Termination Solutions in Stratix II GX Devices

Signal integrity has become crucial in digital design because system speeds and clock edge rates continue to increase. To improve signal integrity, both single-ended and differential signals should be properly terminated. Termination can be implemented with external termination resistors on a board or with on-chip termination technology. Figure 1 compares the integrity of a signal without termination against one using Stratix® II GX on-chip termination.

Figure 1. Stratix II GX On-Chip Termination Improves Signal Integrity

Altera® Stratix II GX devices support both on-chip termination and external termination schemes, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Termination Solutions Support

Termination Type On-Chip External
SeriesYesYes
ParallelNoYes
DifferentialYesYes

On-Chip & Off-Chip Termination Benefits

On-chip termination eliminates the need for external resistors and simplifies the design of a printed circuit board (PCB). Stratix II GX on-chip termination benefits are described in Table 2.

Table 2. Benefits of Stratix II GX On-Chip Termination

Benefit Description
Improved Signal IntegrityOn-chip termination eliminates stub effects and helps to prevent reflections on the transmission line.
Simpler Board DesignOn-chip termination minimizes the need for external resistors, allowing designers to use fewer resistors, fewer board traces, and less board space, resulting in a simpler board layout.
Lower CostWith on-chip termination, fewer resistors, fewer traces, and less space are needed on the board. System designers spend less time in layout. Reducing the designer's layout time and the number of components on the board can result in lower overall system costs.
Increased System ReliabilitySystem reliability increases because on-chip termination reduces the number of components from the PCB.

Termination with external resistors, on the other hand, provides tighter tolerance and is recommended for designs with stringent impedance tolerance requirements. Altera provides an external termination design kit (PDF). Figure 2 shows how off-chip termination is implemented using resistor packs.

Figure 2. Off-Chip Termination Using Resistor Packs

Series Termination

Stratix II GX devices support on-chip series termination for LVTTL, LVCMOS, SSTL-18, and SSTL-2 single-ended I/O standards (shown in Table 3). The on-chip termination is provided at the output signal to match the impedance of the transmission line, typically 25Ω or 50Ω. Designers can use this termination in many general-purpose applications and to interface with double data rate (DDR) SDRAM memories.

Table 3. Supported I/O Standards for Series Termination

Standard Resistance (Ω)
3.3-V, 2.5-V, 1.8-V, 1.5-V LVTTL25 or 50
3.3-V, 2.5-V, 1.8-V, 1.5-V LVCMOS25 or 50
SSTL-18, SSTL-2 (Class I)25
SSTL-18, SSTL-2 (Class II)25

Parallel Termination

Stratix II GX devices support parallel termination through external resistors. Altera provides the external termination design kit (PDF) with recommendations for low-cost, small-form-factor resistor packs, board schematics, and layout examples, along with simulation and test results.

Differential Termination

Designers use differential termination in system applications that require support for high-speed source-synchronous protocols, such as SPI-4.2, SFI-4, XSBI, RapidIO™, HyperTransport, NPSI, and UTOPIA IV standards.

Stratix II GX devices support LVDS and HyperTransport™ input on-chip differential termination. The value of the on-chip termination resistor shown in Figure 3, RD, is 100Ω.

Figure 3. On-Chip Differential Termination