11-05-2017 11:07 AM
I just got from a friend an Virtex6 evaluation board (ML605). It does not include the license since he already used it. I have been looking around and I do not know what sw should I use to be able to program it. The ISE webpack seems not to support this device and the same seems to happen to the Vivado webpack. I tried to get a 30 day evaluation from ISE design suite but I could not find the appropriate license in the license manager (I looks like it does not exists any more). Is there any free sw I can use for this device? If not, Is there any evaluation license I can use?
11-05-2017 03:31 PM
Unfortunately I think the answer is "buy a license".
As far as I know, Xilinx no longer does evaluation licenses for ISE (and, in any case, a 30 day license is not exactly useful unless you have a complete design ready to go). Vivado doesn't support any 6-series chips.
If you're just getting started with FPGAs and you don't really need a big Virtex 6 chip, then I'd dump the ML605 that and buy a cheap, modern (ie Vivado-supported), WebPack-friendly board. If you're a student then Digilent will sell you the Pynq-Z1 for under $70.
If you're experienced with FPGAs and do need a big chip, I'd still dump the ML605 and buy something more modern. It's not worth wasting the time designing for old hardware with old tools, when the new hardware/tools offers much greater capabilities.
11-13-2017 03:45 AM
Thanks for your answer. Any recommendation? I would be interested in an FPGA with as much block ram as possible since that seems to be the main requirement for the type of design I'm interested on. If the board also includes PCI access would be great.
11-13-2017 04:42 AM
Well, the ML605 had 416 36K block RAMs, so I'll take that as the target for now. The XCKU035 (Kintex UltraScale line) has 540 36K block RAMs, and the XCKU5P (Kintex UltraScale+ line) has 480 36K block RAMs ... plus 64 of the new 288K UltraRAM blocks, giving it more than double the on-chip RAM of the ML605. Both of those are supported in the free Vivado WebPACK software.
When you say "PCI access", could you clarify exactly what you want? Is it:
(1) A board with a PCI slot, so you can plug a PCI card into it.
(2) A board with a PCIe slot, so you can plug a PCIe card into it.
(3) A board with a PCI card-edge, so you can plug it into a PCI slot.
(4) A board with a PCIe card-edge, so you can plug it into a PCIe slot.
Finding a board based on the Kintex chips is somewhat challenging. Xilinx has the KCU105, and Avnet has their "Kintex UltraScale Development Kit" (you can tell that the marketing department spent ages coming up with that name) but both use the XCKU40 (not WebPACK supported). They'll include a Vivado license that gets you updates for one year, but after that you'd have to pay for a license renewal if you want any updates.
The new KCU116 has the WebPACK-supported XCKU5P, and it plugs into a PCIe slot, but it's $3000 US - a hefty price to pay.