Introduction to Quartus II Software

Introduction to Quartus II Software
Introduction to Quartus II Software
Introduction to Quartus II Software
The Altera® Quartus® II design software is a multiplatform design environment that easily adapts to your specific
needs in all phases of FPGA and CPLD design. Quartus II software delivers the highest productivity and
performance for Altera FPGAs, CPLDs, and HardCopy® ASICs.
Quartus II software delivers superior synthesis and placement and routing, resulting in compilation time
advantages. Compilation time reduction features include:
• Multiprocessor support
• Rapid Recompile
• Incremental compilation
Incremental Compilation and Rapid Recompile
Quartus II Analysis and Synthesis, together with the Quartus II Fitter, incrementally compiles only the parts of your
design that change between compilations. By compiling only changed partitions, incremental compilation reduces
compilation time by up to 70 percent.
For small engineering change orders (ECOs), the Rapid Recompile feature maximizes your productivity by reducing
your compilation time by 65 percent on average, and improves design timing preservation.
Compilation Time Comparison
Quartus II Relative Compilation Time by Release
(Relative Time Based on Fixed Designs and Fixed CPU)
You can perform the
functional and timing
simulation of your design
with the ModelSim®-Altera
Edition software, or any
EDA simulators supported
by Quartus II software. The
Quartus II NativeLink
feature allows you to run
your third-party simulator
and other EDA tools from
within Quartus II software.
Relative Compile Time (Log Scale)
Quartus II Software Version
The Qsys system integration tool saves significant time and effort in the
FPGA design process by automatically generating interconnect logic to
connect IP functions and subsystems. Qsys is the next-generation SOPC
Builder tool powered by a new FPGA-optimized Network-on-a-Chip
(NoC) technology delivering high-performance, scalable systems, and
improved design reuse opportunities.
2 Quartus II Design Software
For v11.0, use v10.1 data point.
Design Entry
Your design can begin as HDL or a schematic. The MegaWizard™ Plug-In Manager helps you create or modify design
files that contain custom megafunction variations, which you can then instantiate in a design file.
Timing and Power Analysis
The Quartus II TimeQuest timing analyzer
allows you to analyze the timing characteristics
of your design. Altera is the only FPGA vendor
with comprehensive Synopsys Design Constraints (SDC) support in its second-generation,
easy-to-use timing analyzer. The TimeQuest
analyzer offers a complete GUI and scripting
environment to create timing constraints and
reports. It also includes a timing analysis wizard
that makes it easy to create initial constraints.
PowerPlay Power Analyzer Flow
Speed Area Power Synthesis
Placement and
Optimize Power TimeQuest Timing Analyzer
The Quartus II PowerPlay power analysis and optimization tools
allow you to estimate power consumption throughout the design
cycle. They use power optimization technology, which provides on
average a 10-percent reduction in power consumption. The Altera
PowerPlay Early Power Estimator estimates power consumption
and produces a Microsoft Excel-based spreadsheet with estimate
information. The PowerPlay power analyzer performs post-fitting
power analysis and reports power characteristics by device resource
and design entity.
Power Analyzer
Power-Optimized Design Verification
Quartus II software offers several tools to help you analyze the results of compilation and fitting. Verification with the
SignalTap™ II logic analyzer and the System Console allows you to probe your design as it functions on the device
and in the system.
Links to Online Resources
Video: Basic Compilation Flow
Documentation: Design Planning with the Quartus II Software
Quartus II Design Software
• 3
Design Entry
The Qsys system integration tool saves significant time and effort in the FPGA design process by automatically generating interconnect logic to connect custom HDL design blocks, commonly referred to as design modules; intellectual
property (IP) cores; and components. Qsys is powered by a new FPGA-optimized NoC–based technology delivering
higher performance. Qsys also raises the level of abstraction and increases productivity by enabling design reuse and
scalable systems.
Qsys Interconnect Fabric Example
Control A
32 Bit
Memory A
Control B
32 Bit
Width Match
Width Match
Width Match
Width Match
Width Match
Processing 1
8 Bit
Processing 2
8 Bit
Processing 3
16 Bit
Processing 4
64 Bit
Processing 5
64 Bit
Processing X
Memory B
Clock 1
Memory C
Clock 2
Qsys Auto-Generated Interconnect
Quartus II Block Editor
The Quartus II Block Editor allows you to enter and edit graphic design information in the form of schematics and block
diagrams. The Block Editor reads and edits Block Design Files (.bdf) that contain blocks and symbols representing logic.
MegaWizard Plug-In Manager
The MegaWizard Plug-In Manager helps you create or modify design files that contain custom megafunction variations,
which you can then instantiate in a design file. The MegaWizard Plug-In Manager allows you to set values for parameters and optional ports.
4 Quartus II Design Software
Design Partitions
You can assign design entities to design partitions—logical design blocks that are preserved or recompiled during
incremental compilation. Incremental compilation saves you time and effort by recompiling only those design partitions
you are optimizing. Quartus II software preserves previous compilation results for partitions that already meet your
design requirements. The Design Partition Planner allows you to view a graphical representation of your design
hierarchy and assists you in creating effective design partitions.
Links to Online Resources
Video: Design Entry
Webcast: Why You Should Evaluate Qsys System Integration Tool
Quartus II Online Help: About Design Entry
Web: Design Entry and Planning Resource Center
Documentation: Creating a System with Qsys
Incremental Design Planning and Methodology
Quartus II software is tailored to several different design methodologies, including incremental compilation design
flows and block-based design flows. In a team-based incremental compilation flow, the design is divided into partitions.
Each team member can functionally verify a partition independently, and then simply provide the source code for the
partition to a project lead for integration. Using placeholders, the project lead can compile the larger design even if the
source code is not yet complete for a partition.
Compiling all design partitions in a single Quartus II project ensures that the design is compiled with a consistent set of
Incremental design encompasses the following:
• Synthesis
• Design partitioning
• Full compilation
• Simulation, verification, and analysis, followed by changes to the design
• Recompilation of only changed elements of the design hierarchy
Links to Online Resources
Video: Incremental Compilation
Video: Rapid Recompile
Web: Incremental Compilation Resource Center
Online Help: About Incremental Compilation
Documentation: Best Practices for Incremental Compilation Partitions and
Floorplan Assignments
Documentation: Quartus II Handbook: Incremental Compilation for
Hierarchical and Team-Based Design
Quartus II Design Software
• 5
Quartus Integrated Synthesis and the Fitter
Quartus II software includes a comprehensive integrated synthesis solution and advanced integration with leading
third-party synthesis software vendors. Quartus II integrated synthesis fully supports the Verilog HDL and VHDL
languages, and includes algorithms to minimize gate count, remove redundant logic, and use device architecture
efficiently. Quartus II integrated synthesis includes advanced synthesis options and compiler directives to guide the
synthesis process to achieve optimal results.
The Quartus II Fitter places and routes your design for the target device. Using the database created by Quartus II
integrated synthesis, the Fitter matches the logic and timing requirements of the project with the available resources of
the target device. It assigns each logic function to the best logic cell location for routing and timing, and selects appropriate interconnection paths and pin assignments.
Netlist Viewers and the Chip Planner
The Quartus II RTL Viewer, State Machine Viewer, and Technology Map Viewer provide powerful ways to view your
initial and fully mapped synthesis results during the debugging, optimization, and constraint entry processes. The Chip
Planner supports ECOs by allowing quick and efficient changes to your logic late in the design cycle. It provides a visual
display of your post placement-and-routing design mapped to device architecture, and allows you to create, move, and
delete specific routing and resource usage.
Links to Online Resources
Compare Full and Incremental Compilation
Web: Synthesis and Netlist
Viewers Resource Center
Incremental Compilation
Top-Down Approach
Full Compilation
Create Design Partitions (A, B, C)
Online Help: About the Netlist
Online Help: About the Chip
Step 1
Quartus II Project
(No Partitions)
Quartus II Project
Step 1
Modify Design (In Red)
Re-Compile Whole Project
Step 2
6 Quartus II Design Software
Quartus II Project
(No Partitions)
Modify Design in Partition A
Re-Compile Only Partition A
Quartus II Project
Step 2
Making Assignments
Assignments allow you to specify various options and settings for the logic in your design. When you make resource
assignments in your design, Quartus II software attempts to match those resource assignments with the resources on the
device, meet any other constraints you have set, and then optimize the remaining logic in the design. The Assignment
Editor and Pin Planner are interfaces for creating and editing pin, node, and entity-level assignments in Quartus II
software. The Pin Planner allows you to make assignments to individual pins and also groups of pins. It includes a
package view of the device with different colors and symbols that represent the different types of pins and additional
symbols that represent I/O banks. The symbols used in the Pin Planner are very similar to the symbols used in device
family data sheets.
Links to Online Resources
Online Help: About Assignments
Online Help: About the Pin
Documentation: Constraining
Documentation: I/O Management
Assignment Entry Flow
Quartus II
Settings Dialog Box
Quartus II
Design Files
Quartus II
Assignment Editor
Quartus II
Project File (.qpf)
Quartus II
Pin Planner
Quartus II
Design Partitions
Quartus II
Chip Planner
Timing Analyzer
To Quartus II
Analysis &
Quartus II
Settings File (.qsf)
Verilog Quartus
Mapping Files (.vqm)
From Block-Based Design
Synopsys Design
Constraints File (.sdc)
You can perform functional and
timing simulation of your design with
the ModelSim-Altera Edition software
or any EDA simulators supported by
Quartus II software. Quartus II
software provides the following
features for performing simulation:
• NativeLink integration with
simulation tools
Altera provides functional simulation libraries for designs that contain
Altera-specific components, and atom-based timing simulation libraries for
designs compiled in Quartus II software.
Quartus II software also allows you to use the EDA tools you are familiar with
for other stages of the design flow, including synthesis, timing analysis, and
formal verification.
Links to Online Resources
• Generation of output netlist files
Video: ModelSim Simulation
• Functional and timing simulation
Web: EDA Partners
• Generation of testbench templates
and memory initialization
• Generation of input for power analysis
Online Help: About Using the ModelSim Software with the Quartus II
Documentation: Simulating Altera Designs
Quartus II Design Software
• 7
The TimeQuest Timing Analyzer
The TimeQuest timing analyzer is a powerful ASIC-style timing analysis tool
that uses industry-standard constraint, analysis, and reporting methodologies.
You can use SDC commands and formatting to direct the analysis, and also to
instruct the Quartus II Fitter to optimize the placement of logic in the device
in order to meet timing constraints.
The TimeQuest analyzer analyzes the timing paths in the design, calculates
the propagation delay along each path, checks for timing constraint violations,
and reports results. If the TimeQuest analyzer reports timing violations, you
can customize the reports to view precise timing information about specific
paths. You can then determine whether the design requires additional timing
constraints or exceptions, logic changes, or placement-and-routing constraints.
Links to Online Resources
Video: TimeQuest Timing
Web: TimeQuest Timing
Analyzer Resource Center
Online Help: About TimeQuest
Timing Analysis
Documentation: The Quartus II
TimeQuest Timing Analyzer
Documentation: Best Practices
for the Quartus II TimeQuest
Timing Analyzer
The PowerPlay Power Analyzer
The Quartus II PowerPlay power analysis tools allow you to estimate static and dynamic power consumption throughout
the design cycle. The PowerPlay power analyzer produces a power report that highlights–by block type and entity–the
power consumed, allowing you to plan for thermal conditions and power supply requirements.
The PowerPlay power analyzer
accepts information from a variety
of data sources, and analyzes it
with several factors affecting
power consumption. The result is a
high-quality power estimate. It
reports total calculated dynamic
and static thermal power consumption, current consumed from
voltage sources, a summary of the
signal activities used for analysis,
and a confidence metric detailing
the various inputs on which it
bases the power analysis.
Power Analysis Flow
From Quartus II Analysis & Synthesis and Quartus II Fitter
From Quartus II
Simulator or
Other EDA
Simulation Tool
From Quartus II
Quartus II PowerPlay
Power Analyzer
Quartus II Settings
File (.qsf)
Signal Activity File
(.saf) or Value Change Dump File (.vcd)
PowerPlay Early
Power Estimator
(.rpt, .htm)
Power Estimation File (<revision name>_early_pwr.csv)
Links to Online Resources
Video: PowerPlay Power Analyzer - Power Analysis
Web: PowerPlay Power Analyzer Support Resources
Online Help: About the PowerPlay Power Analyzer
Online Help: Performing an Early Power Estimate Using the PowerPlay Early Power Estimator
Documentation: PowerPlay Power Analysis
8 Quartus II Design Software
Signal Activity
File (.saf)
Quartus II software provides several verification tools that allow you to analyze your design operating in-system and at
system speeds:
• The SignalTap II logic analyzer allows you to route signals through the JTAG interface to Quartus II software based on
user-defined trigger conditions.
• The SignalProbe feature allows you to use otherwise unused device routing resources to route selected signals to an
external logic analyzer or oscilloscope.
• The In-System Memory Content and In-System Sources and Probes Editors allow you to view and modify data in a
design at run time.
• The external logic analyzer interface and virtual JTAG interface allow you fully customized interaction with your
• The Simultaneous Switching Noise (SSN) Analyzer supports I/O planning by estimating the voltage noise caused by
the simultaneous switching of output pins.
System Console
System Console provides you with Tcl scripts and a GUI to perform low-level hardware debugging of your design, to
identify a Qsys module by its path, and to open and close a debugging connection to a module. You can use the
Transceiver Toolkit component of the System Console to set up channel links in your transceiver-based designs, and
then automatically run EyeQ and Auto Sweep testing for a graphical view of your test.
Links to Online Resources
Video: Transceiver Toolkit
Web: On-Chip Debugging Design Examples
Documentation: System Debugging Tools Overview
Quartus II Design Software
• 9
For More Information
Altera Software Installation and Licensing
Online Help
Quartus II software includes a browser-based Help
system that provides comprehensive documentation
for Quartus II software. The Help system is also
available separately from the Quartus II software.
The Altera Software Installation and Licensing
manual provides detailed information about
software requirements, installation, and licensing
for Windows and Linux workstations.
Knowledge Database
The Altera Knowledge Database provides support
solutions, frequently asked questions, and known
The Quartus II Interactive Tutorial
Quartus II software includes the Flash-based
Quartus II Interactive Tutorial. The modules of this
tutorial teach you how to use the basic features of
Quartus II design software, including design entry,
compilation, timing analysis, programming,
incremental compilation, debugging, and the Qsys
system integration tool.
Quartus II Handbook
The Quartus II Handbook provides comprehensive
information about the programmable logic design
cycle from design to verification.
10 Quartus II Design Software
Other Altera Literature
The literature that is available from the Altera
website is the most current information about
Altera products and features; it is updated
frequently, even after a product has been released.
Altera continues to add literature on the latest
product features and also any additional information as requested by customers.
Web: Ordering Information http://www.altera.
Training: Using the Quartus II Software: An
Altera Corporation
Altera European Headquarters
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Altera International Ltd.
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Copyright © 2011 Altera Corporation. All rights reserved. Altera, the stylized Altera logo, specific device designations, and all other words and logos that are identified as trademarks and/or service marks
are, unless noted otherwise, the trademarks and service marks of Altera Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. All other product or service names are the property of their respective holders. Altera
products are protected under numerous U.S. and foreign patents and pending applications, mask work rights, and copyrights. PDF, April 2011
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