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[Discuss-gnuradio] SPARTAN FPGA on USRP2

From: yashas nataraj
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] SPARTAN FPGA on USRP2
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 2009 12:22:06 +0530

         My research group is in the process of exploring about the purchase of  USRP2 which employs SPARTAN-3-2000. In  this regard, I had a few queries:

1. Is there some room leftover on the SPARTAN-3-2000 for USRP programming? - Many people whom I contacted were of the opinion that there is not much room left.
2. What are the pros and cons of the ability to program the FPGA? 
                a. According to Wikipedia (wrt USRP2),
                                                                                      "Xilinx's free programming tool, ISE WebPACK, is not compatible with the FPGA used for USRP. None of Xilinx's tools are open source, and the compatible tool (ISE Foundation) is not free of cost, so it is harder to compile the USRP2 firmware". 
              1. Is this statement true?
              2. If it is true, is there no other alternative to buying the Xilinx tool and to what degree is the incompatibility ie does it allow basic programming of the FPGA or not?
3. I would like to get a better idea of how I could program the Spartan III FPGA - basic or extensive?  How often would one re-program the FPGA? - Again here, people from Xilinx etc were of the opinion that most of the programming would be on the gnu-radio and not on the FPGA and very rarely is the FPGA touched.
I had enquired with the USRP folks and they advised me to contact Xilinx in this regard. People from Xilinx redirected me to the gnuradio lists.


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