The focus of this article is on the process of selecting an FPGA development board. A focus is placed on beginners because more advanced users have probably developed an intuition for this process for themselves already. I will not be making a lot of specific suggestion in this guide, but I will link some pages with some more specific suggestions. This guide will help you actually select a board out of those suggestions.
The process is actually quite complicated and nuanced, it depends on quite a few situational details that are worth thinking about. Some initial thoughts are…
- Current skill level in general electrical engineering and software development
- What they want to make with the FPGA
- Whether this is someone looking at FPGAs as a hobby or as a future career
- Hobbyists might be interested in open source tooling
- Those looking towards a career in the field probably want to look at AMD/Xilinx FPGAs/SoCs to start, unless they are looking at low power solutions, in which case Lattice is a good place to start
- How much money they have to spend and the likelihood this is a 4-6 month interest or a career long investment