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15 Top-Rated FPGA Development Boards on the Market

FPGAs or Field Programmable Gate Arrays are versatile integrated circuits used for rapid prototyping of digital logic circuits. Unlike microcontrollers or application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), FPGAs can be reconfigured and reprogrammed to implement custom hardware functionality as needed.

FPGA development boards provide a ready-made platform to learn, develop and test FPGA designs. They integrate all the necessary components like the FPGA IC, memory, interfaces, connectivity, power supplies and more on a single board.

In this guide, we explore the 15 top-rated FPGA development boards currently available from leading vendors like Xilinx, Intel and Lattice. For each board, we examine the key features, specifications, applications and advantages.

Overview of FPGA Development Boards

Achronix FPGA

Here’s a quick introduction to FPGA dev boards and their components:

FPGA IC – The FPGA chip itself containing programmable logic blocks and routing fabric. Popular models from vendors like Xilinx and Intel offer thousands of logic cells.

I/O Interfaces – Headers and ports for external interfaces including common standards like USB, Ethernet, UART, SPI etc.

Memory – On-board RAM and non-volatile memory like SRAM, SDRAM, eMMC flash to hold data.

Debugging – Debugging tools like JTAG headers to program, validate and troubleshoot FPGA designs.

Clock Sources – On-board oscillators or slots to add crystal oscillators to provide clock signals.

Power Supply – On-board power regulators, management ICs and supply connectivity. Some boards can be USB powered.

Peripherals – Add-on modules like ADC/DAC, sensors, audio codecs etc. to expand functionality.

SoftwareFPGA design and programming tools compatible with the development board.

Form Factor – Standard board sizes like mini-ITX or proprietary heatsink enclosures for cooling.

FPGA development boards provide a feature-rich platform to evaluate and utilize FPGA ICs for R&D, proof-of-concept builds and production system development. Let’s look at leading solutions.

Top FPGA Development Boards

1. Xilinx Kria KV260 Vision AI Starter Kit

The Xilinx Kria KV260 is an ideal FPGA development board for edge AI applications. Key features:

  • Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGA with over 200K logic cells
  • Dual-core Arm Cortex A53 processor
  • Integrated vision accelerator module
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM, 64MB flash memory
  • Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, M.2, HDMI ports
  • PCIe switch to connect additional peripherals
  • Rich I/O header for sensors and displays
  • Reference edge AI applications available
  • Works with Vitis and Vivado design suites

With its powerful FPGA fabric combined with AI engine and processing system, the Kria KV260 provides a complete platform for edge AI development.

2. Avnet Ultra96-V2

The Ultra96-V2 development board by Avnet featuring the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC is a leading ARM/FPGA development solution.

Key specifications:

  • Xilinx ZU3EG APSoC with ARM Cortex A53 application processor
  • 600K logic cell programmable FPGA fabric
  • Dual ARM Cortex-R5 real-time processors
  • 6GB LPDDR4 RAM, 256MB flash memory
  • Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, USB ports
  • MicroSD card slot, 40-pin GPIO header
  • Avnet MCF peripherals daughterboard options
  • Vitis unified software platform
  • Ready-to-use embedded vision and AI applications

With its powerful Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, abundant memory and rich I/O options, the Ultra96-V2 facilitates accelerated AI and embedded vision development.

3. Intel Cyclone 10 GX Development Board

This low-cost dev board by Intel features a Cyclone 10 GX FPGA suitable for beginners starting FPGA programming. Features include:

  • Intel Cyclone 10 GX FPGA (10CX220YF780I5G) with 22K LEs
  • 128MB SDRAM, 4MB flash memory
  • Micro USB 2.0 powered
  • GPIO header
  • 7-segment displays
  • LEDs, pushbuttons, dip switches
  • Open source Everything FPGA project
  • Works with Quartus Prime design software

The board serves as an easy, affordable way to get started with FPGA technology and Intel/Altera FPGAs.

4. Digilent Arty Z7-20

The Arty Z7-20 board by Digilent packs the powerful Zynq 7000 series ARM+FPGA SoC on a low-cost 1.5” x 3.5” form factor. Features:

  • Xilinx Zynq-7000 SoC (XC7Z020-1CLG400C)
  • 650K logic cells in FPGA fabric
  • Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM and 128Mb flash
  • USB, Ethernet, UART, QSPI, GPIO
  • Mini DisplayPort and HDMI video out
  • MicroSD card slot, audio out port
  • Compatible with Vivado Design Suite

At under $300, the Arty Z7-20 provides an affordable way to leverage Zynq’s ARM+FPGA capabilities.

5. Avnet UltraZed-EV Starter Kit

This feature-packed kit delivers the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, reconfigurable I/O and plenty of storage. Highlights include:

  • Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ (XCZU3EG) with 64-bit quad-core ARM and 772K logic cells
  • On-board DDR4 ECC SDRAM and 64MB flash
  • Gigabit ethernet, USB 3.0, HDMI, UART, SPI, I2C
  • Micro SD card slot, SATA connector
  • FMC mezzanine site for expandability
  • Linux/Android and Xilinx SDK support
  • Reference designs available

The UltraZed-EV allows developers to harness the extensible platform of the Zynq MPSoC for embedded and hardware acceleration projects.

6. Intel Agilex FPGA Development Kit

Agilex FPGA

The Intel Agilex dev kit provides early access to Intel’s latest high-end FPGA family using the F-series FPGA featuring transceiver capabilities. Highlights:

  • Intel Agilex F-Series FPGA (AGF015NVF784ES1F)
  • 768K logic elements (LEs), 288 transceiver lanes
  • DDR4 memory interface @ up to 3200Mbps
  • PCIe Gen4 x16, 40GbE, USB 3.0
  • FMC module support for analog/RF IO
  • Intel Quartus Prime Pro, ModelSim software

This powerful board allows developers to take advantage of the high logic density, bandwidth and signal capabilities of Agilex FPGAs.

7. Xilinx KCU116 Evaluation Board

The KCU116 board features the Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGA for high-performance applications. Key features:

  • Large Xilinx Kintex UltraScale (XCKU5P) FPGA
  • 1.34M logic cells, 5,520Kb RAM blocks
  • DDR4 memory, 240 I/O pins
  • PCIe Gen4 x8, SFP+ interfaces
  • Dual QSFP28 ports for 56G transceivers
  • SD card interface, LEDs, switches
  • Compatible with Vivado Design Suite

With abundant logic resources, memory and bandwidth, the KCU116 lets developers exploit the capabilities of UltraScale FPGAs.

8. Microchip PolarFire Evaluation Kit

This dev kit provides an Integrated Development Environment for Microchip’s low power PolarFire FPGA family. Key features:

  • PolarFire FPGA (MPF300T-1FCG1152E)
  • 285K logic elements, 166K ALM, 531Kb RAM
  • DDR4 support with up to 64b bus width
  • PCIe, Ethernet, CAN, USB, UART, SPI
  • 7” LCD display, audio I/O, ADC
  • Debug via JTAG, XPort analyzer
  • Software tools – Libero SoC Design Suite

The kit allows designing with the unique power efficiency, security and reliability features of PolarFire FPGAs.

9. QuickLogic EOS S3 Sensor Processing Platform

Quicklogic EOS S3 is an optimized embedded FPGA solution for sensor processing applications like hearables, wearables and IoT end nodes. Highlights:

  • QuickLogic ArcticLink 3 S1 FPGA
  • Arm Cortex M4 MCU
  • Microphone, IMU, touch sensors
  • Bluetooth 5, WiFi-BLE support
  • 140 GPIOs to connect external peripherals
  • Support for QuickLogic SDK, SensiML analytics toolkit
  • Eclipse IDE based development framework

By integrating an FPGA fabric with an Arm CPU and connectivity, the EOS S3 enables accelerated development of sensor-driven edge AI solutions.

10. Lattice Mach-NX FPGA Family Development Kit

This Lattice development kit provides hands-on access to the low power Mach-NX industrial control FPGA family. Key features:

  • MachXO3D FPGA with 17K LUTs
  • DDR2 memory interface, 240 I/O pins
  • Ethernet, USB 2.0, SPI, I2C and UART
  • On-board power supplies
  • Programming via JTAG
  • Lattice Radiant and Synplify software support

The kit serves as an easy introduction to leverage the Mach-NX family for reliable industrial and automation applications.

11. Xilinx Kria SOM Starter Kit

This starter kit enables rapid development with Xilinx’s Kria system-on-modules featuring adaptable intelligent silicon. Highlights:

  • Xilinx Kria K26 SOM with adaptable compute fabric
  • Dual-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor
  • Industrial communication, sensor connectivity
  • GbE, USB, HDMI, CAN, ADC interfaces
  • WiFi/BT wireless module
  • MetaWare SDK for edge AI development
  • Compact SOM form factor
  • Works with Vitis unified software platform

Kria SOMs + development kits provide an easy path to build edge AI applications leveraging Xilinx’s adaptable compute platform.

12. Xilinx Alveo U250 Accelerator Card

The Xilinx Alveo U250 brings FPGA acceleration to the data center for AI, big data and high performance computing applications. Key features:

  • Large Xilinx UltraScale+ FPGA (XCU250)
  • 8GB HBM2 and 32GB DDR4 DRAM
  • PCIe Gen 4 x16 compatible
  • High-speed network interface up to 100Gb/s
  • Server-accelerator coherency with Cache Coherent Interconnect for Accelerators (CCIX)
  • Works with Vitis unified software platform
  • Alveo cloud acceleration cards available on AWS

The Alveo U250 provides turnkey FPGA acceleration to supercharge cloud and enterprise workloads.

13. Anlogic EG4S20 FPGA Development Kit

This starter kit from China-based Anlogic provides access to their cost-effective EG4S20 FPGA designed for AI edge computing. Key specifications:

  • EG4S20 low-power FPGA (65nm process)
  • Contains 52K 4-LUT logic cells
  • 2.5MB BRAM, 240 DSP slices
  • 1GHz max frequency
  • PCIe, USB, Ethernet available
  • Dual-core RISC-V application processor
  • Linux, AiDKit edge AI software support
  • Compact form factor – 100 mm x 72 mm

The kit allows developers to harness the EG4S20 architecture for efficient edge inferencing applications.

14. GreenWaves GAP8 IoT Application Processor Development Kit

The GAP8 dev kit delivers an optimized IoT edge computing solution integrating an application processor with an ultra low power RISC-V FPGA fabric. Highlights:

  • GAP8 application processor + Fabric Control Module (FCM) FPGA
  • 8x RV32IMC CPU cores @ 330 MHz
  • CNN accelerator with up to 12 TOPS throughput
  • Neural network compiler and runtime library
  • 2MB SRAM, External DDR memory
  • WiFi/BLE, sensors, camera, display
  • Eclipse embedded IDE based dev framework
  • GAPflow toolchain for software+hardware design

This kit enables developers to create and deploy deep learning applications on the GAP8 ultra-low-power AI processor.

15. Enclustra Mercury+ AA Development Kit

The Enclustra Mercury+ AA Dev Kit features the affordable Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA plus DDR4 in a small form factor. Key features:

  • Xilinx Artix-7 (XC7A50T-2FCG1156) FPGA
  • 52K logic cells, 5520 Kb block RAM
  • 1GB DDR4 RAM with 16b ECC
  • Gigabit ethernet, USB 2.0, UART
  • SD card, sysBOOT flash, FMC socket
  • JTAG programming interface
  • AXI4-compliant interface
  • Works with Vivado Design Suite

This low-cost kit provides an entry point to harness Vitis accelerated application development using dual-core Arm Cortex-A9 processors.

Conclusion

This roundup covers some of the top FPGA development boards currently available for learning, research and development. Whether you need a starter board, a high-end platform or an AI-optimized kit, there are many excellent options to match your application needs, budget and experience level.

By utilizing the latest FPGA technologies on these boards paired with vendor tools and ecosystems, engineers can accelerate innovation in areas like edge computing, networking, aerospace, automotive, IoT, defense and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of products using FPGAs?

FPGAs see wide use in data centers, ADAS systems, automotive infotainment, aerospace avionics, 5G infrastructure, networking, test equipment and industrial automation.

Which FPGA board is best for beginners?

Lower cost intro boards like the Intel Cyclone 10 GX or QuickLogic EOS S3 are good options for beginners to learn FPGA basics.

How are FPGAs programmed?

FPGAs are programmed using vendor-specific software tools like Xilinx’s Vivado or Intel’s Quartus Prime. Designers use HDLs like Verilog or VHDL for programming.

What kind of peripherals can be added to FPGA boards?

Various peripherals for connectivity (WiFi, BLE), machine learning (mics, cameras), motor control, user interaction (displays, buttons) etc. can be connected via ports provided.

Do FPGAs require separate power supplies?

FPGA boards feature integrated power supplies but may also allow external power input over a range depending on the design.

 

 

 

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