@BigEd suggested I made a post about the BlackEdge project to inform and solicit feedback..
What is the BlackEdge project?
BlackEdge is the project name for a new set of modular OpenSource FPGA development boards. Similar to myStorm/BlackIce complementing IceStorm, BlackEdge hardware is designed to complement the newer opensource Symbiflow toolchain, supporting both the Lattice Ice family as well as the new Lattice ECP5 family based around @daveshah trellis project documenting the ECP5 bitstream.
Why The new project
First we think modularity is important, these new family of products are design to help you build your own projects/products rather than just being stand alone dev boards, this will be reflected in their layout and standardisation, this also enables moving between Ice40 and ECP5 cores. Secondly we believe the ECP5 range provides new feature price points beyond the Ice40 family, nextpnr (part of SymbiFlow) also offers a better more general design supporting more FPGA families in the future, here are some ECP5 highlights that may wet your appetite :
- Up to 85K LUTs compare this to just 8K with Ice40
- Built in block memory 3.7Mbits compared to just 128Kbits for ice40
- Up to 156 Multipliers
- IO gearing to support high speed DDR RAM and LVDS
- Higher speed fabric and more PLL/DLLs
General BE family board features (Ice40 & ECP5)
The new modular BE board family includes both Ice40 and ECP5 FPGA cores with some common features and pinouts
- A new modular standard pin layout that makes it much easier to use in your own projects.
- More comprehensive programming/debugging support via STM32 co-pro
- More external DRAM memory in the megabyte ranges
- Onboard QSPI flash to store bitfiles and user ROM
- More IOs than you can shake a stick at!
- Lots of ADC inputs likely via the co-pro
- Native USB2.0 FS
- Built in SDCard
- Many addons
What specific features will ECP5 BE boards have
Although exact features are still in the air, I expect at least 2 initial ECP5 configurations a 12K and a 45K.
- DDR Ram in 10s of megabytes range more on the 45K than 12K.
- QSPI flash in 10s of megabits range, again more on the 45K than the 12k
- Dedicated high speed inputs and outputs aimed at digital video & cameras
- An interesting set of LEDs and a few tactile buttons
- High speed USB2.0 HS ULPI based
So please let me know your thoughts...