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At UBC, we make extensive use of Altera tools and technology. On this page, you will find instructions on how to download and install the Altera software tools on your own computer. There are also some basic tutorials to get you started using the software as quickly as possible.

Downloading Altera Software

Here is a list of Altera software tools you might need:

1. Quartus II. The initial software to compile VHDL/Verilog into a bitstream that can configure the DE1 and DE2 boards. The Web Edition is free. Note: for EECE355, please use Quartus II version 9.1sp2. If you absolutely want it, here is the latest version.

Note: for EECE353, please use: Quartus 11.1 sp2.

2. ModelSim. VHDL/Verilog simulator. If you are using Quartus II version 11.0 or later, this is the official simulator to use. If you are using Quartus II prior to version 11.0, there is also a simpler, built-in simulator. The Starter Edition is free. Note: for EECE355, we will not be using ModelSim. Here is the latest version.

Note: for EECE353 please use: Modelsim for 11.1sp2.

3. Nios II Embedded Design Suite (EDS). This is the C compiler and Integrated Development Environment (IDE -- a combined editor and compiler) for programming Altera's Nios II processor. The latest version of Quartus II (11.0 or higher) already includes this software. However, for older versions of Quartus II (prior to 11.0), you must download this separately. Note: for EECE355, download and install the EDS version 9.1, then apply this upgrade to 9.1sp2.

Note: for EECE353 please use: Nios2 for 11.1sp2.

4. Altera University Program Software. This is a set of VHDL files for the DE1/DE2 boards, as well as an easy-to-use C compiler and debugger interface for Nios II. Note: for EECE355, use the VHDL version 9.1 for DE1. There are many other versions here, but be sure to select 'VHDL' or 'Verilog', 'DE1' or 'DE2', and the correct version number (corresponding to your Quartus II version) before clicking the link to download the University Program Installer executable.

Note: for EECE353 please use: UPDS for 11.1sp2.

5. USB-Blaster Device Driver. This device driver is essential so that Altera software can communicate with your DE1 or DE2 board. Normally, this comes bundled with Quartus II. However, if you are using Windows 7 with Quartus II versions prior to 10.0, you must separately download a copy of the USB Blaster driver from Quartus II version 10.0 or above. Further details. Here are general install instructions and Windows 7 instructions.

6. Quartus II Programmer. This program will upload a .sof or .pof file to your DE1/DE2 board. This tool is already included as part of Quartus II, so don't install it again. However, this is useful as a standalone programmer if your laptop has insufficient space to install the full Quartus II. Here is the latest version.

Installing Altera Software

You should install Altera software in the order listed above in the download section. Below, we will give any additional hints on installing each tool.

1. Before installing Quartus II, be sure you have enough free disk space. Depending upon the version, you could need 20GB or more free space before beginning. Remember that the Quartus II installation file is highly compressed; it needs extra space to decompress itself before installing. You can recover some of this space by deleting the download afterwards.

2. When installing Quartus II, you should try to stick with all of the default options. To save disk space, you may choose "Custom" instead of "Complete" and then choose to keep only "Cyclone II" but no other devices. For 9.1sp2, Quartus will say it requires 2.6GB of space.

3. To install the USB-Blaster Cable Device Driver, you need to plug in the DE1/DE2 board into your computer and turn it on.

4. Install all of the Altera tools to the same disk (all on C:, or all on D:). This should also be the disk you use for your source files (VHDL, C, etc.).

Licensing Quartus II

In Quartus II, go to Tools and select License Setup... at the bottom.

At UBC, we have licenses to the full versions of the Altera software. For the undergraduate lab computers, the 'License file:' entry field should read In response, the 'Current License' box should read Full License under 'License Type:'. For graduate research, we must use a different license key. Contact Prof. Guy Lemieux for details.

For your home computers, the 'License file:' entry should be blank. In response, the 'Current License' box should read Web Edition under 'License Type:'.

If you cannot generate .sof/.pof files, you probably do not have the license configured properly.

Altera Software Tutorials

We will place tutorials online later.