Summer of Digilent

As the school year comes to an end and people and families prepare for their vacations, their minds begin to relax. To keep those minds sharp and focused, it may be time to start a summer project. Going through the Internet to find such a project can be tedious and time-consuming. If you don’t want to spend time going through thousands of Instructables, then maybe we can help. Let’s take a look at some of our projects and products that could help fill those lax summer hours.

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History of the FPGA

As you probably know, one of Digilent’s major focuses is producing FPGA (field programmable gate array) boards and educating the public on FPGA design. One of the classes I was in last semester focused on FGPA design. This class is EE324 at WSU, which is taught by Digilent’s own Clint Cole. He gave a background lecture on the History of FPGA chips. Not only was it an extremely interesting lecture, but it also helped me understand the huge leaps in logic design that have been made since the 1960s. This is the history that led to the development of FPGA chips. The chips are the parts that Xilinx makes that we use on our FPGA boards.

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New Product– the Nexys 4 DDR

Our new product, the Nexys4 DDR, is now available for sale! We have been anxiously awaiting this board’s release ever since we received an end-of-life notice from Micron (our memory provider) about cellular RAM that we had been using on all of our Nexys-class products. Rather than strip features off the current Nexys4, we decided to evolve the product line to accept DDR Memory. Check it out now!

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Computer Memory: Differences between the types of…(what was it again)… memory!

Computers have several difference ways of keeping track of the information that it is given. Most people in the world, which included myself until recently, might think there are only two kinds of memory: the “random access memory” (RAM) that computers have, and the flash memory that you can put on a thumb drive and carry around in your backpack without an issue. However, despite knowing that these two types of memory are not the whole picture, it was my personal experience that trying to learn more usually resulted in my eyes instantly glazing over; this is rather unhelpful in terms of actually learning something. Keeping this in mind, we’re going to do a broad overview of the different types of RAM, hopefully without the glazing over effect.

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Nexys vs. Basys

At Washington State University, the electrical engineering department uses Digilent FPGAs in several classes. Students are allowed to pick from a variety of our FPGAs. The main choice is between the Nexys or Basys lines of FPGAs. As a student, I hear a lot of confusion from students about the differences between the two series of boards. I figured that students can’t be the only ones who have questions about the difference, so I decided to write a quick summary of the differences. I’ll be using the Nexsys 4 and the soon-to-be newest member of the Basys series as an example. I’ve compiled two lists to highlight the differences between the two.

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ZYBO and Pmods in Electronics Design Magazine!

In this month’s edition of Electronics Design Magazine, a rather nice article calling out both our new ZYBO processor board and our Pmods™ was written. Bill Wong, the article’s author, discusses many of the user experience improvements that Xlinx has made in regards to their latest Zynq-7000 multi-core, ARM A9+FPGA processor. In those improvements he mentions both our newest ZYBO board and our Pmods™!

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