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Intel® Quartus® Prime Software: The Best FPGA Design Environment

Quartus Prime Download Lite: A Free FPGA Design Software

If you are looking for a free and easy way to design, simulate, and program FPGA devices, you might want to check out Quartus Prime Download Lite. This is a free version of the Intel Quartus Prime Design Software, a powerful and comprehensive tool for FPGA development. In this article, we will introduce you to Quartus Prime, its features and editions, and how to download and install Quartus Prime Lite. We will also show you how to get started with your first FPGA project using Quartus Prime Lite.

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What is Quartus Prime?

Quartus Prime is a programmable logic device design software produced by Intel. It supports the advanced features in Intel's next-generation FPGAs and SoCs, as well as the low-cost FPGA device families. Quartus Prime enables analysis and synthesis of HDL designs, which allows the developer to compile their designs, perform timing analysis, examine RTL diagrams, simulate a design's reaction to different stimuli, and configure the target device with the programmer.

Quartus Prime Features

Some of the features of Quartus Prime include:

  • Platform Designer (previously QSys), a system integration tool that simplifies integrating customized IP cores in your project. The Platform Designer automatically generates interconnect logic and creates a testbench to verify functionality.

  • Design Optimization, a set of tools and techniques that help you achieve the highest design performance in Intel FPGAs. Techniques include optimizing the design netlist, addressing critical chains that limit retiming and timing closure, and optimization of device resource usage.

  • Timing Analyzer, a tool that performs static timing analysis on your design. It helps you identify and resolve timing violations, create timing constraints, and generate timing reports.

  • Power Analyzer, a tool that estimates the power consumption of your design based on device characteristics, operating conditions, and design activity. It helps you optimize your design for power efficiency and thermal management.

  • Signal Tap Logic Analyzer, a tool that allows you to capture and analyze signals in your design using an on-chip logic analyzer. It helps you debug your design behavior and functionality.

  • Transceiver Toolkit, a tool that allows you to test and monitor the performance of high-speed serial transceivers in your design. It helps you configure transceiver settings, perform eye diagram analysis, and generate test patterns.

  • Intel Advanced Link Analyzer, a tool that allows you to simulate and optimize high-speed serial links in your design. It helps you model channel characteristics, perform signal integrity analysis, and optimize equalization settings.

Quartus Prime Editions

There are three editions of Quartus Prime software available:


Pro EditionThe Pro Edition supports the advanced features in Intel's next-generation FPGAs and SoCs with the Intel Agilex, Intel Stratix 10, Intel Arria 10, and Intel Cyclone 10 GX device families. It also supports block-based design, partial reconfiguration, fractal synthesis, early placement, register retiming, multiprocessor support, Platform Designer (Pro ), and the Intel Quartus Prime Programmer and Tools.

Standard EditionThe Standard Edition supports the broadest range of FPGA device families, including Intel Cyclone 10 LP, Intel Cyclone V, Intel Arria V, and Intel MAX 10 devices. It also supports Platform Designer (Standard), the Intel Quartus Prime Programmer and Tools, and most of the features in the Pro Edition except for the ones mentioned above.

Lite EditionThe Lite Edition is a free version of the Quartus Prime software that provides an easy entry point to FPGA design. It supports a subset of devices in the Intel Cyclone 10 LP, Intel Cyclone V, Intel Arria V, and Intel MAX 10 device families. It also supports basic features such as design entry, simulation, synthesis, place and route, timing analysis, and device programming. However, it does not support advanced features such as Platform Designer, Design Optimization, Power Analyzer, Signal Tap Logic Analyzer, Transceiver Toolkit, and Intel Advanced Link Analyzer.

Why Use Quartus Prime Lite?

If you are new to FPGA design or want to try out some of the features of Quartus Prime software without purchasing a license, Quartus Prime Lite is a good option for you. Here are some of the benefits of using Quartus Prime Lite:

Device Support

Quartus Prime Lite supports a wide range of low-cost FPGA devices that are suitable for various applications such as IoT, industrial control, automotive, consumer electronics, and education. You can choose from over 200 devices in the Intel Cyclone 10 LP, Intel Cyclone V, Intel Arria V, and Intel MAX 10 device families. These devices offer high performance, low power consumption, and rich functionality at an affordable price.

Design Entry and Simulation

Quartus Prime Lite allows you to enter your design using various methods such as schematic capture, HDL text editor, or IP catalog. You can use standard HDL languages such as Verilog, VHDL, or SystemVerilog to describe your logic. You can also use graphical symbols or IP cores from the IP catalog to create your design. Quartus Prime Lite supports over 100 IP cores that provide common functions such as arithmetic operations, memory controllers, interfaces, DSP blocks, and encryption algorithms. You can also create your own custom IP cores using Platform Designer (Standard) or HDL Coder.

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Quartus Prime Lite also allows you to simulate your design using ModelSim*-Intel FPGA Edition (starter), a free version of the industry-standard ModelSim simulator. You can perform functional simulation to verify the behavior of your design before synthesis. You can also perform timing simulation to check the timing performance of your design after synthesis. You can use various debugging tools such as waveform viewer, source code browser, and expression evaluator to analyze your simulation results.

Compilation and Programming

Quartus Prime Lite enables you to compile your design using the Quartus Prime Compiler, which performs synthesis, place and route, timing analysis, and device programming. The compiler optimizes your design for speed, area, and power consumption using advanced algorithms and heuristics. The compiler also generates various reports and files that help you evaluate your design quality and performance.

Quartus Prime Lite also enables you to program your FPGA device using the Quartus Prime Programmer. The programmer supports various programming methods such as JTAG, Active Serial (AS), Passive Serial (PS), or Fast Passive Parallel (FPP). The programmer also supports various programming hardware such as USB-Blaster II Download Cable, ByteBlaster II Download Cable, EthernetBlaster II Download Cable, or Intel FPGA Download Cable. You can use the programmer to configure your device with your design file or perform device testing and debugging.

How to Download and Install Quartus Prime Lite?

If you want to download and install Quartus Prime Lite on your computer, y


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