The Arria 10 is an advanced system-on-chip (SoC) FPGA family designed and developed by Intel (previously known as Altera). It is a highly capable and versatile platform that combines the advantages of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) with the integration of ARM-based hard processors. At its core, the Arria 10 SoC consists of FPGA fabric, which provides the flexibility and re-programmability that FPGAs are known for. This allows users to customize the hardware functionality to meet their specific requirements. The FPGA fabric can be configured and reconfigured, enabling rapid prototyping, system upgrades, and adaptation to changing needs.
The Arria 10 family encompasses a range of devices with varying features and capabilities to cater to diverse application requirements. These devices offer high-performance processing, advanced memory interfaces, and support for various high-speed connectivity standards. They also provide a wide range of on-chip peripherals, including Ethernet, USB, PCIe, and more, allowing seamless integration with external devices and systems.
The flexibility and power of the Arria 10 SoC make it suitable for a broad spectrum of applications across different industries. Some common application areas include data centers, telecommunications, industrial automation, military and aerospace, medical equipment, and automotive systems. In these domains, the Arria 10 SoC can be used to accelerate computational tasks, implement real-time processing, enable high-speed data transfers, and support complex control and interface functionalities.
Key Features of Arria 10
Arria 10 FPGAs come with a rich set of features that contribute to their performance and versatility. Some of the key features include:
FPGA Fabric: Arria 10 devices offer a programmable logic fabric with a substantial number of logic elements, with capacities ranging up to 1.15 million logic elements. These logic elements can be configured and interconnected to create custom digital circuits tailored to specific application requirements. The flexibility of the FPGA fabric allows designers to implement complex functionality, algorithms, and interfaces in hardware, providing highly customizable solutions.
ARM Processors: The Arria 10 SoC incorporates dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processors. These processors are based on the ARM architecture and provide powerful computing capabilities. They enable the execution of software applications and real-time operating systems directly on the FPGA device, alongside the programmable hardware. This combination of hardware and software processing allows for a highly flexible and scalable system design, where software tasks and hardware acceleration can be balanced according to the application needs.
High-Speed Transceivers: Arria 10 FPGAs include high-speed transceivers that support a range of industry-standard protocols, such as PCI Express (PCIe), Ethernet, and Serial RapidIO. These transceivers enable fast and reliable communication between the FPGA and external devices, facilitating high-speed data transfer and connectivity. The support for various protocols makes Arria 10 devices suitable for applications that require high-bandwidth data communication, such as networking, data centers, and high-performance computing.
Memory Interfaces: Arria 10 devices provide support for high-performance memory interfaces, including DDR4, QDR IV, and LPDDR3. These interfaces enable efficient data storage and retrieval, facilitating the processing of large data sets. The memory interfaces can be utilized to store program code, data, and intermediate results, enhancing the overall performance and functionality of the system. The availability of different memory interface options allows designers to choose the most appropriate memory technology for their specific application requirements.
Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Blocks: Arria 10 devices feature dedicated hard floating-point DSP blocks that offer high-performance signal processing capabilities. These DSP blocks are optimized for performing mathematical operations and complex signal-processing tasks efficiently. They are particularly useful in applications such as wireless communication, radar systems, image and video processing, and other tasks that involve intensive digital signal processing. The inclusion of DSP blocks in Arria 10 devices enables accelerated processing of real-time data and enhances overall system performance.
Arria 10 Applications
Arria 10 FPGAs find applications in a wide range of industries and domains. Some notable applications include:
Data Center Acceleration and Networking: Arria 10 FPGAs are employed in data centers to accelerate workloads such as data analytics, machine learning, and network processing. Their high-performance and energy-efficient design enable the acceleration of complex algorithms and protocols, improving the overall efficiency and speed of data center operations.
Wireless Communication Systems: In wireless communication applications like 5G, LTE, and Wi-Fi, Arria 10 FPGAs play a crucial role. Their ability to handle high-speed data and perform real-time signal processing makes them ideal for tasks such as baseband processing (handling the digital signals), beamforming (directing radio waves), and supporting wireless infrastructure.
Video and Image Processing: Arria 10 FPGAs are well-suited for video and image processing applications due to their high-performance FPGA fabric and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) capabilities. These features enable tasks like video transcoding (conversion between different video formats), image recognition, computer vision (analyzing and interpreting images), and augmented reality (overlaying digital content on the real world).
Medical Imaging and Diagnostics: The high-performance capabilities of Arria 10 FPGAs make them well-suited for medical imaging applications. They are used in ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and digital X-ray systems to process and analyze medical image data with high speed and accuracy. This enables advanced diagnostics, precise imaging, and efficient medical workflows.
High-Performance Computing (HPC): Arria 10 FPGAs are utilized in high-performance computing applications. Their parallel processing capabilities and high-bandwidth interfaces enable the acceleration of computationally intensive algorithms and simulations. They can significantly enhance the performance of tasks requiring heavy computations, such as scientific simulations, financial modeling, and data processing.
Industrial Automation and Control: Arria 10 devices are employed in industrial automation and control systems, providing real-time control, signal processing, and interface capabilities required in manufacturing, robotics, and process control applications. They enable precise control, fast data processing, and seamless integration with various industrial devices and protocols.
Aerospace and Defense Systems: Arria 10 FPGAs find applications in aerospace and defense systems. They are utilized for tasks such as radar processing, signal intelligence, electronic warfare, and avionics (aviation electronics). The FPGAs’ high-performance capabilities and reconfigurability make them suitable for complex signal processing and data handling in critical defense and aerospace applications.
Automotive Electronics: Arria 10 FPGAs are employed in automotive electronics applications to support advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), infotainment systems, connectivity, and sensor fusion. They facilitate high-speed data processing, real-time analytics, and integration with automotive networks. These FPGAs enable intelligent decision-making, enhanced safety features, and seamless connectivity in modern vehicles.
Programming and Development Tools
To facilitate the development of Arria 10-based projects, Intel provides a comprehensive set of programming and development tools. These tools assist developers in designing, implementing, and debugging their FPGA and software systems. Some of the key tools include:
Intel Quartus Prime Design Software: Intel Quartus Prime is the primary development tool for designing FPGA systems, including those using Arria 10 devices. It provides a user-friendly environment for creating, synthesizing, and debugging FPGA designs. The software supports industry-standard hardware description languages like VHDL and Verilog, allowing developers to describe the behavior and structure of their FPGA designs.
ARM Development Studio: The ARM Development Studio is a comprehensive software development environment specifically designed for programming the embedded ARM processors within Arria 10 devices. It offers a range of tools such as compilers, debuggers, and performance analyzers. These tools enable developers to write, test, and optimize software applications that run on the ARM cores integrated into Arria 10 FPGAs.
OpenCL SDK: Intel provides an OpenCL (Open Computing Language) software development kit for FPGA acceleration. OpenCL is a high-level programming language that allows developers to write code that targets both the FPGA fabric and the ARM processors. This enables efficient heterogeneous computing, where developers can offload computationally intensive tasks to the FPGA fabric while leveraging the processing power of the ARM cores.
Intel FPGA SDK for OpenCL: The Intel FPGA SDK for OpenCL extends the OpenCL programming model to Intel FPGAs, including Arria 10. It provides a high-level programming interface that allows developers to accelerate their applications using FPGA resources. With this SDK, developers can write code in OpenCL and take advantage of the performance benefits offered by FPGA acceleration for specific workloads.
Intel SoC Embedded Design Suite: The Intel SoC Embedded Design Suite integrates the hardware and software development flows for Arria 10 SoC FPGAs. It includes a set of tools that facilitate system-level design, software development, and debugging. This suite enables seamless integration between the FPGA fabric and the ARM processor functionality, allowing developers to leverage the combined capabilities of both components in their designs.
Intel FPGA Power and Thermal Analyzer: The Intel FPGA Power and Thermal Analyzer is a tool that helps optimize the power and thermal characteristics of Arria 10 designs. It provides insights into power consumption and thermal profiles of the FPGA system, allowing developers to make informed design decisions. By analyzing the power and thermal aspects, developers can optimize their designs for better efficiency and reliability.
Arria 10 Development Boards
Intel offers various development boards specifically designed for Arria 10, providing a platform for prototyping, evaluation, and development. Some popular Arria 10 development boards include:
Arria 10 GX Development Kit: This development kit is designed for high-performance FPGA applications. It features an Arria 10 GX FPGA, high-speed transceivers, DDR4 memory, and various connectivity options. The kit includes all the necessary components and interfaces to support FPGA development and testing.
Arria 10 SoC Development Kit: This kit is targeted for software-defined systems using Arria 10 SoC FPGAs. It includes an Arria 10 SoC FPGA with integrated ARM processors, DDR4 memory, high-speed transceivers, and a wide range of interfaces. The development kit provides an environment for developing and testing hardware/software systems on the Arria 10 SoC platform.
Arria 10 SoC FPGA Embedded Evaluation Kit: This kit is designed for evaluating the capabilities of Arria 10 SoC FPGAs. It includes a compact development board with an Arria 10 SoC FPGA, DDR4 memory, various I/O interfaces, and onboard sensors. It offers a cost-effective option for exploring the integration of FPGA and ARM processing in a single device.
Arria 10 GX FPGA Development Kit: This development kit focuses on high-speed data communication applications. It features an Arria 10 GX FPGA with high-speed transceivers, PCIe interfaces, DDR4 memory, and various connectivity options. The kit is suitable for developing and testing high-performance communication systems.
These programming and development tools provided by Intel empower developers to efficiently utilize the capabilities of Arria 10 FPGAs and ARM processors. By offering user-friendly environments, compilers, debuggers, performance analyzers, and power/thermal analysis tools, these software packages enable developers to create complex systems that leverage the performance and flexibility of Arria 10 devices while streamlining the development process.
Performance and Power Efficiency
Arria 10 FPGAs are designed to deliver high performance while maintaining power efficiency. The combination of FPGA fabric and ARM processors allows for efficient utilization of computational resources and optimized power consumption. The FPGA fabric provides parallel processing capabilities, enabling acceleration of computationally intensive tasks. The integration of ARM processors allows for a balance between hardware acceleration and software processing, optimizing system performance and power efficiency. Arria 10 devices also feature advanced power management techniques, such as dynamic power scaling and clock gating, to achieve power efficiency in various applications.
Arria 10 FPGAs are a powerful and versatile family of devices that combine FPGA fabric with embedded ARM processors, offering a balance between hardware acceleration and software processing. With a rich set of features, including high-speed transceivers, memory interfaces, DSP blocks, and a secure device manager, Arria 10 devices are well-suited for a wide range of applications in industries such as data center acceleration, wireless communication, video processing, high-performance computing, industrial automation, aerospace, medical imaging, and automotive electronics.
Intel provides a comprehensive ecosystem of programming and development tools, including Quartus Prime Design Software, ARM Development Studio, and OpenCL SDK, enabling efficient development and optimization of FPGA and software systems targeting Arria 10. Additionally, a variety of development boards, such as the Arria 10 GX Development Kit and Arria 10 SoC Development Kit, offer a platform for prototyping and evaluation.
Arria 10 FPGAs excel in delivering high performance while maintaining power efficiency, thanks to the parallel processing capabilities of the FPGA fabric, integration of ARM processors, and advanced power management techniques. This combination allows developers to leverage the strengths of both hardware acceleration and software processing, resulting in optimized system performance.