messed around with PICs and CPLDs with reasonable success.

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  • 4 months later...

The Mojo v3 and Papilio Duo both use the exact same FPGA. There is no meaningful difference in their I/O capabilities.

There are some differences in their peripherals, and they almost all point in favor of the Papilio:

  • The Mojo v3 uses the AVR microcontroller to program the FPGA, as well as for communications with the FPGA. This is a bit strange, and locks you into using Mojo-specific tools for programming. The Papilio has a FT232H for programming and communications; the AVR is separate. This allows you to use more standard tools.

  • The Papilio has a pretty large (512 or 1024 KB) external SRAM chip. The Mojo v3 has no external memory; you're limited to the 576 Kbit (~64 KB) block ram available on the FPGA. (There is an expansion board available, but it's kind of expensive.)

  • The Papilio has an Arduino-compatible pinout. The Mojo v3 does its own thing.

  • The Mojo v3 has a few more LEDs. So there's that, I guess. :)

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