Power Optimization for Stratix III FPGAs

Power estimation and optimization are critical to the understanding and minimizing of power consumption within a design. Altera’s Quartus® II software has set the industry standard for the most accurate FPGA power estimation capabilities and the most sophisticated FPGA power optimization technology.

Based on accurate power models and your design implementation details, Quartus II software can improve performance, minimize area, and reduce power. As shown in figure 1, using information on your design and constraints, Quartus II software makes intelligent place-and-route decisions via the PowerPlay power analysis and optimization tool.

The PowerPlay power analysis and optimization tool uses the exact information on how your design will be implemented in the various elements of the FPGA combined with the accurate power models of each of those elements operating in the conditions you specify.

Figure 1. Use of PowerPlay Power Analysis and Optimization in the Quartus II Software Design Flow

By using the Quartus II PowerPlay tool for power analysis and optimization, Altera has taken the leadership position in bringing power optimization into the design flow. On average, for designs based on the Stratix® II family of FPGAs, dynamic power reductions of 10 percent to 40 percent are realized over standard performance and area optimized designs (see figure 2).

To further reduce power consumption, the Quartus II PowerPlay power analysis and optimization tool automatically utilizes the new Stratix III device family architecture capabilities.

Quartus II software has many automatic power optimizations ranging from major functional block transformations, down to correct selection of logic inputs to minimize capacitance on high-toggling nets. While many of these changes are transparent to the user, they provide optimal utilization of Stratix FPGA architecture features to minimize power consumption.

Figure 2. Average Dynamic Power Reductions Realized Using Quartus II PowerPlay Power Optimization