Intel® FPGA SDK for OpenCL™ Pro Edition: Programming Guide

ID 683846
Date 9/26/2022

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Document Table of Contents

4.1. Installing an FPGA Board (install)

Before creating an OpenCL™ application for an FPGA accelerator board or SoC device, you must first download and install the Intel Reference Platform or the Custom Platform from your board vendor. Most Custom Platform installers require administrator privileges.

To install your board into the host system, invoke the aocl install <path_to_customplatform> utility command.

The steps below outline the board installation procedure. Some Custom Platforms require additional installation tasks. Consult your board vendor's documentation for further information on board installation.

  1. Follow your board vendor's instructions to connect the FPGA board to your system.
  2. Download the Custom Platform for your FPGA board from your board vendor's website.
    Note: Starting from the 20.3 release, Intel® has removed the support for Windows OpenCL BSPs. Use 20.2 or older OpenCL BSPs available at FPGA Software Download Center as a reference. If you want to migrate your OpenCL BSP to a newer version, follow the recommended steps provided in the Reference Platform Porting Guides available under Intel FPGA SDK for OpenCL documentation.
  3. Install the Custom Platform in a folder that you own (that is, not a system folder).

    You can install multiple Custom Platforms simultaneously on the same system using the SDK utilities, such as aocl diagnose with multiple Custom Platforms. The Custom Platform subdirectory contains the board_env.xml file.

    In a system with multiple Custom Platforms, ensure that the host program uses the FPGA Client Driver (FCD) to discover the boards rather than linking to the Custom Platforms' memory-mapped device (MMD) libraries directly. If you have not set up FCD correctly for Custom Platform, FCD finds all the installed boards at runtime.

  4. Set the QUARTUS_ROOTDIR_OVERRIDE user environment variable to point to the Intel® Quartus® Prime Pro Edition software installation directory.
  5. Add the paths to the Custom Platform libraries (for example, path to the MMD library of the board support package resembles <path_to_customplatform>/windows64/bin) to the PATH (Windows) or LD_LIBRARY_PATH (Linux) environment variable setting.
    The Intel® FPGA SDK for OpenCL™ Pro Edition Getting Started Guide contains more information on the init_opencl script. For information on setting user environment variables and running the init_opencl script, refer to the Setting the Intel® FPGA SDK for OpenCL™ Pro Edition User Environment Variables section.
  6. Invoke the command aocl install <path_to_customplatform> at a command prompt.
    Invoking aocl install <path_to_customplatform> installs both the FCD and a board driver that allows communication between host applications and hardware kernel programs.
    • You need administrative rights to install a board. To run a Windows command prompt as an administrator, click Start > All Programs > Accessories. Under Accessories, right click Command Prompt, In the right-click menu, click Run as Administrator.

      On Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 systems, you might also need to disable signed driver verification. For details, see the following articles:

    • If the system already has the driver installed and you need to install FCD without the administrative rights, you can invoke the aocl install command with the flag -fcd-only as shown below and follow the prompt for FCD installation:
      aocl install <path_to_customplatform> -fcd-only
  7. Query a list of FPGA devices installed in your machine by invoking the aocl diagnose command.
    The software generates an output that includes the <device_name>, which is an acl number that ranges from acl0 to acl127.
    Attention: For possible errors after implementing the aocl diagnose utility, refer to Possible Errors After Running the diagnose Utility section in the Intel® Arria® 10 GX FPGA Development Kit Reference Platform Porting Guide. For more information on querying the <device_name> of your accelerator board, refer to the Querying the Device Name of Your FPGA Board section.
  8. Verify the successful installation of the FPGA board by invoking the command aocl diagnose <device_name> to run any board vendor-recommended diagnostic test.