FGPA Books Review – Part 1

Well, I’ve picked up a few intro to FPGA books and I’ll try to give a brief review of each of them.

The first book is Make FPGAs by David Romero, ISBN 978-1-457-18785-8. It was published in 2016, and the material is dated. The example project in Chapter 2 is done using the Opal Kelly XEM6002, which according to the Opal Kelly web site is a $175 board with a Xilinx Spartan-6 XC6SLX9-2 FPGA chip on it. It has to be this relatively old chip because the software David uses is the old and mostly unsupported Xilinx ISE WebPack. This software doesn’t support newer hardware, like the Xilinx Zynq-7020 that’s in the Snickerdoodle Black that I bought. I haven’t had a chance to delve into the Snickerdoodle Black documentation, but from what Krtkl said in the blog posts leading up to the release of the Snickerdoodle, the Black comes with a development kit from Xilinx. I’m guessing it the Vivaldo Design Suite that David talks about. 

The book takes you through a few other projects, chapter 5 uses an Elbert V2 – Spartan 3A FPGA Development Board costing $30. Most of the instructions in this chapter are predicated on using a Windows computer, a major impediment to people who prefer Linux as an operating system.

Chapter 6 uses a Papilio DUO costing $89.  As you can see, the book assumes you have approximately $1000 to bury in hardware and hundreds of hours of reading documentation not included in the book.

More to come…