4 years ago
CPU with an existing Linux port, mainly to run a web server. I would
like to connect it to a 16-bit DRAM, so there should exist a memory
controller with this feature, either a hard macro or a soft IP core.
There should also be a fast ethernet MAC. Nothing fancy, but:
1. This is for a small non-profit project, so the IP cores must be free.
Paying O(500) bucks for a Nios/MicroBlaze license is out of the
question. Ditto about the MAC. As far as I know, neither Xiling nor
Altera have a free/very cheap licensing option for non-profit
applications, so the most obvious way is a no-go. Are there any
*reasonable* open CPU/MAC/memory controller cores to use instead?
$1000 per year is extremely cheap for commercial purposes, but
a showstopper for hobby applications, where you can buy a bucket
of STM32-class chips.
2. The chip must be hand-solderable and introduce no thermal strain
problems. This excludes the BGA/chip scale packages and leaves only
the QFP variants on the table. I don't care about the superior
signal integrity benefits of the leadless packages, 50MHz is more
than needed. But this requirement kills Zynq/Cyclone V, otherwise
a perfect choice for this application. The PCB must be manufacturable
in a cheap PCB shop and they can often do at most 4 layers.
3. The FPGA must be SRAM-based.
4. I don't want the SOM modules.
The older Spartan 3Es (3S500E) or equivalent Cyclone 3 in PQFP208
would have been aa good choice here, but I seem to be blocked by
the licenseing issues. I'd gladly stick to these platforms, but
could you please recommend me any robust open-source IP cores
which fit inside this class of FPGAs?
Best regards, Piotr