Altium Expands Plug-in FPGA Daughter Board Range for NanoBoard

11/2/2004 - Altium Limited (ASX: ALU), a leading developer of Windows-based electronics design software, announced support for an expanded range of FPGA daughter boards for its LiveDesign-enabled, FPGA-based development board, the NanoBoard. The additional daughter boards cover popular devices ranging from CPLDs to high-performance, high-capacity FPGAs and greatly enhance the versatility of the NanoBoard platform.

The new daughter boards cover the following device families:



The above daughter boards join the existing Altera Cyclone (EP1C12Q240C7) and Stratix (EP1S10F780C7) daughter boards, and the Xilinx Spartan-IIE (XC2S300E-PQ208) and Virtex-II (XC2V1000-4FG456C) daughter boards to offer comprehensive FPGA development coverage. All daughter boards plug into Altium’s existing NanoBoard platform, allowing FPGA designers to target any of the supported devices during development without the need to purchase a completely new development board.

The NanoBoard interfaces to Altium’s Nexar design software, and allows the interactive development of complete systems, including processor-based designs, on an FPGA platform. The Nexar design methodology – LiveDesign – enables real-time communication with active devices in the circuit, such as processor cores and virtual instruments, that are running inside the target FPGA. The NanoBoard and its swappable daughter board act as a nano-level breadboard that allows ‘live’ interactive development and debugging of systems without the need for simulation at the system level. The NanoBoard can also be used with Altium’s Protel 2004 board-level design system for interactive FPGA hardware development.

The Nexar software comes with constraint files that map the FPGA pinout on each daughter board to the relevant NanoBoard resources. This allows easy retargeting of a design for the full range of available daughter boards. The FPGA-based components supplied with Nexar, including a range of processor cores, have been pre-synthesized and pre-verified for all supported target devices; allowing designs to be easily moved between devices, device families, and even between devices from different vendors.

“This extensive expansion of the hardware capabilities of the NanoBoard and our LiveDesign-enabled development software demonstrates our commitment to providing a comprehensive and FPGA vendor–independent solution to digital system design,” commented Nick Martin, founder and Joint CEO of Altium.

By providing target devices on plug-in daughter boards, Altium lowers the cost of development for companies that work with more than one device family. It also makes it easy to evaluate and compare the features and benefits of different devices without the need to support multiple development systems.

According to Martin, “The release of such a large number of different FPGA daughter boards means that the NanoBoard, combined with our Nexar design software, will allow engineers to create systems on FPGAs, and plug-in different daughter boards to test the design on a wide variety of target FPGA architectures.”

The ability to choose the production device much later in the development cycle means that the decision can be based on the performance of the design in the real hardware, and the cost of the devices at production time. The system even allows engineers to do design work on a device that is particularly suitable for development, and then switch to the device to be used for production at the end of the design cycle.

Pricing and availability
All daughter boards are available for ordering immediately. Delivery lead times will vary according to the device selected. Pricing ranges from US$195 for some CLPD daughter boards, up to US$695 for the Virtex-II Pro. A “CPLD Pack” consisting of five CPLD daughter boards will be available for US$495.

Altium’s NanoBoard is priced at US$995 and is currently delivered with two daughter boards – the Xilinx Spartan-IIE (XC2S300E-PQ208) and Altera Cyclone (EP1C12Q240C7).

Nexar is priced at US$7,995 for a new licence. A Unified Nexar-Protel 2004 software license is also available, providing complete FPGA-PCB systems development, and is priced at US$9,995. Protel 2004 users can upgrade their existing license to this system from US$2,995.

For more product information, visit or contact your local Altium sales and support center.

About Altium Limited
Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) is a global developer and supplier of electronics design software for the Microsoft Windows environment. Founded in 1985, Altium released the world's first Microsoft Windows–based printed circuit board design tool in 1991 and continues to provide advanced, easy-to-use and affordable software design tools to electronics engineers, designers, and developers worldwide. Altium's products offer tailored solutions covering a range of hardware and software design processes including the Nexar, Protel, P-CAD and TASKING brands. Altium is headquartered in Sydney, Australia and has sales and support offices in Australia, the United States, Japan, Europe and China. More information is available at

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