FPGA for beginners

FPGA starter kit comparison (BASYS2 or DE0-Nano)

The next device I am going to purchase is an FPGA development board. Since I am a newbie to FPGAs I wanted to buy a simple board to start my experiments on it. There are lots of FPGA boards available in e-bay for less cost. I don’t know why but my guts kept telling me to go for a board from a respected company and directly from them. So I did it. The money i could spare on these is 120$ max.

I searched for chips by the leading manufacturers of FPGAs, Xilinx and Altera. Then I found that Digilent and Terasic offers two entry level FPGA development boards, the BASYS2 and the DE0-Nano respectively; for chips by Xilinx and Altera respectively. Both these have an academic pricing (which i am entitled to) of 59$ and with shipping it will cost around 100$. In-fact BASYS2 with 250K gates (will explain later) 119$ and DE0-Nano is 112$.

First let’s look at the two boards as shown in their website,

Altera DE0-Nano is one on the left and the Basys™2 Spartan-3E is the one on the right.



To me the Digilent Basys2 looks better than DE0-Nano. It has all those gadgets in the board which makes it look better.