Lattice FPGA

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Frederir
Retro freak
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Lattice FPGA

Postby Frederir » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:29 pm

Hi,

I'm new to FPGA emulation and looking around I saw a lot of solutions based on Altera, I wondered why Lattice ECP5 were not more popular ?

They have a great memory to logic ratio and a lower price in small quantities than comparable Xilinx/Altera parts.

I only found this board : https://www.fleasystems.com/fleaFPGA_Ohm.html (I'm not affiliated, and from my understanding the board is not to sell actually)

LFE5U-85F-6BG381C with 3.8Mb of embedded memory is arround 25Euro at digikey. Any thougth on this from core designers ?


Sincerely.
F.

Sorgelig
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Location: Russia/Taiwan

Re: Lattice FPGA

Postby Sorgelig » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:04 pm

Different FPGA manufacturers have completely different development tools. You cannot use Altera development tools for Lattice FPGA for example. Even features like supported HDL languages may vary greatly. For example Xilinx only recently started to support SystemVerilog for synthesis while Altera supports it for ages already.
Currently FPGA marked divided approximately in half by Altera and Xilinx. Lattice market is hard to notice. There are not many FPGA developers in general, and only few people are familiar with Lattice. I don't think current FPGA developers would be glad to throw away familiar development system and jump to something completely different.
Also, making a product based on FPGA company which has only fractional of the market is risky.

Frederir
Retro freak
Retro freak
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Lattice FPGA

Postby Frederir » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:35 pm

Sorgelig wrote:Also, making a product based on FPGA company which has only fractional of the market is risky.


Well with Intel in charge of Altera, I'm not sure their priorities are toward small affordable FPGA for industry. But I understand the point, Micro semi/Actel also have some interesting parts.

From a strictly technical point of view the ECP5 seems to fit in the need of emulators for 8/16 bits machines because they have a lot of embedded memory and they are at an interesting price point. I agree the best part to use is not one dimensional and software environment is a big concern for developpers. Diamond, the Lattice tool, is certainly not as advanced as Quartus or Vivado.

F.


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