The card powering up for the first time - more pictures
This is the website of Project VGA, a project which aims to develop a Low Budget, Open Source,
VGA Compatible video card. Currently we're trying to be as open as we can - our goal is that you could
build the card at home (and understand it) if you wanted to. Hopefully you'll be able to buy one though
within a few months for under 200 euro from us! And did we mention it was reprogrammable? If you ever
dreamed of playing with an FPGA, or building your own processor, this is the card you want!
If you're looking for the license everything is released under the "GNU General Public License 3.0" after lengthy discussion and feedback from you guys! Not all documents reflect this yet though, we're working on it.
- Currently working on: Finishing up paperwork for uni
- 28 Feb: Let me know if you want your own prototype soon!
- 9 Feb: Flashed FPGA using xc3sprog, got first VGA output
- 31 Jan: Successfully flashed CPLD with test code
- 30 Jan: XSVF Parser got a bunch of fixes
- 26 Jan: Put early version of XSVF Parser online
- 15 Jan: Kerneltrap interview online
- 14 Jan: Made some progress with openocd
- 12 Jan: JTAG page online
- 10 Jan: First powerup, no smoke, going to check JTAG chain next
- 8 Jan: Finished assembly, first pictures online
- 7 Jan: Assembly of PCB work in progress
- 5 Jan: Circuit board arrived
- 2 Jan: Updated board art which nicer graphics
- 29 Dec: Restructured parts of the site
- 23 Dec: Posted finished board art
- 21 Dec: Did a bunch of little tweaks, ordered actual PCBs of version 1.2
- 16 Dec: Released v1.1 of board art
- 14 Dec: Early board art beta online, see progress 3
- 10 Dec: Made change in clock between CPLD and FPGA, see progress 3
- 7 Dec: Posted progress 3 with almost finished circuit board
- 6 Dec: FPGA arrived, updated parts list & costs
- 3 Dec: Moved to new server, thanks Reinder!
- 29 Nov: New domain: projectvga.org
- 23 Nov: Fixed funding from university
- 18 Nov: Changed from BY-NC-SA to GPL, released Module design
- 15 Nov: Block Diagram added to communication documentation
- 14 Nov: Fixed up some website layout issues & improvements
- 12 Nov: Added FAQ
Our motivation has been discussed in detail in the first entry,
but we'll recap it here for clarity. The idea for this project came from the desire to play with
programmable hardware in combination with the goals the Open
Graphic Project set out. Due to some partial impatience from our side due to the progress that
this project was making, and more importantly due to the hefty price tag the card in development will
have, we started working on a lightweight version.
Don't get us wrong - we'd love to have an OGD1 card and are amazed by it's specifications, but for us and a lot of people, this card is simply too much. So that's where this card comes in, to give you all the fun of developing on programmable hardware, designing video cards and architectures, for a price that won't hurt your wallet. On our long-term plan we'll hopefully meet up with the Open Graphics Project and be able to share certain components.
We're finished with routing the circuit board. You can grab the latest version of the schematic, board and library
here. It's created with Cadsoft Eagle.
If you don't have Eagle and don't feel like installing it, have a look at a full-size PNG image of the schematic and of the circuit board.
The first prototype PCB has just been assembled and we're currently testing it for any errors. We're a little busy with planning the steps after that, so stay tuned!
Naturally, the questions on your mind right now are something along the lines of; What do you mean with low budget? What can it do? Makes sense. Without further ado:
- PCI bus interface (32 bit, 33/66MHz, 3.3/5V compatible)
- Xilinx Spartan 3 s400 FPGA (aiming for ~100MHz)
- 16MB SDRAM (aiming for ~166MHz)
- Onboard programmer with USB interface
You can find more information about everything on board as well as the other main components and why we ended up going for these in the project motivation. If you're curious how much all these parts cost, and which components you exactly need to build the card, check the parts list. And if you want to know how everything communicates with eachother, we've got that documented as well. You can find it in the communication description.
Project sponsored by the Hogeschool van Amsterdam
I'm a student of the Institute of Information Technology and Computer Science at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (the Netherlands) studying Technical Computer Science. They've generously given me the possibility and financial support to initiate this project and to develop this card as part of the Systems and Network Engineering course, which is completely English-taught and open for Exchange students. If you like the idea of studying for a semester in the Netherlands, why don't you look around or contact us?
My 'official' weblog is located here where
I ramble on about technical stuff that interests me, problems we should be able to live without, progress
on personal projects, and heck, sometimes even some stuff that didn't happen on the net.
More importantly though, if you want to stay up to date with this project, I suggest you keep an eye out on that page since all new information will appear there first! It's also where design choices will be discussed, plans will be plotted, and feedback is requested. See you there!
A preliminary mailing list has been set up. You can subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help. Once you're subscribed you can send email messages to the list. An archive will hopefully soon be online. Also, an rss feed is now available.
Comments posted here will periodically be archived to keep this page reasonably sized. To find older posts, see the entries on the left.