Intel® Quartus® Prime Pro Edition User Guide: Block-Based Design

ID 683247
Date 11/07/2023
Document Table of Contents

2.3.2. Bottom-Up Design Methodology Overview

In a bottom-up design methodology, you create lower-level design blocks independently of one another, and then integrate the blocks at the top-level.

To implement a bottom-up design, individual developers or IP providers can complete the placement and routing optimization of their design in separate projects, and then reuse lower-level blocks in the top-level project. This methodology can be useful for team-based design flows with developers in other locations, or when third-parties create design blocks.

However, when developing design blocks independently in a bottom-up design flow, individual developers may not have all the information about the overall design, or understand how their block connects with other blocks. The absence of this information can lead to problems during system integration, such as difficulties with timing closure, or resource conflicts. To reduce such difficulties, plan the design at the top level, whether optimizing within a single project, or optimizing blocks independently in separate projects, for subsequent top-level integration.

Teams that use a bottom-up design method can optimize placement and routing of design partitions independently. However, the following drawbacks can occur when optimizing the design partitions in separate projects:

  • Achieving timing closure for the full design may be more difficult if you compile partitions independently without information about other partitions in the design. Avoiding this problem requires careful timing budgeting and observance of design rules, such as always registering the ports at the module boundaries.
  • The design requires resource planning and allocation to avoid resource conflicts and overuse. Floorplanning with Logic Lock regions can help you avoid resource conflicts while developing each part independently in a separate Intel® Quartus® Prime project.
  • Maintaining consistency of assignments and timing constraints is more difficult if you use separate Intel® Quartus® Prime projects. The team lead must ensure that the assignments and constraints of the top-level design, and those developers define in the separate projects and reuse at the top-level, are consistent.

Partitions that you develop independently all must share a common set of resources. To minimize issues that can arise when sharing a common set of resources between different partitions, create the partitions within in a single project, or in copies of the top-level project, with full design-level constraints, to ensure that resources do not overlap. Correct use of partitions and Logic Lock regions can help to minimize issues that can arise when integrating into the top-level design.

If a developer has no information about the top-level design, the team lead must at least provide a specific Intel® FPGA device part number, along with any required physical timing constraints. The developer can then create and export the partition from a separate project. When a developer lacks information, the developer should overconstrain or create additional timing margin on the critical paths. The technique helps to reduce the chance of timing problems when integrating the partitions with other blocks.

You can use the bottom-up design methodology in conjunction with the core partition reuse flow to independently develop and export a core partition .qdb for reuse by a the team lead.