Altera Dominates Market in Programmable Logic Devices


Altera Corporation is a manufacturer of programmable logic devices and reconfigurable complex digital circuits. Founded in 1983, Altera Corporation is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Their first PLD release was in 1984, which garnered much attention.

The company has since then expanded their product line into field-programmable gate arrays as well as complex programmable logic devices. Altera’s 2013 revenue was over $1.7 billion, pulling in $556.8 million net income.

Altera was the first company in the industry to offer 40-nm programmable logic devices in 2008. Their lines of 40-nm PLDs are the Stratix IV field-programmable gate arrays and HardCopy IV application-specific integrated circuit. Both of their devices have integrated transceiver capabilities. Altera has since then added two more FPGAs into their product line, the Stratix IV GT FPGAs, which have 11.3-Gbit/s transceivers, and the Arria II GX FPGAs, which come with 3.75-Gbit/s transceivers for cost- and power-sensitive applications.

In 2010, Altera introduced their 28-nm FPGA into the market, the Stratix V FPGA. The Stratix V FPGA was the second 28-nm FPGA introduced to the market, after Xilinx’s Kintex-7 FPGA. The Stratix V FPGA is available with transceivers at speeds going up to 28 Gbit/s. The Stratix V device family has over 1 million logic elements, with 1.6-Gbit/s low voltage differential signaling, up to 53 Mb of embedded memory, as well as up to 7 x72 DDR3 dual in-line memory modules, and up to 3,680 variable-precision digital signal processing blocks. These devices began shipping to consumers in mid-2011.

Altera’s Stratix V FPGA devices had unique features that Xilinx’s Kintex-7 FPGA does not include, such as their embedded HardCopy Blocks, which harden standard or logic-intensive applications. They increase integration and deliver twice the density without a cost penalty or power penalty. Altera made changing the core functionality on the fly possible and simple by developing a user friendly method for partial reconfiguration. Altera’s 28 nm FPGAs are aimed towards reducing power requirements to 200 mW per channel.

Altera’s largest competitor and rival is the founder of field-programmable gate array and current market-share leader, Xilinx. Their next closest competitor is Lattice Semiconductor, who represent less than 10 percent of the market. Actel (now Microsemi) and QuickLogic are other FPGA manufacturers, but do not pose a threat to Altera due to the fact that they sell to differentiated market segments that Altera does not address.

ASAP Semiconductor, through our proprietary site ASAP Memory, supports the entire spectrum of the Altera product line, providing backend support on spec sheets as well as providing the devices themselves. ASAP Memory also carries Xilinx products as well as Microsemi and Quicklogic devices. Contact us today at for a quote.


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