Projects | FPGA-PC
FPGA-PC ATX Board Specification
External Stuff (Links)
This project is aimed at specifying an FPGA based ATX format board for
implementing PC-size machines based on FPGA-CPUs at lowest cost.
This project grew out of multiple interests:
- My interest in an board to run my
FPGA PDP-10 Clone Microprocessor on
- Andrew Grillets interest in an ATX+PCI board to run the
ESAs Leon Sparc
- A few other peoples emulation projects
- Recognizing that our board needs are near identical, and that many
other FPGA-CPU to FPGA-PC extenders have the same problem and same
near identical needs, which are not filled by the existing FPGA
prototyping boards. While writing this spec already 3 people found
this spec and commented they do want an board like this
- Ability to use one board for multiple designs, saving cost and space,
if there is an standard and all desired designs are laid out fitting.
This lead to the fairly complex multi config loading stuff
- Andrew is prepared to make an board for himself, which is als usable
for me and others, if I contribute the specification work, derived from
my pre-existing Hardware file
Addendum: Since starting Andrew has changed job and now has no time to
actually make any of these boards. But anyone else who wants a board like
this can work from this spec, to save themselves time and get more ideas
and more in to their design, and so more usefullness from it.
Addendum 2003.12.24: After 1 month forced break (HD crash, system rebuild)
and 1.5 months since then of doing nothing on either PDP-10 project or on
VirtexTools, I have come the the conclusion that I have lost all interest
in both of them. So I have canceled them both,
VirtexTools. And so I
also have no interest any more in using this/these board(s).
But that has no impact on the usefullness of an standard FPGA-PC board,
fitting this finished spec (or similar), to serve other peoples projects
(as it has happend with mafa-pc, see Links below). So I have 2003.12.25 cut
this spec out of the PDP-10 project into this separate documentation.
For the full details of done/doing/todo of the project best read the
2 specification files:
After my negative experiences with Xilinxes information policies, which had
a large part in stopping my projects, I would (if I still had interest in
making an FPGA-PC) chose an different vendor. That would most likely be
Altera, whose chips seem to handle vendor-independant non-chip-optimised
HLL code (which is what I would use for any future project, to avoid vendor
dependance) better anyway (no special features that reduce LUT count per
chip size/cost, but offer more power if you do the chip-dependant coding
to use them).
- An Xilinx Spartan-IIE XC2S600E based
large design, using 128/144bit wide DDR-SDRAM and many features.
This spec also has an few remarks about reducing to XC2S300E and
64/72bit memory, if XC2S600Eis not covered by the free Webpack
- An Xilinx Spartan-II XC2S200 based small
design, using 16/18/24bit wide SRAM and fewer features (subset).
This spec describes differences to the above one
Nothing, the specification is completed, as far as I am concerned.
Nothing, I am not making any boards or any other FPGA projects.
External Stuff (Links)
Since making these specs and this page I have found out about 2 active
- C-One Reconfigurable Computer
originally intended as super C64, later universal any 1980s 8bit home
computer (using plug in hard CPUs), then noticed that it can also be
used for/with any FPGA soft-CPU. Roughly the size/features of my small
design. Based on 2 Altera ACEX with each an memory (EP1K300 "video"
with SIMM socket and EP1K100 "control/memory" with DIMM socket).
Status: finished product
Multifunctional Advanced FPGA Architecture Personal Computer Board
(mafa-pc) intended directly as FPGA-PC. Roughly the size/features
of my large design (actually the designer has read my specs and thanks
for the time he saved). Based on one large main/CPU and possibly a few
smaller auxillary/IO FPGAs, vendor/family not yet chosen. Status:
- I have also in the meantime seen an system called 1-chip-MSX, similar
in intent to the C-one, but aimed at emulating an MSX compatible home
computer, with only 1 FPGA and without hard CPUs
Projects | FPGA-PC
This page is by Neil Franklin, last modification 2004.06.10