Now - not so new cheaper FPGAs

Started by rickman January 10, 2018
I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money from. 
  The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is still trying 
to get rid of them.  Seems they over estimated the market.  I had to pay a 
higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were in production (~$10) 
but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending on quantity and they still 
have 65,000.  lol

I wonder how cheap they would sell the lot?

With that many left in inventory, this might be a good chip to design a low 
priced hobby board from, like the TinyFPGA, but cheaper, although there are 
boards on eBay using the Altera EP2C5 with half again as many LUTs plus 13 
multipliers.  The board is only $15 or $18 with a programming cable.

-- 

Rick C

Viewed the eclipse at Wintercrest Farms,
on the centerline of totality since 1998
Am 10.01.2018 um 19:32 schrieb rickman:
> I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money > from.  The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is > still trying to get rid of them.  Seems they over estimated the
market. 
> I had to pay a higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were > in production (~$10) but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending > on quantity and they still have 65,000.  lol > > I wonder how cheap they would sell the lot? > > With that many left in inventory, this might be a good chip to design a > low priced hobby board from, like the TinyFPGA, but cheaper, although > there are boards on eBay using the Altera EP2C5 with half again as many > LUTs plus 13 multipliers.  The board is only $15 or $18 with a > programming cable. >
The firmware-only USB implementation on the TInyFPGA got me interested in them. I now have 2 on my desk. Thanks for the heads-up. Thomas
rickman <gnuarm.deletethisbit@gmail.com> wrote:
> I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money from. > The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is still trying > to get rid of them. Seems they over estimated the market. I had to pay a > higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were in production (~$10) > but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending on quantity and they still > have 65,000. lol > > I wonder how cheap they would sell the lot?
A while back Farnell had some ECP2 on clearance for about GBP1 each in 1-off. I bought a few dozen, not for their FPGA capability but because I wanted to try BGA soldering and they were the cheapest large (256 pin) BGA I could find. I don't remember how many they had in stock at the time, but probably about 1K. I didn't have a use for 1K at the time.
> With that many left in inventory, this might be a good chip to design a low > priced hobby board from, like the TinyFPGA, but cheaper, although there are > boards on eBay using the Altera EP2C5 with half again as many LUTs plus 13 > multipliers. The board is only $15 or $18 with a programming cable.
I'm confused by their branding - is it the same as the MachXO3 or ECP3? If they have SERDES that could get very interesting. I'm sceptical whether cutting $5 from the price of a comparable low-end board is going to stimulate much further demand. Are there lots of people who have the skills to get into FPGA design but are held up by lacking $5? To me the barriers seem to be tools and languages, not the price of the hardware. If there was some killer app - like Kodi is for RPi - that could be packaged up and would sell lots of boards to people who don't have to use FPGA tools, things would be different. Theo
Theo Markettos wrote on 1/16/2018 4:55 AM:
> rickman <gnuarm.deletethisbit@gmail.com> wrote: >> I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money from. >> The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is still trying >> to get rid of them. Seems they over estimated the market. I had to pay a >> higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were in production (~$10) >> but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending on quantity and they still >> have 65,000. lol >> >> I wonder how cheap they would sell the lot? > > A while back Farnell had some ECP2 on clearance for about GBP1 each in 1-off. > I bought a few dozen, not for their FPGA capability but because I wanted to > try BGA soldering and they were the cheapest large (256 pin) BGA I could > find. > > I don't remember how many they had in stock at the time, but probably about > 1K. I didn't have a use for 1K at the time. > >> With that many left in inventory, this might be a good chip to design a low >> priced hobby board from, like the TinyFPGA, but cheaper, although there are >> boards on eBay using the Altera EP2C5 with half again as many LUTs plus 13 >> multipliers. The board is only $15 or $18 with a programming cable. > > I'm confused by their branding - is it the same as the MachXO3 or ECP3? > If they have SERDES that could get very interesting.
I'm not sure what "it" means. If you are talking about the XP Lattice device, then no, the XP family is very old and basic with just block RAM and no multipliers. The XP2 has multiplier I believe, but no SERDES. The XO2 is marketed as more of a high end CPLD functionality, again not SERDES, but I don't recall if they have multiplier. I think the XO3 might have SERDES and I'm pretty sure they have multipliers. It's hard to keep them all straight when there is so much overlap and the names don't really tell so much about the parts, except the XPx and XOx lines are all flash while the ECPx lines are all RAM based like the Xilinx parts.
> I'm sceptical whether cutting $5 from the price of a comparable low-end > board is going to stimulate much further demand. Are there lots of people > who have the skills to get into FPGA design but are held up by lacking $5? > To me the barriers seem to be tools and languages, not the price of the > hardware.
The point is people reach for a $5 MCU board and learn the skills to program it vs. reaching for a $20+ FPGA board to learn the skills. There is a particular MCU on eBay that is sold on a board for $3 I think. FPGA can't touch that!
> If there was some killer app - like Kodi is for RPi - that could be > packaged up and would sell lots of boards to people who don't have to use > FPGA tools, things would be different.
Kodi? Never heard of it. I guess I was killed. I don't understand what you mean about not having to use FPGA tools. What exactly are you proposing? -- Rick C Viewed the eclipse at Wintercrest Farms, on the centerline of totality since 1998
On 01/10/18 11:32, rickman wrote:
> I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money > from. &nbsp;The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is > still trying to get rid of them.&nbsp; Seems they over estimated the market. > I had to pay a higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were > in production (~$10) but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending > on quantity and they still have 65,000.&nbsp; lol > >
How do you like the Lattice tool chain compared to other FPGA vendors?
On Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 3:02:34 PM UTC-5, Kevin Bowling wrote:
> On 01/10/18 11:32, rickman wrote: > > I have used the Lattice XP3 FPGAs in a design I've made a lot of money > > from. &nbsp;The parts have gone EOL but Arrow bought some 70,000+ and is > > still trying to get rid of them.&nbsp; Seems they over estimated the market. > > I had to pay a higher price to them in 2016 than I paid when they were > > in production (~$10) but now they are going for around $5-$6 depending > > on quantity and they still have 65,000.&nbsp; lol > > > > > > How do you like the Lattice tool chain compared to other FPGA vendors?
I don't see where I ever replied to this post. Sorry. In case it is still relevant... I like the Lattice tools ok. They use Synplify for synthesis and Active HDL for simulation. I've never found an automatic way to setup projects in all three (the third one is the Lattice IDE itself which includes a Lattice synth tool I believe) in one blow. So I have to create a Lattice project, then when I want to simulate I have to create an AHDL project. I can be a little dense about such things. When they hide so much behind the GUI it is hard for me to tell what is ending up where and why I want things to be written where on the disk. I'd like to see my source files at a highest level directory and everything else hidden in subs. But they seem to want to do it bassackwards with the source hidden in a subdirectory and their pointless (to me) files at the top of each project. I believe all the vendors are the same in this regard. Am I mistaken? Otherwise the tools seem fine. I'm not a big guy on demanding a lot from the tools. To me FPGA tools are like my 20 year old truck. Go, stop, don't use too much gas. That's pretty much all it needs to do. The rest is just icing on the cake. Rick C. Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209