Which FPGA clone to choose?

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Xyla
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Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby Xyla » Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:16 pm

I'm looking to get an FPGA clone and try to learn FPGA programming. I would like to start with a regular ST core and learn how to make tweaks/enhancements to it.

I keep looking at the MIST, but I'm bothered by the fact that it seems to use disk images like an emulator instead of a real filesystem on the SD cards. I can't stand using emulators and disk images.

So then I look at the Suska-III, and it seems much more like a real Atari, but the FPGA is older and the whole thing is much more expensive.

There is the MISTer which is obviously the most powerful FPGA, but there is no ST core so it is not an option.

I would like to see if I can get any opinions or advice which board would be best to go with. Is there any chance of getting a real filesystem going with the MIST, so I could use the SD card the same way I use one in an Ultrasatan? I really do not want to be mounting images in emulators to transfer files to the FPGA machine.

Sorgelig
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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:47 pm

Get MiSTer and port ST core. This should be ideal option.
MiSTer shares almost common interface between ARM and FPGA, so porting from MiST is not so difficult.

Otherwise you have no choice except MiST, as ST core is pretty much viable only on MiST currently.
Suska is open source only for older big (old, weak and expensive HW) board only. New version of board is not fully open source anymore. You won't be able to tinker with the ST core.

Xyla
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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby Xyla » Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:43 pm

Thanks for the reply. I would love to do that but I haven't done any FPGA programming yet.
Perhaps I will try if it's really not that hard. I am surprised no one else is doing this yet though.

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby ijor » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:06 am

Xyla wrote:I keep looking at the MIST, but I'm bothered by the fact that it seems to use disk images like an emulator instead of a real filesystem on the SD cards. I can't stand using emulators and disk images.
...
Is there any chance of getting a real filesystem going with the MIST, so I could use the SD card the same way I use one in an Ultrasatan? I really do not want to be mounting images in emulators to transfer files to the FPGA machine.


It should be possible to use a SD card as the Ultrasatan without disk images. I understand that is currently not supported. It is a bit cumbersome because the MIST boots from the SD card. Other than that, at the FPGA side, it shouldn't be too difficult to implement.

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby kolla » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:04 pm

Doesn't ST use FAT for filesystem anyways?
Shouldn't it be possible for ST core to use the same FAT partition that the system loads FPGA cores from?

Personally I very much prefer hard drive images over "direct access" for Amiga filesystems, and wish I could do that same on real Amiga :)
-- kolla

Xyla
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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby Xyla » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:41 pm

I decided to go with MIST. It seems my information was outdated... direct SD card access has already been added.
It's at the very bottom of this page: https://github.com/mist-devel/mist-boar ... assStorage

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby fidzen » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:02 pm

Firebee needs new input!
It's expensive but a lovely piece of HW.
Atari Falcon, 14Mb RAM, CT60e, Supervidel, Svetlana, 512Mb RAM, 8Gb CF.
Atari Falcon, 14Mb RAM, CT63, 256Mb RAM,4Gb CF.
Firebee Series 2, 16Gb CF, 2Gb SD, MEGA ST Keyboard and Atari Mice.
Atari Stacy 2 with 4Mb RAM and 20Mb HD.
Atari Lynx II with new LCD and VGA output.
Atari 2600 4-switch Woody

Xyla
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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby Xyla » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:51 am

fidzen wrote:Firebee needs new input!
It's expensive but a lovely piece of HW.


I already have a Firebee on order, but I also wanted a full FPGA ST clone with high compatibility like the MIST. You can never have too many Ataris. :)

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby danialbi » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:46 pm

Hi I am new to Atari forum
Had a couple of Ataris back in the 80s

I would like to buy a FPGA clone, but there's too many around...
My preferences:
*Many configurable cores
*Focus on ATARI800, Amiga and/or ATARI ST
*Don't need to connect original peripherals like cartridge, hard drives...
*Low cost (<200$)
Future proof (I am told that MIST boards will not be manufactured anymore)

Can someone help me to decide?

Thanks

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby DrOG » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:52 am

Hi!

It looks like the MIST is still being produced although in lower quantities. This is currently the only available FPGA which has a working Atari ST core. Of course there exists an Atari 800 and AGA Amiga core as well on this platform, and has many others, some exotic ones also. It's a standalone solution in nice case, but is has it's limitations, i.e. no digital video output.

MISTer is superior in some aspects, it costs less, has HDMI output and has some unique cores as well, and contains a bigger FPGA than MIST. Most of the cores are ported and improved by one man (Sorgelig). It's modular, you need to provide it's componenst (RAM, IO-board, USB HUB) separately, and print a 3D case if you want. It needs active cooling (heatsink+fan).

You have to decide which one to choose...

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby squid4 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:20 pm

danialbi wrote:Future proof (I am told that MIST boards will not be manufactured anymore)

None of these boards will be future proof. MiST is still produced and has a number of active developers (which has recently picked up again). MiSTer is still a sort of kit board although it is a very nice FPGA.

It also depends what monitor you'll use, VGA or TV RGB then MiST, HDMI then you'll need MiSTer (also does VGA/TV). I only use TV RGB on my MiST as I want the analogue video purity that only FPGA can provide.

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby danialbi » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:52 pm

Thanks for the useful suggestions
About price I'm not absolutely sure
In Europe:
MIST = 220 EUR
MISTer+I/O+SDRAM=120+20+50 = 190 EUR

To me it looks the same
Also, I have a (new) TV monitor with HDMI, VGA, SCART
Sorry I don't understand what you mean with "I only use TV RGB on my MiST as I want the analogue video purity that only FPGA can provide"
Do you mean that MIST RGB output looks better/closer to original than MISTER VGA/HDMI?

I understand that MISTer is way better value for money (SUPERIOR hw), but I just want to run Atari core...after all
The best option for me would be a MIST at 100 EUR...and it should be much cheaper if compared to DE10

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby desUBIKado » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:45 pm

Other option, Mistica FPGA16, a MiST clone for 169 euros: https://www.ebay.es/itm/MISTICA-FPGA16-/253845694898

+ S-Video output
+ Composite video output
+ EAR input
+ RGB SCART cable and power usb cable included

- MIDI

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby danialbi » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:00 pm

Tnx again
One more thing: are you sure that De10 requires Fan? The board comes without, and I have seen I/O board designs (blue combo I think) that have no fans

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby danialbi » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:00 pm

In the end I ended up ordering a MIST
Little bit pricey, but closed to my needs: simpler, no FAN, ATARI ST core, no adds-on required...

Tnx for the help

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby slingshot » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:40 am

desUBIKado wrote:Other option, Mistica FPGA16, a MiST clone for 169 euros: https://www.ebay.es/itm/MISTICA-FPGA16-/253845694898

+ S-Video output
+ Composite video output
+ EAR input
+ RGB SCART cable and power usb cable included

- MIDI


- FPGA JTAG connector, so useless for development.
Seems the manufacturer doesn't want to support developing cores.

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby desUBIKado » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:06 pm

slingshot wrote:- FPGA JTAG connector, so useless for development.
Seems the manufacturer doesn't want to support developing cores.


You are right. The correct thing is:

+ S-Video output
+ Composite video output
+ EAR input
+ RGB SCART cable and power usb cable included

- MIDI
- FPGA JTAG connector

I'm not a core developer and for that I forgot the absence of the JTAG connector. In my opinion, if you're a musician, the original MiST with MIDI IN / MIDI OUT is your right choice, and if you're a core developer, JTAG + usb Blaster is more confortable for developing. For a typical user, Mistica FPGA16 is a god option, and adds EAR input and Composite video output out-of-box, two very interestings features.

In any case, each one chooses the model that seems most appropriate to the use that he will give.

slingshot
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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby slingshot » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:50 am

There are/were a lot of cases when a user become a developer, and the hardware without core developing is just a piece of useless substance. So producing non-developer friendly boards are a dead-end.

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby Sorgelig » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:07 pm

slingshot wrote:There are/were a lot of cases when a user become a developer, and the hardware without core developing is just a piece of useless substance. So producing non-developer friendly boards are a dead-end.

The sole purpose of clones is to get as much money as possible with least possible investment. I doubt the clone manufacturer knows FPGA more than a generic user.

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Re: Which FPGA clone to choose?

Postby slingshot » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:17 pm

Sorgelig wrote:The sole purpose of clones is to get as much money as possible with least possible investment. I doubt the clone manufacturer knows FPGA more than a generic user.

That's what I feel about Mistica, too. And it wouldn't that hard to add 10 holes for the JTAG pins + 4 for the ARM UART, the price of the PCB would be the same, it was missed just because of ignorance.


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