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Honored Contributor I

DE1-SOC Board for Beginners

Hi, I am currently a high school student, and I am looking to get into FPGA design. I have about five years of experience with programming, and a couple years with electronics design, but almost no experience with FPGAs. I am planning on purchasing a DE1-SOC board, mostly to design soft processors, but also for robotics projects, and experimentation. To me the board seems ideal over the alternatives because (with the academic discount), it seems to offer nearly everything the Cyclone V starter board does, plus the SOC, for about the same price. My main concern however, is if the SOC would complicate things or get in the way when not in use. For example, I would like to use the SD card in some of my FPGA only designs, and so I’m curious if that will be harder since the SD is on the HPS side. My other concern is with how much less ram the DE1-SOC has over the alternatives (64MB on the FPGA 1GB on the SOC, vs 4gb on the FPGA for the Cyclone V starter), and so I was wondering if the ram on the SOC can be made available to the FPGA, or if it is possible to extend the ram externally.  


So basically what I am asking is, is the DE1-SOC a suitable board for complete beginners in FPGA, and is the ram on it limiting? Thank you for your help.
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Honored Contributor I

For beginner is OK, ram is not limiting you.

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