The Alchitry Au is the "gold" standard for FPGA development boards and it's possibly one of the strongest boards of its type on the market. FPGAs, or Field-Programmable Gate Arrays, are an advanced development board type for engineers and hobbyists alike to experience the next step in programming with electronics. The Au continues the trend of more affordable and increasingly powerful FPGA boards arriving each year. This board is a fantastic starting point into the world of FPGAs and the heart of your next project.
The Alchitry Au features a Xilinx Artix 7 XC7A35T-1C FPGA with over 33,000 logic cells and 256MB of DDR3 RAM. The Au offers 102 3.3V logic level IO pins, 20 of which can be switched to 1.8V; Nine differential analog inputs; Eight general purpose LEDs; a 100MHz on-board clock that can be manipulated internally by the FPGA; a USB-C connector to configure and power the board; and a USB to serial interface for data transfer. To make getting started even easier, all Alchitry boards have full Lucid support, a built in library of useful components to use in your project, and a debugger!
By adding stackable expansion boards similar to shields or HATs called "Elements," the Alchitry Au is able to expand its own hardware capabilities by adding prototyping spaces, buttons, LEDs, and more!
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Expert - You should be extremely comfortable programming on various hardware in several languages.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 1 ratings:
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The board is very well designed and built (including their Io shield) and works right out of the box. The Xilinx Artix 7 xc7a35t-1c it comes with is a high performing FPGA with more than enough CLBs for most needs. No complaints about the hardware at all, hence the 5 stars. Alchitry has very nice tutorials on its web site, unfortunately all of them use either Verilog or Alchitry's own language Lucid. No VHDL examples, and I am a VHDL guy :-( Why we needed a new language with Lucid is beyond me, but hey, I don't have to use it. Alchitry's IDE, Alchitry Labs, works well under Windows (but I haven't used it extensively there) but has problems under Linux. That's why I keep using Xilinx's Vivado and VHDL, which works great. The worst experience is the Alchitry forum: it is full of spam and nobody had the time to clean it up since the beginning of February. Guess that's one of the downsides of VERY small companies as even the days of the most driven and competent person have only 24 hours. Hope Alchitry keeps humming!!! So far I like what I'm seeing.