jgagnon
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Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:48 pm

In the interest of education, creativity, flexibility, and coolness... would you please consider adding a FPGA to a new model of the Raspberry Pi (or whatever a new device might be called)? I would think that having a FPGA mixed in with GPIO on a full featured, Linux-ready computer would make for an epic device. I realize it is not something likely to be added to a base model because of pricing constraints, but programmable hardware opens MANY more creative doors and gives us all something new to learn and share.

Not that I'm complaining or running out of uses for the Pi. In fact, I love my many Pi's and plan to get at least a couple of the compute modules if/when they become generally available to the public.

On a side note, my kid's middle school (in the US) recently added an elective course based around the Raspberry Pi. I'm pretty excited about that.

jdb
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:06 pm

There's just one problem with adding an FPGA to anything:

They cost a lot of money.

For a half-decent FPGA you're looking at about $10 of silicon plus change for the extra passives/ancilliaries. The Raspberry Pi price point is $35/$25 therefore adding an FPGA is completely out of scope.

There was a kickstarter for an FPGA add-on board (which got funded):

http://valentfx.com/logi-pi/
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riklaunim
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:40 pm

The easiest way is to use a FPGA board of choice with computer of choice than expecting it to be added to given computer/board/etc (and in acceptable time frame).

jgagnon
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:51 pm

jdb wrote:There's just one problem with adding an FPGA to anything:

They cost a lot of money.

For a half-decent FPGA you're looking at about $10 of silicon plus change for the extra passives/ancilliaries. The Raspberry Pi price point is $35/$25 therefore adding an FPGA is completely out of scope.

There was a kickstarter for an FPGA add-on board (which got funded):

http://valentfx.com/logi-pi/
I had a note in my post about cost and was honestly thinking more along the lines of a "model C" (maybe doable at a $50-$75 price point?). It was a long shot but worth asking. :)

I got in on the Mojo Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11 ... e-hobbyist) and it could be made to work with the Pi. I was not aware of the LOGI-Pi until recently so I don't have one of those but it does look interesting (and it looks like the same chip used in the Mojo).

Intel also just announced a Xeon-FPGA chip that got me thinking about this topic again, which is partly why I posted here.

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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:25 pm

Cost isn't the only thing. Well, sort of. The cost to develop such as device as a model C would be quite high (HW design, SW development, CE testing for a new model, rework, production line test HW to design and make and test), and the prospective market quite small. So I doubt it would ever make back it's development costs at the sort of price point people would demand.

I think this really is a job for daughter card of some description, as linked above.
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marked
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:08 pm

If you ignore the Epiphany chip on the parallela board (99USD), you can just use the Zynq-7010/7020 which is a dual core ARM with an FPGA.

There is also the Guzunty CPLD device for 10UKP which is a Xilinx XC9572XL-?PCG44C. see topic

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mahjongg
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:19 pm

you want an FPGA with a "new model" of the PI?
Simple, just have a Compute Module IO Board designed that contains an FPGA!

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johnbeetem
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:17 am

There are quite a few FPGA boards with a USB connection that allows them to be downloaded from RasPi. My favorite is the Gadget Factory Papilio One with Spartan-3E 250K. It's currently US$38. Gadget Factory also has a Spartan-3E 500K version and a Spartan-6 Papilio Pro with an LX9. Gadget Factory just completed a Kickstarter for their Papilo DUO with Spartan-6 LX9 and Arduino processor.

There a Kickstarter going on right now (<2 days left) for the Scarab Hardware miniSpartan6+ with LX9 for US$69, which is the cheapest I've seen in the USA. They don't have a track record like Gadget Factory, and have been changing the design as the Kickstarter has been proceeding. Meeting their promised delivery schedule will be challenging IMO.

All these boards use the FTDI FT2232D or FT2232H USB peripheral, which are pretty easy to program. They're supported by the FLOSS libftdi I/O library, which can be installed as a package on RasPi and works nicely.

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johnbeetem
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:19 am

mahjongg wrote:you want an FPGA with a "new model" of the PI?
Simple, just have a Compute Module IO Board designed that contains an FPGA!
That's a nice idea and quite feasible. As always with these projects, the hard part is selling enough boards to get the price down to something affordable.

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Jessie
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:01 am

Altera has a 600 gate 32 block 200+ MHz CPLD that costs less than $2 for singles. You could probably get one for less than $1 in volume. While it is not powerful it would get people some VSDL and Verilog exp. It is the one included in this breakout... http://gadgetory.com/index.php?route=pr ... uct_id=124
http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Alt ... MsimDEnQ==

I think a "shield" of sorts would be the way to go with this though, but I think you are on the right track thinking the R Pi community could use one. I have toy'ed with the idea of making a Compute Module + CPLD board.

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jackokring
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:12 pm

The pif from bugblat is also available. The design tools for FPGA development will not run on a Pi.
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KeithSloan
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:48 pm

I have no experience of, but you might like to check out http://valentfx.com/logi-pi/

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AndrewS
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:42 pm

If you want a CPLD rather than a full-blown FPGA, you could also have a look at https://github.com/Guzunty/Pi/wiki

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Jessie
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:47 pm

jackokring wrote:The pif from bugblat is also available. The design tools for FPGA development will not run on a Pi.
That is a very good point, but Altera does have a Linux binary (they don't specify x86 but I assume that is the case). So that would bring it one step closer to the Pi.

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Jessie
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:56 pm

KeithSloan wrote:I have no experience of, but you might like to check out http://valentfx.com/logi-pi/
Very nice and very expensive.
AndrewS wrote:If you want a CPLD rather than a full-blown FPGA, you could also have a look at https://github.com/Guzunty/Pi/wiki
$15 is decent for what is offered.

For the vast majority of us who just want to do tinkering a low end CPLD is fine. The software is generally the same as an FPGA so if a person wanted to step up to a full flavor FPGA from a CPLD it would be simple.

MrMarkus
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Re: Consider adding a FPGA to a new model?

Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:34 am

jgagnon wrote:In the interest of education, creativity, flexibility, and coolness... would you please consider adding a FPGA to a new model of the Raspberry Pi (or whatever a new device might be called)? I would think that having a FPGA mixed in with GPIO on a full featured, Linux-ready computer would make for an epic device.
Hi everyone,

This is exactly why we came up with the PiXi add-on board for the Raspberry Pi. We took a very capable FPGA, got the Pi to do all the programming work and added as much GPIO and as many features as we could without breaking the bank too much. We ended up with what we think is a very capable add-on for the Pi. We call it the PiXi Board, the name simply came from joining the "Pi" in Raspberry Pi to the "Xi" in Xilinx, after we decided to use a Xilinx FPGA on the board.

You can find out more at http://www.astro-designs.com and if you follow us on Twitter (http://www.wtitter.com/AstroDesignsLtd) then you'll get the latest news releases.

We chose the Xilinx Spartan 6 LX9 which has also been used by several other successful projects like this. This is a very capable FPGA for the money. We'd typically be paying around $7 for this part and less than that if there's enough interest to make even more. We're also planning on making a "Lite" version that uses the LX4 part as this is cheaper still. Our target price for the full version is £80 and £50 for the Lite version but this is very much linked to the quantities we make. Our hopes are that once we run our Kickstarter project we'll get over 1000 backers and that will make it possible to meet this price.

If it takes off then we'd like to consider taking the concept to the next level and putting an even more powerful FPGA on a similar board, something like a Zynq, but that's a little way off...

Back to the design of the PiXi though, it was designed to capture the interest of the Raspberry Pi community, a low cost FPGA development board, designed to introduce the user to the world of FPGAs but at the same time appeal to the hobbyist and Pi enthusiast as a versatile add-on for the Pi and further still, appeal to the professional engineering community as a simple, low cost development & prototyping platform.

There's a few youtube videos of demonstrations of what you can do with the PiXi but the possibilities are kind of endless.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf0if8 ... fGbQiXWUaw

That's it in a nutshell, happy to chat more if anyone has any questions and if you have any thoughts on the PiXi board, please feel free to drop us an email.

Kind regards,

Mark

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