Allegro.cc - Online Community

Allegro.cc Forums » Off-Topic Ordeals » Anyone here play around with FPGAs?

This thread is locked; no one can reply to it. rss feed Print
 1   2 
Anyone here play around with FPGAs?
Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

The title says it all. I'm curious if I should ask any FPGA-related questions here.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
avatar

kazzmir
Member #1,786
December 2001
avatar

I messed around with xilinix software in college a long time ago, but nothing since then.

gnolam
Member #2,030
March 2002
avatar

I've written a fair share of VHDL and Verilog, and I've hurled more than a fair share of unspeakable curses at Xilinx and their products. :P

--
Move to the Democratic People's Republic of Vivendi Universal (formerly known as Sweden) - officially democracy- and privacy-free since 2008-06-18!

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

I think I'm going to be learning Verilog/VHDL this Summer. I'm eyeing the Lattice ECP3 Versa board (2x1000 ethernet, PCI Express form factor), 35K LUTs at a promotional price of only $100 + shipping.

Money is tight however, so I'm trying to learn as much as I can before putting down the monkey* and finding out I'm in way over my head.

The goal is to build a FPGA co-processor for complex/slow algorithms in Linux. Things that can justify transmitting over a bus, as well as (optionally) a driver interface that automatically allows math libraries to exploit it (falling back on the normal software routines if the FPGA is nonexistant/busy). Double optionally, would be allowing reconfiguration of the FPGA (to adapt the working units) while the computer is running, however, this particular board requires a IP Core PCI Express interface (it has no external controller) which means the operating system may/will lose the FPGA interface each time it resets. The upper echelon is partially reconfigurable FPGAs (change only certain blocks/areas instead of starting over), but that only works in a select few FPGAs and I'm not even trying to think that far ahead and I seriously doubt I could get anywhere near that in a single Summer.

All of what I'm trying to do has been accomplished in modern (2005-Present) literature. So I'm not jumping out on one of my crazy ideas. But should I ever "need" such a device, I'd like to know how to implement one.

I also want to learn Haskell this summer. It's built so differently that it fascinates me. (You write definitions/expressions, not computer instructions. So for example, you can have "infinite size" arrays due to lazy evaluation.)

*My new favorite phrase.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

pkrcel
Member #14,001
February 2012

I only had some sparse experinece in the Xilinx devices with on board PPC750 processor....had only dabbled with VHDL in University a LOOONG time ago. :-/

Not that I miss them so much.....but a leat a bit >:(

It is unlikely that Google shares your distaste for capitalism. - Derezo
If one had the eternity of time, one would do things later. - Johan Halmén

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
avatar

Thanks for making me spend money you ass. but I've wanted to play with FPGAs for a while now. and this price can't really be beat for what you get.

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

pkrcel said:

I only had some sparse experinece in the Xilinx devices

I keep hearing Xilinx is a pain in the butt to use their toolchain and lots of their additional signal analysis tools you have to pay for (that Altera includes for free).

Lattice being a distant third/fourth place competitor, I don't know too much about them but I've not heard bad things from those that do. Also, I've seen some ECP3 bitstream development on the Linux Kernal mailing list.

Thanks for making me spend money you . but I've wanted to play with FPGAs for a while now. and this price can't really be beat for what you get.

I know right?! Remember though for PCI Express/Ethernet/etc you'll need to use their IP Cores (which are free for evaluation purposes, but might be time limited to four hours IIRC) unless you're going to implement your own. I'm watching OpenCores.org these days for free versions of everything.

Quote:

VHDL

Eww.... ADA. Though, I hear most people who learn it don't mind it.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

pkrcel
Member #14,001
February 2012

I keep hearing Xilinx is a pain in the butt to use their toolchain and lots of their additional signal analysis tools you have to pay for (that Altera includes for free).

Lattice being a distant third/fourth place competitor, I don't know too much about them but I've not heard bad things from those that do. Also, I've seen some ECP3 bitstream development on the Linux Kernal mailing list.

Back when I worked in manufaturing, I came close to all of these brands for Boundary Scan matters....my fellow colleagues in the HW dev dpt usually regarded XilinX as the "top-notch" choice, espcially for their SoC (....wandering today on their site I've seen that they winded up a dual-core cortex-A9 device with which I would GLADLY lose my time developing something...I rememer those Cortex-A9 from TI and Cortx-M3 from STmicro that were wonderful toys), and Altera as well was the right choice for a cost-to-market finely tuned solution, especially with their debugabble softcore (Nios II)

Lattice on the other hand was the most widely spread out brand on our manufatured PCBs...I think their cost-effectiveness is still unmatched if we spaek about Logic gates per dollar......but I'm counting on memories old like almost a DECADE >:(

I ended up testing a lot of boards with ALL three brands in ther, each with its own "premium" pick.

I find it fascinating how "modern" "programmers" are fascinated by the Hardware and it's procedural representation....back in my University days there was a cliean wall between Harware Guys and Software Guys....

It is unlikely that Google shares your distaste for capitalism. - Derezo
If one had the eternity of time, one would do things later. - Johan Halmén

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
avatar

I might be getting my lattice board today \o/

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

I just ordered mine yesterday!

They might be phasing them out for a new, prettier board, or at least at the end of a production cycle. I looked around and a few dealers had zero in stock with at least two week lead time.

I was going to wait a couple more weeks but when I saw that, I panicked and found a dealer with only four left.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
avatar

Woot. Just got it. It looks pretty slick. I'll have to play with it this weekend.

I ordered off their site, which is supplied by mouser or digikey (can't remember which) and while it said out of stock, they shipped my board a couple/few days after I put in the order.

I imagine I can figure out how to manage the ethernet without too much difficulty, but the pcie is going to be a challenge initially. I've never even looked into the protocol, and if the board doesn't have a pcie chip on it at all, and it just feeds the signals directly into the fpga, then well, that'll be interesting.

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

if the board doesn't have a pcie chip on it at all, and it just feeds the signals directly into the fpga, then well, that'll be interesting.

The board comes with neither chips, instead using FPGA cores. They have free IP cores (for evaluation purposes) for both PCIe and Ethernet. My goal is to build a linux driver that interfaces with their PCIe core.

Let me know how it goes!

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
avatar

It looks pretty slick. I'll have to play with it this weekend.

{"name":"30055137.jpg","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/9\/f\/9f03bdf766dbc09a1f8385b63c3056d4.jpg","w":400,"h":400,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/9\/f\/9f03bdf766dbc09a1f8385b63c3056d4"}30055137.jpg

Dizzy Egg
Member #10,824
March 2009
avatar

Hey, I was just thinking....if you're not retarded and accept evolution, and you're not spending all your free time watching TV and have a basic grasp on abiogenesis, and have come to rest on the theory that there was a 'starting point' to our universe, and have gone a bit further and started to muse on the idea of quantum theory allowing a sub-atomic 'pop' out of no-where, then surely you're no better off than before!? I mean, we next need to explain the 'pop'??? I think we're just making trouble and more questions for ourselves with this quantum nonsense, and we should just accept that there was nothing and God and one day he got bored and went 'pop'.

Back on topic, yeah, PCI thingy, looks cool.

:-*

----------------------------------------------------
Please check out my songs:
https://soundcloud.com/dont-rob-the-machina

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

Dizzy Egg said:

Hey, I was just thinking....if you're not retarded and accept evolution, and you're not spending all your free time watching TV and have a basic grasp on abiogenesis, and have come to rest on the theory that there was a 'starting point' to our universe, and have gone a bit further and started to muse on the idea of quantum theory allowing a sub-atomic 'pop' out of no-where, then surely you're no better of than before!? I mean, we next need to explain the 'pop'??? I think we're just making trouble and more questions for ourselves with this quantum nonsense, and we should just accept that there was nothing and God and one day he got bored and went 'pop'.

What the hell are you talking about?

I'm watching Jeff Goldbloom in The Fly and I can help but read all of that in his voice. But I still want to slap you.

Quote:

Back on topic, yeah, PCI thingy, looks cool.

Damn right it is.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
avatar

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

It's not logic, it's a typo. >:( Armchair warriors... ::)

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
avatar

Dizzy Egg
Member #10,824
March 2009
avatar

:-*

----------------------------------------------------
Please check out my songs:
https://soundcloud.com/dont-rob-the-machina

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

:-*

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

Dizzy Egg
Member #10,824
March 2009
avatar

Aww! Yay! Allegroid love! That's rare nowadays, come on guys, let's kiss this thread to a higher state of consciousness!

----------------------------------------------------
Please check out my songs:
https://soundcloud.com/dont-rob-the-machina

gnolam
Member #2,030
March 2002
avatar

Dizzy Egg said:

I'm really high.

FTFY.

--
Move to the Democratic People's Republic of Vivendi Universal (formerly known as Sweden) - officially democracy- and privacy-free since 2008-06-18!

Edgar Reynaldo
Member #8,592
May 2007
avatar

Dizzy Egg said:

let's kiss this thread to a higher state of consciousness!

If you can reach Maslow's stage of self actualization, I'll write a software library for you...

Vanneto
Member #8,643
May 2007

This thread needs a decent dose of Gull... Either that or a pinch of piccolo, whatever comes first.

In capitalist America bank robs you.

 1   2 


Go to: