Design Support

The Nios II embedded processor offers access to a portfolio of robust software development tools and software components available from Altera and its partner ecosystem. With the Nios II EDS (Embedded Design Suite), users have access to a collection of software tools, utilities, libraries, and drivers to help bring designs to market.

The Nios II EDS includes:

  • Nios II Software Build Tools for Eclipse
  • Nios II Software Build Tools
  • Embedded Software
  • Device Drivers for Altera IP (intellectual property) and HAL API
  • Nios II IDE (legacy support)

With the Nios II embedded processor, designers also have access to a range of software components. Altera and its partners provide the following solutions:

  • Embedded Operating System Support
  • Middleware Support and Graphics Libraries
  • Partner Tools
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Cores

The Nios II C2H (C-to-Hardware Acceleration) compiler is a tool used to boost the performance of time-critical ANSI C functions by converting them into hardware accelerators in the FPGA. The compiler, which is part of the Eclipse-based Nios II integrated development environment, enables designers to accelerate NIOS II embedded software, written in ANSI C, without increasing the system clock frequency.

Hardware accelerators enable designers to take full advantage of the parallel processing structure of the FPGA to calculate more computations in parallel per clock cycle than general-purpose processors, and they can deliver orders-of-magnitude increase in performance. Offloading software to hardware accelerators is a manual task without tools like the C2H compiler, and is limited to those developers with the tools, experience, and time required to create, test, and integrate RTL blocks into the system. The Nios II C2H compiler automates the creation and integration of hardware accelerators, reducing development time.