Altera Cyclone-V SoC
Altera™ SoCs are a powerful fusion of a standard single, or dual, core ARM™ Cortex™ A9 processor unit paired with a programmable FPGA hardware fabric. This fusion of technologies allows both a different approach to your processing tasks and project management or familiar traditional processor or FPGA approaches to designing your product or system.
SoCs allow a flexible distribution of tasks between hardware and software. As an example a project team may choose to start with an existing software structure for “time to market” reasons. Once units are shipping the design team can then work on offering greater performance or more features to existing customers that can be loaded in the field. Often this might be done by identifying software routines that take a large percentages of the processor effort and migrating these software routines into hardware accelerated functions within the available programmable FPGA fabric thereby reducing the processor core loading. Alternatively extra features could be added later in the FPGA fabric when the team has more time after the initial product launch. These are just a couple of possibilities and there are many ways to use your SoC device to provide product differentiation or to beat your competitors to market.
The ARM™ Cortex™ A9 processor unit within the current generation of Altera™ Cyclone™-V SoCs clocking at up to 925 MHz or 1050 MHz in an Arria™-V SoCs. The features of these processor units are common to the A9 architecture and this brings the advantages of availability of a wide range of software tools and debug facilities that are available for this popular architecture.
The FPGA hardware fabric contained within the Altera SoC has a set of high bandwidth connections to the ARM™ A9 processing unit. Typically this approach offers much higher performance than using a combination of separate ARM™ processors and FPGAs and is a key SoC feature than allows system performance beyond that of the individual element approach. The SoC fusion also allows a live reload, or reprogramming, of the FPGA fabric so that different feature sets can be enabled at different times. This reloading ability can be used to make a better performance return for FPGA part of the SoC by loading the FPGA with hardware logic suitable to the current operating mode or task. Alternatively this feature can be used for variable feature licensing for different markets or customers. The choice is yours what use you make of this technology feature in your system.
Another good reason to consider an Altera™ SoC for your system design is longevity. Generally Enterpoint has offered FPGA boards with manufacturing lifetimes in excess of 10 years. Proven by history of Altera™ FPGAs, and Enterpoint’s product line, we expect to be able to manufacture Altera™ SoC based boards for a minimum of 10 years giving you a long term supply chain. These long product lifetimes are generally unmatched by products based on more traditional processor vendors.
If you can’t find a SoC board either in the format you need or with features you need please do ask us for a quote for your specific requirements. Enterpoint specialises in the fast turn (typically 2-12 weeks for design and manufacturing prototypes) of semi-custom, or full-custom, SoC boards and modules.