10 Replies Latest reply on Oct 28, 2019 6:28 AM by michaelkellett

    Low Cost FPGA Boards

    michaelkellett

      I knew that eventually my Elektor subscription would throw up something useful:

       

      https://www.elektormagazine.com/news/tinyfpga-bx-review?utm_source=Elektor+International+%28English%29&utm_campaign=acad…

       

      The Tiny FPGA people are at:

       

      https://tinyfpga.com/

       

      They have a range of Lattice based very low cost boards.

       

      I've not tried any of them but it looks like a viable route to low cost simple FPGA.

       

      MK

        • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
          koudelad

          And here is a podcast The Amp Hour (by Chris Gammel) with an interview of Luke Valenty (creator of the TinyFPGA): https://theamphour.com/395-an-interview-with-luke-valenty/

          It might be useful for people considering to buy these boards.

           

          David

          5 of 5 people found this helpful
            • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
              shabaz

              Hi David,

               

              I'd never listened to this podcast before, but thanks to you I found another recording by Chris Gammel that really helped me yesterday... I needed to clean up an hour of audio, and he'd done a nice video on how he podcasts, that provided me with all the help I needed! Long story short - he uses (or used - the video was not recent) Audacity, and some software called 'Levelator'.

            • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
              shabaz

              I always treat the Elektor e-mails as spam, but I will try to read some of them in future : ) Lattice seems to have a great mix of performance, low-cost and feasible hand-soldering. I'm considering to try it out sometime, perhaps around xmas time.

              • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
                dougw

                The price (and capability) seems to be still going down on entry FPGA cards Tang Nano - $4.90

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
                    michaelkellett

                    Hadn't seen this board before -thanks.

                     

                    I've had my eye on Gowin, the Chinese FPGA co. that makes the chip, for a while.

                     

                    I haven't tried using their parts because I can't find anyone in UK who can supply, and wordl wide no one with any stock.

                    They seem to only have a few 4th rate distributors in US and Europe.

                     

                    I've tried contacting the European sales manager (a Brit based in UK) with no joy.

                     

                    They aren't going to sell many bits until they get them in front of customers !

                     

                    Edge (weirdo US distributor) has prices on its website but no stock  - the prices are great - but no use on their own.

                     

                    MK

                      • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
                        alababaju

                        I noticed something a little odd with Gowin too. As a total beginner interested in learning FPGAs, I did some research on all the manufacturers apart from the major Xilinx and Intel/Altera.  I tried to contact them months ago (in February 2019) when I decided to try out their boards. I did manage to find boards for them, no problem, but I couldn't get them to give an EDA license which I wanted before I bought a board. I spoke to them on live chat and they gave me the details of someone I suspect is the same person you tried to contact. I did not receive a reply. I'm almost certain I tried live chat more than once, but I only have email records of one live chat plus the email I sent to their UK contact. At the end I gave up. I follow them on Twitter and it seems their aim is the Chinese market for now. They seem to be trying to expand though, as I've seen a dev board (here) made and distributed by a German Electronics firm(Trenz-Electronics).

                         

                        As for the Edge Electronics site, I sent them an email earlier in the year. They did replied nicely, but the second line of the reply I got contained(copied and pasted):

                         

                        "Sorry but we do not stock any of the devices you are looking for. We would have to order from factory with minimum quantities  and lead time."

                         

                        I did not ask further for volume pricing or price breaks though.

                         

                        I instead tried out Efinix, also a new FPGA company, who gave me access to their store (their's is a different process) much quicker. I ended up purchasing a dev board from a Crowdfunded project on Crowdsupply. It should be in shipping now. I have also received the software license key already.

                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
                            michaelkellett

                            Had a quick look at the Efnix parts - hard to spot any real standout features - no data that I could find on chip speed.

                            I'm waiting for them to "approve" my account so I can look at their web store and see what parts can actually be bought.

                             

                            Doesn't look as if the 144 pin TQFP parts are a priority - none at Digikey.

                             

                            I'll be interested to hear how your board works out.

                             

                            MK

                        • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
                          filupgasinthevan

                          Amazingly cheap. Shame there are no hardware multipliers on the particular part on that board.

                        • Re: Low Cost FPGA Boards
                          mudz

                          Looks interesting, will take a close look tomorrow. Taking a quick look, I found it very helpful, Thanks for sharing.

                          Will purchase few of them next month may be, this month am out of money. I hate credit cards now, make me go into shopping mode whatever slightly thing interests me..  hehe