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Breaking The Three Laws
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    Breaking the Three Laws is dedicated to discussing technically challenging ASIC prototyping problems and sharing solutions.
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    Michael (Mick) Posner joined Synopsys in 1994 and is currently Director of Product Marketing for Synopsys' DesignWare USB Solutions. Previously, he was the Director of Product Marketing for Physical (FPGA-based) Prototyping and has held various product marketing, technical marketing manager and application consultant positions at Synopsys. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the University of Brighton, England.

Who is your preferred FPGA Vendor and Why?

Posted by Michael Posner on October 29th, 2012

Synopsys’ HAPS FPGA-based prototyping systems are Xilinx FPGA based and have been for most of the generations. Why is that you ask yourself? Well the simple answer is that the Xilinx devices fit the HAPS architecture better. The Xilinx I/O is generic across them all while the I/O on the Altera devices usually has some set of dedicated functions on select pins. What this means to HAPS is that an Altera based version would have restrictions of what pins could be used as part of the flexible interconnect topography reducing the flexibility of the solution. I doubt this is the reason the majority of FPGA-based prototypers use Xilinx as well as seen from the survey results below.

We know Altera devices are used for some prototyping as seen above but why? Traditionally Altera SerDes technology has been seen as superior; however Xilinx has done a good job in catching up in this respect and with the advent of the Xilinx Virtex-7 2000T device has surpassed Altera in capacity by a long way. Altera devices do have other advantages I’m sure but at least for today the Xilinx devices “seem” better suited for FPGA-based prototyping IMO.

I’m interested in hearing from you if your company uses Altera for prototyping? If you do, why?

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