FPGA, SoC, And CPLD Boards And Kits
FPGA Evaluation and Development Kits
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Best Development Board to cut my teeth / kick the wheels

Honored Contributor II


I am wanting to learn more about FPGA development and was just wondering what is a good development kit to start off with to learn about programming FPGAs. I am an engineer and I am mainly interested in developing programs around Ethernet and Transceivers. I have some experience with the Cyclone IV chip so I was thinking about starting with that one or the Cyclone V; however, the boards range from anywhere around $200 to $1200 and I'm not sure what would be best to start with. Any advice on what would be a good development board to start off with that would allow me to learn the programming and actually program/debug some real-life applications?  


Thank you.
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Honored Contributor II

Lots of the lower-cost development kits are good for learning, eg., the Terasic DE0-nano 




The Cyclone IV GX Starter kit is cheaper than the ones you mention, but then again its got a small device. 




The Terasic SoC kit looks tempting ... it says the FPGA has transceivers and the kit has an HSMC connector (which is where they would route) ... 




What you need to do is figure out one specific application you want to try, and then hypothetically consider that you have the development kit. Download and install the support software for that kit, and see if your design will work in it. 


What sort of transceiver development were you going to look at? Some kits have HSMC connectors, others have FMC connectors, and yet others have PCIe edge connectors. If you want to gain access to the transceivers on an SMA connector, then some kits have that too, while others you will need to buy an adapter. 


Take a look at the kits again, come back with some specific options, and ideas about applications, and forum readers will give you their feedback. 


Have fun! 



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Honored Contributor II

In addition to the Terasic boards, the Arrow BeMicro boards are cheap and good enough for your typical "hello world" of one shape or another. 


The BeMicro SDK for $80 is big enough to host a NIOS system and includes Ethernet. The newer $50 BeMicro CV trades the Ethernet PHY for more I/O pins instead. 




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