Altera's Stratix 10 SoCs to feature quad A53 processor system

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Altera's forthcoming Stratix 10 SoCs will feature a quad core Cortex-A53 based processor system. The devices, manufactured by Intel on its 14nm process, will also feature hardened floating point dsp blocks and a high performance fpga fabric.

According to Altera, the 64bit Cortex-A53 processor is an 'ideal fit' for the Stratix 10 SoC, due to its performance, power efficiency, data throughput, and advanced features. Danny Biran, senior vp of corporate strategy and marketing, said the device would offer a six fold improvement in performance over the best Altera parts currently available. "This is achieved by doubling the number of cores and by moving from 32bit to 64bit processing," he said. "The operating frequency will also be as good as available in Arria 10 parts, which is another 50% improvement. Taking these elements together brings the six fold improvement." Biran also noted Stratix 10 SoCs will have a 32bit mode for full software compatibility with current generation parts. "It's important to select something that supports reuse," he added. One of the benefits being put forward by Altera for Stratix 10 SoCs is the combination of flexibility, programmability and efficiency. "Most apps need efficiency and flexibility," said Biran, "so there is a trend towards integrating different compute elements on the same die and in the context of heterogeneous computing." Stratix 10 features a new architecture, for which Altera has yet to provide further details, although Biran said more would be available 'in the near future'. While not giving any more details about Stratix 10, he said the operating frequency would be 'as good as Arria 10', which implies fabric running at rates in excess of 1GHz. Altera did consider ARM's big.LITTLE approach, in which an A57 core is used in conjunction with an A53, but Biran said this was 'less attractive' than the quad A53 arrangement. "The A57 has a larger die because of more pipeline stages and is less power efficient."