For those of you coming from Google, much better resources are provided by this guy for the Digilent Atlys. I did not go ahead with my FPGA project.
Just got Digilent’s Atlys board. It’s incredibly cheap for students at $200, discounted from the regular $350.
My plan is to develop a data acquisition system using DDR2 RAM. I’ve been interested in learning about signal integrity and high speed board designs, so I’m going to layout a board with this 900MHz analog bandwidth, 200Msample/s 11-bit dual ADC. Should be interesting. Eventually my plan is to layout my own FPGA board with DDR2 RAM stick slots, but that’s pretty complicated and I don’t have the experience/test equipment for that yet.
Here’s some pics of the Atlys since there don’t seem to be any floating around the internet yet.
Unfortunately it’s difficult to find a matching connector for this VHDCI receptacle they used on the board. It’s easy to get VHDCI receptacles but plugs are another matter. The ones they use for their own expansion boards have to be shipped from Taiwan with a $100 shipping charge, which is pretty ridiculous. I found one alternative, from Samtec:
However, these are edge-mount. The differential pairs go on opposite layers, so that there’ll be an imbalanced via change if you use microstrip routing. Oh well. Shouldn’t matter too much for relatively lower speed signals.