Altera’s FPGA family offers co-packaged optical interface options

Created July 17, 2015
Altera_Craig_DavisTechnologies and Products

Altera’s latest Stratix 10 FPGA family uses advanced semiconductor packaging techniques that paves the way for co-packaged optical interfaces. The chip company recognises that future FPGAs will need to support a variety of line speeds and modulation schemes.

“You can’t build one transceiver that fits all of these requirements and even if you could, it would not be an optimised design,” said Craig Davis, senior product marketing manager at Altera.

Using this approach, a customer can add to their design the desired interface, including optical interfaces as well as electrical ones. “We are also looking at optical transceivers directly connected to the FPGA,” said Davies. Such links would simplify interfacing to OTN mappers, and benefit data centre designs that use optical links between racks and for the top-of-rack switch.

With the system-in-package integration, different FPGAs can be built without having to create a new expensive mask set each time. “You can build a modular lego-block FPGA and all that it has different is the packaged substrate,” said Davies.

Altera has detailed two variants of the Stratix 10 family: 10 FPGAs and 10 system-on-chip (SoC) devices that include a quad-core 64-bit architecture Cortex-A53 ARM processor alongside the programmable logic.

The Stratix 10 family is implemented using Intel’s 14nm FinFET process and supports up to 5.5 million logic elements, nearly 5x larger than Altera’s 20nm Arria family of FPGAs which has 1.15 million logic elements. Intel announced in June its intention to acquire Altera for US $16.7 billion.

Altera will have engineering samples of the Stratix 10 towards the end of 2015, before being shipped to customers.

See Also: Altera Official Press Release 

Gazettabyte: Altera’s 30 billion transistor FPGA

Roy Rubenstein

This article was written
by Roy Rubenstein

is the editor of and has been researching and writing about the telecom and semiconductor industries for over 20 years.