I'm looking to get an FPGA development board sometime soon. When I was in college, I played with what was probably the Xess XSB-300E (fun stuff: we made a PCMCIA interface and plugged it into an iPaq... but that's another story). That's WAY outside of my price range (< $200US), but the XSA-50 doesn't look too bad. Any comments on that one? Also, I found thiswhich looks considerably better to me, especially since my main prospective project would benefit from a large amount of fast RAM. Any advice? Is there anything else in the sub-$200 I should look at?
Also, what's the status of open source tools? (I like to tinker on the software end of things, too, and I have a bad case of PowerBook envy, and I haven't seen any software available other than x86 and big-iron UNIX). Can they go from VHDL/Verilog all the way to downloading the file to the chip? I see that compilation (Icarus verilog) and downloading (found it in this group's FAQ) work, but what about place and route? Icarus' docs say it's a no-go for this; is there anything else, or must I use the Xilinx tools? (I guess I have a Xilinx bias -- it's all I've used, and I don't see much else for cheap development boards.)
Thanks for the help!
- Joel Hardy