Wow, I had no idea it worked like that. Certainly the use of a Soft Core is out of the question for most people and even companies then. I do agree it would be better to just use a ready made core. I'm still extremely fascinated by FPGA technology though, and funny thing is, now that you just brought me back down to earth, its still really the attraction of being able to design whatever is required, that reels me in. You'll probably laugh your knackers off when I say this, but I only happened to stumble upon these things after following various projects on YouTube on how to design a computer from scratch using transistors. Not out of any insane belief that I could create my own supercomputer, but really just to get a thorough understanding.
The whole "Logic" thing has really grabbed me now, and being able to program massive arrays of them into a chip like that is bloody fantastic! Technically, I can already create my own very primitive computer from scratch, no kidding, and it's just awesome to think that these devices actually miniaturise what would be, let's face it, otherwise huge logic circuits into a single IC, is pretty damn awesome!
It's always pissed me off that consumer electronics are burdened by the designs and codecs set-out by technology and electronics giants. But something as simple as understanding how transistors can be used to design any parallel-capable hardware you want, totally vaporises those limitations and feels (is) very liberating! I'm already thinking about creading my own arrays of RGB LEDs to act as a display, and how they can be driven directly by raw data that does not involve codecs or compression of any description.
Once I get that down, I'll do the same with audio, with the intention of being able to create complete audio-video-capable systems by combining the various systems I come up with. I scare myself sometimes, but fact is it's actually a lot easier to create something from scratch (bare transistor logic), than it is to learn something that some other person or company has developed.
So I'm very much obsessed with this (to me) new toy that I have found, and will definitely be buying that NE0-Nano to play around with, but I do understand why Johannes has not used one in Axoloti now that you've explained this stuff, so thanks for that, I appreciate the discussion.
On a more humourous note, it's just as well FPGA technology exists, it can save a lot of messy development work. For example, an FPGA workflow has the ability to allow Axoman Industries to develop a quality product and stop our state-of-the-art development lab producing stuff that looks almost as good as this one!
And before anyone thinks, yeah, typical China eBay product, think again, cause the label suggests its a very fine German product indeed (oh and check-out the close-up of the power supply board)
Actually though, while I laughed at the video, I really like it. I like the intuition and determination of whoever produced it, cause at the end of the day, it could have been produced be the poorest guy on earth, someone who had managed to pull-off an early specialist Windows XP touch screen tablet and market them to specialist commercial users (in this case hospitals), hahaha, good for him (or her)
But even a super-basic, single FPGA could have saved a whole bunch of mess in that enclosure!