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For most integrated circuit (IC) design houses, building a dedicated field-programmable gate array (FPGA) verification board before the chip is tapped out is usually a requirement. The time and money spent on such boards are usually high. A versatile verification/fast prototyping platform consisting of an FPGA board and the associated System Software is presented. The FPGA board is connected to the host computer through a peripheral component interconnect interface. The System Software running on a Microsoft Windows environment is developed so that all the real-time data that were generated during the verification process can be downloaded and displayed on the host computer. Hence, the system acts like a logic analyzer with very large storage memory. Furthermore, the software provides interfaces for personal computer peripherals, such as a Universal Serial Bus camera, a computer monitor, and a soundcard, if the test data for multimedia applications are necessary. The results can be also demonstrated in real time through these devices. Because multimedia data are usually complicated, and the size is huge, the design and thorough verification are usually difficult and take lots of time. The proposed system is both versatile and convenient to use, and verification of designs becomes much easier. An MPEG-4 Simple Profile Video Encoder and a 3-D surround sound processor were realized with the proposed system. Both cases can run in real time. In this paper, the highly complicated H.264/Advanced Video Coding I-Frame encoder is also used to demonstrate the proposed system.