Lattice or Microsemi?

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What are thoughts on these two vendors goods?  I like that they have  
cheap(er) PCIe options.  My intended use case is to learn about HW and  
HDL development with an existing strong OS development background so I  
want to write device drivers to interface etc.

Right now I'm leaning toward Lattice but I like that Microsemi is  
embracing RISC-V.

Re: Lattice or Microsemi?
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Kevin - I'm in the process of learning FPGA and the advice I would give is
(general not just fpga advice  - it's just my conclusions from starting  
this path myself recently:) :

Dont start with manufacturers:  

Look for the best supported devices - look for the very best toolchain you
can get - then look for a manufacturers forum (their OWN forum not some third  
party link) - then look around the internet to see how much public support you  
can find for the company (not a specific product) - next look for quality of supplied  
documentation. Then look for a range of development boards in your price range
(and below - you dont need the most expensive to learn on - but be careful of
'garden shed' board manufacturers) Some sub $100 boards are great to learn  
on but go to a reputable supplier -  dont buy from the manufacturer unless you  
are spending big sums..

Dont' fall for the high level design language approach - that's only worth looking  
at when you are fully conversant with the lower level.  

You need to be able to:
1. design - RTL knowledge is essential
2. simulate
3. synthesize etc can come later when needed.

Ignore individual chip prices and speeds and features.
Buy the best books you can get your hands on and read them.
FPGA as you no doubt know is a much more complex subject than simple
software writing. Good books help a lot - sadly there are very few 'good' books
as far as I can see. If you have no electronics experience be prepared for some
suprises. If you are experienced in electronics and software - be doubly prepared
for twice as many suprises. (some good - some entertaining)

If you plan to use it at all professionally - choose VHDL - dont be fooled into  
thinking otherwise - yes it's more specific - than the alternatives  but that's  
exactly what you need when designing hardware.  Verilog and the others
may not be exactly 'sloppy'  but there are good reasons governments demand
VHDL - There is a big learning curve so dont waste it on something you can't  
use later.

In short - look for a support network first - then worry about the chip details later.

I hope thats helpful - to someone anyway.
--  

john

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