Best board for learning?

Hi guys, I have an EE/CS background but no experience with VHDL or low-level Linux programming. I want to learn FPGA and SoC design.

  1. Do you think it’s a good idea to get one of the hybrid SoC boards over a stand alone FPGA?

  2. What do you guys think about the DE-10 nano, is it good/bad? Is there a cheaper board which is similar?

I played a little bit with Quartus and Vivado and I think Vivado kind of sucks as a newbie so I’m leaning towards an altera board.

I’m really somewhat interested in baremetal programming over using exist Linux libs, is this doable?

I am also new to FPGA and few months back I was also looking for a development board to learn FPGA.
The one that made the most sense to me at the time was also DE10-Nano Kit. I mean, that thing has a Intel Cyclone® V SE 5CSEBA6U23I7NDK device (110K LEs). The other similarly priced boards don’t come even close to this many LEs. Maybe I misinterpreted the way LEs/LUTs work, but I doubt it. Not to mention that it also has a dual-core ARM processor with 1GB DDR3, decent GPIO, a camera module available and good documentation with examples to get you started.

I ended up buying it along with the D8M camera module. I should have also bought the display to save myself the trouble, but I’ll have to stop being lazy and hook up one of the displays I already have. I’m looking forward to play with it, but at the moment I’m occupied with some IoT stuff and it has been sitting in the box for a few months. Hopefully I’ll get to it soon.