FPGA boards are great for hobbyists who like to prototype and play with logic, electronics and programming, but the engineering and production grade boards are expensive and aren’t always accessible for people who want to learn the ropes. There are plenty of field programmable gate array where to get fpga boards on the market that are affordable and satisfying to use, though, and that would make a great gift for the geek in your life. Let’s take a look at a few different models.

Altera Cyclone

The Altera Cyclone EP4CE10 is an ultra low cost baord that can be used to learn the Nios II processor, and it is a good starting point for beginners.

Programmable Logic IC Developement Tools

The Programmable Logic IC Development Tools is a slightly more expensive hobbyist FPGA, but that’s because it features an Altera IC, and is actually sophisticated enough that it could be used for more complex projects. It is still priced, just, in the hobbyist range though, ath $250.

EP4CE40 FPGA Development Board

This board features 3 SDRAM, and also has two MT48LC8M32B2 – it is a good option for people who want to play with image processing, which is something that many other boards lack. The mid-range price point makes it acceptable for serious hobbyists, and the baord itself even says ‘For Makers, By Makers’ which is a clear indication of its ethos.

Logic Start Shield

The Logic Start Shield is an ultra-low costs started kit that is aimed at students and beginners. It features six analog channels, 8 LEDs, and 8 slide switches. It isn’t intended for sophisticated projects, but rather at people who want to learn about logic and circuits, and who are perhaps beyond the stage of bread boards and 10-in-1 electronic projects kits.

Parallella 16 Desktop Computer

This is a sophisticated machine with a dual-core ARM processor. it is completely programmable, and has 1GB DDR3 SDRAM, a USB port, HDMI port, and ethernet connection. It truly is a computer.

There are many other boards out there, ranging from low-end Spartan FPGAs, the the higher end Xlinix boards. It is really up to the individual how much they want to spend and whether they are interested in trying compelx circuits or just playing with logic. With gifts ranging from $33 to $250+, this is a hobby and a profession that you can play with at any level.

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