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Now - not so new cheaper FPGAs

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rickman
Guest

Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:32 pm   



I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money from.
The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is still trying
to get rid of them. Seems they over estimated the market. I had to pay a
higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were in production (~$10)
but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending on quantity and they still
have 65,000. lol

I wonder how cheap they would sell the lot?

With that many left in inventory, this might be a good chip to design a low
priced hobby board from, like the TinyFPGA, but cheaper, although there are
boards on eBay using the Altera EP2C5 with half again as many LUTs plus 13
multipliers. The board is only $15 or $18 with a programming cable.

--

Rick C

Viewed the eclipse at Wintercrest Farms,
on the centerline of totality since 1998

Thomas Heller
Guest

Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:31 pm   



Am 10.01.2018 um 19:32 schrieb rickman:
Quote:
I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money
from.  The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is
still trying to get rid of them.  Seems they over estimated the market. 
I had to pay a higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were
in production (~$10) but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending
on quantity and they still have 65,000.  lol

I wonder how cheap they would sell the lot?

With that many left in inventory, this might be a good chip to design a
low priced hobby board from, like the TinyFPGA, but cheaper, although
there are boards on eBay using the Altera EP2C5 with half again as many
LUTs plus 13 multipliers.  The board is only $15 or $18 with a
programming cable.


The firmware-only USB implementation on the TInyFPGA got me interested
in them. I now have 2 on my desk. Thanks for the heads-up.

Thomas

Theo Markettos
Guest

Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:55 am   



rickman <gnuarm.deletethisbit_at_gmail.com> wrote:
Quote:
I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money from.
The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is still trying
to get rid of them. Seems they over estimated the market. I had to pay a
higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were in production (~$10)
but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending on quantity and they still
have 65,000. lol

I wonder how cheap they would sell the lot?


A while back Farnell had some ECP2 on clearance for about GBP1 each in 1-off.
I bought a few dozen, not for their FPGA capability but because I wanted to
try BGA soldering and they were the cheapest large (256 pin) BGA I could
find.

I don't remember how many they had in stock at the time, but probably about
1K. I didn't have a use for 1K at the time.

Quote:
With that many left in inventory, this might be a good chip to design a low
priced hobby board from, like the TinyFPGA, but cheaper, although there are
boards on eBay using the Altera EP2C5 with half again as many LUTs plus 13
multipliers. The board is only $15 or $18 with a programming cable.


I'm confused by their branding - is it the same as the MachXO3 or ECP3?
If they have SERDES that could get very interesting.

I'm sceptical whether cutting $5 from the price of a comparable low-end
board is going to stimulate much further demand. Are there lots of people
who have the skills to get into FPGA design but are held up by lacking $5?
To me the barriers seem to be tools and languages, not the price of the
hardware.

If there was some killer app - like Kodi is for RPi - that could be
packaged up and would sell lots of boards to people who don't have to use
FPGA tools, things would be different.

Theo

rickman
Guest

Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:10 am   



Theo Markettos wrote on 1/16/2018 4:55 AM:
Quote:
rickman <gnuarm.deletethisbit_at_gmail.com> wrote:
I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money from.
The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is still trying
to get rid of them. Seems they over estimated the market. I had to pay a
higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were in production (~$10)
but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending on quantity and they still
have 65,000. lol

I wonder how cheap they would sell the lot?

A while back Farnell had some ECP2 on clearance for about GBP1 each in 1-off.
I bought a few dozen, not for their FPGA capability but because I wanted to
try BGA soldering and they were the cheapest large (256 pin) BGA I could
find.

I don't remember how many they had in stock at the time, but probably about
1K. I didn't have a use for 1K at the time.

With that many left in inventory, this might be a good chip to design a low
priced hobby board from, like the TinyFPGA, but cheaper, although there are
boards on eBay using the Altera EP2C5 with half again as many LUTs plus 13
multipliers. The board is only $15 or $18 with a programming cable.

I'm confused by their branding - is it the same as the MachXO3 or ECP3?
If they have SERDES that could get very interesting.


I'm not sure what "it" means. If you are talking about the XP Lattice
device, then no, the XP family is very old and basic with just block RAM and
no multipliers. The XP2 has multiplier I believe, but no SERDES. The XO2
is marketed as more of a high end CPLD functionality, again not SERDES, but
I don't recall if they have multiplier. I think the XO3 might have SERDES
and I'm pretty sure they have multipliers. It's hard to keep them all
straight when there is so much overlap and the names don't really tell so
much about the parts, except the XPx and XOx lines are all flash while the
ECPx lines are all RAM based like the Xilinx parts.


Quote:
I'm sceptical whether cutting $5 from the price of a comparable low-end
board is going to stimulate much further demand. Are there lots of people
who have the skills to get into FPGA design but are held up by lacking $5?
To me the barriers seem to be tools and languages, not the price of the
hardware.


The point is people reach for a $5 MCU board and learn the skills to program
it vs. reaching for a $20+ FPGA board to learn the skills. There is a
particular MCU on eBay that is sold on a board for $3 I think. FPGA can't
touch that!


Quote:
If there was some killer app - like Kodi is for RPi - that could be
packaged up and would sell lots of boards to people who don't have to use
FPGA tools, things would be different.


Kodi? Never heard of it. I guess I was killed. I don't understand what
you mean about not having to use FPGA tools. What exactly are you proposing?

--

Rick C

Viewed the eclipse at Wintercrest Farms,
on the centerline of totality since 1998

Kevin Bowling
Guest

Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:02 pm   



On 01/10/18 11:32, rickman wrote:
Quote:
I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money
from.  The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is
still trying to get rid of them.  Seems they over estimated the market.
I had to pay a higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were
in production (~$10) but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending
on quantity and they still have 65,000.  lol



How do you like the Lattice tool chain compared to other FPGA vendors?


Guest

Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:45 pm   



On Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 3:02:34 PM UTC-5, Kevin Bowling wrote:
Quote:
On 01/10/18 11:32, rickman wrote:
I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money
from.  The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is
still trying to get rid of them.  Seems they over estimated the market.
I had to pay a higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were
in production (~$10) but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending
on quantity and they still have 65,000.  lol



How do you like the Lattice tool chain compared to other FPGA vendors?


I don't see where I ever replied to this post. Sorry.

In case it is still relevant...

I like the Lattice tools ok. They use Synplify for synthesis and Active HDL for simulation. I've never found an automatic way to setup projects in all three (the third one is the Lattice IDE itself which includes a Lattice synth tool I believe) in one blow. So I have to create a Lattice project, then when I want to simulate I have to create an AHDL project.

I can be a little dense about such things. When they hide so much behind the GUI it is hard for me to tell what is ending up where and why I want things to be written where on the disk. I'd like to see my source files at a highest level directory and everything else hidden in subs. But they seem to want to do it bassackwards with the source hidden in a subdirectory and their pointless (to me) files at the top of each project.

I believe all the vendors are the same in this regard. Am I mistaken?

Otherwise the tools seem fine. I'm not a big guy on demanding a lot from the tools. To me FPGA tools are like my 20 year old truck. Go, stop, don't use too much gas. That's pretty much all it needs to do. The rest is just icing on the cake.

Rick C.

Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209

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