Spartan-3 Starter Board

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Hey All,

Just wondering if anyone has tried out the Spartan-3 starter board
offered on Xilinx's website (the 99 dollar one). I am a student
developing a project on an FPGA and that seemed like the most cost
effective option for me. Has anyone tried it? If so, how is the
speed/capacity for your needs? How about the simplified JTAG interface,
does that perform OK? Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing
from you.

Chris


Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
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its ok,
but if you can wait then the Spartan3e kit $149 USD includes also on board
Platform USB Cable (sold standalone for $149!) as free bonus :)


--
Antti Lukats
http://www.xilant.com



Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
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If you are a student you may be able to get Xilinx to donate a couple to
your Lab at School!

-Eli

Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board

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I just wanted to provide a little more information on this to make it
completely clear about the USB cable supplied with the board.

First, some backround.  The Xilinx Platform USB Cable is a
self-contained USB-based programming cable that provides in-system
programming for a variety of Xilinx devices.
http://www.xilinx.com/xlnx/xebiz/designResources/ip_product_details.jsp?key=HW-USB

The Spartan-3E Starter Kit Board includes a standard A-B USB cable.
The cable connects your computer's USB port to the USB slave port on
the board to program the Spartan-3E FPGA, the Platform Flash PROM, or
the on-board CPLDs.  Think of it as an "embedded", single-target
version of the Xilinx USB download cable.  It is not designed to
program devices that are not already on the board.

---------------------------------
Steven K. Knapp
Applications Manager, Xilinx Inc.
General Products Division
Spartan-3/-3E FPGAs
http://www.xilinx.com/spartan3e
---------------------------------
The Spartan(tm)-3 Generation:  The World's Lowest-Cost FPGAs.


Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board

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http://www.xilinx.com/xlnx/xebiz/designResources/ip_product_details.jsp?key=HW-USB
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  So there is no header that allows the few PGM wires, to be taken
off-board, to another FPGA/CPLD ?
  Silly question then : why not ?

-jg


Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
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http://www.xilinx.com/xlnx/xebiz/designResources/ip_product_details.jsp?key=HW-USB
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answer: marketing

but it should be easy to fix, the Cypress chip is not an BGA so all the PGM
wires can be trapped on the topside of the PCB


--
Antti Lukats
http://www.xilant.com




Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
Chris

You might want to have a look at our product Raggedstone1. It has the much
larger XC3S400-4FG456C part fitted. Programming cable is included and card
can be used in a PCI slot or stand-alone with the optional PCI I/O Header.
Details here http://www.enterpoint.co.uk/moelbryn/raggedstone1.html .

John Adair
Enterpoint Ltd. - Home of Raggedstone1. The Low Cost Spartan-3 Development
Board.
http://www.enterpoint.co.uk

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Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
Chris,

I bought the S3 starter board last year for a VHDL senior class
project.  I implemented a 32-bit CPU in it, and demonstrated a program
which detected prime numbers on the 8-segment display.  The whole
design took about 90% of the chip, but it went smoothly, and for $99,
how can you beat it?!

However, like Antti said, today I would spring for the S3E for $149.
It has a larger FPGA, more RAM, and a couple more goodies on the board.
 The only downside is that they are newly released and you may have
trouble getting ahold of one.

Cheers,
-Jeff


Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
Well yes actually. The board that is cheaper that a car tank of UK gas.

John Adair
Enterpoint Ltd. - Home of Raggedstone1. The US$90 Development Board.
http://www.enterpoint.co.uk

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Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
Hi John,

I guess it's a matter of tradeoffs:  $9 cheaper, but the S3 board has
more switches, a VGA output, a serial output, and an PS/2 port.

And shipping Raggedstone1 to the US is $45.

-Jeff


Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
I'll admit shipping is an issue and we have brought it down a lot based on
the numbers we are moving we now have much better rates to us from our
courier. That shipping is usually next day if we get an order early in the
UK day. We may be able to extend the low cost ship that we use in Europe to
US but as yet we don't know what issues we might have in customs clearance.
But if guys in the US buy more well it might get a lot better. After all the
large players in distribution like DIGI-KEY ship to us for free on orders
over $180. A bit ironic as we end up shipping a lot of the parts back on a
board to the US more often than not.

Out interest what does a typical US distributor charge for carriage?

The functionality bits differences are now mainly covered by our add-on
modules. We are putting together a competative bundles of modules that will
be announced soon. They will be extra but you still get better value in my
opinion with our bundles. Website photos of the first modules to be released
have been done and should appear on our website in the next couple of days.
Some pricing too.

Another thing worth mentioning is that if a group of students, or college,
get together they can buy a UAP pack of 5,10,20 etc boards at discount of
any of our products including the Raggedstone1. The Raggedstone1 specials
(XC3S1000,XC3S1500, XC3S2000) will also be made available under this program
too TBA. They won't be released otherwise than in bulk buys from strategic
customer or in our forthcoming competitions. Also carriage on group buys
drops the unit carriage effectively by a lot when spread over say 5 units
which is about US$70-80 from my rusty memory so worth doing. We are
considering having a US distributor, or division, to handle the level of
sales we have in your area but that is probably a while off yet.

John Adair
Enterpoint Ltd. - Home of UAP - University Access Program.
http://www.enterpoint.co.uk


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Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board

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On a recent project I found the 8 big (i.e. not DIP) switches on the S3 starter
board REALLY useful,
for  selecting 1 of n different sets of debug outputs to a set of pins connected
to the scope, and
also to select one of n signals to display on the seven-seg display. Saves a lot
of recompiles to
add debug functions to look at different internal states if you can have them
all available at the
flick of a switch...!

 

Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
Note also you can buy the S3 board directly from Digilent
(http://www.digilentinc.com ), and they give you the option of upgrading
to a XC3S400 or XC3S1000. Looks like it includes the power supply and
cable, but you probably need to download the webpack software yourself.


Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
Hi Jeff, I am planning on implementing a CPU as a personal project. I
have a different dev board, but it is loaded with the XC3S200. May I
ask the model number of the FPGA on your development board?


Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board

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As a learner and experimenter I like the look of that board, but how
much does the Xilinx PCI core for the Spartan 3 cost?

Paul.


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The Xilinx core ... a lot ($1995 for a single project license)
But keep watch for an announcement from John A. in the near future...

- Brian

Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
A colleague and I have adapted the pci32tlite_oc core from
opencores.org to run on raggedstone1.
I've also written a Linux driver for it.
Both available here:
  http://projects.varxec.net/doku.php/raggedstone1


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Outstanding!


Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
Not to far away is our own PCI core that will be available free in a lite
form for owners of Raggedstone1. Commercial use beyond that will require a
reasonably costed license and a fairly low entry point.

The Raggedstone website has just been updated with a link to Manuel's link
and some stop-gap photos and pricing of modules is now there too until the
new website goes live.

John Adair
Enterpoint Ltd. - We are on stand F48 at DATE.
http://www.enterpoint.co.uk


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Re: Spartan-3 Starter Board
Hi Paul,

Assuming that you have a personal project that utilizes PCI bus, I will
recommend BDS XPCI PCI IP core we have developed.
BDS XPCI PCI IP core is a Xilinx (TM) LogiCORE (TM) PCI compatible PCI
IP core.
We offer this PCI IP core for as little as $100 for non-commercial,
non-profit, personal use.
For more information, visit http://www.bracedesignsolutions.com .


Kevin Brace


Paul Marciano wrote:
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--
Brace Design Solutions
Xilinx (TM) LogiCORE (TM) PCI compatible BDS XPCI PCI IP core available
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.

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