Altera Corporation introduced version 4.1 of its Quartus II development software, including support for the new Cyclone II FPGA family. Maintaining Altera's performance leadership across all programmable logic device (PLD) categories, Quartus II version 4.1 software introduces a suite of innovative optimization, verification, and ease-of-use features to shorten development cycles further. Additionally, the free Web Edition of the Quartus II software now includes support for the entire Cyclone II family, providing the broad market with more than triple the density levels compared to the previous Web Edition version.
"At Escape, we've been using the Quartus II software and Cyclone FPGAs to build leading-edge signal processing products at ASIC-killer prices. Quartus II software is a well-integrated tool that yields impressive synthesis results, and the floor-planning and place-and-route tools consistently allow us to reach greater than 90 percent utilization, while meeting challenging time constraints," said Dr. Greg Caso, vice president of engineering at Escape Communications. "Quartus II software is superior compared to other programmable logic tool offerings, which allows us to focus our time on meeting customer needs, rather than laboring over tool usage."
Quartus II Version 4.1 Software Features
Quartus II version 4.1 software contains a wide range of performance and resource optimization, verification, and ease-of-use features that will shorten development cycles for designers of all Altera FPGA, CPLD and structured ASIC devices. Highlights of these new features include:
Timing and Resource Optimization " Quartus II version 4.1 software introduces timing and resource optimization advisors " features that can be thought of as "virtual application engineers" to guide users real-time during their design cycle on how and when to use the Quartus II software's wide selection of features to maximum effect. Version 4.1 also includes a new push-button feature for Quartus II integrated synthesis users that optimizes multiplexer usage to reduce area usage up to 30 percent.
Verification " Quartus II version 4.1 software offers the industry's only support for in-system updating of RAM/ROM and constants, drastically reducing design cycle times by enabling engineers to easily perform "what-if" experiments in-system without recompiling a design or reconfiguring the rest of the FPGA. Version 4.1 introduces the only vendor-provided technology map viewer, which allows users to cross-probe from the timing analyzer to graphically display critical timing paths and timing information in the technology map viewer and to cross-probe back to design source files or other Quartus II optimization tools. A SignalTap II embedded logic analyzer viewer is now included in the free Quartus II programmer software that allows easy deployment of in-system verification to multiple lab locations and field service personnel. SignalTap II embedded logic analyzer users now can further pinpoint when to start data capture using a new event counter trigger condition function.
Ease of Use " In addition to the Subscription Edition of Quartus II version 4.1 software, Altera software subscribers will, for the first time, also receive all OpenCore Plus versions of Altera's MegaCore IP library (including the Nios II processor) and the Nios II integrated development environment (IDE), providing the most complete out-of-the-box system-level design capability in the industry. OpenCore Plus IP allows designers to simulate and evaluate Altera IP in hardware prior to license purchasing. Also, beginning with version 4.1, Quartus II software will now allow forward version support for design projects, which will give designers the ability to easily access future versions of Quartus II software without having to make any changes to their project files.
"Crucial factors in the explosive success of the Cyclone FPGA family were the power and ease-of-use of the Quartus II software," said Tim Southgate, Altera's vice president of software and tools marketing. "With version 4.1, we are continuing to leverage our technology leadership to provide software that will allow Cyclone II FPGAs to be embraced quickly by an even wider share of the market."
Pricing and Availability
Both the Subscription Edition and the Web Edition of Quartus II version 4.1 design software are now available. The Subscription Edition is now shipping to all customers with an active software subscription. The free Quartus II Web Edition software supports all Cyclone II devices and is available by download at www.altera.com/q2webedition, or from the free Quartus II Web Edition Software Suite CD. The annual subscription for the Altera design software is $2,000 for a node-locked PC license. Altera's software subscription program simplifies the process of obtaining Altera design software by consolidating software products and maintenance charges into one annual subscription payment. Quartus II design software supports major operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Sun Solaris, Red Hat Linux, and HP-UX.
New or existing customers may obtain a software subscription on line on the Altera web site, www.altera.com, or from Altera distributors worldwide.