Potential New Design

I might be working on a smallish design shortly and I'm picking an FPGA. I
don't have much in the way of requirments yet, but I'd like to have at lea
st 2000 LUTs, 39 I/Os or more, but most importantly a board layout friendly
package. That means no BGAs and no CSPs. The board features are just too
small with those.
This design is offloading some functionality from an MCU that can easily be
done, but it seems FPGAs are treated as hardware including the code to pro
gram them with. So a few critical functions might be done this way includi
ng a PID controller.
I'm a fan of Lattice because of their smaller parts. The various lines don
't have much in QFP or QFN packages though other than the iCE40 line. They
have three Ultra parts from 1, 2 and 3.5 kLUTs and the Ultra Plus 5 kLUT p
art, all in a 48 pin QFP.
There is a 4.3 kLUT XO3D in a 72 pin QFN package and the XO2 device is avai
lable in a couple of different packages. But they are pricey at $10 and up
.
Any devices from other makers that are similar to these in low hassle packa
ges?
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  Rick C. 

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Rick C
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I share your interest in more rational packages - they are few and far between.
Mouser are listing stock of Gowin 4608 LE size parts in 100 pin LQFP and 88 pin QFN. They have the 8k LUT part in 88 pin QFN. Prices are not that keen - I'd hoped for better. Of course there is a very real danger that you'll swap one hassle for another with Gowin. The parts look remarkably like Lattice XP2.
I'd be be really obliged if you had a go with these and published your experiences !
If I get the time I might have a go myself but it's always so hard to find a project that's worth doing but where you feel willing to take a risk of a key part turning out 100% useless.
MK
Reply to
Michael Kellett
. I don't have much in the way of requirments yet, but I'd like to have at least 2000 LUTs, 39 I/Os or more, but most importantly a board layout frie ndly package. That means no BGAs and no CSPs. The board features are just too small with those.
y be done, but it seems FPGAs are treated as hardware including the code to program them with. So a few critical functions might be done this way inc luding a PID controller.
don't have much in QFP or QFN packages though other than the iCE40 line. They have three Ultra parts from 1, 2 and 3.5 kLUTs and the Ultra Plus 5 kL UT part, all in a 48 pin QFP.
available in a couple of different packages. But they are pricey at $10 an d up.
ackages?
Yeah, Gowin might be a tough sell on this project. It's about being able t o build a lot of devices quickly if needed. Maybe I should reach out to th eir sales guy. He was happy to discuss product with me before. They aren' t just focusing on large volume customers like most of the Chinese companie s... well, most of the FPGA vendors for that matter.
Have you checked Edge for pricing? They are a bit better than Mouser.
edgeelectronics.com
Looks like Digikey is carrying Efinix. The only non-BGA package is the mon strous QFP144. There's another potentially viable Chinese FPGA company, bu t I can't recall the name. Not available through distribution though. Yet another one has nearly zero presence that isn't in Chinese.
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  Rick C. 

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Rick C
Xilinx has the XC3S50A (Spartan 3) in 100 and 144-pin packages for $10, and the Spartan 3AN with non-voltaile configuration memory for about $13 each. Digi-Key does not give volume discounts, I guess if you want a bunch of them, you need to go direct to the manufacturer.
Most of the newer parts are moving to ball-grid and no lead packages.
Jon Jon
Reply to
Jon Elson
Spartan 3's are almost as old as I am and I would never design them in. Like fine wine, as FPGAs mature their price increases. $10 is already a hard pill to swallow. I'd hate to see how much it is going forward.
But thanks for the suggestion.
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  Rick C. 

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Rick C
As mentioned a few times in the past I would recommend you look at the many FPGA modules available. These are small daughter boards with modern FPGA's, oscillators, supply chips and sometimes memory on a small PCB friendly board. Using one of these modules can not only simplify your PCB but perhaps more importantly you don't have to compromise on the FPGA or the development tools! I can't overstress the importance of having access to good development tools, in most cases building the PCB is just minor step in the whole development process.
For my projects I used the Enterpoint DIL40 modules which also included 5volt line drivers. Unfortunately they now ceased trading but there are still plenty of others around, here are a few of my bookmarked links:
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and many more...
Good luck,
Hans
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Reply to
HT-Lab
Are Edge any good ? Their website is very hard to navigate and they list lots of parts with no stock but keen prices. For example they list the GW1N-9 144 pin only at just over $5, Mouser
At $5 the Gowin part is well worth considering (for me) - 8k LUTs and
attractive.
I notice that Trenz will sell me a board with the GW1N-9 on it for about $30 (for one) and about $17 for 1k - which makes the $5 for the chip look closer to the mark.
MK
Reply to
Michael Kellett
Are those things actually available in volume? When I used one vendor, it appeared they were essentially building them on demand. You buy the last one in stock and suddenly the lead time goes up to 12 weeks (which slipped to 16 weeks). And once they've built them they don't have many before they go out of stock again.
I can't imagine how it would go if I had an urgent need for 10,000.
Theo
Reply to
Theo
. I don't have much in the way of requirments yet, but I'd like to have at least 2000 LUTs, 39 I/Os or more, but most importantly a board layout frie ndly package. That means no BGAs and no CSPs. The board features are just too small with those.
y be done, but it seems FPGAs are treated as hardware including the code to program them with. So a few critical functions might be done this way inc luding a PID controller.
don't have much in QFP or QFN packages though other than the iCE40 line. They have three Ultra parts from 1, 2 and 3.5 kLUTs and the Ultra Plus 5 kL UT part, all in a 48 pin QFP.
available in a couple of different packages. But they are pricey at $10 an d up.
ackages?
t-board
I appreciate the suggestion.
I don't recall recommendations for modules, but this is for a product that will be made in large quantities and supply is an issue. While the board d esign rules may not be an issue in production quantities (or it may dependi ng on sources available at the time) but it is an issue for prototyping for sure.
The real issue is that this is not a severe limitation. I think I've menti oned the several options available from Lattice Semi in QFN 32 to 84 or QFP 100. The prices range from $2 for the small parts to $10 for the larger on es.
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  Rick C. 

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Reply to
Rick C
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No one builds FPGAs to order. More likely is they have volume customers wh o order parts on a schedule in 1000's. If they don't, they won't be in bus iness long. The distributor carries inventory they think they can sell to you and I. When they run out they have to wait for the next run and their order is tacked on.
It would be nice if the manufacturer carries inventory. TI does that a lot and it makes it easy to use your favorite distributor. I don't know what parts these new FPGA companies are doing in that regard.
You need to consider the possibility of these companies going under. If La ttice goes under they will certainly be bought and the products will still be available. If Gowin or Efinix go under, who's going to pick them up?
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  Rick C. 

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Rick C
We are talking about modules, not FPGA chips. All the modules cited are made by companies I've never heard of. (with the exception of Digilent).
Some of such modules are stocked at Digikey and friends, but many are sold direct. Often the stock at Digikey isn't more than a few dozen.
If you think your product is going to massively scale in demand in future, you better get on the phone to the module vendor to get their production going, because they won't be keeping 10,000 in stock.
Theo
Reply to
Theo
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Yeah, no, zero interest in modules. I would like to consider one of the Ch inese FPGA companies, but the uncertain supply is an issue, also the unknow n tools. Don't recall which one, but the tool is actually in Chinese. Som eone managed to figure it out though and get a design working.
I think for $2 to $5, 1k to 4k LUTs I can use an iCE40 part. This circuit may need to be very low power in idle state, so the iCE40 part may be ideal . With 39 I/Os in a QFN48 I think it will be good.
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Another reason why I'm not looking at modules.
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  Rick C. 

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Reply to
Rick C

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