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<freemint> Has someone heard of microchip as a company name which produces FPGAs?
<tnt> yeah they do.
<freemint> Are their FPGAs worth looking into as an Lattice alternative or not really?
<kc8apf> I'm assuming these are the old Atmel FPGAs
<tnt> Microsemi is owned by microchip and has some nice stuff AFAIR.
<kc8apf> is it the Microsemi?
<tnt> But the pure microchip ones ... not really.
<freemint> thanks.
<tnt> The at40k stuff seems old, expensive, ...
<tnt> maybe if you absolutely need 5v compat.
<kc8apf> Atmel had older parts used in space and military
<freemint> I am honestly confused by all the different metrics how to measure an FPGA. I have no idea how to compare offerings between different vendors.
<nats`> it's a real problem even after years of using fpga
<nats`> number of lut input is usually a good first indicator
<freemint> LUT4 vs LUT6 vs gates vs registers vs logic cells vs slices cs flip-flops
<nats`> after that you need to dig in the doc to see what features are available
<tnt> Yeah # of regs + resources you know you might need (liek RAM / DSP).
<tnt> But the reality is that until you actually try to fit your design, you might not really know.
<freemint> How hard is it to setup $proprietary_toolchain_stuff to programm an XC6SLX9 / LX25?
<mwk> annoying, but doable
<mwk> you need lotsa disk space though
<freemint> possible under Linux too?
<tnt> Mostly I find the _download_ part to be annoying ...
<tnt> freemint: yeah, they have linux support.
<mwk> linux is the only one that actually works
<freemint> that is somehow pleasently supprising
<mwk> their "windows 10" version is a virtualbox with a linux inside
<mwk> (there are proper windows versions, but they only support <= windows 7)
<freemint> can i get my hands on the vitual box image on it's own? Then i would isolate my OS from this bulk ware
<mwk> yeah, you can
<freemint> How do you rate this idea?
<mwk> *shrug* I prefer using my own linux
<mwk> in a VM
<freemint> Disk Space: 85 GB
<mwk> their image is some... red hat, I think? can't stand it
<freemint> I need to upgrade my storage first :)
<mwk> also, the "windows 10" version and proper linux version have different device support
<freemint> ahh good to know
<mwk> "windows 10" supports all spartan 6 and only that; the proper linux version supports many different familiies, but only smol FPGAs
<mwk> 6slx9 and 6slx25 are supported by both
<freemint> nice
<freemint> Is there any reason i need to run this bulk locally? (Instead of some beefier root server in some datacenter)
<mwk> not really, feel free to use commandline flow on a remote machine
<mwk> (unless you really like their IDE)
<freemint> So this means i get some bitstream on the server which i then copy to my local machine for flashing?
<mwk> exceptions may include: chipscope, the IP core graphical wizards, impact (the programming tool)
<mwk> yes
<mwk> what board are you going to use?
<mwk> xilinx has their own programming tool but tbh I never used it
<freemint> I am not sure. I have an Mimas v2 lying around but that i do not want to reflash before september. I have looked into getting an Upduino 2 or a soon to be released board with an LX25 from the open source project i am working with ( #j-core ). I also had an eye for this
<mwk> ugh mimas
<freemint> what do you dislike about it?
<freemint> *December
<mwk> tbh everything on this board is botched
<mwk> but the main problem is the programmer
<mwk> which is just a piece of shit
<freemint> one more reason not to flash something else on it.
<mwk> the only way I can stand using this board is by connecting a platform cable to the JTAG port
<mwk> thus bypassing their crap programmer
<mwk> that works reasonably well
<freemint> Ok . Good to know
<mwk> second: the programmer is also an UART, using a ridiculously bad 19200 baudrate
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<mwk> I mean *WHY*
<freemint> Yes ... i know, faster speed is possible under windows somehow
<mwk> what?
<freemint> i recall something like that let me check
<mwk> I saw a replacement firmware project on github that could perhaps be used to make the programmer suck less, and enable higher baudrate, and avoid the batshit insane "uart vs programmer" switch
<mwk> that's probably the only hope for this board
<mwk> ah, that's the thing, yes
<mwk> hmm or not
<mwk> I saw some different one
<mwk> it didn't involve windows
<freemint> I heard that FPGA compile cycles are really long. How long would say it takes to compile something that uses most of an LX9, LX25 or Xilinx Artix XC7A200T ?
<tnt> depends on the design ...
<mwk> you know the 7a200t is like 20× larger than 6slx9?
<mwk> depends wildly
<tnt> A complex design in a 200T that pushes timing could easily be hours.
<mwk> FYI an *empty project* with vivado takes like 5 minutres, which is ridiculous
<freemint> No, i did not know.
<tpw_rules> in quartus it's only 2, but i have a really fast machine
<mwk> hours on a 7a200t? I'd say you can reach 24h easily if you fill the fpga
<TD-Linux> my ice40 design takes under 10 seconds
<TD-Linux> you generally want the smallest fpga that works, for mainly cost reasons, but development time also counts :)
<freemint> ok is compile time roughly linear or does grow faster with gate count?
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<tnt> TD-Linux: I have ice40 designs that take 5-10 min to build :)
<TD-Linux> tnt, are you tweaking the default nextpnr thresholds?
<tnt> TD-Linux: no, that's using HeAP not SA.
<TD-Linux> yikes. how did you manage that? :)
<tnt> trying to run things fast, and apparently lots of routing :p
<freemint> I am not looking to sell my designs or anything. I am trying to get some additional skills while i am still in university.
<tnt> freemint: time is much more a factor of the deisng than the fpga.
<freemint> what do you mean by that?
<tnt> that you could get a LX9 design that takes 1h and a 200T design that take 30min.
<freemint> ahh i get that.
<freemint> I read you wrong and thought you were criticizing my attempts at skill building
<nats`> freemint, if you don't have a specific project in minbd and just want to learn ice40 is a good target
<nats`> full opensource support is available
<mwk> that or ecp5
<nats`> the arch is simple and yet you can do interesting stuff
<nats`> and devboard are really cheap
<nats`> if you want a little more power I would say get a cheap artix 7 devboard
<TD-Linux> yeah I second ice40. you can always jump to ecp5 if you run out of space, but *lots* of stuff fits in an ice40 fine
<freemint> I am aware. A bigger one (Artix 7) might allow to work on other usecases like an accelerator ODE solver or something fun. I will get my feed wet with an ice40 or an lx25 first but in the long run (>2 years) i might(!) want to go in to the HPC direction.
<freemint> what would you consider and cheap artix board?
<TD-Linux> I would pick ecp5 until I can't fit it in the 85F
<nats`> I would say give up on spartan 6
<nats`> I know some people still use it but it's really outdated and the price doesn't justify it
<freemint> I am so keen on spartan 6 because an OS project i work uses them.
<nats`> <= for artix 7 but I don't know ECP so maybeit's a better choice
<kc8apf> freemint: Digilent Basys3, Arty, PicoEVB
<freemint> mhh PicoEVB vs night furry 1.6 times more expensive but 4x times the luts.
<nats`> ah an other parameter
<nats`> try to get a board with integrated programming probe/flasher
<mwk> one that doesn't suck as badly as mimas
<nats`> otherwise you have to pay an other 50 to 300$ following which one you choose :D
<nats`> when possible I would say an itnegrated JTAG probe
<nats`> debugging without jtag is a pain in the ass
<freemint> I am not sure what to pick. Can you help me understand what an Atrix 7 5xc7a50T / 5xc7a35T is capable of doing?
<nats`> that question has absolutely no answer...
<freemint> i know ...
<mwk> freemint: they're all FPGAs, they do programmable logic
<mwk> so — whatever you want it to do
<nats`> I think he's talking int erml of size
<nats`> term
<mwk> I'd say look more at the board and what interfaces it has
<nats`> yep
<nats`> in all the case you'll start by blinking led and maybe sending few udp packet :)
<nats`> then you'll see :)
<freemint> ICE40 can do a really small CPU design at <50 Mhz
<freemint> (ICE40 up5k f.e. )
<freemint> (32 bit cpu though)
<GenTooMan> like the Pico Risc-v
<freemint> an LX25 (from my understanding) is capable of being a dual core of small CPUs or a bigger single core CPU which is 2 way superscalar with 128 bit FPU and some vector processing like 4d dot products.
<freemint> This it what i learned so far. But how does that scale to artix 7
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<freemint> when i care about floating point speed (and a price smaller $350) what FPGA family would i look for?
<freemint> *speed->throughput
<nats`> forget about ice40 I would say
<nats`> ECP Artix or Altera Cyclone
<mwk> I'd say you want a GPU
<nats`> some recent altera fpga have hard FPU block
<nats`> but yes I join mwk :D
<nats`> a GPU will be better :D
<freemint> SO GPUs give better price/performance for floating point?
<nats`> absolutely but it's a different use
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