Altera Rolls Out EP3C120 Cyclone III FPGA

Altera Corporation (Nasdaq: ALTR) announced the shipment of the EP3C120, the largest member of its new low-cost 65-nm Cyclone(R) III FPGA family. Consuming only a fraction of the power needed by other FPGAs of comparable capacity, the EP3C120 is ideal for a broad range of applications requiring both high integration and low power, such as wireless communications infrastructure, software defined radio, and video processing and imaging.

Compared to other FPGAs of similar density that typically consume more than a watt of standby power, the EP3C120 devices consume less than 200-mW standby power. Power consumption is an increasing concern among developers as both businesses and consumers look for environmentally responsible products that reduce energy consumption and costs. The low power consumption of the EP3C120 enables it to uniquely address power-sensitive applications or applications in thermally challenging environments where the heat generated by device operation cannot easily be dissipated, affecting product reliability and cost.

“We are using our first EP3C120 devices in our next-generation wireless products. These products deliver high-quality, low-latency digital, video and voice data, offering capabilities to our customers that have not been possible in the past,” said Tom Freeburg, chief technical officer at MemoryLink. “The Cyclone III FPGAs offer compelling features that make them ideal for our needs, including generous memory and DSP resources as well as the lowest power consumption. This enables us to integrate greater capabilities into our products while minimizing our customers’ energy costs.”

“The market response to our new Cyclone III family has been tremendous,” said Luanne Schirrmeister, director of marketing, low-cost products, Altera Corporation. “Applications such as software defined radio and emerging new wireless and video designs are looking for solutions that offer both high functionality and low power, all at a low cost. The EP3C120 delivers in all three of these areas and has enjoyed a very fast adoption into applications where low-cost FPGAs have traditionally not participated.”

Leveraging Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC’s) 65-nm low-power (LP) process, Cyclone III FPGAs offer low power, a rich supply of logic (5K to 120K logic elements), memory (up to 4 Mbits) and digital signal processing (DSP) capabilities (up to 288 DSP multipliers).

The entire Cyclone III family is supported by Quartus(R) II software version 7.1 in both subscription and the free web editions. The advanced technology and productivity features in Quartus II software allow designers to exploit the full potential of the Cyclone III family to achieve 50 percent lower power consumption compared to the previous generation family, and three speed grades faster than the nearest low-cost FPGA competitor.

The Cyclone III EP3C120 FPGA is shipping now to customers, a month ahead of schedule.

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