Overview: Cheap FPGA Development Boards

The first thing one usually does when getting started with FPGAs is to look for an appropriate development board or starter kit. As there are a lot of options out there, this could be quite a difficult matter.

This blog post should give an overview of cheap FPGA boards at a price mark between $20 and $100.

Overview: Cheap FPGA Development Boards under $100

Table Legend:

  • Memory: external memory ICs (Flash, SRAM/SDRAM, EEPROM)
  • IOs: I/O pin count (digital/analog)
  • Conn.: available data connections
  • Periph.: rating for additional periphery such as buttons, LEDs, 7-segment display etc. (++ good / O average / — poor)
  • Prog.: USB programmer onboard or included
  • Price: academic pricing in brackets if available
Model Manufacturer Device Memory
Conn. Periph. Prog. Price
Xilinx Spartan-3
XC3S200 Module XC3S200 1Mb/–/– 90/0 O $27
Elbert V2 Numato XC3S50A 16Mb/–/– 39/0 VGA ++ X $30 ($20)
Papilio One 250K Gadget Factory XC3S250E 4Mb/–/– 39/0 USB, VGA X $38
GODIL_XC3S250E OHO Elektronik XC3S50A 16Mb/–/– 48/0 €39
Basys2 Digilent XC3S250E ?Mb/–/– 16/0 USB, VGA ++ X $89 ($69)
Xilinx Spartan-6
Mimas Numato XC6SLX9 16Mb/–/– 70/0 O X $50 ($35)
FS604 SiOI XC6SLX4 4Mb/256MB/– 38/0 $59
XuLA2-LX9 Xess XC6SLX9 8Mb/32MB/– 33/0 O X $69
Cmod S6 Digilent XC6SLX4 16Mb/–/– 46/0 USB O X $69
miniSpartan6+ Scarab XC6SLX9 8MB/32MB/– 64/8 USB, 2xHDMI ++ X $75
Mojo V3 Embedded Micro XC6SLX9, ATmega32U4 ?/–/– 84/8 USB X $75
Papilio DUO 512KB SRAM Gadget Factory XC6SLX9, ATmega32U4 8MB/512KB/– 54/6 USB X $85
Xilinx MicroBoard Avnet XC6SLX9 16MB/64MB/– 8/0 USB, LAN O X $89
Xilinx Artix-7
Basys3 Digilent XC7A35T ?MB/–/– ?/? USB, VGA ++ X $149 ($79)
Altera Cyclone
EP1C3T144 Board EP1C3T144 –/–/– ?/0 IR, VGA? ++ X $40
DueProLogic Earthpeople EP4CE6E22 4Mb/–/– ?/0 USB O X $60
Saxo KNJN EP1C3T100 1Mb/–/– ?/0 X $60
DE0-Nano Terasic EP4CE22 –/32MB/2kb 88/8 X VGA X $79 ($59)
iCEstick Lattice iCE40HX-1k 4MB/–/– 24/0 USB, IrDA O X $25

Further reading

Development Boards:


More stuff:


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