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AGM vs. Gowin

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Rick C
Guest

Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:38 am   



My holy grail has always been a simple CPU combined with a smallish FPGA. There are a few out there, very few, but none of them are available in appropriate packages and inexpensive.

I've found a couple of Chinese startups that seem to have some interesting devices. AGM has the AG6K, a 6k LUT with 250 MHz ARM in a QFP100, pretty much the perfect part. Trouble is I can't tell if this company is real. Or maybe they are targeting customers buying millions with nothing to offer the smaller users.

Another is by Gowin. They actually make several. They have options for extra memory along with an ARM CPU and 2 or 4 kLUTs. But they fall down on the packaging. They offer a 48QFN and a couple of other larger packages, but nothing suitable. They use the 88QFN and 100QFP, but not for the ARM version. They even have a version with a Bluetooth stack, but for some reason that uses an ARC processor (not that it's a problem) and still comes up very short in the packaging/IO count. Gowin seems a bit more real, but still hard to find anyone selling their product line.

The docs from both companies are not so easy to glean info from. I guess that goes with the territory of start ups.

So close and yet so far...

--

Rick C.

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Rick C
Guest

Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:42 pm   



I had a talk with the Gowin folks. They have plans for FPGA/CPU in a 48 pin package, to be out 1Q2020, but not nearly enough I/Os, only 30ish (don't recall the exact number). To bring the chip out in a larger package with more I/Os means they need a customer with plans to use the device in large numbers. My quantities aren't enough.

On the other hand, an email I sent to AGM has not received a reply. That seems pretty clear. They are only dealing with large customers and won't be selling through distribution for some time.

Anlogic is another FPGA startup, but I see no sign they are selling to small buyers. Their chip is used for a RISC-V board as a soft core on the EG4S20. Again, I haven't been able to contact them. In fact, their web site is all in Chinese. Maybe I need to learn a new language.

--

Rick C.

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Richard Damon
Guest

Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:14 am   



On 11/16/19 7:38 PM, Rick C wrote:
Quote:
My holy grail has always been a simple CPU combined with a smallish FPGA. There are a few out there, very few, but none of them are available in appropriate packages and inexpensive.

I've found a couple of Chinese startups that seem to have some interesting devices. AGM has the AG6K, a 6k LUT with 250 MHz ARM in a QFP100, pretty much the perfect part. Trouble is I can't tell if this company is real. Or maybe they are targeting customers buying millions with nothing to offer the smaller users.

Another is by Gowin. They actually make several. They have options for extra memory along with an ARM CPU and 2 or 4 kLUTs. But they fall down on the packaging. They offer a 48QFN and a couple of other larger packages, but nothing suitable. They use the 88QFN and 100QFP, but not for the ARM version. They even have a version with a Bluetooth stack, but for some reason that uses an ARC processor (not that it's a problem) and still comes up very short in the packaging/IO count. Gowin seems a bit more real, but still hard to find anyone selling their product line.

The docs from both companies are not so easy to glean info from. I guess that goes with the territory of start ups.

So close and yet so far...


Microsemi (now part of Microchip) has some smaller FPGAs (with an
optional Arm Cortex M3) in a 144QFN. Its a bit bigger than you are
talking about

Rick C
Guest

Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:31 am   



On Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 5:14:57 PM UTC-5, Richard Damon wrote:
Quote:
On 11/16/19 7:38 PM, Rick C wrote:
My holy grail has always been a simple CPU combined with a smallish FPGA. There are a few out there, very few, but none of them are available in appropriate packages and inexpensive.

I've found a couple of Chinese startups that seem to have some interesting devices. AGM has the AG6K, a 6k LUT with 250 MHz ARM in a QFP100, pretty much the perfect part. Trouble is I can't tell if this company is real. Or maybe they are targeting customers buying millions with nothing to offer the smaller users.

Another is by Gowin. They actually make several. They have options for extra memory along with an ARM CPU and 2 or 4 kLUTs. But they fall down on the packaging. They offer a 48QFN and a couple of other larger packages, but nothing suitable. They use the 88QFN and 100QFP, but not for the ARM version. They even have a version with a Bluetooth stack, but for some reason that uses an ARC processor (not that it's a problem) and still comes up very short in the packaging/IO count. Gowin seems a bit more real, but still hard to find anyone selling their product line.

The docs from both companies are not so easy to glean info from. I guess that goes with the territory of start ups.

So close and yet so far...


Microsemi (now part of Microchip) has some smaller FPGAs (with an
optional Arm Cortex M3) in a 144QFN. Its a bit bigger than you are
talking about


Yes, I'm familiar with the general features of the Microsemi (now Microchip?, formerly Actel) line. The QFP144 is wider than the board I want to put this chip on. The QFP100 barely fits. A QN88 is a good fit if the underside pad doesn't get in the way of routing vias, but I think it will be ok. I have five resistor packs on the other side of the board, but they might not be needed with a new FPGA. They are mostly just insurance of I/Os being in the right state after power up and before configuration is complete. Also, their parts with the ARM are rather pricey.

Lattice has a newer XO3D in a 100QFP that should do the job. A bit more than I'd like to pay, but workable. The Chinese parts could be the perfect fit if both they and the company making them are real enough. If I have to I can use another old part like the Spartan 3A, but how much longer will they be affordable nearing the 20 year point? If none of the Chinese parts work out, it will be the XO3D or a BGA. High pin count BGAs tend to cost more and the finer design rules for the PWB make that cost more too.

--

Rick C.

- Get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging
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