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Old 29 July 2014, 12:18   #15
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Ottawa/Canada
Posts: 49
Once again, this is for a contest. So there is a real dead line. As I am not building a 3D printer/laser/wireless/computer vision stuff/blinky lights/props, my chances to win the $200k prize is NIL. That's what the crowd over at Hackaday like to see unfortunately.

Based on judges' background, a few would appreciate what I am doing. If I get it working on time, I am likely to win $1k - $5k worth of useless prizes. They are the only ones that I am catering/marketing toward at this time. I'll take whatever over nothing. This card is also my resume.

I have closed off the PCB layout. Being shipped. Done. Part purchased. Done. Feature list closed. FPGA I/O completely filled, so no 32-bit DAC. PERIOD. Feature creeps is what kills projects. Having a product that make 75% people happy is better than a project that never make it out the front gate. See plenty of examples for that.

Look at my layout (over at my project log site and I won't repost here) and tell me where to put and route the parts. Everything was hand routed. This is rev. 15 of the layout because this is the only way to fit things into this while looking after the high speed signals and not breaking things. ~70% of board space is filled with parts and the rest are pretty much just routing. See last couple of my project log files and see how bad it is to squeeze 5mm space for a connector screw up.

32-bit real video DAC cost about $12. My budget was supposed to be below a FPGA eval board, but now it is already close to one. Why would I spend more of my own money/time on a prototype that I have to debug than a working FPGA eval board or a real product that have more features/faster/more memory? Ditto for the consumers.

Seen the latest "Halt and Catch Fire" episode? After seeing that someone selling a new product with my specs and then a Mac demo in the hotel room, what would you do? Think about that one.

I need to concentrate to do one thing at a time and you are not the target market right now. Myself and judges are. Contest prizes here. I'll revisit 'features" after the contest if there are sufficient commercial value to develop this into an actual product.

As far as I am concerned, a daughter card is the proper way to make a product for 2 different segments of the market. Incremental changes/upgrade over time that doesn't kill you initial investment. Also one man operation, so one thing at a time. Okay?

Find a FPGA card with bigger DDR/DDR2 memory on ebay. Make a small PCB for the BLVDS link connect to mate to my board. Use cat6 cable to link the two boards. Done. No need to wait for me.

I can copy & paste open source accelerator card design and change the bus to my high speed serial link. VoilĂ  extra memory, faster processor on a daughtercard. I am also no longer limited to low density slow and much more expensive out of date SDRAM nor x16/x32 bus or to a 680x0 only processor. Don't know about you, but I want to put memory in the "Northbridge" not the slower "Southbridge" anyways.

Once I pushed off the I/O, connectors and misc stuff like ARM on this card, it is actually easy to do a board layout for with only FPGA (with optional CPU or SoC) and SODIMM. It is also like child birth, the 2nd one is easier.

Last edited by K.C.Lee; 29 July 2014 at 12:52.
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