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Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA Boards

The Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA family is one of the newest members of the Altera line-up. While this is the first time many people see these boards publicly, they have been in use for quite some time. This article will look at what makes this part special and why it might soon replace other parts of Altera‘s current line-up.

Cyclone V Overview

The Cyclone V family is the successor to the Cyclone IV family. The fundamental unit of FPGA fabric is still a 4-input look-up table (LUT) with two flip flops connected by six transistors. One of the biggest adds is on-chip memory, allowing fewer external memory devices to work within the design. The FPGA fabric in each has grown by 9% despite having more logic elements (LEs). It reduces latency and can typically improve performance. Each generation also adds additional multiplier blocks, which allow the FPGA to process more data. It helps decrease external device counts and improves performance.

The biggest change in Cyclone V is in the number of I/Os. Cyclone V has much higher pin counts than previous generations. It allows an easy connection of more modules because we need fewer boards, and fewer traces need routing between the boards.

Cyclone V in Comparison to Other FPGAs

Altera Cyclone V Development Board

Cyclone V is available in all three of Altera’s technology nodes: Stratix 10 (10nm), Stratix 11 (16nm), and Stratix 12 (14nm). In the Stratix 10 technology node, this is at its smallest point. In addition, the Cyclone V adds 12-bit A/D converters, which is a new addition from the previous generation.

Stratix 11 and Stratix 12 have several differences between them in their Cyclone V offerings. Most notable is that Stratix 11 offers a 16-bit multiplier block with both add and divide functionality. On the other hand, Stratix 12 only offers a 16-bit multiplier block that does not have any add or divide functionality. Additionally, Stratix 12 offers a 16-bit multiplier block with only add functionality. But Stratix 11 offers both add and multiply functionality.

The other change is that Stratix 11 does not support on-chip memory while the other two do. However, since we know that this is due to the manufacturing of Stratix 11 on TSMC’s v10 60nm process while we make the other two on TSMC’s 10nm node, it is still unclear whether this is true.

The Cyclone V also differs from the previous Cyclone IV parts in that the memory interface is in a different location. They moved it off the FPGA chip itself and put on an L4 device called the C5N. This allows for better routing between FPGA companies.

Cyclone V Information

The Cyclone V family has three different models, broken down by technology node, and these are 10LX, 10LX-S, and 10SS. The 10LX-S has a data rate of 60MHz, while the other two have a 40MHz data rate. Both have 16GB of onboard FLASH memory, while the C5N has up to 192GB of external memory.

The online documentation for this part is available at the CFE (Component Firmware Engine). The documentation includes a full pin-out of the part as well as device-specific information. It also includes a full description of the onboard memory built on a 10nm process. You can lock the FPGA from 100MHz to 400MHz, and the C5N from 100MHz to 400MHz

The latest version of Quartus II is Q2 2017 SP1, allowing Altera users to access Cyclone V within their systems.

Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA Boards features

Features of the Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA Boards include:

Cyclone V Architecture

36 customizable Digital Input/Output (I/O) blocks + 6 clock I/O blocks. The new Integrated Memory Controller (IMC) provides both on-chip and off-chip memories. It has 56-bit wide multipliers with multi-precision support.

Hardware FPGA Firmware for advanced security, intelligent routing, power management, and advanced programmable logic functions. Support for advanced bytewise programming operations such as Array Interleaving and Inline Operation.

Advanced tools for automated design and verification

Performance improvements on or above the previous generation

Cyclone V has more I/O pins than the rest of the Altera FPGA families. It allows for the combination of more FPGA devices. So there are no pluggable daughter boards. The board supports 8GB of onboard FLASH memory, which we can use as on-chip or off-chip memory.

Flexible Interface Support

Cyclone V has multiple options for interfacing to the C5N with speeds up to 10Gbps. There are four QSGMII transceivers, which are useful for gigabit ethernet. It also supports four SGMII transceivers used for serial communications protocols such as PCI Express Gen 2.

This FPGA has an integrated serial transceiver with multiple options for interfacing up to 10Gbps. Thus, it is useful for high-speed serial communication protocols such as PCI Express Gen 3.

Abundant Hard IP

There are over 120 IP blocks for easy integration of the Cyclone V into an application. The various Altera FPGA families have different IP blocks, but they are all available in Cyclone V.

Slice-based FPGA Architecture

Cyclone V slices its array into 64 slices. This means that the entire array is smaller than a regular FPGA part. But it still has all the functionality that Altera’s current FPGA chips provide.

Design Security

There is a hardware-based security mechanism, which we can use to prevent writing to data that may need erasing. This hardware protection is separate from the software control over who has access to the various bits within the FPGA.

The Cyclone V has a 128-bit hardware-based data integrity checker. It ensures that the part will output the same results as it would if you hand-programmed it manually. The checker uses a look-up table for this purpose.

Connectivity

The Cyclone V has an on-chip Ethernet controller with functionality for gigabit ethernet, 10GBase-T Ethernet, and PCI Express Gen 2. In addition, the serial transceiver supports SGMII, QSGMII, PCI Express Gen 2, and other serial interfaces.

A GPIO interface on the Cyclone V provides a standard set of inputs and outputs for connecting to other FPGAs. We can use this interface to connect to other chips with the right signals.

The Cyclone V also has a USB 3.1 controller that is capable of up to 20Gbps. We use eight FSMC USB controllers for wireless communication using protocols such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The board also has two CAN controllers for communicating over CAN Bus networks.

Multiport Memory Controller

The on-chip memory has two ports, allowing it to interface with external memories using two different protocols. It allows for using the part in applications that require high-speed block-level access to external memory. So it makes it useful for cloud computing or scientific analysis applications.

Extended Power Management

The Cyclone V has extensive power management functionality. As a result it allows greater flexibility in system design. For example, it can alter its clock frequency based on current operating conditions. Also, it disables unused modules to control power consumption. It is compatible with the USB 3.1 SuperSpeed Plus standard for up to 20Gbps data transfer speeds.

Cyclone V also has “Embedded Debug Support.” It provides on-chip debugging functionality at low power consumption. We can use it to debug applications embedded in the FPGA, which is ideal for debugging.

Silicon and Architectural Optimizations

Several silicon and architectural optimizations are products of Cyclone V. These include a different set of memory control blocks. They allow the device to run faster and with less power. There is also a larger set of multipliers, which can optimize the FPGA’s performance.

10LX-S – The 10LX-S has a data rate of 60MHz while the other two have a 40MHz data rate.

Benefits of using Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA Boards

The main advantages of using an Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA Boards are as follows:

Tailored for High-Volume, Cost-Sensitive Applications

The Cyclone V is the lowest cost FPGA from Altera’s FPGA line-up. This makes it ideal for applications that need a large amount of I/O but don’t have a lot of space available to put the FPGA device. In addition, it includes applications such as networking and other large high-speed communications.

Flexible Integration Options

There are several options for integrating the Cyclone V into a system using Altera’s standard tools. There are four QSGMII transceivers, which we use for ethernet and other networking applications. We also use four SGMII transceivers for serial communications protocols such as PCIe Gen 2 and various network protocols.

Versatile Design

The Cyclone V has many different options for interfacing with other chips. There are four QSGMII transceivers, which we use for ethernet and other network applications. There is also a set of eight FSMC USB transceivers that are useful for USB 3.1 communication.

Tailored for High-Performance Designs

The Cyclone V has numerous performance features that allow its optimization for high-performance applications where the main limitation is the size of the FPGA part. The Cyclone V has a hardware-based checker, which makes it more secure. It runs at a higher speed than previous Altera FPGA parts. The Cyclone V also has larger multipliers. So, it allows the Cyclone V optimization for many different applications.

SoC FPGAs–Your Customizable ARM* Processor-Based SoC

The Cyclone V is an ARM* processor-based FPGA that allows you to implement an ARM system on a single chip. It is a member of the Cyclone family. In other words, it provides a full set of FPGA blocks and IP for implementing most ARM processor functions. It includes the entire memory subsystem, I/O subsystem, and peripheral control. We can use the Cyclone V in an end-to-end design where we place it after the ARM core and before the rest of the SoC device.

Reducing Total System Cost through Integration

Cyclone V can reduce the cost of a system by replacing many discrete components in an SoC. They include the main processing core, memory, DSP, display controller, and other peripheral chips. This approach is attractive to leading companies such a RayMing PCB and Assembly that are looking for a way to reduce the total system cost.

End-to-End System Design

We can use the Cyclone V in an end-to-end design where it’s placed after the ARM core and before the rest of the SoC device. Other FPGAs provide all processing blocks required to implement an ARM SoC with all peripherals, memory, DSP, and I/O devices.

Industry-Leading Low Power and Low System Cost

Cyclone V uses the same high-performance architecture as other Altera FPGAs, such as the FLEX series. It has a 3.1V core voltage and runs at a 200MHz clock speed. The Cyclone V gives you many benefits of an all-FPGA design while also improving its performance. It uses advanced IP blocks in the FPGA, designed especially for low-power applications.

High-Bandwidth Interconnect

Cyclone V provides high bandwidth interconnects between the blocks within the FPGA. It is useful in applications where you need to transfer large data. Such data include image processing and other signal processing applications.

Cyclone V has four QSGMII transceivers used for data communication over ethernet networks, with data transfer speeds of up to 200Mbits/s. One can transfer data simultaneously, which is useful when reading or writing to flash memory in the FPGA.

ARM*-Based HPS

Cyclone V also has an HPS field-programmable gate array (HPS) block. ARM designed the block, but we can program it in the FPGA. The HPS is essential in off-chip applications by connecting the output of the QSGMII transceivers to an optional Cypress XC7K35P1. In addition, it provides a memory interface for ARM’s HPS.

Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA Boards drawbacks

Although the Cyclone V is a low-cost FPGA, it still offers many benefits that other FPGAs do not. The main drawbacks include:

  1. The 1Gbit/s QSGMII transceivers, the FSMC USB transceivers, and the HPS are not available. So, you can’t use them to implement certain types of end-to-end designs.
  2. There is no support for non-ARM systems. It includes AMD or ARM-based systems that one implements using a PCIe switch or other high-performance interfaces between the ARM core and the rest of the SoC.
  3. Cyclone V doesn’t support DDR memory directly. However, it has a connector for using an optional XC7K35P1 memory device designed for use with the QSGMII transceivers and the HPS.
  4. There is only one SGMII transceiver and one USB transceiver in the FPGA. You can’t add more of these transceivers to interface with more peripherals on an SoC design.

Although the Cyclone V has many drawbacks, it is still a very powerful FPGA that we can use in many different systems.

Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA Boards applications

We optimize the Cyclone V for FPGA designs that use the ARM CPU. The following are some examples of systems that you can implement using Cyclone V:

1. Industrial networking, motor control

Industrial network systems are useful in many different environments. It includes factory automation, building automation, and mining. Cyclone V provides high-performance networking capabilities for industrial network systems. The QSGMII transceivers can connect the FPGA to the ethernet, which is essential for communication with other systems. Cyclone V can also implement motor control systems used within factory automation and building automation.

2. Wireless: Mobile backhaul, remote radio heads, picocell

Mobile backhaul systems are essential in cellular communication systems. It includes a wireless backhaul to the base station, which we connect to an ethernet switch. We can use Cyclone V to provide high-performance communication capabilities in these environments. The QSGMII transceivers are useful in data communication over the wireless network. But the FSMC transceivers are essential radio energy transmission or reception. Cyclone V can implement remote radio heads used in the field inside mines and other underground locations.

3. Wireline: Access routers, control plane

We can use Cyclone V in high-performance wireline routers that are useful in cellular networks. These routers are in the base station and connect the communications device to the network. The QSGMII transceivers can help data communication over the wireline network.

4. Broadcast: Capture cards, video conversion

The Cyclone V provides high performance for video conversion applications. It can help implement digital broadcast capture cards, which we use in analog broadcast television, satellite television, and IPTV systems. It can also convert analog low-definition television into digital high-definition television or other types of videos.

5. Cryptography

The Cyclone V is a secure processor that uses an ARM core for data processing. We can use it in applications that require high-performance encryption algorithms. You can use the HPS to provide an interface compatible with ARM’s processors, such as the Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9.

6. Consumer: Displays

The Cyclone V is useful in consumer applications, such as digital TVs, home theater systems, and e-book readers. We can also use it in low-power embedded systems that include large displays.

7. Security

Affordable hardware security solutions are essential for secure communications between devices and networks today. The Arm Cortex-A8 is a highly integrated processor system used in many high-performance devices due to its high performance and low power consumption.

8. automotive: Infotainment, drive assistance, battery management

Cyclone V is a completely programmable system that we can customize to perform certain tasks in a system. The QSGMII transceivers help connect the FPGA to a high-performance network. We can use it in applications that require powerful processing capabilities, such as multimedia applications. The HPS is essential in applications where we need a memory interface with an ARM-based system.

Intel (Altera) Cyclone V FPGA Boards

[ACM-027] Altera Cyclone V FPGA board

ACM-027-A4 consist of the Altera 5CEBA4F23C8N FPGA with the following specifications:

  • 100 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 3,383 Kbits Embedded memory
  • 49K Logic Elements

[ACM-027Z] Altera Cyclone V FPGA board

The ACM-027Z-A4 Is compact and straightforward, using a 3.3V power supply operation. The specification for the Altera 5CEBA4F23C8N FPGA includes:

  • 100 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 3,383 Kbits Embedded memory
  • 49K Logic Elements

[ACM-028] Altera Cyclone V F896 FPGA board

The ACM-028 consist of the Altera 5CEFA9F31C8N or 5CEFA7F31C8N. This FPGA Cyclone V board is straightforward and compact and offers high performance. Some of the specifications include:

5CEFA7F31C8N:

  • 100 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 480 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 7 PLLs
  • 312 Embedded 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 7,696 Kbits Embedded memory
  • 149.5 K Logic Elements

5CEFA9F31C8N:

  • 100 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 480 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 8 PLLs
  • 684 Embedded 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 13,917 Kbits Embedded memory
  • 301K Logic Elements

[ACM-109] Altera Cyclone V FPGA board

The Altera 5CEBA4U15C8N FPGA consists of the following attributes:

  • 128 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global clock networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 3,383kb Total Memory
  • 303kb MLAB Memory
  • 3,080kb M10KMemory
  • 18,480 ALM
  • 49k Logic Elements

[ACM-113] Altera Cyclone V GX FPGA board

Altera Cyclone V GX FPGA board

The ACM-113 family consists of 5CGXFC7B7F23C8N, 5CGXFC5B7F23C8N, and 5CGXFC3B7F23C8N Cyclone V GX FPGA.

Their specification include:

5CGXFC7:

  • 128 Board Maximum user I/O pins
  • 240 Device Maximum user I/O pins
  • 7 PLLs
  • 312 18×18 Multipliers
  • 6,860kb M10K Block
  • 150k Logic Elements

5CGXFC5:

  • 128 Board Maximum user I/O pins
  • 240 Device Maximum user I/O pins
  • 6 PLLs
  • 300 18×18 Multipliers
  • 4,460kb M10K Blocks
  • 77k Logic Elements

5CGXFC3:

  • 128 Board Maximum user I/O pins
  • 208 Device Maximum user I/O pins
  • 4 PLLs
  • 114 18×18 Multipliers
  • 1,350kb M10K Blocks
  • 36k Logic Elements (k)

[ACM-206] Altera Cyclone V FPGA board

The ACM-206 family consists of 5CEFA9F31C8N and 5CEFA7F31C8N ALTERA Cyclone V FPGA.
Their specification include:

5CEFA9F31C8N

  • 684 Embedded multipliers
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 13,917Kbits Embedded memory
  • 296 Board Maximum user I/O pins
  • 224 Device Maximum user I/O pins
  • 8 PLLs
  • 301K Logic Elements

5CEFA7F31C8N:

  • 312 Embedded multipliers
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 7,696 Kbits Embedded memory
  • 296 Board Maximum user I/O pins
  • 240 Device Maximum user I/O pins
  • 7 PLLs
  • 149.5K Logic Elements

[ACM-305] Altera Cyclone V FPGA board

Like all the other Cyclone V boards made in Japan, it had High quality eight layers and a ten-pin socket JTAG Connector. The Altera 5CEBA4U15C8N FPGA has the following attributes:

  • 56 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 3,383kb Total Memory
  • 303kb MLAB Memory
  • 3,080 kb M10K Memory
  • 18,480 ALM
  • 49K Logic Elements
  • 132 18 x 18 Multipliers

[ACM-305Z] Altera Cyclone V FPGA board

This board is a Hi-performance FPGA Cyclone V board that is very simple and compact. The Altera 5CEBA4U15C8N FPGA has the following feature:

  • 56 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 3,383 Total Memory
  • 303kb MLAB Memory
  • 3.080kb M10K Memory
  • 18,480 ALM
  • 49K Logic Elements

[AP68-07] Altera Cyclone V PLCC68 FPGA Module

With AP68-07, you will get 68pin PLCC FPGA that is simple and compact. The Altera 5CEBA4U15C8N has the following specification:

  • 50 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global clock networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 multipliers
  • 3,383kb Total Memory
  • 303kb MLAB Memory
  • 3,080 kb M10K Memory
  • 18,480 ALM
  • 49K Logic Elements

[AP68-06Z] Altera Cyclone V PLCC68 FPGA Module

The Altera 5CEBA4U15C8N has the following features:

  • 50 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global clock networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 multipliers
  • 3,383kb Total Memory
  • 303bk MLAB Memory
  • 3,080kb M10K Memory
  • 18,480 ALM
  • 49K Logic Elements

[EDA-008] Altera Cyclone V USB-FPGA board

Altera 5CEBA4F23C8N FPGA:

  • 100 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 3,383KB Embedded memory
  • 49K Logic Elements

[EDA-009] Altera Cyclone V USB-FPGA board, FTDI USB 3.0 FT600

Altera 5CEBA4F23C8N FPGA:

  • 100 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 3,383 KB Embedded memory
  • 49K Logic Elements

[EDA-302] Altera Cyclone V USB-FPGA board

Altera 5CEBA4U15C8N FPGA:

  • 56 Maximum user I/O pins (Board)
  • 224 Maximum user I/O pins (Device)
  • 16 Global Clock Networks
  • 4 PLLs
  • 132 18 x 18 Multipliers
  • 3,383kb Total Memory
  • 303kb MLAB Memory
  • 3,080kb M10K Memory
  • 18,480 ALM
  • 49K Logic Elements

Conclusion

The Cyclone V is the first FPGA Altera has produced that supports high-speed digital design. It allows for several high-speed applications. The 10SS can handle up to 60MHz of data, while the other two only support 40MHz.

From the above details, all variants support 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB of onboard memory. While this is not enormous compared to the typical DRAM found on modern systems, it will easily implement typical designs.

While there are limitations on the number of environmental effects allowed for this device, it does not appear to be much below what we find in modern FPGAs.