Test-Drive the Nios Embedded Processor for Free with Altera's Quartus II Design Software

8/21/2002 - Altera gives designers a free and easy way to evaluate the de-facto soft-core embedded processor for programmable logic devices (PLDs). Customers can now assess Nios' performance using any of Altera's high-density FPGAs, such as the new StratixTM device family, as well as APEXTM II, APEX and ExcaliburTM devices, at no cost. In the latest version of the Quartus® II design software, the included SOPC Builder tool ships with the OpenCore® Plus evaluation version of the Nios® RISC processor and includes a complete set of peripherals, memory interfaces, interfaces to user logic, and the GNUPro software development toolkit.

"We started using Altera's Nios processor last year and have been amazed how quickly its capabilities have advanced," said Dr. Jens Onno Krah, head of the technical department at Danaher Motion Kollmorgen Seidel, a leading international manufacturer of high-performance motion control products and systems. "We see the OpenCore Plus evaluation version of the Nios processor as a significant benefit to the embedded design community in general, allowing a much wider audience to quickly discover what we already have-that the Nios processor is a flexible and powerful processing platform."

Using the supplied register transfer level (RTL) simulation files and hardware evaluation core, embedded designers can quickly create a custom system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) incorporating the Nios processor, peripherals, memory, and external interfaces. With the included GNUPro toolkit, users can compile and run application software in hardware or in simulation, letting them experience the Nios core and tools before committing to the purchase of a Nios development kit. Hardware and software designers can skip the simulation stage and verify directly in hardware when creating time-limited designs.

In a study released by CMP Media LLC, the Nios soft-core processor is being used by more than 6,100 engineers and is ranked among the top 10 16-bit processors in use today, and among the top 10 16-bit processors engineers said they planned to use in their next design. "Nios has proven to be a smashing success, defining the market for embedding processors within FPGAs," said Joe Hanson, director of marketing and applications for Altera's Excalibur business unit. "We want to open the door for all Quartus II software subscribers to have complete access to all of the embedded processor solutions from Altera. Now, users can see for themselves just how easy it is to create and evaluate an embedded processor system in their FPGA designs."

In addition to the OpenCore Plus Nios processor, Altera offers a portfolio of OpenCore Plus hardware evaluation intellectual property (IP) cores. For a complete list of OpenCore Plus cores, please visit the Altera IP MegaStoreTM at www.altera.com/IPmegastore

Pricing and Availability
The OpenCore Plus evaluation version of the Nios processor is automatically shipped to all Quartus II software subscribers at no additional cost. Now more than 20,000 Altera customers worldwide have the industry's leading soft processor at their fingertips.

About the Nios Embedded Processor
An Altera embedded processor solution, the Nios embedded processor is a soft-core, general-purpose RISC processor that can be combined with user logic and programmed into an Altera FPGA. The processor features a 16-bit instruction set and user-selectable 16- or 32-bit data paths, configurable for a wide range of applications. The Nios embedded processor is royalty free when used in Altera PLDs and HardCopyTM devices.

About OpenCore Plus
Altera's OpenCore Plus supplements the OpenCore evaluation flow by incorporating free RTL simulation and hardware evaluation, allowing designers to simulate an RTL model of a MegaCore® function in their design and generate time-limited programming files. Designers can use the OpenCore Plus hardware evaluation feature to perform board-level design verification before deciding to purchase licenses for the MegaCore functions.

About Altera (www.altera.com/)
Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) is the world's pioneer in 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.

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