Software supports hardened floating point DSP blocks

17th December 2014
Nat Bowers

Providing immediate support for the hardened floating point DSP blocks integrated in Arria 10 FPGAs and SoCs, Altera has released version 14.1 of its Quartus II software. Three unique DSP design entry flows enables users to achieve up to an industry-leading 1.5TFLOPS of DSP performance. The software also includes optimisations to improve designer productivity by accelerating Arria 10 FPGA and SoC design time.

Integrated IEEE 754-compliant, floating-point DSP blocks in Arria 10 FPGAs and SoCs deliver unparallelled levels of DSP performance, designer productivity and logic efficiency. The Quartus II software v14.1 offers an advanced tool flow with multiple design entry options that target the hardened floating point DSP blocks. This allows users to quickly design and deploy solutions that address a range of computationally intensive applications, in areas such as high performance computing, radar, scientific and medical imaging.

These design flows include OpenCL for software programmers, DSP Builder for model-based designers and hardware description language flows for traditional FPGA designers. Unlike a soft implementation, hardened floating point DSP blocks do not consume valuable logic resources for floating point operations.

The software also includes an enhanced Design Space Explorer II tool for faster timing closure, which delivers real-time status and reporting data to users. The data can be used to do side-by-side comparisons of multiple compiles being generated simultaneously on compute farms. Version 14.1 provides additional support for Altera’s non-volatile MAX 10 FPGAs, which feature dual-configuration flash, analogue and embedded processing capabilities in a small-form-factor, low-cost, instant-on programmable logic device. Enhancements to the JNEye serial link analysis tool further simplify board-level design and planning. The JNEye tool, along with Arria 10 silicon models, is able to simulate transmission line models and estimate insertion loss and cross talk parameters in Arria 10 designs.

Both the Subscription Edition and the free Web Edition of Quartus II software v14.1 are now available for download. Altera’s software subscription programme consolidates software products and maintenance charges into one annual subscription payment. Subscribers receive Quartus II software, the ModelSim-Altera Starter edition and a full license to the IP Base Suite, which includes Altera’s most popular IP cores. The annual software subscription is $2,995 for a node-locked PC license.

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