Altera® HSMC defines electrical and mechanical properties of a high speed mezzanine card interface. This specification standardizes the way in which mezzanine cards communicate and connect to host boards. By taking advantage of the high-performance I/O features found in today’s FPGA devices, manufacturers can build a single mezzanine card that will then interface to multiple host boards. Similarly, they can build a host board that can leverage many different, pre-built, mezzanine cards.

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Altera® HSMC – Q Strip® (QSH/QTH)

The HSMC connectors defined by the specification are based on the 0.50 mm pitch Q Strip® QSH/QTH Series high-speed board-to-board connectors from Samtec. These connectors are partitioned into three “banks.” Bank 1 in each respective connector has every third signal pin removed to allow for multi-gigahertz differential signaling. Bank 2 and Bank 3 in each respective connector have the entire rows of signal pins filled for various single-ended interface signals.

Altera® HSMC Specified Connectors (Q Strip®)

Samtec PN

Three Bank
Pitch Rows Prints 3D


0.5 mm

2 PDF Print IGES




0.5 mm

2 PDF Print IGES


The Expanding HSMC Ecosystem

The Expanding HSMC Ecosystem

The Altera® High Speed Mezzanine Card (HSMC) specification allows for a flexible design approach to interoperable motherboards and mezzanine cards of various manufacturers. By defining both the electrical and mechanical properties of the adaptor, HSMC brings a standardized approach to a modular architecture. Key features of HSMC include:

  • Optimization for high speed protocols such as PCI Express®, Gigabit Ethernet, and AMC
  • HSMC interconnect provides JTAG, high speed serial I/O, as well as SE and DP signal mapping
  • Programmable I/O and flexible layout options
  • Three-bank connector design allowing for SE and DP signals

Terasic ICB-HSMC

Terasic’s ICB-HSMC (Industrial Communication Board) was designed with industrial communications in mind. ICB allows for serial communication protocols to be sent in real-time. This results in reliable distributed control in applications such as automation and instrumentation.

Key features include:

  • HSMC (High-Speed Mezzanine Card) compatible
  • RS232, RS485 and CAN (Controller Area Network) support over HSMC
  • 40-pin expansion port

Featured Samtec Products:

  • Altera® HSMC (0.50 mm Pitch Lead-Free) Male Connector (Q Strip® ASP-122952-01)
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Test Reports

Altera® HSMC Standard

For questions regarding the Altera® HSMC Standard and additional information, please contact us at:


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