Altera follows Xilinx PCI lead

Altera follows Xilinx PCI leadRichard Ball FPGA maker Altera has unveiled a PCI core that runs at 66MHz over a 64-bit wide bus.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of a similar launch by Xilinx, Altera’s great rival.
In fact, Altera has announced two PCI cores, one developed internally and one by PLD Applications, an independent core developer. The former implements both master and target cores, while the latter implements just the target.
Like Xilinx, Altera is claiming compliance with version 2.2 of the PCI specification and the capability to run at full speed with no wait states. This results in a peak bandwidth of 528Mbyte/s. Its own core has been beta tested by ten customers.
Both cores are designed to work with Altera’s FLEX10KE family of devices. They will work with all five devices in the family, Altera said.
The largest of these, the 10K200E, leaves 180,000 gates of user logic after implementing the core, which itself uses around ten per cent of the FPGA’s resources.
Altera’s own core costs ?9,236. A PCI development board with a 10K100 chip and software drivers will be available in May for ?3,076. The PLD Applications core is available costing ?6,098. Xilinx 8051 Core
A simpler, though not neccesarily less important, piece of IP – an 8051 processor core – has been released by Xilinx. The core, developed in France by Dolphin Integration, executes instructions eight times faster than the original 8051.
An FPGA speed of 29.8MHz corresponds to a standard 8051 clock speed of 238MHz. Looking at it the other way around, existing applications can run the clock eight times slower, reducing power consumption.
Xilinx is aiming the core at embedded markets such as automotive, industrial and medical equipment. Prices for an EDIF netlist of the core start at $10,000, while VHDL source code and testbenches are available at extra cost. Development boards are available from Dolphin, as are design services and technical support.

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