Nios II Processor: The World's Most Versatile Embedded Processor

Altera's Nios® II processor, the world's most versatile processor, according to Gartner Research, is the most widely used soft processor in the FPGA industry. The Nios II processor delivers unprecedented flexibility for your cost-sensitive, real-time, safety-critical (DO-254), ASIC-optimized, and applications processing needs. The Nios II processor supports all Altera® SoC and FPGA families.

What makes the Nios II processor the world's most versatile processor?

Find out more details on the Nios II processor:




Nios II
Processor Core





Power and cost sensitive Nios II economy core Altera With as low as 600 logic elements, the Nios II economy processor core is ideal for microcontroller applications. The Nios II economy processor core, software tools, and device drivers are offered free of charge.
Real time Nios II fast core Altera

Absolutely deterministic, jitter free real-time performance with unique hardware real-time feature options

  • Vector Interrupt Controller
  • Tightly Coupled Memory
  • Custom instructions
    (ability to use FPGA hardware to accelerate a function)
  • Supported by industry-leading real-time operating systems (RTOS)
  • Nios II processor is the ideal real-time processor to use with DSP Builder-based hardware accelerators to provide deterministic, high performance real-time results
Applications processing Nios II fast core Altera With a simple configuration option, the Nios II fast processor core can use a memory management unit (MMU) to run embedded Linux. Both open source and commercially supported versions of Linux for Nios II processors are available.
Altera Embedded Alliance
Safety critical Nios II SC core HCell Certify your design for DO-254 compliance by using the Nios II Safety Critical procesor core along with the DO-254 compliance design services offered by HCell.


Dual Core

fRSmartComp IP Yogitech Utilize the flexibility of the Nios II processor and Yogitech's fRSmartComp technology to provide systems with high diagnostic coverage, self-checking and advanced diagnostic features in full compliance with functional safety standards IEC 61508 and ISO 26262.

Get Started Now

Start your design today with the Nios II processor by purchasing one of the many low-cost evaluation or development kits available for the Nios II processor.

To ship designs featuring the Nios II processor, you will need to purchase a license for the Nios II processor.

Table 1. Processor Performance (DMIPS* at fMAX) by Device

Devices ARM®
Nios II /e
Nios II /f
Cyclone® III 
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
80 at
145 MHz
84 at
90 MHz
30 at
215 MHz
195 at
175 MHz
Cyclone III LS
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
- 65 at
70 MHz
20 at
150 MHz
160 at
140 MHz
Cyclone IV GX
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
- 70 at
75 MHz

30 at
175 MHz

190 at
165 MHz
Cyclone V GX
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
- -

33 at

220 MHz

192 at

170 MHz

Arria® II GX 
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
- 84 at
90 MHz
45 at
300 MHz

270 at

240 MHz

Arria® V GX 
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
- -

37.5 at


226 at

200 MHz

Arria® I0 GX 
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
- -

52.5 at

350 MHz

305 at


Stratix® III 
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
150 at
230 MHz
104 at
112 MHz
48 at
340 MHz
340 at
290 MHz
Stratix IV
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
- 135 at
145 MHz
50 at
340 MHz
340 at
290 MHz
Stratix V
(DMIPS(1) at MHz)
- 135 at
145 MHz
50 at
330 MHz
320 at
280 MHz


Notes for Table 1 :

  1. Dhrystones 2.1 benchmark

For more information please see the Nios II Performance Benchmarks Datasheet