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Transceiver FPGAs tailored for 3Gbit/s apps

Posted: 21 May 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:40-nm FPGA  ASIC  3-Gbps transceiver  programmable logic 


Delivering a unique low-power, low-cost and high-performance FPGA solution for 3Gbit/s applications, Altera Corp. has started shipping Arria II GX devices, its third family of 40-nm FPGAs.

The Arria II GX family with integrated transceivers joins Stratix IV GX and Stratix�IV�GT FPGAs and HardCopy IV GX ASICs to extend the industry's broadest portfolio of transceiver FPGA and ASIC solutions.

Arria II GX FPGAs are the ideal devices for 3Gbit/s transceiver applications requiring low-cost FPGAs with high-end capabilities, says Altera. They offer 25 per cent higher performance, up to 50 per cent lower price and up to 50 per cent lower power, compared to competitive high-end FPGAs. Arria�II GX FPGAs are targeted for applications using mainstream protocols such as PCI Express (PCIe) and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). The devices have up to 16 3.75-Gbps transceivers, 256K logic elements (LEs) and 8.5 Mbits of internal RAM. In addition, the Arria II GX FPGAs also support targeted protocols such as CPRI, GPON, XAUI and triple-speed SDI.

"The trend towards high-speed serial interfaces is being driven by our increasing demand for information across varied markets and the designers need for higher bandwidth at lower cost and lower power. The Arria II GX FPGAs with integrated programmable transceivers offer best-in-class signal integrity that provides the flexibility to accelerate product development, while consuming less power than competing solutions," said Luanne Schirrmeister, senior director of component product marketing at Altera Corporation.

The low power of Arria II GX FPGAs reduces the cost of thermal management in end equipment by decreasing the number of fans and heatsinks required compared to competing high-end devices. This enables customers to use programmable logic in thermally constrained environments such as smaller enclosures with limited cooling options. Additionally, the low cost of Arria II GX devices enables system designers to utilise industry-leading programmable logic and transceiver technology in their product designs, allowing product differentiation with customised hardware and increased integration.

Arria II GX FPGAs offer a high-speed logic fabric based on Altera's advanced logic module (ALM) architecture—the same as in Stratix IV FPGAs—making them faster than competing high-performance FPGAs. They also offer higher memory- and multiplier-to-logic ratios than competing low-cost FPGAs. These additional memory and multiplier resources are especially important to 3Gbit/s applications in the wireless, wireline, broadcast and military markets that utilise high-speed DSP and data processing operations.

Arria II GX devices are supported in Quartus II design software version 9.0. In addition, Altera is making available three reference designs, a development kit and four design examples to accelerate the development of solutions using Arria II GX FPGAs.

The Arria II GX EP2AGX125 device is shipping now, with production devices scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing for the smallest Arria II GX device, the EP2AGX20, starts as low as Rs.759.27 ($15) for 100K unit quantities in 2010, which is up to 50 per cent lower price than competing high-performance FPGAs. Contact your Altera sales representative for pricing.

For technical articles on FPGAs, visit Embedded Design India.

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