New... first questions before buy

Any technical questions about the Epiphany chip and Parallella HW Platform.

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New... first questions before buy

Postby mahmood » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:52 am

Hello,
I am starting to learn parallella :)
The first step is to buy one! however, there are some question which I didn't find a clear answer for them on the web. I will appreciate if the guys here answer.

** The official buying page redirects to amazon page [1]. There I only see the board. Should I buy the acrylic case separately? Then I have to buy from another seller, groundelectronics.com [2].

** The difference between embedded and desktop is only the FPGA's power. Embedded version contains more blocks which is good for larger computations. What is not clear for me, is that what is the border line between them? For example, I want to map a matrix multiplication to the zynq. Is the desktop version enough for 1000*1000 matrices? What about 20000*20000 matrices?
This what I want to know.... What type of problems are only runable on the embedded version and not the desktop version.


Many thanks.



[1] http://www.amazon.com/Adapteva-Parallel ... a+embedded
[2] http://groundelectronics.com/collection ... ooling-kit
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Re: New... first questions before buy

Postby sebraa » Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:55 pm

mahmood wrote:Should I buy the acrylic case separately?
We have our own 3D-printed cases, so if you can build your own, you won't need to buy. Note that a fan is strictly recommended (or non-strictly required).

mahmood wrote:The difference between embedded and desktop is only the FPGA's power. Embedded version contains more blocks which is good for larger computations. What is not clear for me, is that what is the border line between them? For example, I want to map a matrix multiplication to the zynq. Is the desktop version enough for 1000*1000 matrices? What about 20000*20000 matrices?
Where do you want to do the computation? If you intend to use the Epiphany or the ARM cores, then the FPGA doesn't matter at all (it only provides the communication link between ARM and Epiphany).

If you want to reprogram the FPGA and do computation on it, then the bigger FPGA will give you more resources. But I think you'd have phrased your question differently in that case.
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Re: New... first questions before buy

Postby mahmood » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:23 pm

so if you can build your own, you won't need to buy. Note that a fan is strictly recommended

Well I don't have 3D printer... Now the question is, what is inside the box? Only the board? or with DC adapter, fan, cables...?

Where do you want to do the computation? If you intend to use the Epiphany or the ARM cores, then the FPGA doesn't matter at all (it only provides the communication link between ARM and Epiphany).

Does that mean it is not the type of FPGA that I thought? I mean cyclone, virtex, ...
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Re: New... first questions before buy

Postby aolofsson » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:52 pm

What is unclear about the product description found here?
https://www.parallella.org/board/
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Re: New... first questions before buy

Postby mahmood » Tue Nov 10, 2015 4:02 pm

What is unclear about the product description found here?
https://www.parallella.org/board/


Well my first question is still unclear. What items are available in the box upon purchase and what should I buy separately?

The link you gave was useful because it explains the application scope of the board. Thanks... but what is still unclear for me is that when I should move from desktop version to the embedded version? Take image processing as an example. Is it possible to do realtime image detection with the desktop version?

I know my question is not clear! and different problems need different resources, but I need a rule of thumbs (or case study) which explains that we found offline processing in application domain X is possible with the desktop version but for realtime processing we have to use the embedded version since its Zynq is more powerful.
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Re: New... first questions before buy

Postby justsomeguy » Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:24 pm

mahmood wrote:What items are available in the box upon purchase and what should I buy separately?


See the "In the box" list under "Product description." From Amazon you only get the board, heat sink, and wall-wart power supply. As they say: "Case sold separately."

mahmood wrote:The link you gave was useful because it explains the application scope of the board. Thanks... but what is still unclear for me is that when I should move from desktop version to the embedded version? Take image processing as an example. Is it possible to do realtime image detection with the desktop version?


The difference between the desktop and embedded versions is the number of logic resources in the FPGA, both versions can support communication between the Arm cores and the Epiphany cores. As sebraa said if you are doing all your computation inside the Epiphany then the smaller FPGA is fine, it only matters if you will be implementing your own custom logic inside the FPGA, and then only you can answer the question of whether it will fit inside the smaller part since we don't know how involved your processing is. My (free) advice is that if you are considering doing processing in the FPGA fabric then you should go for the larger FPGA and be comfortable that you have plenty of logic available to do whatever you want plus whatever you can think of later, or at least you'll have as much as you can get. It's cheap insurance compared to spending days trying to force a design to fit in a too-small part. If you don't know what it means to do processing in the FPGA fabric and/or if you don't know how to program the FPGA then stick to the smaller one and save some money.

Another consideration is how you will interface to the image source, do you want to use the MIPI connector on the porcupine? That adds some resources to the FPGA, I'm not sure how much. But if you're getting images from USB or Ethernet then you don't have to touch the FPGA.

Did that help?

-jsg

ETA: It might also be important to you that the embedded board does not seem to be in stock AFAICT!
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Re: New... first questions before buy

Postby mahmood » Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:30 pm

Yup. Thank you very much. I think parallella is good place for starting professional parallel coding...
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