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Visitor th3frankxd
Registered: ‎08-11-2019

First FPGA board

I'm looking for a board to get started with FPGA's and circuits.

Im looking for a allround board, something I can use as a microcontroller, but also for more advanced stuff like ray tracing accaleration and soft cores like risc-v.

I'm mostly looking at the Artix 7 100T and the ZYNQ 7020.

Ideally I would like a minimal board with only the FPGA, qspi flash, uart, jtag and dram (and other essential stuff I might have missed) and attach this board to a custom pcb with the peripherals I need.
Kinda like this CMOD A7 (but with a bigger FPGA and DRAM) https://store.digilentinc.com/cmod-a7-breadboardable-artix-7-fpga-module/

I really dont want to exceed the 200 euro.

So far i found these 3 boards (between 140-170 euro)

MYIR Z-TURN with I/O board

PYNQ-Z1 (which is as far as I can see basically a Arty-Z7 but cheaper)

TE0725 with a Artix 100T

How hard is it to add external DRAM do the TE0725?

The specifications of the TE0725 mentions a system clock of 100mhz, the ARTY A7's mentions a clock speed exceeding 450mhz. Whats the deal with this?

For the Z-TURN and TE0725 I will need a JTAG programmer.
Would this one suffice? and what are the limitations compared to a official one?

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2 Replies
Teacher xilinxacct
Registered: ‎10-23-2018

Re: First FPGA board


This may be just above your budget, but you may want to compare to see what you 'could' get.... 



I have seen these for $249 USD

I am not affiliated with them (but I do own one)

Hope that Helps
If so, Please mark as solution accepted. Kudos also welcomed. :-)

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Scholar u4223374
Registered: ‎04-26-2015

Re: First FPGA board

I'd use the Z-turn but skip the I/O board - it's easy to do a custom PCB that interfaces to the Z-turn's 1.27mm headers directly.


Re adding DRAM: difficult. Most DRAM comes in little BGA packages that are almost impossible to hand-solder, and impedance through the 2.54mm headers is going to be very nasty.


Re clock speeds: the Artix 7 fabric used for all of these boards (the low-end Zynqs are based on the Artix 7) can run at up to about 450MHz. However, getting there will require extremely careful design. 100MHz - 200MHz is a more achievable goal. Most of the boards will have a 33 - 100MHz oscillator, and the FPGA can multiply or divide that clock to get whatever speed you want.


Re JTAG: technically you don't need JTAG for the Z-turn. It'll boot from a microSD card. If you want JTAG anyway (useful for debugging) then I would strongly recomend just using a Digilent HS3. It's more expensive, but still much less than Xilinx's Platfrom Cable USB II, and it's officially supported. The XMOD (from Trenz) also appears to be officially supported.

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