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Comments

Tommy Thorn

FWIW & IMHO: I have no vendor preference, but Xilinx has the best general purpose boards on the market today. ML501, ML401, and the Spartan 3E starter kit (but in the 1600E version from Digilent). Alas, the Lattice boards just aren't competitive -- too expensive and offer too little.

1) The largest (or close) FPGA in the family, as much and wide memory as possible (RLDRAM-II, DDR2, ZBT SRAM, etc), Ethernet, CompactFlash or SD-flash card. VGA, dual PS/2, USB, audio or D/A are all pluses.

2) Make it competitive. ML501 is worth the $1k, the Digilent board is a steal at $300 etc.

4) Even at low cost, to be useful the FPGA need to be as large as possible and have 128+ Mib of external memory.

Best regards,
Tommy

bleigh

Thanks for your feedback. This is the kind of feedback that would be useful for our next generation of evaluation board development.

Jeliazko Atanasov

Hello
Sorry for my bad English

1)NO.
it is difficult to make PCB for BGA .
i need only BGA chip soldered on small pcb with any standart socket on this pcb which to conect to my project pcb.
nothing more.

2)BGAfpga+pcb+socket
=fpga price+3usd

3)1GHz (XP2/3 may be ;)

4)yes

ps:
it is not good that you removed
jtag programmer schematic from pdf

sagestion: release free schem+firmware cpld/fpga jtag usb-programmer or if not free then price around 20-30 usd

sagestion2:put software controlled frecuency generator
build in fpga
or solution how to generate clock directly in verilog (if this is posible)

Joe G.

ok, here we go

1) no, other vendors offer better boards at lower prices.

2) depends on the project and the FPGA, but in general, i shouldnt be more expensive than the other venodrs offerings.

3) this again depends on the project, but for simple testing, i could live with 33 or 50 MHz boards.


4) the low cost boards are for the hobbyist mostly. but many people end up buying those parts for their day time jobs. It is also a cheap way to test new FPGA vendors/famillies. In any case, something like the Digilent S3E and Terasic DE2 board is what i think you should aim at.


By the way, I like your inexpensive ipslever+board offering. too bad you offer only two different boards (would love to see a medium sized ECP2/ECP2M board).

bleigh

I am a little behind on my response so this response is for the previous two comments.

Jeliazko:
I understand that your request is for inexpensive board with FPGA soldered down on the board with connectors for you to build your prototype.

We always have to be careful about programming cable. The quality of device programming is important to Lattice so this is the reason (short answer) that we are protective of the programming cable details. I believe we do offer parallel and USB cables at a reasonable price.

On the frequency generator check out our MachXO and LatticeECP2/M devices. They do offer on chip oscillator! Below is the links to two technotes that has example codes in the OSC section.

http://www.latticesemi.com/lit/docs/technotes/tn1089.pdf
http://www.latticesemi.com/lit/docs/technotes/tn1103.pdf

Joe G.:
I understand that your request is enough feature with reasonable price. Your feedback is more inline with the way we are heading.

We will also see about other bundling with s/w like you suggested.

Thank you both for very well thought out responses.

Fredrik Nyman

I guess I'll take the opportunity to chime in as well.

I believe quite strongly that the way to get engineers to choose your device is to give them plenty of opportunities to play with them.

Maybe I'm atypical, but I tend to recommend things I already have some experience with; preferably hands-on, though indirect experience (e.g. with another device in the same family, or with the vendor's IDE/toolchain).

Familiarity and experience increases my comfort level, if you will.

Your competitors, especially Xilinx, does a very good job here; they work with the big distributors to arrange hands-on workshops, give away the tiny "Spartan-3E sample pack" boards, and they and third parties, including distributors, make and sell a large number of low-cost, high-value boards, e.g. the $150 Digilent Spartan-3E starter board.

What do I mean with "high-value"? Easy: that the board have enough goodies to actually do something useful, if simple. Typically that means lots of header pins, a high-speed interface connector, Ethernet PHY, some LEDs and buttons, and a decent amount of memory.

I also find "prototyping areas" on evaluation boards pretty useless, and prefer stand-alone evaluation boards to PCI-based ones, but then again my FPGA-based designs interface with microcontrollers.

I hope this helps.

Fredrik

Fredrik Nyman

And to actually answer the questions asked:

1. Yes, once the LatticeECP2 Advanced Evaluation Board becomes available.
2. Quite low -- $100 or so -- but it depends a lot on the value of the board; if it has the connectors I want, LED/LCDs for debugging etc.
3. 200 MHz
4. Yes, a tiny board with just FPGA, RAM, headers, power connector, a few LEDs (similar to the Spartan-3E sampler) and an *USB* download cable would be nice.

A.C.

I think you should take a look at what Atmel is doing with the AVR uC line.

Their development boards are:
- dirt cheap!!
- fun
- powerful
- simple!


The tools are
- free
- usually open source.
- every detail is well documented.

The openness have allowed users to improve things or design new compatible hardware/software.


This have created a very strong community around AVR. for example, take a look at www.avrfreaks.net! Notice than while the Atmel parts are more expensive that competitors, at the moment it looks like they are winning the "8-bit uC war"...


LatticeUser

I think it could be useful
for many applications to
design a evaluation board
with PCI and DDR2
for the low cost FPGA family ECP2.

Altera does offer the Cyclone II
PCI Development Board.

Bogdan

It will be very nice to have a board that can be use to BUILD something like OLPC ( but , of course OPEN ). Do you think is possible? THX.

bleigh

Thank you for your inputs. Reviewing the past few comments and previous comments we understand that cost is high on everyone's list. Also some of the features that you are looing for are supported in many of our recent demo boards that we have released.

We have recently released LatticeECP2/ECP2M and LatticeSC boards that can support PCIexpress, general purpose SERDES, 7:1 LVDS Video, DDR2 interface at >400Mbps, and many other features.

For open source, Lattice Mico8 and Mico32 soft microprocessor cores are also available. With this, you can build your own small computer (if you choose for the OLPC:One Laptop Per Child comment) with the evaluation boards that are available from Lattice.

We are always looking to improve our cost to pass on the cost saving to you for these boards.

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