I found the costs to be comparable to many of the low end logic analyzers on the market today, but the board itself has so much more potential, especially if you get the 1,200,000 gates version. To get the logic analyzer to run, I simply needed to change the ucf file of the “Spartan 3E: Experimental Version for New Spartan 3E Starter Kit – Source (2007-03-08)” port. The RLE didn’t work for me, but it works great without it.
I’ve played around with the board when I’ve had time, and it’s a lot of fun. I started to do the tutorials on verilog.com – but I find I learn best hands on first, and then go back and look at specifics when I’ve got a good base. When I came across these books, I was very excited and ordered them. The neat thing is that the Basys book’s examples work perfectly on the Nexys2 board. They are geared to be very hands-on – which at this stage of the game is something that I think will work well for me.
I’ve already done a course that included most of the digital logic theory, so I didn’t have much of a learning curve when it came to those concepts, and once I started getting into the more complex circuits (starting at chapter 5), I was able to begin sinking my teeth in.
I downloaded Icarus, and GTKWave, and wrote my first test bench, to test the Verilog waters – and it went well. I am looking forward to working through these books, and producing a FORTH computer by the end.