AN 738: Intel® Arria® 10 Device Design Guidelines

ID 683555
Date 6/30/2017
Document Table of Contents

1.3.1. Early Power Estimation

Table 9.  Early Power Estimation Checklist
Number Done? Checklist Item
1   Estimate power consumption with the Early Power Estimator (EPE) spreadsheet to plan the cooling solution and power supplies before the logic design is complete.

FPGA power consumption is an important design consideration and must be estimated accurately to develop an appropriate power budget to design the power supplies, voltage regulators, decouplers, heat sink, and cooling system. Power estimation and analysis have two significant planning requirements:

  • Thermal planning—The cooling solution must sufficiently dissipate the heat generated by the device. In particular, the computed junction temperature must fall within normal device specifications.
  • Power supply planning—The power supplies must provide adequate current to support device operation.

Power consumption in FPGA devices is dependent on the logic design. This dependence can make power estimation challenging during the early board specification and layout stages. The Intel EPE tool allows you to estimate power utilization before the design is complete by processing information about the device and the device resources that will be used in the design, as well as the operating frequency, toggle rates, and environmental considerations. You can use the tool to perform thermal analysis, including calculation of device junction temperatures derived from the ambient temperature and device power consumption. The EPE then calculates the power, current estimates, and thermal analysis for the design.

If you do not have an existing design, estimate the number of device resources used in your design and enter it manually. The EPE tool accuracy depends on your inputs and your estimation of the device resources. If this information changes (during or after your design is complete), your power estimation results are less accurate. If you have an existing design or a partially-completed compiled design, use the Generate Early Power Estimator File command in the Quartus® Prime software to provide input to the spreadsheet.

The EPE spreadsheet includes the Import Data macro, which parses the information in the Quartus® Prime generated power estimation file, or alternatively from an older version of the EPE, and transfers it into the EPE tool. If you do not want to use the macro, you can transfer the data into the EPE tool manually. You should enter additional resources to be used in the final design manually if the existing Quartus® Prime project represents only a portion of your full design. You can edit the inputs to the EPE tool and add additional device resources or adjust the parameters after importing the power estimation file information.

When the design is complete, the Power Analyzer tool in the Quartus® Prime software provides more accurate estimation of power, ensuring that thermal and supply budgets are not violated. For the most accurate power estimation, use gate-level simulation results with an output file (.vcd) output file from a third-party simulation tool.

Note: To obtain the EPE tool, contact your local sales representative.