Altera's Nios® II processors give you the ultimate flexibility to achieve the exact performance required for your embedded design, without overpaying for high clock frequency, power-hungry off-the-shelf processors. Additionally, Nios II processors help you avoid last-minute hand-tuning of assembly language code, giving you configurable performance features that can be designed in as needed.
Table 1 lists the performance features and benefits of Nios II processors.
|Table 1. Nios II Performance Features and Benefits|
|High-Performance Processor Core||Optimized for performance-critical applications, the Nios II/f "fast" core has a 6-stage pipeline, dynamic branch prediction, instruction and data cache, and 250+ MHz performance. High-performance FPGAs, such as those in the Stratix® III device family, give the Nios II/f core enough performance for many core processing tasks.|
|Multi-Processor Systems||Use multicore systems to scale a system's performance or to divide software applications into simpler tasks. The Nios II Embedded Design Suite (EDS) includes support for creating customized multicore systems. Nios II processors, combined with extremely high-density FPGAs such as those in the Stratix III device family, are ideal for creating high-performance multiprocessor applications.|
|High-Bandwidth Bus Structure||Automatically generate an Avalon® interconnect fabric to support any system that you build by using the SOPC Builder system generation tool, which allows you to generate high-throughput systems that support simultaneous multiple master/slave connections, direct memory access (DMA) channels, and on-chip data buffers.|
|Custom Instructions||Accelerate time-critical software algorithms by adding custom instructions to the Nios II instruction set.|
|Fast Configurable On-Chip Memory||Create fixed low-latency on-chip memory buffers for performance-critical applications.|
Flexible Processing With FPGAs
Traditionally, embedded developers have had limited options for accelerating performance near the end of a design cycle, including buying a faster processor or hand-tuning assembly language subroutines. While both options can be effective, the trade-offs they bring are too large to ignore. What designer wants to add cost or increase power usage? Who wants hand-optimized assembly code that is tied closely to a specific processor architecture?
Nios II processors are the right choice if:
- Your application is too large and complex to develop and debug and still meet the schedule
- Create a multiprocessor Nios II system with a few mouse clicks and partition your code into two smaller, simpler applications. You will meet timing, validate your application, and be shipping product in no time.
- Your application does not meet your timing requirements
- Nios II developers can add a custom instruction or hardware accelerator to selectively boost only the bottle-neck routine.
Altera® FPGAs and Nios II processors give you a whole new toolbox of performance features, as well as many options for reducing risk in embedded design.