06-15-2016 02:15 PM
Everyone and their dog has tech support, but Xilinx does not.
A few things and a request:
1) This website is buggy and slow.
2) This website is organized poorly.
3) I don't want to use only this website for support anymore!
I have already put in a lot of money to Xilinx. Why can't I speak with tech support? Charge me a fair price for a phone session, I don't care just make it an option.
The website offers the service portal for TECHNICAL SUPPORT. But there is none to be had. Only "self service" aka "no service".
Again, why can't I speak with tech support?
06-15-2016 03:33 PM
"A lot of money" is a relative term. So is a lot of time. Or, even a lot of effort.
You represent a school (I believe from your profile). Xilinx has a program just for you (XUP). I hear the director of the Xilinx University Program talking on the phone every day. Perhaps you need to go join that program and make a request? Then there may be a phone call (depending on your need).
My email is well known, so you may reply here, or email me. I always reply
06-15-2016 04:39 PM
Thank you very much for the reply.
From your introduction I take it that the type of support that I am wishing were available is difficult to provide given time and resource constraints. I appreciate you offering your own attention.
From the outside, the information on the site for XUP looks like the same deal + some workshops. I'm not expecting to find all the answers in these videos because after following Xilinx videos I still run into issues. I feel like there's some very Vivado or Xilinx exclusive configurations or project settings (as opposed to FPGA/hardware concepts) that I'm not going to discover if I can't find them here in the forums. However, I am going to sign up for XUP and see what there is to learn. Especially if I might get an opportunity to talk to someone about the errors in my projects. I appreciate the direction.
Now, to find the well known email.
06-16-2016 03:47 AM
I suspect that 99% of the problems that people want help with are "help, my code doesn't work!" or "how can I implement this function?" types. These are not questions that manufacturers normally deal with. When you buy a fancy version of Visual Studio from Microsoft, they don't do the software debugging or project design for you. When you buy a bunch of parts from TI, they don't do the PCB design (apart from providing example designs for their chips) or help you figure out why it's not working. In both cases, the only time you'd expect to get support from the manufacturer is when you've been able to narrow down the problem to being a fault in that manufacturer's product. If you buy a TI 5V regulator and find it outputting 3V, when the relevant parameters are within spec, then that's a good reason to talk to TI about it.
For questions about how to implement something or how to make it work, there are a variety of consulting companies (often Xilinx partners) who can help. They do tend to charge a lot; unfortunately that's a fact of life. If you want an experienced FPGA engineer to spend a few hours understanding your design problem or reading through your code to find a mistake, that's going to cost hundreds of dollars. This would be the same if they were employed directly by Xilinx; either way, you're essentially paying for someone's salary.
Or, of course, there's the forums. I find that they generally do a pretty good job, as long as the question is reasonable. The challenge is when you do have a problem with the tools (especially with the newer, less-proven tools like HLS) and can't easily get into contact with Xilinx - but there are enough Xilinx staff on the forum that these issues normally do get covered.
07-08-2016 05:41 AM
Id debate your comment about "enough Xilinx staff on the forum"
used to be,
but not now, they seem to have mainly gone back to the paid technical support Xilinx site,
the rest of us pick up the crumbs,
but for what we pay, thats expected I guess.
07-09-2016 12:40 AM
From what I've seen, the Xilinx staff don't often reply - but issues posted on the forums (especially ones that are easy to replicate because the user has included the relevant code) do tend to be fixed in the next version of the tools.
Maybe that's just a coincidence (in that the problems I've noticed are problems that Xilinx has already noticed), maybe not - it's hard to be sure without feedback from Xilinx.
07-09-2016 07:20 AM
Every post is read. Ones not answered in 24 hours by their assigned support person get reviewed again. Bug reports with details, screen shots, attachments get logged. This is business. The customer, by definition, is always right.
07-09-2016 11:25 AM
Xilinx has a world-class support team (especially given the wide range of technologies - from devices to tools and IPs - they support) and their community forums are a very good initiative (although not 100% convenient to share with others about architecture, design, ...). I know other famous CAD vendors where you pay 10 times more for the tools/support and get 10 times less ;-)
Given that, forums are surely not the place to get real support on issues with the tools. A starting point perhaps but not more. Although I like to contribute to the forums (and I'm not affiliated with Xilinx in any way ;-) there are too many people looking for general information about digital architecture and design, too many people lacking ground knowledge about what they are doing... and it's not the job of the Xilinx staff to solve their problems (although I agree that we are all in a kind of win-win co-creation/-development model). As someone already wrote, Microsoft support won't answer C++ programming questions... it would already be nice if they would answer all questions related to issues with VS...
You get the Vivado tools and an access to the Service Request, prepare good testcases to illustrate the problem you face (if you don't find the answer on the forums) and you'll get a quick, reactive, effective, to the point, support from Xilinx. The Xilinx support IS a win-win situation. It's in your interest to have an answer and it's in their interest to get rid of bugs/issues with their tools. It works for us. Why shouldn't it work for you?
07-09-2016 02:34 PM
your one of the good guys,
But from a users perspective,
and as per the original question,
the quality of tech support on the forum has plummeted in the last 6 months , around the time that Xilinx re opened its separate support for the people that pay for their software, or have big accounts.
Thats business , and having worked with companies that pay and get the support, I can understand the reasons why Xilinx have done this, it must cost Xilinx a fortune to support tools like Vivado.
but lets not delude ourselfs,
the level , quality and quantity of tech support from Xilinx people on the forum has plummeted,
07-10-2016 07:19 AM
Its been more than a year,
Regardless, I will challenge support to look into it. I request you keep an open mind.
07-13-2016 01:51 PM
It probably was not right for me to attack the level of support so strongly. A few members of the staff and others in the know, including those here on this thread, do provide support. And I'm sure you all provide it to the maximum amount that you can.
Many troubles I faced at the time were resolved through deeper understanding of the basics; those items were not the responsibility of anyone else except myself.
Other items I was eventually able to find in the answer records. But I'll tell you.. it wasn't easy.
Perhaps this site could grow in helpfulness by incorporating a more searchable collection of the answer records. And perhaps a cleaning up of some older and now (seemingly) conflicting ones. Just a suggestion.
Anyways, a few weeks back I was hitting up these threads all the time and I can't deny that people, like Austin, were replying to me and trying to help.
A difficult endeavor, these FPGAs.
07-14-2016 10:03 AM
The searchable volume of knowledge is immense. Knowing how to phrase your search is an art (unfortunately).
We have been actively retiring old and useless technical content that is of no use to help. The products since 28nm all us AXI as an interface for IP, etc. Little things like that help a lot.
Sometimes using google with -- user guide filetype:pdf site:xilinx.com -- gets you what you need faster than any other way. That is what I do (force the search on xilinx.com because I know it is there, when I cannot find it any other way).
Still looking for a better way,