Here are some answers to frequently-asked questions that our customers have about buying our products.
No! Our XSA-3S1000 Board contains a Spartan3 FPGA with 1,000,000 gates of logic and a 32 MByte SDRAM. Even our smallest XuLA-50 Board has a 50,000-gate Spartan3A FPGA and 8 MB of SDRAM. These FPGAs have more than enough room to hold a complete microcontroller core along with custom application circuitry. Take a look at the design examples from XESS and our customers to get an idea of the complexity of designs supported by these boards.
The XSA Boards can also be inserted into our XSTend Board to provide additional LEDs, buttons, SRAM, RS232 port, and stereo and video codecs for processing multimedia signals. A prototyping area lets you connect external circuitry to the XSA Board.
Here is a list of some of the colleges and universities that have purchased XS Boards.
We have a tutorial for all the XSA Boards that shows how to design and test several applications using the XILINX ISE WebPACK software. In the near future, we will release a tutorial for the XuLA Board. We also maintain an extensive list of design examples and tutorials for our boards.
We also have an extensive FAQ with helpful answers to questions from our customers.
In addition, we host an online forum where our customers can exchange ideas and information.
For those using our older XS95 and XS40 Boards, XESS provides an online textbook Pragmatic Logic Design With Foundation 2.1i. The design files for these chapters are also available online. You can use them as-is or modify them to suit your needs.
The cumulative failure rate of the XS Boards over the past few years has been less than 0.5%. This includes boards used in introductory student logic labs, university research labs, and commercial development labs.
You can insert the XuLA and XSA Boards into your standard breadboards and wire them to the chips you already have to build even larger systems. And all the XS Boards are programmed through a standard cable connected to the USB or parallel port of a PC. You can also reprogram the interfaces of the XSA and XSB Boards so they can be used with the XILINX iMPACT and ChipScope software without the need to buy any special cables. You can also use XILINX and third-party JTAG cables with the XuLA and XSA Boards.
No! The XS Boards provide a complete design environment for the price others charge for a simple evaluation board. Check our catalog for a list of current prices.
Unlike other stripped-down evaluation boards that are little more than an FPGA on a circuit board, the XS Boards provide a complete environment that couples the FPGA with the RAM, Flash and I/O interfaces you need to do real development for your application. And our software utilities provide complete access to the features on our boards so you can not only configure the FPGA but also upload and download the RAM and Flash, program bitstreams into the Flash and more! Couple that with our world-class support and one-year warranty and you will see why tens of thousands have chosen to do their FPGA development on XS Boards.
We offer FPGA boards with a variety of options. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a board for your own use:
- This is usually the first thing people think about: "How many gates do I get?" Here are some statistics:
Board Model #System Gates XuLA-50 50,000 XuLA-200 200,000 XSA-3S1000 1,000,000
- Built-in RAM:
- If your designs need small internal RAMs for local storage, then the Spartan3 and Spartan3A FPGAs on our XuLA and XSA Boards offer thousands of 16x1 internal RAMs and dozens of 18K-bit BlockRAMs that are configurable in widths from 1 to 32 bits.
- External RAM:
- For external memory, the XuLA and XSA Boards offer from 8 MB to 32 MB of synchronous DRAM, respectively. The FPGA can use the external RAM to store images or other data sets. We also offer a free SDRAM interface design that hides the complexity of the timing and refresh and lets you use the SDRAM as if it were a simple static RAM.
- Non-volatile circuit configurations:
- The XuLA and XSA Boards both provide on-board Flash memory that can store multiple configuration bitstreams for the FPGAs. The boards can be placed in a mode where the FPGA is configured with the contents of the Flash upon power-up. There is no need to buy serial PROMs and an external programming device. On the XSA Board, the Flash device can also be read and/or written by the FPGA after configuration.
- JTAG support:
- You can use a XILINX or third-party JTAG cable to access the FPGAs on the XuLA and XSA Boards.
- Power supplies:
- All the XS Boards have on-board regulators to generate the required core and I/O voltages from a single power supply.
- Design software and tutorials:
- You can develop applications for our XuLA and XSA Boards using the free XILINX ISE WebPACK software.
We have a tutorial for the XSA Boards that shows how to design and test several applications using the XILINX ISE WebPACK software. In the near future, we will release a tutorial for the XuLA Board.
- We also maintain an extensive list of design examples and tutorials for our boards.
We test our boards and the XSTOOLs utility software on PCs running Windows 7 and XP (both 32 and 64-bit versions). The XSTOOLs software that XESS supplies consists of downloading and testing programs that work through the USB and parallel ports of the PC. Any software that produces a XILINX-compatible downloading file (.BIT or .SVF) should work with our boards and utilities.
Currently the XSTOOLs utilities work on Windows machines. We provide full schematics in the manual for each board and the source code for our downloading utilities is available, so it should not be too difficult to port it to other operating systems like Linux.
You can order online with a credit card, or submit your order by phone, FAX or mail as follows:
All our customers are required to pay us in US dollars. You can pay for your order in several ways:
- Credit card:
- This is the only acceptable payment method for online or phone orders. You can also enter your credit card information on orders you mail or FAX to us.
- Check or money-order:
- You can send a company or personal check with orders you mail to us.
- Purchase order:
- You can submit a company purchase order with bill-to and ship-to addresses as well as a purchase-order number. You must also submit the order review page from our website as we will take the shipping and billing addresses from there.
- Electronic funds transfer:
- You can wire the money from your bank to our account. There is an additional $15 charge for this method of payment. Please reference your order number when you make the funds transfer so we will be able to credit it to your particular purchase.
All your online order information is entered over an SSL link to our website. SSL uses a 40-bit key size for the RC4 stream encryption algorithm, which is considered an adequate degree of encryption for commercial exchange. Your order information is encrypted again using PGP and then shipped to our private, off-line database so it does not remain available within the website database.
Yes, here is a list of our distributors. You may also purchase directly from XESS.
Just fill-out the online quotation form. Click the Review button to see the quoted prices. Then click the Submit button on the quotation review page. After this, you will receive an email containing the formal price quotation. The quote will also be stored in our database for further reference.
No. We try to position our products at prices that would be considered reasonable by all our customers - academics, students and practicing engineers. Our uniform pricing policy lets you know that the price you pay is no better or worse than the price anyone else pays.
Most orders received before 12:00 PM EST will be shipped the next day. Shipment of orders with items that are not currently in-stock will be delayed until all items are ready for shipment.
Yes, we have shipped to many countries all over the world. The majority of our international shipments are made by UPS and are shipped DDU (INCOTERMS, 2000), so you are also responsible for paying any and all import duties imposed by the customs regulations of your country. The harmonized tariff system code for our FPGA board products is 8473.30.91.00.
For lower shipping costs, consider using delivery through the postal system. Although we can't track orders sent this way, it can cost as little as a couple of bucks - perfect for those small orders where UPS is too much!
Our shipping fees vary according to the shipping method, number of items and their final destination. Your shipping fees will be shown on the order review page before the order is finally submitted, so you will have a chance to review them at that time.
Orders sent using UPS can be tracked, but the shipping charges are typically much higher than using the postal system (especially for international orders). On the other hand, postal orders cannot be tracked, but First-Class postage can be as little as a few dollars to almost any country in the world.
Yes, if you choose to ship using UPS. If you supply your email address with your order (this is always a good thing to do), then we will send you an acknowledgement email when your order enters our system and when it is shipped. These emails will contain a link to the order tracking page on the UPS website so you can always check the location of your shipment.
We do not offer tracking on orders sent through the postal system.
Your order will ship from North Carolina, USA, so you can use that and the shipping method you selected to determine when your order will arrive.
You have thirty days after receipt of any XESS products to return them and get a refund or replacement, no questions asked. (Sorry, we can't refund any shipping fees.)
We inspect each board before shipping so they should arrive in good working order. You have thirty days after receipt of the boards to return them and get a refund or replacement, no questions asked. We also warrant the boards for a year of normal use. ( It is difficult to judge as to whether board failures are the result of abuse or not, so we have to work on a case by case basis.)
We maintain an internal list of all our customers in an off-line database. We use this database for billing purposes, to track customer problems, determine warranty expirations, to make offers to existing customers, etc. This database is a company asset that would transfer if XESS were ever sold to another company.
We do not provide any customer information to companies that are unrelated to our products. We do make some customer information available to companies that partner with us in order to bring inexpensive prototyping boards to our customers. In exchange for lower component prices or development software, these companies receive information on the customers who purchased products containing their components or software.
The best way to get help on your order is to send an email describing your problem to firstname.lastname@example.org.