Sipeed Teases Tang Nano Sub-$5 FPGA Development Board with On-Board Programmer

1,152 four-input lookup tables (LUT4s), 72Kb static RAM (SRAM), and 64Mb pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM) for less than five bucks.

Gareth Halfacree
2 months ago β€’ FPGAs

Embedded computing specialist Sipeed has announced final specifications for an ultra-low-cost field-programmable gate array (FPGA) development board, the Tang Nano, which it claims will cost under $5.

"$3 FPGA Board (debugger on board)," the company posted to its official Twitter account when it first unveiled the part. "Light[s] up the RGB LCD," complete with a picture of the board interfacing with a full-colour liquid-crystal display panel using an on-board display output.

At the time, Sipeed hadn't confirmed full specifications for its ultra-low-cost design, though it did admit to the use of the "cheapest" Gowin Semiconductor 48-pin FPGA β€” meaning the GW1N-1 LittleBee family, based on a 55nm low-power process node and measuring just 2.4x2.3mm. A picture of the board revealed a WCH CH552 serial-USB chip, a USB Type-C connector for power and data, two push-buttons, the aforementioned display connector, and two rows of 21 breadboard-friendly pin headers plus an additional two pins spaced above the final pins of each row.

Now, the company has revealed a little more about its creation β€” and in doing so has admitted it may miss its $3 goal, though only just. In a Twitter update Sipeed revealed the first mass-produced models and gave the finalised specifications as offering 1,152 four-input lookup tables (LUT4s), 72Kb static RAM (SRAM), 64Mb pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM), an on-board RGB LED, 40-pin RGB LCD display interface, and on-board programmer with USB Type-C connectivity - and a final price of under $5.

Sipeed has yet, however, to announce commercial availability β€” aside from a now-missed launch deadline of September. Interested parties should keep an eye on the company's Twitter account for more information.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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