How to Install and Use Altera Quartus 12.1 for FPGA Design
Altera Quartus 12.1 is a software tool that allows you to design, simulate, and program FPGA devices from Intel (formerly Altera). It supports a wide range of FPGA families, including Cyclone, Arria, Stratix, and MAX. In this article, we will show you how to install and use Altera Quartus 12.1 for FPGA design.
How to Install Altera Quartus 12.1
To install Altera Quartus 12.1, you need to download the software from the Intel website[^2^]. You can choose between three editions: Pro, Standard, and Lite. The Pro edition supports the latest FPGA devices, such as Intel Agilex and Stratix 10. The Standard edition supports earlier device families, such as Arria 10 and Cyclone 10 LP. The Lite edition supports low-cost device families, such as Cyclone IV and MAX 10. The Lite edition is free and does not require a license.
After downloading the software, you need to run the installer and follow the instructions on the screen. You can choose the components you want to install, such as device support files, simulation tools, and documentation. You can also specify the installation directory and the license file location.
How to Use Altera Quartus 12.1 for FPGA Design
To use Altera Quartus 12.1 for FPGA design, you need to follow these steps:
Create a new project and select your target device.
Add your source files to the project. You can use different design entry methods, such as schematic editor, HDL editor, or IP catalog.
Analyze and synthesize your design. This will check your syntax, optimize your logic, and map your design to the target device.
Simulate your design. This will allow you to verify the functionality and timing of your design using testbenches and waveforms.
Assign pin locations and other device settings. This will configure your device according to your board layout and specifications.
Generate a programming file. This will create a file that contains the configuration data for your device.
Program your device. This will transfer the programming file to your device using a USB cable or a JTAG programmer.
For more details on how to use Altera Quartus 12.1 for FPGA design, you can refer to the user guide[^2^] or the online training courses[^2^].
Example: Blinking LED with Altera Quartus 12.1
In this example, we will show you how to use Altera Quartus 12.1 to design and program a simple blinking LED circuit using a Cyclone IV FPGA device. You will need the following hardware and software:
A Cyclone IV FPGA development board with a USB cable and a JTAG programmer.
A computer with Altera Quartus 12.1 Lite edition installed.
A LED and a resistor connected to the FPGA pins.
The steps are as follows:
Create a new project in Altera Quartus 12.1 and select the Cyclone IV EP4CE6E22C8 device as your target.
Add a new Verilog HDL file to your project and name it blink.v. This file will contain the code for your blinking LED circuit.
Write the following code in blink.v:
module blink (
input clk, // clock input
output led // LED output
// parameter for the clock frequency
parameter FREQ = 50000000; // 50 MHz
// parameter for the blinking period
parameter PERIOD = 1000000; // 1 second
// counter variable
reg [31:0] cnt;
// assign the LED output to the MSB of the counter
assign led = cnt;
// always block to increment the counter
always @(posedge clk) begin
// if the counter reaches the period value, reset it to zero