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Difference Between Xilinx and Altera

fpga_bookXilinx vs Altera

There are two well-known companies, Xilinx and Altera, who are, nowadays, battling for the top position in the silicon technology market. They are the best makers of FPGAs, not only for universities, but also for big companies developing digital technology. However, in order for us to fully understand what Xilinx and Altera are, we must first define FPGA.

Xilinx

Xilinx is basically the one who invented the FPGA (FPGAs are digital logic microchips that can be programmed), and is currently the biggest name in the FPGA world. They are the leaders in this technology. With Xilinx, you don’t have to worry about intermediate generated files. The generated files a user should be worried about are:

· Files that are generated by IP cores.

· Programming files, like SOF, POF and RBF.

· The Xilinx settings file, as they contain all the settings for a project.

· In case you use SoPC builder, you should keep track of the .sopcinfo file.

Altera

Altera tools have a more intuitive feel at the GUI, or Graphical User Interface. For most users, navigating through the menu and searching for bits of code is more user-friendly. Another thing that is easier to do with Altera, is viewing the timing analysis results. A user can open a vital path in a chip viewer, and the paths with all
the logic functions will be highlighted so you can even browse through all the individual routing delays on the segments. Here are other points where Altera has the upper hand over Xilinx:

· The ML401 development kit (Xilinx) is hands-down the best $500 development kit out there, but, it is not supported by the free ISE WebPACK.

· The new Altera Stratix II has really interesting architecture. Most users opt for a Stratix II (Altera) instead of the ML401 (Xilinx).

Summary:

1. Xilinx is basically the one who invented the FPGA, and is currently the biggest name in the FPGA world, while Altera is only second-best.

2. Altera tools have a more intuitive feel at the GUI, or Graphical User Interface.

3. With Xilinx, you don’t need to concern yourself with intermediate generated files. Altera can open a vital path in a chip viewer, and the paths with all
the logic functions will be highlighted so you can even browse through all the individual routing delays on the segments.

4. The Altera has really interesting architecture, while Xilinx is the leader in this technology.


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2 Comments

  1. this comparison looks pretty old. someone plz update this.

  2. Xilinx has a very buggy software and project migration to a newer version is very difficult while Altera has no problems (only open the project and that’s all)..
    Timing analysis of Altera is very intuitive and Xilinx is a hell!

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