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Best-of boards 2023 – FPGA: Cologne Chip’s open-source GateMate FPGAs for the everyman! 

Argh! If we at ipXchange thought deciding the ‘best in connectivity’ winner was difficult, the FPGA category was a lot more frustrating as we could not simply strike off nominees for winning last year.

After much debate, we’ve decided to include an honourable mention based on applications to evaluate the technology by engineers in the ipXchange community. But who was the main winner?

ipXchange’s winner of best FPGA discovery in 2023 goes to Cologne Chip for their GateMate FPGAs. We’ve talked about these lowest-cost, low-power, European-made devices as an alternative for when a typical Xilinx device is overkill for your application, but perhaps that’s doing the GateMate devices a disservice.

The feature that sticks out as a key benefit of Cologne Chip’s FPGAs is the simple, dual-power-rail design – where either can be switched on first without breaking the chip – and the requirement for only two PCB signal layers when running the device. Unlike more complex FPGAs, the GateMate devices offer a much simpler way to integrate an FPGA into your design, still with best-in-class logic capacity starting at 20,480 8-Input-LUT trees with the smallest of the GateMate devices.

We at ipXchange also like that synthesis is done using the open-source Yosys framework, which is just another reason why Cologne Chip’s GateMate devices are enabling new FPGA projects in previously untapped markets and disciplines. Learn more about the GateMate devices by following the link to the board page, and if you’ve been thinking about using an FPGA for a project, look over the specs and get in touch to evaluate the technology.

Now for that honourable mention: Along with Cologne Chip, we also interviewed Gowin Semiconductor at Embedded World, and they had a great audio-application-focussed board for their LittleBee GW1N-9 flash-based FPGAs. Predictably, Eamon was super happy to see some audio end products on display that made use of the on-chip USB PHY interface for an impressively small form factor, and the ipXchange audience saw that potential for their own projects. You can watch that interview here.

Man, this is tough. Who knew that ipXchange had covered so much innovation in a year? For us it has flown by. Stay tuned for more top picks.

Keep designing!

Cologne Chip GateMate FPGA Evaluation Board

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