If you’re really keen on experimenting with FPGA’s its time you own one now. There are many micro-kits available in the market which are inexpensive, have good documentation, come with FPGA programming software’s, and don’t require JTAG programmers (they usually come with USB to JTAG converters).
If you’re fortunate enough to work with kits provided by organisation/university this post is not for you. I’ve never bought any FPGA kit as my company provides ‘em.
Some of the good one’s
- Avnet Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard -$ 89
- Altera BeMicro - $49
- XuLA-200 XuLA-200 - $55 (requires Xilinx JTAG cable)
XuLA comes with a nice document called FPGAs!? Now What? - Learning FPGA Design with the XuLA Board.
If you have access to high-end kits, then I would recommend ML605 evaluation platform which is supported by Xilinx System Generator (requires Matlab-Simulink)
So, start exploring FPGA’s. Its real fun :)