Altera Unveils Stratix II Family with Adaptable FPGA Architecture

2/3/2004 - Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) launched the newly architected, high-density StratixTM II family of FPGAs. Featuring the industry's first adaptable FPGA architecture, Stratix II FPGAs offer more than double the logic density in a single device and are 50 percent faster compared to first-generation Stratix devices. This latest generation of Altera's high-density FPGA architecture is 25 percent more efficient compared to first-generation Stratix devices, allowing designers to pack more functionality into less logic area. The combination of the 90-nm manufacturing process and a highly efficient architecture enables maximum integration, resulting in dramatic cost reductions when compared to previous high-density architectures.

"This is a huge breakthrough for the FPGA industry—the first we've seen in over a decade. The new capabilities made possible by the move to 90-nm are brilliantly outlined in Altera's new Stratix II family," said Rich Wawrzyniak, senior market analyst, ASIC and SOC, Semico Research Corp. "The availability of a flexible input structure allows designers to concurrently optimize critical path performance and minimize cost of the overall system."

"Stratix II is a breakthrough FPGA architecture which has opened up many new opportunities for us to achieve high performance," said Ken McElvain, chief technology officer at Synplicity. "We have worked closely with Altera engineering for over a year to apply high level synthesis algorithms to Stratix II and have tuned our algorithms to realize the potential of this new architecture. I believe that Stratix II will make converts of many AISC designers who have been waiting for high-density FPGAs to meet their performance and cost needs."

True Innovation-Altera's Legacy Continues
The availability of the 90-nm process technology presented both challenges and opportunities to build a more efficient architecture. As Altera's engineers worked with customers during the product planning phase of the new family, they also took a closer look at the basic logic structure. Immediately, it became clear that for high-density designs, the nearly 15-year old, 4-input look-up table (LUT) structure was becoming restrictive and imposed unnecessary performance and cost constraints on customers. Consequently, a new logic structure was developed and dubbed "adaptive logic module" (ALM), allowing logic to be shared among adjacent logic functions.

"We set out on a path of true innovation and as a result, we've developed a new FPGA architecture that is truly unique in the industry," said John Daane, Altera's president, CEO and Chairman.

With up to eight inputs to the combinational logic block, one ALM can implement up to two independent functions each of varying widths, including any function of up to six-inputs and certain seven-input functions. Each ALM also contains two programmable registers, two adders, a carry chain, an adder tree chain, and a register chain that make more efficient use of device logic capacity. This innovative new logic building block delivers more logic capacity in a smaller physical area, provides faster device performance, and is 2.5 times more powerful than logic structures used in previous FPGA architectures. Stratix II devices have more than twice the logic of Stratix FPGAs with the equivalent of close to 180,000 logic elements (LEs).

Stratix II Features: Preserving What Works
"Complementing the brand new logic structure, Stratix II devices include features that were a hit with customers of the original award-winning Stratix devices," said Erik Cleage, Altera's senior vice president of marketing. "These features include TriMatrixTM memory, DSP blocks, and external memory interfaces."

Optimized for the 90-nm process, the performance of these features is significantly enhanced.

Stratix II devices also include innovative new features such as advanced encryption standard (AES)-based, non-volatile 128-bit encryption technology. This encryption technology ensures that a customer's intellectual property (IP) that is designed into a Stratix II FPGA is secure from piracy. Stratix II devices are the first SRAM FPGA with a non-volatile encryption key.

"Stratix II devices expand FPGA functionality and performance well beyond traditional markets and applications," said Cleage. "Its many architectural breakthroughs embody our commitment to continuous innovation."

Stratix II devices are supported by the Quartus® II version 4.0 design software, the industry's most advanced design software. Developed with many new ASIC-like design capabilities, the Quartus II design software offers customers a comprehensive suite of synthesis, optimization, verification, and system-level design tools in a single, unified design environment. Altera also offers off-the-shelf IP cores optimized for Stratix II devices.

HardCopy Support for Stratix II Devices
Stratix II devices will also be available in the HardCopyTM structured ASIC version, giving customers a unique, seamless migration path to volume production not offered by any other semiconductor company. HardCopy devices for Stratix II FPGAs increase performance and reduce power consumption compared to the FPGA implementation.

Pricing and Availability
Engineering samples of the first member of the Stratix II device family, the EP2S60 device, will be available in Q2 2004. Volume prices at the end of 2004 start at $125 in 25,000 unit volumes.

About Altera
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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