6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 6, 2017 5:13 AM by pablo.losada

    S25FL NOR memories and Arria 10 FPGAs: do they get along well?

    pablo.losada

      I think this is my first post so hello everyone!

         

      I would like to know if one of the S25FL NOR memory series, the S25FL256, would be a suitable configuration memory for an Arria 10 FPGA in an Active Serial configuration scheme (i.e. the FPGA actively reads data from the memory using a 1-bit serial interface). The FPGA model I am working with requires at least a 256-MBit configuration memory with a 1.8V interface, so I am considering to add a S25FL256 to my design setting the IO supply voltage to 1.8V. I have taken a look at this application note (AN98540) and I figured out the required circuitry, but I noticed the Arria 10 family is not included in the AN. Also I have noticed that the "official" serial memories that Altera manufactures and endorses for Arria 10 FPGAs (the EPCQ-L devices) are not functionally equivalent to the S25FL NOR memory series, so...

         

      Does anyone know if a S25FL memory with enough capacity and proper interfacing would be suitable to configure an Arria 10 in active serial mode? I mean, will the FPGA be able to automatically read data at power up from this memory and load a configuration file?

         

      Thank you very much for your time in advance and best regards,

         

      P.

        • 1. Re: S25FL NOR memories and Arria 10 FPGAs: do they get along well?
          pablo.losada

          Searching the web I found a worrying post on Altera's forum in which someone asks a question very similar to mine but targeting a Cyclone V FPGA instead. One of the answers reads:

             
              

          So I sent spansion a question about this and here is their response:

              

          4-Byte addressing support is required to configure FPGAs from 256Mb or higher density SPI Flash.
          Altera requires specific operations to enter (4BYTEADDREN – B7 Command) and exit (4BYTEADDREX – E9 Command) 4-Byte addressing mode.
          Our S25FL256S does not support “B7” and “E9” commands, thus CANNOT be used to configure Altera FPGAs in Active Serial configuration mode. Hope it helps.

             
             

          Spansion is now part of Cypress, the memory model is the same as mine and the FPGA is similar, so, could someone be so kind to confirm this, please?

             

          I have seen indeed that Altera's EPCQ-L devices support the 4BYTEADDREN (B7) / 4BYTEADDREX (E9) commands mentioned above, and they are either not part of the S25FL256S's command set (B7) or they have a different purpose (E9 - password unlock).

             

          Thank you very much.

          • 2. Re: S25FL NOR memories and Arria 10 FPGAs: do they get along well?
            gsns

            Hi,

               

            It is not possible for Altera FPGA to use 256Mb S25FL256S as this device does not support the 4-Bytes addressing commands required by Altera FPGA, i.e. Altera requires specific operations to enter (4BYTEADDREN – B7 Command) and exit (4BYTEADDREX – E9 Command) 4-Byte addressing mode.

               

            These 4-Bytes addressing command ‘B7’h and ‘E9’h ARE supported however by our new S25FL256L, so the S25FL256L is compliant with Altera command set.

               

            However, Cypress Flash are NOT supported in Active mode. Only in passive mode, and there is not problem to support S25FL256L in passive mode.

               

            If you want to use S25FL256L in active mode, you need to raise a support request to Altera to do so (they have a dedicated procedure for this type of case) and we will help Altera afterwards completing the support of S25FL256L.

               

            Datasheet link for S25FL256L :

               

            http://www.cypress.com/file/192131/download

               

             

               

            Thanks,

               

            Krishna.

            • 3. Re: S25FL NOR memories and Arria 10 FPGAs: do they get along well?
              pablo.losada

              Hi Krishna,

                 

               Thank you for your prompt response. Could I ask what it means exactly that the S25FL256L is not supported by Arria 10 devices in Active mode? Because to my understanding, if this device complies with Altera's command set, it should be able to fulfill all commands issued by the FPGA during configuration. Could the problem be that S25FL256L is a 3.0V device while the FPGA requires 1.8V (or less) IO levels? Or is it that the Device ID of these memories is rejected by the FPGA? With regard to the latter, Quartus has an option to override device ID checks in v16.

                 

              Regarding the support request, do you know what the minimum production size is for the request to be processed?

                 

              Anyway, thank you again,

                 

              P.

              • 4. Re: S25FL NOR memories and Arria 10 FPGAs: do they get along well?
                gsns

                Hi,

                   

                Regarding the support request, do you know what the minimum production size is for the request to be processed?

                   

                A) No we do not  idea about the minimum production size for the request. Please check with Altera.

                   

                Thanks,

                   

                Krishna.

                • 5. Re: S25FL NOR memories and Arria 10 FPGAs: do they get along well?
                  gsns

                  Hi,

                     

                  Your understanding is right that the reason why our S25FL256L is not supported by Altera in Active mode is because it is rejected by Quartus S/W which monitore the Device ID of the Flash and possibly the Manufacturer ID.

                     

                  Some version of Quartus S/W had possibility to override Device ID, but the recent Quartus version did not have this capability.

                     

                  It is possible that the latest Quartus S/W has this option again, and indeed in that case our Flash S25FL256L should work (assumming the S/W does not monitor the Manufacturer ID)

                     

                   

                     

                  Thanks,

                     

                  Krishna.

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: S25FL NOR memories and Arria 10 FPGAs: do they get along well?
                    pablo.losada

                    Krishna, thank you very much for the information, it was tremendously helpful. I'm very pleased.