Version 2.1 of the Nios soft core embedded processor now provides full support for the company’s Stratix PLD family. Running beyond 125 MHz, the soft processor is said to be optimized to take advantage of the PLDs’ on-chip memory, high-performance interconnects, and embedded DSP blocks. Nios is a general-purpose RISC processor that can be combined with user logic and programmed into the PLD. It includes a 16-bit instruction set and user-selectable 16- or 32-bit data paths, configurable for many applications. The new version includes version 2.52 of the SOPC Builder development tool, which generates hardware description language (HDL). Using this tool with Quartus II design software promises to increase the performance of integer-multiplication operations beyond that of software-only implementations. The processor is license and royalty free when used in the company’s PLDs and HardCopy devices. Product-update subscription renewal is available at $495 for one year. ALTERA CORP., San Jose, CA. (800) 707-3753.