Migration Altera APEX20KE to ???

In my actual design I'm using an Altera APEX20KE with 200,000 gates. In my next (larger) design I want to use an newer and maybe cheaper FPGA. I don't want to change to an other vendor, I intend to use an Altera FPGA. Which one shall I use??? My first choice was a CYCLONE, which is much cheaper, but is this familie powerful enough compared to an APEX20KE??? My second choice was a STRATIX, which is rather expensive???

Thank you for your help, Manfred

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Manfred Balik
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I assume you are using an Apex 20K200E which has 8320 LEs. Both the Cyclone EP1C20 and EP2C20 have more than twice the number of LEs and RAM. The EP1C20 has slightly more resources but the EP2C20 has embedded multipliers. You will have to look at your other project requirements to see which is best. There are larger members of the Cyclone II family in case you need even more resources.

Daniel Lang

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Daniel Lang

Eithout knowing anything about your application,...

I believe that if you managed to run things in a 20KE, you will definetly be able to run it in a CycloneII. My experience is that CycloneII is more powerful than 20KE, although not as powerful as the Stratix families. But as long as you don't intend to actively use the DSP blocks, the large RAM's and lots of clocks, CycloneII will do the job.


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If you are not using the full resources of the APEX device then you will hopefully fit your design into a EP2C8 (8256 LEs). You should actually get better fitting with these newer devices due to more advanced routing. These have embedded multipliers too so if you use multiplication you'll save a ton of space.


htoerr> Eithout knowing anything about your application,...

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As others have posted, there is a Cyclone II device with an LE count close to that of the APEX 20KE device you are using, and that's probably your best bet. If you use Cyclone I, the 1C6 device has ~6,000 LEs, while the 1C12 has approximately 12,000 LEs, so you'll have to pick between those two.

Cyclone I and II each fit about 11% more logic than APEX 20KE per logic cell. So the 2C8 actually has more logic capacity than the 20K200E -- the

2C8 has the equivalent of over 9,000 APEX LEs. The reason is that the routing and multiplexers between the LUT and FF in the logic cell were redesigned between APEX and Stratix / Cyclone, and this redesign lets us use both the LUT and FF in a logic cell simultaneously more often than we could in the APEX FPGAs. The net impact is fewer LEs per design, and the last result I saw showed that we needed 11% fewer LEs in Cyclone than APEX, on average.

In terms of speed, Cyclone and Cyclone II are much faster than APEX 20KE. Cyclone is approximately 50% faster than APEX 20KE, and Cyclone II is approximately 70% faster than APEX 20KE, again on average. So if you can close timing in a 20KE, it'll be very easy (generally trivial) to close in Cyclone. As well, if you're bringing data in at a high rate on I/Os and widening your internal datapath so the FPGA fabric can process it at a slower rate, the higher speed of Cyclone I/II mean you can probably run your datapath narrower and faster. If you can do this, it saves LEs, and lets you go down to a smaller device.

So basically Cyclone I or II is a better choice than APEX for modern designs.

Vaughn Altera [v b e t z (at) altera.com]

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Vaughn Betz

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