Benchmarks Reveal Stratix II FPGA Family as Performance Leader

4/6/2004 - Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) released benchmark results that clearly establish the new Stratix® II FPGA family as the industry’s performance leader, out-performing Virtex-II Pro by an average of 50 percent. Delivering increased performance has become significantly more challenging at the 90 nm process node due to the need to balance increased power consumption against higher performance design targets. As a result, the only practical way to dramatically elevate FPGA performance while transitioning to 90 nm is to develop a new performance-optimized logic structure, such as the adaptive logic module (ALM) in Stratix II devices.

When customers are involved in the definition of a product, great products emerge. Density, features, cost, and performance were defined for both the Stratix and Stratix II architectures through 6 months of customer interaction during the product planning phase for each product family. “Our customers are our secret weapon,” said Erik Cleage, senior vice president of marketing at Altera. “Getting them involved at the definition stage is a key reason that we were able to develop these stellar products.” The benchmarks described below validate the success of this strategy.

Benchmark Results and Methodology Made Available
This benchmark analysis was performed using a suite of approximately 75 customer designs synthesized using Synplify 7.5.0 from Synplicity coupled into Altera Quartus® II version 4.0 and Xilinx ISE version 6.2 place-and-route software. Results were generated using both “least-effort” and “best-effort” settings in the development tools representing novice and expert users. This benchmark analysis demonstrates that the new 90 nm Stratix II family outperforms Virtex-II Pro FPGAs by 70 percent on average with the “least-effort” settings. In the “best-effort” setting, results show a Stratix II performance advantage of 50 percent on average, documenting clear leadership in this high-performance segment of the market. This same analysis between the original Stratix FPGAs and Virtex-II Pro devices in the “best-effort” settings showed a small performance for advantage for Stratix FPGAs. In the “least-effort” settings, Stratix devices outperformed Virtex-II Pro devices by 43 percent on average.

The objective of this analysis was to establish a repeatable benchmarking methodology representing best practices for optimizing design performance. Details on the methods used for this benchmark analysis and specific recommendations on establishing customer benchmarks will be discussed in a net seminar on April 8, 2004

Register at Additional information is also available on the Altera web site at

About the Stratix II Device Family
Stratix II FPGAs are the industry’s biggest and fastest FPGAs. Developed with an innovative new logic structure, Stratix II devices offer over twice the logic density and 50 percent higher performance at 40 percent lower cost than first-generation Stratix devices. The Stratix II FPGA family is built on TSMC’s 90-nm, all-copper process, using low-k dielectric material on 300-mm wafers. The new logic structure allows designers to conserve device resources by packing more functionality into a smaller area. For more information about Stratix II devices, please visit

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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