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  1. #1
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    Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    I'm looking to do some experimentation with paralleling processor cores - does anyone have any
    recommendations for a good dev board ...

    I've found microBlaze and NIOS products but cannot identify the best to use.
    (Are these actually what I need anyway?)

    I want to try and build a 3 core chip with on-board memory and MMU and high speed I/O
    Speed is more critical than power consumption
    Harvard architecture or just dual ported ram would be really good

    I don't need other modules except the obvious debug stuff.
    If possible I'd like to buy a chip with working cores I can slowly disassemble
    and reconfigure to my own spec rather than starting from scratch

    Comments from anyone experienced in this sort of thing would be very welcome.
    This is the first fpga project I've personally worked on from scratch.
    Purpose is proof of concept so flexibility is important
    I've allotted a budget of around 750GBP to start with

    Does all this sound do-able?

    thanks

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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    High performance multi-core processor in an FPGA? Not possible. FPGA soft processors like Micrpblaze and Nios are not fgoing to run at much more than 150 MHz. Typically they are implemented at 100MHz in the vendors own example designs.



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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    get a dev board like zynq with two arm cores already embedded. add a third softcore if you need 3. done.



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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    ads-ee
    I should have also said embedded processor - high performance being relative
    to my existing chips - sorry - 100Mhz is fine - I'm not trying to build an x86

    - - - Updated - - -

    thisisnotsam
    I'm not just trying to improve existing hardware I need to experiment with a multi-core configuration
    processor design so i'm looking for a dev board I can do that on



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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    For embedded development you want a board that includes as part of the kit the EDK with the Microblaze and/or Nios license, otherwise you will have to buy that separate.

    Take a look at this list of boards for Xilinx. This specific board can support both the hard IP ARM and you can implement soft IP Microblaze if you want, it also uses the modern Vivado tool chain instead of ISE.

    For Intel/Altera you can look over this list. I haven't worked with them for a number of years, so I'm not sure, which device or board would be best and whether or not the license for Nios is included.


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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    I am not aware of the details that you want to achieve but like others have said, a sofcore cannot run at very high frequency. The actual frequency depends on what version of core you choose (simple or complex) and what device you are using and what speed grade the device has.

    I may add here that if anyone needs a high performance software execution on FPGA which will likely be complimented by hardware i.e FPGA programmable logic part (since why else would once choose an FPGA) then the ideal solution is to use an SoC device. This is where we get SoC FPGA of Altera/Intel and the Zynq from Xilinx. Here we have a hard ARM processor core (dual core) incorporated into the same FPGA alongside the programmable logic part.



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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    Don't know much but if you are targeting quad-core take a look here, Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC Product Advantages:
    https://www.xilinx.com/products/sili...ale-mpsoc.html
    I think the quad application processor in the above is ARM® Cortex™-A53 hard macro.
    But then you have mentioned
    Purpose is proof of concept so flexibility is important
    .

    There are also ARM dual core versions available but again those are probably hard macros.

    Microblaze is the soft core from Xilinx and it can be used flexibly. For your proof of concept work, containing more than 2 processors, a high end Xilinx Zynq series board seems to be a good option.
    FPGA enthusiast!



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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    Thanks chaps but I think we are at cross purposes here. My poor explanation obviously.
    I'm redesigning cores for embedded controllers not designing embedded controllers.
    The only reason i want someone elses core on an FPGA is so I can take it apart
    and reconfigure it. I'm not interested in SOC's or embedded controller boards or
    cores to use for anything else.
    Maybe it was a mistake to ask but I thought someone here may have been into
    that sort of thing. Sorry.



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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    Then I would suggest you buy the highest density FPGA your budget can allow for, and put the softcores that you need in there. Those might be microblaze-like cores. Or you could take a look at opencores.org and see if anything fits.


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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    ok, so in this case, these are the options I am familiar with...
    1> Xilinx microBlaze core
    2> Some core from Opencores.org (but I find it difficult to trust the quality of the product from it)
    3> LEON3 Processor core, 32bit SPARC-V8 (http://www.gaisler.com/index.php/pro...ocessors/leon3)
    4> MIPSfpga from Imagination Technologies. It is free for universities, so try to find out if they are willing to provide it to your company at a cheaper cost.

    And yes a high density FPGA such as a high end Xilinx Zynq series board.

    Have no idea about Altera boards.
    FPGA enthusiast!


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  11. #11
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    Re: Suggest a dev board for FPGA core experimentation

    Thanks - Ill take a look at all suggestions and a closer look at the Zynq series.
    I've been leaning toward the microBlaze so it's nice to know I'm not totally
    out of the ball park.



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