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Low-cost transceiver FPGAs fit 3Gbit/s apps

Posted: 20 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGA? transceiver? ASIC?

Altera Corp. has started shipping Arria II GX devices, its third family of 40nm FPGAs that deliver low-power, low-cost and high-performance FPGA solution for 3Gbit/s applications. 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 suitable devices for 3Gbit/s transceiver applications requiring low-cost FPGAs with high-end capabilities. They offer 25 percent higher performance, up to 50 percent lower price and up to 50 percent lower power, compared to competitive high-end FPGAs. Arria II GX FPGAs are targeted for applications using mainstream protocols such as PCIe and Gigabit Ethernet. The devices have up to 16 3.75Gbit/s transceivers, 256K logic elements and 8.5Mbit 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.

The low power of Arria II GX FPGAs reduces the cost of thermal management in end equipment by decreasing the number of fans and heat sinks 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 utilize industry-leading programmable logic and transceiver technology in their product designs, allowing product differentiation with customized hardware and increased integration.

Arria II GX FPGAs offer a high-speed logic fabric based on Altera's advanced logic module architecturethe same as in Stratix IV FPGAsmaking 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 utilize 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 Q4. Pricing for the smallest Arria II GX device, the EP2AGX20, starts as low as $15 for 100K unit quantities in 2010, which is up to 50 percent lower price than competing high-performance FPGAs.





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