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The Nios® embedded processor v3.0

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Dec 5, 2001
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sdram caracterics


Annonse from Altera:
The Nios® embedded processor has been a huge success since its introduction in the fall of 2000, quickly becoming the most popular FPGA-targeted soft embedded processor ever. Building on the strengths that made it so successful, version 3.0 delivers a total package of new features and capabilities to developers looking for an alternative to standard processors.

New Features & Capabilities

The Nios processor version 3.0 gives developers:

Faster access to low-cost SDRAM devices
On-chip (L1) cache
Joint Test Action Group (JTAG)-based debugger that supports real-time debugging
Enhanced Avalon™ switch fabric
Network protocols software library
World-Class Development Tools

Software engineers need a complete set of software development tools (including a compiler, debugger, JTAG-based debugger, and real-time operating system (RTOS) support), and version 3.0 of the Nios processor puts these at designers' fingertips. Our world-class partners, including Accelerated Technology, First Silicon Solution (FS2), and Red Hat, provide all the popular development tools software engineers need to make their Nios designs a success.

New Features from the Web

The Nios processor version 3.0 includes a web-aware version of SOPC Builder that will automatically update the user's list of peripherals, custom instructions, hardware accelerators, and related software as they become available. Several new SOPC Builder components are scheduled for delivery to Nios developers in Q2 2003, including a floating point unit, streaming parallel output, input capture/event counter, and push-button RTOS support for Accelerated Technology's Nucleus Plus and µCLinux by Microtronix.


The Nios embedded processor gives developers peace-of-mind because it comes with a royalty-free, perpetual license allowing designers to ship Nios-based systems forever.


i can't wait

sounds fantastic!

i can't wait to get my hands on one and run some benchmarks :D

i contacted my FAE and he replied with:
"This is only the beginning, there will be much better after the summer."


I use NiOS, and I love it because of its versatility !, but I am confronted to some bugs and can't bypass them. For example : malloc() returns me a pointer on ROM and not RAM !!
If anybody have an idea ... :)

THX for all

PS : i've contacted my FAE too and she can't solve my problème !

manitooo said:
... I am confronted to some bugs and can't bypass them. For example : malloc() returns me a pointer on ROM and not RAM !!
If anybody have an idea ... :)

if you are into debugging software, check the software libraries/GNU tools source-code: it's all open-source.

best of luck,

Where can I download the Altera SoPC Builder?

SOPC Builder

ZanXQ said:
Where can I download the @ltera SoPC Builder?

you have to buy it. :roll:

the complete hardware + sofware kit costs 995$. good products cost money, this certainly applies to hardware system design.

Hi ZanXQ
You can download from
But how do you use without L*i*c ?
Do you have it?

ramesh said:
Hi ZanXQ
You can download from
But how do you use without L*i*c ?
Do you have it?

I don't think you HEAR very well :roll:
I said you can't download it.

You also DON'T NEED a license file for SOPC-Builder 2.8 (Nios 3.0). Just install and it will work. :p

EDIT: today I received News & Views Q1-2003. on page 10 I read that you can TESTDRIVE the Nios processor for Free. If you register, you receive a cd containing quartus II web edition, sopc builder and nios evaluation version.

just surf to

Hi FoxB,

Although the Nios provides such many existing peripheral drivers to select, I think that the keypoints may be how to participate your system, how to write the right code communicating with these hardware devices... So, there are two problems listed to expect someone to give some hints.
1. Is it possible to find solutions from C code generated from Simulink to ansi c by removing some garbage ?
2. What should be cautious that uses gcc compiler ? Thanks!



does anyone knows a good forum about NIOS ..
to share programs problems and stuff like that?

Has anybody made any experiences with MicroBlaze
(Xilinx) ... any compares between Nios and MB???
Which one is best or is more flexible ... how about
space (LUTs odr LC)?

now v3.02 support cyclone

now v3.02 support cyclone

How do you compare NiOS to other "soft cpu" like ARM and others?

Nios is used in FPGA which is more expensive than ARM!

What kind of tips do you need in detail?

ARM isn't a soft CPU : it's an IP (like will be NIOS II)

At the moment, Nios is like a private IP¨only available onto ALTERA product...

ARM and Nios have their own respective caracterics and capabilities....

kingkang : ARM is only a CPU so it doesn't make sens to compare a CPU to a FPGA... (moreover, an FPGA with a CPU IP inside...)
for the matter of price... look at the cyclone price and as far as I know (someone could correct me if I'm wrong).. but we can put a Nios into a Cyclone (not the smaller one I think)

to manitooo:
Nios can even be put into Acex devices.

Fitter output from "minimal_32" sample from Nios 3.01:

; Flow Summary ;
; Flow Status ; Successful - Fri Mar 19 10:24:10 2004 ;
; Revision Name ; minimal_32 ;
; Top-level Entity Name ; minimal_32 ;
; Family ; ACEX1K ;
; Total logic elements ; 1,741 / 4,992 ( 34 % ) ;
; Total pins ; 4 / 147 ( 2 % ) ;
; Total memory bits ; 34,688 / 49,152 ( 70 % ) ;
; Total PLLs ; 0 / 1 ( 0 % ) ;
; Device ; EP1K100QC208-1 ;

Going with a smaller device results in "Error: Project requires 11 Embedded Array Blocks for RAM, but the selected device can contain only 10 EABs"...maybe removing ROM/RAM can help...since the LE usage is pretty low for nios32_cpu...smaller than z80 from opencores (o;

impressive.... possibilities are really fantascic.... :)

Maybe someone can tell the figures about Microblaze and Xilinx?

Since Xilinx devices are much cheaper it would be interesting to see if same performance could be reached with lower costs also...

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