FPGAs at 28nm: Meeting the Challenge of Modern Systems-on-a-Chip


FPGAs continue to be amongst the first chips in next-generation process technologies, and 28 nm FPGAs will soon arrive. The tremendous transistor counts available at 28 nm enable the design of very large and complex systems. Such systems, implemented on an FPGA, often require "hard" logic to meet high-performance requirements. New FPGAs will include a wide variety of such blocks and thus make an excellent platform to implement large systems-on-a-chip.

This talk will give an overview of some of the key new features of Altera's 28 nm FPGAs, such as partial reconfiguration, enhancements to the programmable fabric, and new hard blocks. I will describe some of the process challenges of designing fast FPGAs with good power consumption and reliability, and highlight the solutions used in Stratix V. For FPGA designers to complete ever-larger systems in the same design time, FPGA CAD tools need to enable faster turnaround time and higher levels of design abstraction. I will describe products and research efforts underway to address these CAD challenges, including partial reconfiguration tools that allow designers to "swap in" portions of a circuit, and system design tools that work above the HDL level.

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