from Altera

The economical Cyclone III FPGA Starter Kit is easy to use and an ideal introduction if you have never designed with FPGAs before. If you are an experienced FPGA designer considering the Cyclone III FPGA architecture, you'll love building systems leveraging the 60 percent (on average) faster performance that Cyclone III FPGAs offer over competitor offerings. Several design examples included in the kit make for a quick "out-of-the-box" evaluation experience.

Ordering Information

Table 1. Cyclone III FPGA Starter Kit Ordering Code and Pricing Information (1)

Ordering Code Price Ordering Information
DK-START-3C25N $199 Buy online via Altera's eStore or contact your local Altera® distributor to place your order.

 

Note:

  1. You can purchase optional HSMC interface-compatible daughtercards, adapters, or cables to use with your development kit.

Cyclone III FPGAs and Nios II 32-Bit Soft IP Processor

Cyclone III FPGAs are perfectly suited as embedded processors or microcontrollers when combined with 32-bit embedded processor intellectual property (IP) cores. Popular 32-bit processor soft IP cores are listed below:

You can add many other functions to the Cyclone III FPGA with additional IP cores available from Altera and Altera's partners.

HSMC Interface

Altera developed the specification for the HSMC, which is based on the Samtec mechanical connector, to define and standardize the interface between optional daughtercards and host boards. This specification outlines both the electrical and mechanical properties of the interface between daughtercard and host. You can also create your own HSMC interface-compatible daughtercards.

 

Development Kit Contents

The Cyclone III FPGA Starter Development Kit is RoHS-compliant and features:

  • Cyclone III starter board (see Figure 1)
    • Cyclone III EP3C25F324 FPGA
    • Configuration
      • Embedded USB-Blaster™ circuitry (includes an Altera EPM3128A CPLD) allowing the download of FPGA configuration files via the user's USB port
    • Power and analog devices from Linear Technology
    • Memory
      • 256 megabits (Mb) of DDR SDRAM
      • 1 megabyte (MB) of synchronous SRAM
      • 16 MB of Intel P30/P33 flash memory
    • Clocking
      • 50 MHz onboard oscillator
    • Switches and indicators
      • Six push buttons in total, four user controlled
      • Seven LEDs in total, four user controlled
    • Connectors
      • HSMC
      • USB Type B
    • Cables and power
      • USB cable
      • External power supply (U.S. compatible plug with EU and UK adaptors)
  • Cyclone III FPGA Starter Kit CD-ROM
    • Example designs targeting the Cyclone III FPGA starter board
      • Create an FPGA design in one hour
      • Power measurements of a Cyclone III FPGA
      • A 32-bit soft processor system inside an FPGA
    • Complete documentation (see Table 2)
      • User guide
      • Reference manual
      • Board schematic and layout
      • Bill of materials (BOM)
      • Product and partner information
  • Download instructions to receive the latest version of the following software (at no charge):
    • Quartus® II Web Edition (FPGA design software)
    • ModelSim®-Altera Web Edition (FPGA simulation software from ModelSim)
    • Nios II Embedded Design Suite, Evaluation Edition (32-bit microprocessor software)

 

Figure 1. Cyclone III FPGA Starter Board

 

Available Documentation

Table 2. Documents Available for the Cyclone III FPGA Starter Kit

Document Description Version
Reference manual Detailed document containing information about the onboard components and interfaces1.3.0
Kit installation (Windows PC only) (Updated) Full installation of all files, including quick start guide, user guide, reference manual, BOM, layout, PCB, schematics, Board Test System design example, and other documents or files.

12.0.0 (1)

Kit installation (Windows PC only) (Updated) Full installation of all files, including quick start guide, user guide, reference manual, BOM, layout, PCB, schematics, Board Test System design example, and other documents or files.11.1.0 (2)
Kit installation
(Windows PC only)
(Archive) Full installation of all files, including quick start guide, user guide, reference manual, BOM, layout, PCB, schematics, Board Test System design example, and other documents or files.11.0.0 (3)
Kit installation
(Windows PC only)
10.1.0 (4)

Notes:

  1. This kit installation works with Quartus II design software version 12.0.0.
  2. This kit installation works with Quartus II design software version 11.1.0.
  3. This kit installation works with Quartus II design software version 11.0.0.
  4. This kit installation works with Quartus II design software version 10.1.0.

 

Reference Designs

Learn about the benefits of remotely updating FPGA designs by working with the Cyclone III Active Parallel Remote System Upgrade Reference Design. Details are described in AN 521: Cyclone III Active Parallel Remote System Upgrade Reference Design, and you can download the Quartus II software design files for use on the Cyclone III FPGA Starter Kit.

For a detailed write-up on how to update systems with the remote update feature in Cyclone III FPGAs, read the IEEE 1149.1 (JTAG) Boundary-Scan Testing for Cyclone III Devices (PDF) chapter of the Cyclone III Device Handbook.