FPGA dev boards

An FPGA Developer’s Guide to Cheap Development Boards

Finally, a detailed and all-encompassing guide for those of us with an addiction to buying new FPGA development boards.
Joel Williams’ list starts off by outlining the criteria that he looks for in an FPGA development board. He makes the great point to consider what peripherals you need for your project and which of those peripherals are the most difficult to recreate yourself.

This list is a really great resource for hobbyists, students, and industry engineers alike. The boards on this list are grouped together by FPGA chip manufacturer. The vast majority of the boards on this list are under a $150 price point with a few exceptions.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bringing AI to the Edge: Xilinx’s New Kria SoM Lineup with Embedded App Store
    Xilinx announces the launch of their new SoM ecosystem for AI and ML modeling in edge applications with the Kria K26 and embedded app store!

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sipeed has released an upgraded Tang Nano FPGA development board, dubbed the Tang Nano 4K, which packs a considerably expanded chip into a compact footprint.

    Sipeed’s New Tang Nano 4K Is a $12 FPGA Dev Board Offering HDMI Output, Camera Connectivity


    The new Tang Nano 4K is a major upgrade over the original Tang Nano, but has more than doubled the price.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kryptor FPGA Moving Towards Production with Crowd Supply Launch
    Open source FPGA-based hardware security module offloads encryption tasks from microcontrollers.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kryptor FPGA – Tiny MAX10 FPGA board works as a hardware security module (Crowdfunding)

    Kryptor FPGA, sometimes just called Kryptor, is a compact Intel/Altera MAX10 FPGA development board mostly designed for encryption, and acting as a dedicated Hardware Security Module (HSM) with a custom soft-core from Skudo OÜ. But obviously, you could also use the FPGA board for other purposes.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Renesas’ Dialog Semi Announces Low-Power, Low-Cost ForgeFPGA Range for Smaller Projects
    Launching in 1kLUT with 2kLUT to follow, the ForgeFPGA range will cost as little as $0.50 per chip in bulk and offer 20µA standby current.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Teensy Ice Breaker: The iCEBreaker-bitsy FPGA
    The trend of putting FPGAs in everyone’s favorite microcontroller form factors continues with an iCEBreaker FPGA in a Teensy package.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Renesas introduces sub 50 cents FPGA family with free Yosys-based development tools

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Basys3 Oscilloscope
    Creating a simple oscilloscope with the Basys3 board

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    iCESugar-nano is a $19 iCE40LP1k FPGA board with 3x PMOD connectors
    Muse Lab’s iCESugar-nano is a tiny FPGA board based on Lattice Semi iCE40LP1K-CM36 programmable via its USB-C port through on-board iCELink debugger, and exposing I/Os for three standard PMOD connectors.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Tiny iCESugar-nano Packs an FPGA, RISC-V Core, and iCELink Into a Compact Footprint
    A low-cost design with an open source toolchain, the iCESugar-nano punches well above its diminutive weight.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    An Open Toolchain For Sipeed Tang Nano FPGAs

    [Sevan Janiyan] shares their research on putting an open FPGA toolchain together. Specifically, this is an open toolchain for the Sipeed Nano Tang FPGAs, which are relatively cheap offerings by Sipeed from China. The official toolchain is proprietary and requires you to apply for a license that’s to be renewed every year. There’s a limited educational version you can use more freely, but of course, that’s not necessarily sufficient for comfortable work.

    Sipeed Tang Nano FPGA and Open Source toolchain

    Sipeed makes a range of FPGA boards called Tang Nano, based around the Gowin’s GW1N range of FPGA chips. The current top model in the range is the Tang Nano 9k which supports 8640 LUT and can fit a RISC-V softcore such as PicoRV23 for around £12 + £5 shipping from China via AliExpress. You can spend a little more and get different sizes of LCD panels which connect to the board via a ribbon, I went for the 4.3″ panel which supports a resolution of 480×272. The board itself has an HDMI connector so that could be used instead.

    The official vendor supplied toolchain is the Gowin IDE which is a closed source tool with an educational version that can be used for working with the Tang Nano series without having to apply for a license. Both Windows & Linux builds are offered for download but I was curios if I could avoid the IDE and just use a completely open source toolchain for working with the board, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could.

    The toolchain consists of yosys (for synthesis), apicula (for generating the bitstream of Gowin FPGAs), nextpnr (for place and route), openFPGALoader (to program the board).

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EIM Technology Aims to Demystify FPGA Development with the STEPFPGA MXo2Core Board, Tutorial Book

    Designed to walk the user from base concepts to Verilog projects, and using a quick-start web IDE to boot, EIM’s guide promises simplicity.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hackster’s FPGAdventures: Experimenting with Microchip’s PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit Linux Code Samples
    With an up-to-date Linux OS installed to eMMC, it’s time to take a look at what resources Microchip provides for the programmer.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hackster’s FPGAdventures: Split Personalities with AMP on the Microchip PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit
    Join us on our latest dive into the PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit as we experiment with the device’s clever AMP resource-splitting functionality

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FPGA Pins Explained!

    Compared to microcontrollers, FPGAs typically have many more configurations, power supply pins, and general I/O. In this video, Philip Salmony, Tech Consultant for Altium and the mind behind Phil’s Lab, details what connections need to be made to ensure your FPGA-based hardware design works correctly.

    00:00 Introduction
    00:30 Example Design Overview
    01:22 Required Voltage Rails
    02:18 Quad Buck Converter and Power Sequencing
    03:59 Decoupling
    05:51 FPGA JTAG And Mode Pins
    07:44 Flash Memory
    09:16 FPGA Configuration Pins
    10:20 ADC
    10:58 FPGA Banks
    13:48 Outro

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Product Lifecycle Extension for All 7 Series Xilinx Devices Through 2035

    AMD Xilinx announced an extension of the product lifecycle for their popular 7 series devices for at least the next 13 years through 2035.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Cycle-Accurate Intel 8088 Core For All Your Retro PC Needs

    A problem faced increasingly by retrocomputer enthusiasts everywhere is the supply of chips. Once a piece of silicon goes out of production its demand can be supplied for a time by old stock and second hand parts, but as they become rare so the cost of what can be dubious parts accelerates out of reach. Happily for CPUs at least, there’s a ray of hope in the form of FPGA-based cores which can replace the real thing, and for early PC owners there’s a new one from [Ted Fried]. MCL86 is a cycle accurate Intel 8088 FPGA Core that can be used within an FPGA design or as a standalone in-circuit replacement for a real 8088. It even has a full-speed mode that sacrifices cycle accuracy and can accelerate those 8088 instructions by 400%.

    MCL86 – Cycle Accurate Intel 8088 FPGA Core

    The MCL86 is a cycle accurate microsequencer-based FPGA core which can be used as a drop-in replacement for the Intel 8088 or 8086.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    MCL65 – Cycle Accurate MOS 6502 FPGA Core

    The MCL65 is a cycle accurate microsequencer-based FPGA core which can be used as a drop-in replacement for the MOS 6502

    The MCL65 is an open source, cycle accurate, microsequencer-based FPGA core which can be used as as an embedded processor or as a drop-in replacement for the MOS 6502.

    The core uses a 16-bit microsequencer which allows it to be cycle acurate and structurally compatible with the MOS 6502 microprocessor. Both the bus interface and the ALU are implemented in microcode which results in an extrememly small core that leaves the majority of the silicon available for other logic.

    It has successfully been used in a Commodore VIC-20, Apple II+, Apple IIe, and Atari 2600.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The History of the FPGA: The Ultimate Flex

    For decades, people have searched for ways to make a chip that you can reprogram after manufacturing. In this video, let us explore the industry’s quest for the ultimate flex.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:


    The UPduino v3.1 is a small, low-cost open source FPGA board. The board features an on-board FTDI FPGA programmer, flash and 3-color LED with all FPGA pins and all FTDI pins brought out to easy to use 0.1″ header pins for fast prototyping.

    The tinyVision.ai UPduino v3.1 features:

    Lattice UltraPlus ICE40UP5K FPGA with 5.3K LUTs, 1Mb SPRAM, 120Kb DPRAM, 8 Multipliers
    FTDI FT232H USB programmer with all pins brought out to test points
    39 GPIO on 0.1” headers, 5V/3.3V/Ground to supply project DC power (<200mA)
    Dedicated 12MHz oscillator
    4MB qSPI SPI Flash
    PMOD compatible
    On-board 3.3V and 1.2V Regulators
    Open source schematic and layout using KiCAD
    An RGB LED Example Project to get your started on your FPGA journey
    Improved USB footprint to minimize connectors ripping off the board.


  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Classic Gaming With FPGA And ATX

    Playing classic games, whether they are games from the golden age of arcades or simply games from consoles that are long out of production, tends to exist on a spectrum. At one end is grabbing a game’s ROM file, finding an emulator, and kludging together some controls on a keyboard and mouse with your average PC. At the other is meticulously restoring classic hardware for the “true” feel of what the game would have felt like when it was new. Towards the latter end is emulating the hardware with an FPGA which the open-source MiSTer project attempts to do. This build, though, adds ATX capabilities for the retrocomputing platform.

    The ATX standard was developed as a way to standardize motherboard mounting points in PC cases. This one uses the Mini-ITX version, allowing the MiSTer FPGA board to mount to a PCB which fits into a Mini-ITX case.


  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The “Do Anything” Chip: FPGA

    Learn about the FPGA, the reprogrammable silicon chip that can be made to do almost anything you can conceive of!

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Libre Gates

    A Libre VHDL framework for the static and dynamic analysis of mapped, gate-level circuits for FPGA and ASIC. Design For Test or nothing !

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fudan Micro JFM7K325T is a clone of AMD Embedded Kintex 7 325T FPGA

    Shanghai Fudan Microelectronics Group, also known as FMSH, has designed a clone of the AMD Embedded (previously Xilinx) Kintex 7 325T FPGA found in some boards and modules in mainland China.

    We are used to seeing clones or fakes of the STM32 microcontrollers, but somebody called “whatever” on Twitter noted a full-featured board based on a clone of the Kintex-7 325T FPGA with 326,080 LUTS and 16 transceivers.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Have you ever wondered how professional FPGA designers handle large projects without running into issues?

    Let me know if you want to know more about this, and I’ll send you the link to download this report, where I’ll share with you seven VHDL coding techniques that I’ve used in all of my professional projects.

    These techniques can help you write VHDL code that, despite its large size and complexity, will:

    • Synthesize without difficulty;
    • Run at the highest possible clock frequency;
    • Use the smallest amount of FPGA resources possible;
    • And not have any unexpected issues after programming the FPGA.

    You can download this report from https://fpgatek.com/advanced-coding-techniques-for-fpga/

    I highly recommend using these techniques for all of your VHDL code going forward. They’ll save you time and energy when working on large projects.

    Let me know if you want this, and I’ll message you with more info.

    #FPGA #ProfessionalDesign #VHDL #CodingTechniques #EfficientCoding #FPGAResources #FPGACoding #FPGATEK #AdvancedCoding #FPGAProgramming


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