Embedded System Design Made Painless with Altera's Low-Cost EPXA1 Development Kit

11/19/2002 - Altera announced the general availability of its EPXA1 Development Kit, featuring the smallest member of the ExcaliburTM embedded processor PLDs for high-performance low-cost, system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) implementations. The EPXA1 Development Kit provides designers with a complete solution that reduces the development time for system-level designs featuring Altera's hard-core embedded processor solution.

"In our work to produce machine vision-based car driver intelligence systems, it was necessary to quickly measure the performance of a range of different silicon implementation technologies against performance metrics for the embedded CPU, I/O, and memory subsystems," said Rainer Gutzmer, manager of system development at Aglaia GmbH. "The kit contained everything we needed for this benchmarking, including a series of reference designs that illustrated the EPXA1's flexibility and helped us accelerate the development of our first prototypes."

In addition to the EPXA1 device, the EPXA1 Development Kit includes a development board that features a 10/100 Ethernet MAC/PHY, dual RS-232 ports for communications, and debug facilities. The board is populated with 8MB of flash memory and 32MB of SDRAM for running operating systems and applications code.

Built around the ARM® 922T processor, the Excalibur EPXA1 device integrates a complete embedded processor subsystem with an FPGA fabric to provide designers with the ability to quickly evaluate system performance and to create differentiated end products. The embedded processor subsystem in the EPXA1 device was tailored to include elements critical to processor performance while the FPGA, with 4,160 logic elements (LEs), delivers the ability to be fully customized using either the designer's own logic or third-party intellectual property (IP).

"The flexibility of Altera's Excalibur embedded processor PLDs make the product equally at home in automotive or other key market segments such as industrial, medical, military, and communications applications where the wide acceptance of the ARM architecture and the unique combination of features are a significant advantage," said Joe Hanson, director of Excalibur marketing and applications.

Other hardware features of the Development Kit include user-definable LEDs, switches, an LCD module, an array of connection cables, a power supply, and a set of expansion headers designed to take advantage of a growing list of compatible third-party and Altera daughter cards. The documentation and reference designs show the use of the Quartus® II development software and the GNUPro embedded development tools, including a C-compiler, assembler, linker, and debugger. To aid in the creation of custom SOPC designs, the kit also includes the industry-leading SOPC Builder system development tool for building sophisticated bus-based systems using both AMBATM AHB and AvalonTM bus specifications to link a variety of user and third-party IP to the processor subsystem.

Pricing and Availability
The EPXA1 Development Kit, available today, provides designers everything they need a development board, software, documentation, and design examples for a special promotional price of $995 through December 20, 2002 (use ordering code EPXA-DEVKIT-XA1 and promotion quote code 102102-KB, regular list price $1,195). EPXA1 devices are available starting at $27 for quantities greater than 50,000 units. For more information, visit Altera's web site at www.altera.com. For ordering information, contact your distributor or local Altera sales office.

About Altera's Excalibur Embedded Processor Solutions
Combining logic, memory, and an ARM922TTM processor subsystem, Altera's Excalibur embedded processor solutions allow engineers to integrate an entire system on a single FPGA. Excalibur embedded processors can be used in any application requiring processors and programmable logic with up to 38,400 LEs (1,000,000 gates). They offer full integration with Altera's APEXTM architecture and are supported by the optimized Quartus II design software. The Excalibur EPXA1 device consists of 4,160 LEs in 484-pin and 672-pin FineLine BGA® packages. The mid-range EPXA4 device has 16,640 LEs in 672-pin and 1,020-pin FineLine BGA packages, while the high-end EPXA10 device consists of 38,400 LEs in a 1,020-pin FineLine BGA package.

About Altera
Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) is the world's pioneer of system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) solutions. Combining programmable logic technology with software tools, intellectual property, and technical services, Altera provides high-value programmable solutions to approximately 14,000 customers worldwide.

Altera, The Programmable Solutions Company, the stylized Altera logo, specific device designations and all other words that are identified as trademarks and/or service marks are, unless noted otherwise, the trademarks and service marks of Altera Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. ARM is a registered trademark, and Amba and ARM922T are trademarks, of ARM Limited.

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