I haven't use the Python interface, but it's only an afternoon project to get the C examples building. Start off with something simple like creating a window loading and image (webcam/avi/jpg/etc). From there it's pretty minimal to run some operators Sobel, Laplace, Canny, etc.
A modern DDR3 part at 800 MBit/s x 16 bits/part = 12.8GBit/s
Granted, you add a lot more complexity to your board, but DRAM is not going away
Not just drives, but many electrical component failures are from inrush current at power on (similar to lightbulbs burning out when switched on)
This chip has 496 transistors, a modern FPGA has on the order of 1,000,000,000.
Postal Employee: "May I help you?"
Kramer: "Yeah, I'd like to cancel my mail."
Postal Employee: "Certainly. How long would you like us to hold it?"
Kramer: "Oh, no, no. I don't think you get me. I want out, permanently."
Newman: "I'll handle this, Violet. Why don't you take your three hour break?
Oh, calm down, everyone. No one's cancelling any mail."
Kramer: "Oh, yes, I am."
Newman: "What about your bills?"
Kramer: "The bank can pay 'em."
Newman: "The bank. What about your cards and letters?"
Kramer: "E-mail, telephones, fax machines. Fedex, telex, telegrams,
Newman: "All right, it's true! Of course nobody needs mail. What do you
think, you're so clever for figuring that out? But you don't know the half of
what goes on here. So just walk away, Kramer. I beg of you."
Supervisor: "Is everything all right here, Postal Employee Newman?"
Newman: "Yes, sir, I believe everything is all squared away. Isn't it, Mr.
Kramer: "Oh, yeah. As long as I stop getting mail!"
The world is coming to an end--save your buffers!