System Designers to Benefit from Altera's 90-nm FPGA Plans

9/16/2003 - On the heels of a highly successful and nearly flawless rollout of 0.13-micron programmable logic devices (PLDs), Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) outlined plans for its next-generation FPGAs. Following the same methodology that facilitated Altera’s early delivery of high-volume production 0.13 micron FPGAs, the new families will be manufactured on TSMC’s 90-nm process. These new products are being developed to specifically meet the needs of system designers who are now leveraging programmable logic as their de facto platform for digital design. Altera’s recent track record of eight sequential quarters of new product revenue growth is proof that the company’s most recent FPGAs—StratixTM and CycloneTM devices—are forging deeper and wider across a broad base of markets.

The Stratix II device family, Altera’s first 90-nm FPGA family, will be a high-performance, high-density family that will boost device densities to over 140,000 logic elements (LEs). The family is being crafted to give designers easy access to performance—a 50 percent push-button improvement on average—while increasing overall logic efficiency. At the same time, designers will have an enhanced feature set, easy porting of intellectual property (IP), and common software flows. Debuting in the first half of 2004, these second-generation Stratix devices will also offer significant cost benefits to customers using the highest-density members —up to 50 percent lower than equivalent density first-generation Stratix FPGAs. The key to these advancements is creating an FPGA architecture that has been optimized for the complexities of 90-nm process technology.

“It became evident very early that 90-nm technology would not follow the historical trend of bringing easy gains in performance, density, and power consumption. Formidable challenges existed in the form of tradeoffs between performance, power consumption, and area efficiency,” said Erik Cleage, senior vice president of marketing at Altera. “Maximizing the benefits of 90-nm technology required a whole new design process that specifically optimizes key architectural elements to work in unison with the underlying process technology. Our early research showed that simply porting an existing architecture to the 90-nm process would produce sub-optimal results. Consequently, Stratix II devices will feature a new logic fabric specifically designed for the process.”

Following the Stratix II devices, the Cyclone II device family will be introduced to continue the ground-breaking “built from the ground up” philosophy that has driven the first-generation of Cyclone devices into one of the most widely adopted FPGA families in the industry. Having shipped to a record 1,400 customers in just nine months since their launch, Cyclone devices are rapidly driving programmable logic into new high-volume applications and markets that were once out of reach for FPGAs. Cyclone II devices will have a host of new, cost-reducing innovations that will ensure Cyclone devices continue as the lowest-cost FPGAs in the industry. As with the revolutionary first-generation Cyclone devices, Cyclone II devices will break new ground on device density as well. Design software for Cyclone II devices will be available in mid-2004.

“For our 90-nm products, we teamed with our customers to face the performance, power consumption, and area efficiency challenges head on very early in the process. The Stratix II and Cyclone II projects are the result of our close relationship with TSMC, interaction with customers, and Altera’s industry-leading innovation,” said John Daane, president, CEO, and chairman of the board at Altera. “With these two great new families coming and our demonstrated success at 0.13-micron, we are poised for great things at 90-nm. If you liked what you saw from Altera in 2002, you are going to love 2004.”

For more information on Altera’s product roadmap, please visit

About Altera
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, 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. More information is available at

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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