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Valued Contributor III
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Better than Altera tools?

Hello, I wanted to know if anyone has tried the SoC development tools from Xilinx and if they are better than Altera's SoC development tools? Vivado is Xilinx FPGA development tool and SDSoC is the ARM development tools. 

 

Thanks
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Valued Contributor III
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Re: Better than Altera tools?

In my humble opinion everything Xilinx is doing for SoC development is way better than what Altera is doing except for the silicon itself. For our needs Arria 10 SoC silicon was way more capable than the Zynq 7000 devices, and we did not have time to wait for the Ultrascale+ MPSoC stuff. I hate Qsys. Vivado is a much better thought out tool and much easier to use. It handles IP in a well thought out and consistent way. Qsys not so much. Xilinx's support in terms of reference designs, on-line training, the Xilinx user forum, documentation (their DocNav tool is fantastic), etc., all much superior to what Altera offers. Not sure how things got to this point. Five years ago I would have described the situation much differently. Xilinx's 7 series devices and Vivado tool suite were both game changers and they caught Altera with their pants down. Arria V was a complete disaster (IMO) with a slow fabric and no support for DDR3 read and write leveling (so no DIMM support). I could continue but won't. Needless to say I'm very disappointed with Altera after many years of being a happy customer.

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Valued Contributor III
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Re: Better than Altera tools?

I use vivado for my development. Vivado has integrated 5 individual tools over the past 2 years into a single java environmen, vivadot. Being java it means it takes forever to generate a bitstream, and all CPU fans work at max, making it ideal for work in winter, but hell during summer. Documentation and tutorials are immense, to the point of being unusable, unless you know exactly what you are looking for. Forums are good and fast, but are no support substitute for bugs. Unfortunately vivado is fairly new, 2 yrs old, and still is fairly buggy. SRs are good for bugs, but only available to licensed vendors, inaccessible to most 😞 

You can use temporary licenses to develop your code, but to generate the bitstream and burn it to the FPGA you need to purchase a 4000 $ license (Design Suite) for a Kintex-7 FPGA. You can burn lower FPGAs, including Zynq devices for free. 

You can program your FPGA in C/C++ using HLS licenses, but doesn't support oCL as altera does 😞 

I have no experience with altera's EDS, so i cannot compare it with vivado 😞  

As an Altera newbie I would like to inquire about the license cost of burning an Arria V FPGA. I am considering changing platform. 

 

TIA, 

Nikos
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