Programmable Logic Devices
This page will cover simple PLD devices useable for hobby, prototyping, and similar applications. Costs are for quantity of 1 (one). Some devices (like Lattice Semiconductor MachXO3 FPGA's) are available as BGA package only. As available from Digi-Key. Last parsing 5Sept14.
Most manufacturers are discontinuing production of PLDs, with the attention going to FPGAs, CPLDs, ASICs, and microprocessors / microcontrollers.
The following are the remaining devices which are still being manufactured and are not under EOL (End of Life) / Discontinued notices.
PLDs (PAL, PLA, GAL, SPLD):
- ATF Family
- Texas Instruments
- PAL Family
- TIBPAL Family
- TICPAL Family
Cheap CPLDs - LESS THAN $10 or less than 40 IO devices available
- Altera Corporation
- MAX 3000A Family
- MAX 7000 Family
- MAX Family
- MAX II Family
- MAX V Family
- Lattice Semiconductor Corporation
- ispMACH series
- ispMACH 4000 series
- ispMACH 4A series
- ispLSI 2000 series
- ispLSI 1000 series
- Xilinx Inc
- CoolRunner II
CoolRunner XPLA3. Mature (not for new designs) / discontinued.
SMALL FPGAs – LESS THAN $10 or less than 40 IO devices available
- Lattice Semiconductor Corporation
- iCE40 Family. LM, LP, HX. Tiny device, oriented for very low power, very small size, and mobile applications. Almost all package offerings are BGA. LM in BGA packages only (not for prototyping, hobbyist, student, low-volume). LP / HX two SMD packages (VQFP, TQFP) available.
- iCE40 Family. Ultra / UltraLite. Tiny device, oriented for very low power, very small size, and mobile applications. The iCE40 UltraLite is available in BGA or FN (Flat, No Leads – generally not hand solderable) packages only. The iCE40 UltraLite is available in BGA packages only. Programmed with the iCEcube2 Design Software only (not Lattice Diamond). VCCIO 3.3V or less. Not for prototyping, hobbyist, student, low-volume.
- MachXO Family. Tiny device with FLASH internal configuration memory. Non-volatile, near instant-on, no need for external memory chip.
- MachXO2 Family. Tiny device with FLASH internal configuration memory. Non-volatile, near instant-on, no need for external memory chip. VCCIO 3.3V or less.
- MachXO3 Family. Low power, instant-on, non-volatile FPGA. BGA packages only (not for prototyping, hobbyist, student, low-volume). VCCIO 3.3V or less. More expensive LF devices use on-board flash. Cheaper L devices use proprietary NVCM (details are sketchy, refer to http://www.latticesemi.com/~/media/LatticeSemi/Documents/WhitePapers/HM/MultitimeProgrammableULDFPGAs.pdf?document_id=50424). NVCM seems to be rewriteable a much smaller number of times than Flash, but claims to result in smaller, cheaper, and lower-power devices.
LatticeECP & EC Families. Mature (not for new designs).
Royalty-free LatticeMico8 8-bit microprocessor soft core available for MachXO2 devices.
- Microsemi SoC (Actel)
- ProASIC3 nano. Non-volatile.
- ProASIC3. Non-volatile.
- IGLOO. Non-volatile.
- IGLOO nano. Non-volatile.
Royalty-free ARM Cortex-M1 32-bit microprocessor soft core available
Spartan. Mature (not for new designs) / discontinued.
Spartan-II. Mature (not for new designs) / discontinued.
- Spartan-3A. Volatile.
- Spartan-3AN. Non-volatile.
Soft-cores 8-bit PicoBlaze Controller and 32-bit MicroBlaze Processor are available.
Programmers, Evaluation boards, and Software
The devices are worth not very much, it is the support you get what matters. Instead of comparing devices, what needs to be compared are the software, development tools, community, and available support.
- Atmel. Win-CUPL Design Software is provided for free. An ATF15XX-DK3 CPLD Development/Programmer Kit is available. ProChip Designer V5.0 is a pro design suite. Eval boards?. Note: the software and the kit seem to be a bit dated (Windows XP is specified, etc).
- Texas Instruments. No software, programmers, or evaluation kits are available from TI, but generic PAL programmers can be used.
- Altera Corporation. Several development kits are available. Some, however, are from third-party sources. Devices seem to need a lot of other devices for support on the eval boards.
- Lattice Semiconductor Corporation. Plenty of evaluation boards, breakout boards, etc are avalable. All eval boards and software are up to date.
- Xilinx Inc. For $59, a CoolRunner-II CPLD Starter Kit is available with an evaluation board, programmer, software, and plenty of documentation.
- Microsemi SoC (Actel). For $99 you get the Starter Kit with an evaluation board, programmer, software, and documentation.