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FPGA board form factor
1249 1 Mar 18.2020, 18:09:05

I'm working on a GW2A-18 FPGA module for integration and prototyping.
Which form factor do you think it's the best if you are looking for an FPGA module?
I'm aiming at development prototyping and very low volume prototype production runs.
FYI, the design features are as follow:
1. 21k 4-LUTs+16k FFs
2. 42Kb distributed SRAM+828Kb block SRAM+64Mb SDRAM
3. 48 M18 DSPs (24 DSP slices, each can be configured as dual M18 or single M36, both come with MAC/ALU options)
4. 2 PLLs+4 DLLs with on board 12MHz clock
5. 34 IOs in 4 1.2V~3.3V banks+31 IOs in 3.3V banks, most IOs are true LVDS capable
6. On board SPI FLASH+FTDI downloader+FTDI UART
7. Supports Cortex M1, RiscV and ZPU
8. On board PMIC accepting single 3.5V~5.5V input with input voltage sensor
9. On chip USB HS PHY IP (under development, using DLL, PLL and IO gearbox), tentative
10. A few LEDs for heart beat and debugging, maybe one or two micro buttons
As for form factor, I intentionally left out castellated hole option as I simply don't like it. I also left out a PLCC form factor as it's just to expensive.
Target total BOM is <$15 at 100 pieces batch.

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Mar 23.2020, 09:49:38

Are LGA modules that easy to assemble into a low volume product? Castellations would be hand solderable and as a result don't require anything fancy, but would an LGA module need special oven profiles or handling to use properly?  Could limit viability in small production runs, even though the overall cost is probably the cheapest.
USB C would be most desirable to the hobbyist level user, but it probably counts for less in commercial or industrial development environments.  If the mezzanine connectors themselves aren't too expensive, many people probably go that route and make a breakout/development board with the mating mezzanine connectors and the USB C.  That way you have an easy-to-integrate module with a lower base price and a carrier board for more convenient prototyping.
If you were thinking of aiming primarily at the hobby market, maybe the USB C alone would be preferable, since the combination of a module and a carrier board would likely be a fair bit more expensive.
LGA is probably the cheapest to use in production runs, but it would probably be a pain to develop on.  Maybe if you had an LGA module and a USB C carrier board you could develop on the carrier version and then integrate only the module into the product - maybe a good balance in usability and price, especially if the mezzanines are going to be expensive or really low profile is an advantage.

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