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I am working on another side project that involves FPGA's. More on that later..

The FPGA vendor that was selected was MicroNova. MicroNova currently sell two FPGA's they are both called Mercury the two main differences are the logic gate counts and SRAM amount. They come in either a 50k logic gate or a 200k logic gate, the 200k also has 4mbit of additional SRAM. Priced at $49 USD and $69 USD respectively. Thats a fair bit of FPGA for the price. Other FPGA dev kits can range into the 100's of dollars quite easly.

Another good point about MicroNova is that they do try and support other operating systems. The programing tool to write the bitstream to the FPGA will work under Windows and Linux (via mono). The two FPGA's are also supported by xilinx's ISE Design Tools (Free web pack version). Xilinx's ISE Design tools studio also works quite well under Linux.

MicroNova was kind enough to send one of each of there FPGA's. Thanks guys!

Hear is a few image's of the FPGA's shipping boxes. Very ESD safe inside. FPGA Boxes

Next you can see the 50K and 200K (The 200k is upside down) FPGA top/bottom

Hear is a shot of the front and back of the FPGA's. Do note they use MINI USB, not MICRO USB! FPGA front/back

As you can see the Mercury is quite a small FPGA measuring 3inch long and 1inch wide. It's not short of features though! Take a look :

  • 30 GPIO pins with 5V tolerance and short-circuit protection
  • 8 analog input pins (MCP3008: 200 Ksps, 10 bit ADC)
  • 9 direct (high-speed) GPIO pins
  • 4 LEDs with GPIO pins
  • 4 input-only pins
  • 1 user switch, 1 reset switch
  • 50MHz precision crystal oscillator
  • 1A 1.2V and 3.3V voltage regulators
  • USB and JTAG programming

It also comes in a handy 64pin DIP package, that fits very nicly into breadboards. I hope you consider the Mecury for some future FPGA projects, or maybe just to learn FPGA's. Thanks once again to MicroNova for sending me the FPGA's.


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