10 June 2013

Altera set to bring ‘big performance boosts’ to fpga users

Altera has announced two new product families, which the company says are the 10th generation of its fpga technology. Stratix 10 will be manufactured on Intel's 14nm Tri-Gate process, while Arria 10 products will be made by TSMC on a 20nm process.

Beyond this, Altera isn't saying very much, except to say that samples of Arria 10 devices will be available 'early in 2014'. Altera is following its normal introduction process for the Stratix 10 range – which could feature up to 4million logic elements (LEs) – and says it expects test chips 'this year'. Both families will be available in fpga and SoC variants, with the SoCs featuring hard processor subsystems.

Stratix 10 devices will be the most powerful Altera has introduced. According to Danny Biran, pictured, senior vice president of corporate strategy, the parts will feature a new architecture, but that's as far as he went. However, he claimed users could expect a significant performance boost. "If you look at the last few years, the semiconductor industry has been facing a challenge. As we move from one process node to the next, we get an improvement in density, but not much improvement in performance and power. But, with our next generation, we can break away from this, maybe doubling current performance."

He said developers will be able to trade off power and performance during the design process. "At one end, designers will get performance at any cost – maybe double – but will increase power consumption by 30%. Still, that's better than anything we've seen for years. In the middle, there's a balance point, bringing 40 to 60% more performance for the same power consumption as today while at the other end, current levels of performance can be had for 30% of today's power consumption." Biran would not give details of the Stratix 10 SoC's processor subsystem.

Meanwhile, Arria 10 represents the new mid range offering, even though it will outperform today's Stratix V parts. Biran said users could expect a 15% performance increase over Stratix V, while consuming 40% less power than Arria V devices. "Whatever you can do today with high end parts, you'll be able to do with mid range devices at lower power consumption."

Arria 10 SoCs will have a dual Cortex-A9 hard processor subsystem running at 1.5GHz, along with 16 transceivers supporting 28Gbit/s chip to chip data rates. "These parts will have more than 1m LEs," Biran added, "and we already have more than 1000 customers working on Arria 10 based designs." Other features include interfaces to DDR4 memory and to the Hybrid Memory Cube, and three Ethernet MACs supporting 1Gbit links.

Biran said customers had, in general, coped with the SoC concept. "We were worried about customer adoption," he admitted, "but have been positively surprised about what we're seeing."

Nevertheless, more complex devices require broader support. "A 4m LE Stratix 10 part will mean compile time becomes critical. Quartus II will bring an x8 boost over time, with the next release bringing twice the existing performance." He said dsp engineers also needed to be accommodated. "They think differently to fpga designs, so we have to think about separate audiences. DSP Builder will be just as important."

Biran also reinforced the importance of Altera's recent acquisition of power management specialist Enpirion. "This will be strategic for Stratix 10, where we will be able to offer a better overall solution, including adaptive voltage scaling. If the fpga can tell the power controller that it runs fast, the controller can lower the power consumption for the same performance."

Author
Graham Pitcher

Supporting Information

Websites
http://www.altera.com

Companies
Altera UK Ltd

This material is protected by Findlay Media copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.

Do you have any comments about this article?


Add your comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

Oxford, RFEL do SKA study

The University of Oxford has signed an initial study contract with RFEL that ...

SoC FPGA tool support

Altera and Wind River have developed and deployed tools and solutions for ...

Xilinx tapes out 20nm device

Xilinx has taped out its first Virtex UltraScale device, which it describes as ...

Programmable platforms

Historically, developers of programmable logic devices – and, more latterly, ...

Integrate for a smooth flow

System architecture has evolved from being an instinctive dark art – the ...

Roundtable: Demanding answers

Embedded systems have, in the main, been designed around microcontrollers. But ...

XMOS XS1 Architecture

An XS1 combines a number of XCore processors, each with its own memory, on a ...

LED Reference Design

The XMOS LED Reference Design is an Ethernet-based system featuring daisychains ...

Targeted design platforms

Introducing the Xilinx targeted design platform: Fulfilling the programmable ...

Embedded World: Altera

Altera will showcase a suite of embedded fpga solutions at Embedded World 2012 ...

Industrial fpga USB modules

FPGA specialist, Opal Kelly, has announced two industrial temperature versions ...

Front end modules from Murata

Murata has unveiled a new range of microwave monolithic integrated devices for ...

SN74LV1Txx logic devices

Support up/down translation modes and slash board space with TI's SN74LV1Txx ...

How to power Altera FPGAs

Watch this video to learn how to efficiently power Altera FPGAs.

Powering Xilinx fpgas

This video provides a detailed overview on how to use TI's WEBENCH FPGA Power ...

FPGA market developments

The programmable logic market is notable not only for its products, but also ...

FPGAs come of age

Programmable logic devices have a range of aliases, but whatever you call them, ...

All change in the fpga market

The programmable logic market has always been a hard place to do business. The ...

Andy Pease, QuickLogic

Andy Pease tells Caroline Hayes his company's focus on programmable logic in ...

Claire Jeffreys, NEW

Claire Jeffreys, events director, National Electronics Week, talks with Chris ...