RE: Atmel FPSLIC Product Discount

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Recently I received a nice email from Atmel

Quote:
Dear Customer,

Thanks for registering to take advantage of the Atmel FPSLIC tools promotion program. The FPSLIC team is happy to offer you a 50% discount on one of the following Starter Kits or Software Maintenance License Packages:

ATSTK594 FPSLIC Daughter Board for AVR STK500 Kit + 4 Month License of System Designer
Offer Price : $50 Regular Price: $99

ATSTK94 FPSLIC stand alone Starter Kit + 4 Month License of System Designer
Offer Price : $248 Regular Price: $495

ATDS94KSW1 System Designer Annual License
Offer Price : $498 Regular Price: $995

ATDS94KSW2 System Designer Perpetual License
Offer Price : $1248 Regular Price: $2495

Here's how to order

Please contact your local ATMEL Sales Representative or favorite distributor and mention "FPSLIC tools promotion" on your order as well as your contact details. This offer is only valid once and 3 months from the date of registration. You may fax a copy of this email if necessary to the Atmel Sales Representative.

Please feel free to forward this email to others that may be interested in this offer. They can REGISTER HERE to take advantage of this offer.

Best Regards,
The FPSLIC Applications Team
fpslic@atmel.com


so I forwarded the email to our local (Australian) distributor and was told that the $50USD STK500 add-on would cost me $165AUD "because the US price did not include freight".
When I add the 10%GST and the local delivery fee, the total will be the equivalent of $150USD.
They have in the past quoted a Butterfly as $49AUD(+GST) =$41.50USD which is why the Tshirt is such a good deal here!
C.H.

C. H.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
It's only waste if you don't use it!

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Sounds expensive to me, would be great to use the AVR with FPGA.......but at that price I'll stick with the AVR thanx.

Why is Xlinx etc so expensive.....the price make it prohibitive for me. I've downloaded WinCupL but havn't tried it yet. Anyway, I think it's only suitable for the PLD type devices.

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Actually the Xilinx isn't that expensive. Their tools are free for the basic versions and the programmer is $100 US if I remember correctly.

I got brochures on the FPSLIC a while back because I thought it was such a cool device - but a four month license just ain't enough and the prices were too high for the software past four months to get what you needed to really learn the system. I'm lucky to complete a project in four months with my schedule.

So I looked elsewhere and bought the stuff I needed to learn using the Xilinx tools.

I wish chip companies understood how much business they lose by pricing development tools out of the reach of "hobbyists". Those hobbyists are frequently professionals learning new technologies on their own that later get justified into regular real-world projects. By making that impractical for the "hobbyist", they lock themselves out of potential markets.

And the other thing - why do they charge for development software that is locked into a proprietary product? They can generate far more sales of chips by helping people see how great they are by letting people learn them for free or at least at reduced cost. And I know most of the industry charges out the wazzoo for the high end stuff. But how about a bone for those of us trying to learn?

One very positive aspect of the Circuit Cellar contests is the manufacturers seem to see the benefit there. Manufacturers frequently will go the other extreme and give away their development packages to contestants.

Please note - this post may not present all information available on a subject.

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Hey,

For Xilinx FPGAs, there is a number of low cost development boards you can get. For example some are at http://www.digilentinc.com - I've got one from there. As well they have a cheap programmer (which you can build, search Xilinx's website for Parallel 3 Schematic).

For Atmels - it is cheaper to just but a new FPSLIC dev-kit w/ 4-month license every 4 months, even at the discounted price!

Regards,

-Colin

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You can buy a JTAG programmer for Xilinx FPGA's from Insight for $30CND. Thats what I use (Model IJC-2).

As for the FPSLIC....I just don't get this product. Yea it's a nice single chip solution, but what else does it offer? I don't think the "coolness" of the device justifies the cost to develope a product with it...

I have multiple designs that use a Xilinx XC2S15 (SpartanII) connected to a Mega128. The interface is simple, the cost of the FPGA is quite cheap <$13 from Digikey! (I get them for less from my ditributor) And the tools to program/design the FPGA are FREE (WebPack). Why would I use anything else??

Anyone here use the FPSLIC? Comments? Fun easy to use?

Cheers,
Oc.

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Quote:
I don't think the "coolness" of the device justifies the cost to develope a product with it...

That was my point exactly. I also went with Xilinx since their tools and chips are affordable (or free) while Atmel does stuff like make it economical to keep buying the demo kits when the software license expires as Colin pointed out. I'd never noticed that before but it's completely absurd and a waste of resources to price things like that.

Please note - this post may not present all information available on a subject.

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Pardon me for resurrecting this old thread...

I spent a couple of years working with the Triscend E5 - which was an 8051 and FPGA integrated onto a single chip. Unfortunately, Xilinx bought Triscend in 2004 and promptly canned the entire product line. :(

I have looked at the FPSLIC info, and it looks like a very similar concept to Triscend's.

But, as has already been noted, the absolute killer is the tools cost!! :shock:

With Triscend, you could download a free "evaluation" version of the tools - these had a capacity limit, but no time limit. Even the full licence only cost about GBP 600; and that was a one-time payment - not an annual licence fee!! :shock: :shock:

Now, Triscend was a small start-up; so you can see that they probably needed some return on their software development - but what on earth are Atmel thinking?!
Surely a company the size of Atmel can afford to subsidise this software to "seed" the device sales? It's not as if freeloaders would be downloading this stuff and then using it for non-Atmel parts!!

Anyhow, rant over, I should be interested to know if anyone here has anything to share on the similarities or differences between the Triscend and FPSLIC offerings...?

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Interesting comments. Anyone here have a personal website or other means of disseminating Atmel/Xilinx getting started info. Confident in the AVR world but new to FPGAs. I teach a high school robotics class and I'd like to have the flexability of using an FPGA on a our ATmega128 controller board.

Thanks,
Mike

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Mr. Mike--

For a defined educational course of study that you mentioned, I think you will get quite far by just asking the manufacturers mentioned, and I'd wager you can come up with a nice pile of booty, or at least at "cost". I know Atmel has educational discounts. Perhaps students in communications or similar classes can make the drafting of the "grant proposal" and doing the "poor student" whine contacts as >>their<< class project. Promise to display the name promenently at fairs, etc. Promise to write it up for app note or such. I bet you can bag a dev system or two, and some common parts.

Also try the same with the reps and distributors in your area. Also ask the reps & distis for big customers in your area of the pieces you need--they may be very willing to sponsor, or may have the previous generation dev systems unused that you can "borrow", and may sell you stock at quantity prices if nothing else--that alone cuts parts cost in half vs. small quantity "retail".

Lee

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Hi Mike,

You might also mention that you are considering an alternative like the Cypress PSoC Express.

PSoC Express

There's a $35 eval kit. PSoC looks pretty cool, but they aren't as hobbyist friendly, no free compilers, the assembly and architecture is strange. But might be worth a bluff.

Hank

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Gentlemen,

Thanks for your kind suggestions. Can anyone point me to information on interfacing an AVR (I'm using ATmega 128) to a Xilinx FPGA device. I've searched for info on this topic and waded through a labyrinth of material with no success. I'd like to work on the harware/software issues and see if this approach is actually feasable in meeting our needs.

Thanks,
Mike

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Hey,

Quote:
Thanks for your kind suggestions. Can anyone point me to information on interfacing an AVR (I'm using ATmega 128) to a Xilinx FPGA device.

What do you mean by interfacing? You can connect the AVR through any interface you want to. I used SPI for example for data transfer. Then implement an SPI in the FPGA to get the data.

Or do you mean programming the FPGA from the AVR?

-Colin

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Yes Colin,

By interfacing I had intended to convey (some way of talking to each other).SPI seems to be a simple solution. Had not thought of that. I had anticipated the necessity of using some memory mapping scheme. I'd be delighted if you could point me to some documentation on doing this on the FPGA side. I've just begun with a Xilinx dev board and am finding the learning curve to be quite steep. I'm not an engineer and my training is mostly in math. I greatly enjoy the challenges though.

Regards,
Mike

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Hiya all, I just bought the Xilinx US$99 combo deal which has both the Coolrunner II (CPLD) & Spartan III (FPGA) development kits. It's my first foray into the CPLD/FPGA and I have found it very interesting. Anyway, the deal is still going and worth a look. I live in Australia and it cost me about US$125 (around AU$165), including delivery, and it only took 2 working days to get here! That works out to the same price I spent on the STK500 :-)

Anyway, in regards to interfacing Xilinx devices and AVR's, the biggest thing you have to keep in mind is the voltage differences. Most Xilinx devices have IO's that operate at 3.3V or less so you should have no problem if you are using low powered AVR's, but otherwise it might be an issue. This is all moot, though, if you use an interface such as I2C which is open collector. Simply have the I2C lines tied to the 3.3V (or whatever your Xilinx IO's are running at) and you should have no problems. AVR's use TTL logic levels so anything over about 1.2V (I think) is a 1 and ground is, of course, a 0. Since I2C devices only ever pull a line low or go high impedance it should work fine

Anyway, just something to keep in mind. If you are looking for SPI or I2C cores, www.opencores.org will have what you need. Oh yeah, the XC95xx series of CPLD come in 5V variants too.

Edit: BTW, there are TONS of free processor cores available, you could even ditch the AVR and go with a processor core coupled with some ROM built into the FPGA and voila, you have a built in microcontroller. For example, I downloaded the T80 core (A Z80 processor implemented in VHDL) and it works a treat! Why have a separate microcontroller when you can get one built in for free! There is even an AVR compatible RISC core floating around!