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Forum: FPGA, VHDL & Verilog cheap fpga for starting


von Sylvana W. (queen_of_forsaken)


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Hi. I am interested in fpga for a while and planning to study about it 
but where I live, dollar is x4 more valuable than our money. So, I could 
not match the money to buy a decent fpga. I wonder if I buy a cheap fpga 
board from china, would it be helpful? Or if you have any suggestions 
for me, I would be greatful to hear.

von Lothar M. (lkmiller) (Moderator)


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Sylvana W. wrote:
> I wonder if I buy a cheap fpga board from china, would it be helpful?
You can start with any. But the less additional components are on the 
board the more you must supply yourself. And afterwards you cannot be 
sure wether its a problem of the self made hardware or the FPGA design.

BTW: those FPGA boards don't become worthless over night (unless you 
destroy it). So when you start with a small one you won't lose much 
money when you sell it in a year. And then you will know yourself what 
you need further on.

von Sylvana W. (queen_of_forsaken)


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Thank you for answer. I think I got plenty of addional components so 
that wont be a problem.

von casual user (Guest)


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To initially save on the bucks, you could just run simulations. Get 
familiar with first schematic entry, then VHDL. Until you program a 
device the first time, some months will have passed.

After being able to actually program a device you need some hardware to 
interface to. Well, an eval board would allow for the first steps.

You could ask here for a spare eval bord by the way. I possibly have 
one. Not the latest technology though.

von Sylvana W. (queen_of_forsaken)


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Thanks you are so kind. By the way that simulation thing makes sense! Of 
course I will search but I would also like to hear your opinion. Which 
program should I use for simulation?

von Andreas Rückert (Guest)


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You could just download Altera Quartus or Xilinx ISE and/or Vivado. 
They are all available for free.

von Sylvana W. (queen_of_forsaken)


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Okay I am on it.

von foobar (Guest)


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Have a look for ICE40 boards (i.e. from Olimex) - they are cheap and 
there's an open source development system available.

von casual user (Guest)


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The Altera tool, Quartus, doesn't support schematic entry anymore. But 
some others do.
What is also fine is test pattern, meaning timing diagrams by graphic 
editor.
Otherwise you have to rely on the VHDL testbench. Requiring you to be 
fluent with VHDL.
BTW, forget Verilog, another Hardware description language. It is 
preferred in the States, but less usefull. A different approach.

An incomplete list of manufacturers is :
Xlilinx
Altera
Lattice
Microsemi

von Thosch (Guest)


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Xilinx heissen die...
Und Altera heißt jetzt Intel.

von Markus F. (mfro)


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casual user wrote:
> The Altera tool, Quartus, doesn't support schematic entry anymore. But
> some others do.

Not that I use that feature, but to my knowledge, Quartus Prime still 
supports editing configurations as block symbol files (as it always 
did).

von Duke Scarring (Guest)


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Thosch wrote:
> Und Altera heißt jetzt Intel.
Yo. And Microsemi is Microchip now:
https://www.microchip.com/investor/Pressrelease/MCHP%20to%20Acquire%20Microsemi%20Corporation.030118.pdf

So the actual list is:
Xilinx
Intel (Altera)
Lattice
Microchip (Microsemi)

Duke

von Andy (Guest)


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Duke Scarring wrote:
> So the actual list is:
> Xilinx
> Intel (Altera)
> Lattice
> Microchip (Microsemi)

There are also:

Gowin  -> http://www.gowinsemi.com/product/littlebee/
Efinix -> https://www.efinixinc.com/products-trion.html


Efinix is a startup with no products so far, but looks interesting. 
https://www.edn.com/electronics-products/electronic-product-reviews/other/4460483/New-FPGA-maker-targets-cost-sensitive-space
Gowin is chinese and hard to get in Europe.

Andy

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