Intel® Quartus® Prime Software Licensing Questions and Answers

Questions and answers about software evaluation, managing product licenses and general questions for Intel® Quartus® Prime Design Software.

Evaluation and Getting Started

You need a valid license file to run the following software:

  • Intel® Quartus® Prime Pro or Standard Edition Software, and prior subscription versions of the Intel® Quartus® Design Software.
  • Questa*-Intel® FPGA Starter Edition Software.
  • Questa*-Intel® FPGA Edition Software.
  • DSP Builder for Intel® FPGAs.
  • Intel® FPGA Intellectual Property (IP).
  • MAX+PLUS® II Software.

*Note that a license file is not required for the Intel® Quartus® Prime Lite Edition Software, ModelSim*-Intel® FPGA Starter Edition Software, and Intel® FPGA IP functions. Please check out Intel® FPGA Licensing Support Center for further details.

You can find instructions for setting up licenses for the Intel® FPGA software in the section Set Up a Fixed License or Setting up a License File in the License Server in the Intel® FPGA Software Installation and Licensing user guide.

You can evaluate the Intel® Quartus® Prime Software or prior versions of the Intel® Quartus® Design Software with no license file for 30 days without a license file, but programming file support is not included. However, a license file is required to evaluate DSP Builder for Intel® FPGA software. To obtain your 30-day trial software from MathWorks for use with DSP Builder for Intel® FPGAs, please navigate the DSP Builder for Intel® FPGAs webpage and click the ‘Get an Evaluation License’ button.

Intel® FPGA IP is enabled for no-cost Intel® FPGA IP Evaluation Mode immediately upon installation. No license file is required. AN320: Using Intel® FPGA IP Evaluation Mode (PDF) details the Intel® FPGA IP Evaluation Mode flow.

The development kit comes with a serial number that is stated either on the box or a customer letter. This serial number is a license activation code to activate your Intel® Quartus® Prime Software via the SSLC. Check if the software DKE license is visible in the Products and Users View in the SSLC. If the license is visible, no activation is needed. You may proceed to create the new license file. If the license is not visible, the serial number will be the activation code for you to activate the license. If you do not know how to activate the Intel® Quartus® Prime Software license, please refer to this guide—? For activation issues, please visit the Intel® forum website and post your question under the topic related to Intel® FPGA Software Installation & Licensing. Alternatively, you can submit a ticket through the Intel® Premier Support website.

You may find information about this on the FPGA Software Download Center page.

Questa*-Intel® FPGA Edition Software Licensing

You can find information about how to get a license on the Questa*-Intel® FPGA Edition Quick-Start: Intel® Quartus® Prime Pro Edition page.

*Note that starting from Intel® Quartus® Prime Pro Edition 21.3 or later and Intel® Quartus® Prime Standard/Lite Edition 21.1 or later, ModelSim*-Intel® FPGA Edition and ModelSim*-Intel® FPGA Starter Edition are no longer supported.

Questa*-Intel® FPGA Starter Edition is free, although you need a valid license (at no cost) to run the software. Check the KDB article “Does the Questa*-Intel® FPGA Starter Edition software require a license file?” for further details.

The Questa*-Intel® FPGA Edition Software does not support companion licenses. You must purchase additional licenses to run the software on other computers.

The Questa*-Intel® FPGA Edition Software license expires 12 months after the date of purchase, which means that you will need to renew your license to continue using the software. You can contact your Intel® authorized distributor to purchase a new license file for the Questa*-Intel® FPGA Edition Software. Once you have obtained the new license file, you can generate the license on the SSLC website.

Purchase or Renew License

No, you need not know the specific machine(s) where an Intel® FPGA software or IP product will be hosted before placing an order. You only need to ensure that your computer or server meets the minimum system requirements for the software or IP product you intend to use. Please check the System Requirements and Prerequisites in the Intel® FPGA Software Installation and Licensing user guide.

To purchase Intel® FPGA software online, please refer to the Intel® authorized distributor page.

After placing the order, the license will be processed and made available in the SSLC within 2-7 days. When the process is completed, an email notification will be sent out to the user.

Most license entitlements for Intel® Quartus® Prime Software and Intel® FPGA IP cores are perpetual. Exceptions for products or complementary tools, such as Questa*-Intel® FPGA Edition, are noted in the license file and SSLC with a license expiration date. Licenses for development kits are non-perpetual licenses.

If your license is about to expire, you will need to purchase a new license. For details about purchasing a license renewal, please contact your local Intel® sales representative or Intel® authorized distributor.

After completing the license renewal purchase, the user can apply for the renewal in SSLC. Please refer to Section B.10. Renewing Your License for instructions.

We strongly recommend that customers maintain their IP core licenses with up-to-date maintenance, but we allow for maintenance lapses. If you renew your Intel® FPGA IP core maintenance after it expires, the maintenance period will begin on the renewal date and last 12 months. There is no penalty fee for the lapse period when you renew.

Yes, you will need to purchase an Intel® FPGA IP license if you wish to use it with the Intel® Quartus® Prime Lite Edition or previous Lite versions of the Intel® Quartus® Prime Software. Please refer to Compare Pro, Standard, and Lite Editions (PDF) and contact your local Intel® sales representative or Intel® authorized distributor for IP pricing.

Getting License File

You must log into the Intel® Self-Service Licensing Center (SSLC) to create and manage your licenses. For information on SSLC use, please check section B. Using the Intel® FPGA Self-Service Licensing Center in the Intel® FPGA Software Installation and Licensing user guide.

If you purchase a software product online from the Intel® authorized distributor, you can find instructions in section B.2. Getting a License File with Your New Purchase in the Intel® FPGA Software Installation and Licensing user guide.

The email you received has a URL that will take you directly to the SSLC page. Log in using your My Intel® account and follow the steps for Getting a License File with Your New Purchase.

Although most license files are sent within a few minutes of being requested, it may take up to 24 hours for you to receive a license file after making the request. You will not receive the license file if the email address is incorrect. To view and generate your current license, go to SSLC and select Licenses > All Licenses from the menu bar.

There are two primary reasons why product licenses are not visible to you on the SSLC page:

  1. The maintenance expiration date is prior to January 1, 2009.
  2. You are not shown in our system as the administrator or licensed user for the product(s).

For products whose maintenance expiration is prior to 1/1/2009, you can generate legacy licenses by using the Generate Legacy Licenses option. To obtain the license file, you must provide your Software Guard, NIC ID, or Host ID.

If you encounter further issues, please visit the Intel® forum website and post your question under the topic related to Intel® FPGA Software Installation & Licensing. Alternatively, you can submit a ticket through the Intel® Premier Support website.

Self Service for Intel® University Program was launched on September 30, 2011. Only licenses granted after the launch are visible on the SSLC page. For inquiries on licenses granted before the date, email psg.university@intel.com.

Two user types are assigned to each product license: an administrator and a licensed user. If you are the administrator and the licensed user is shown as 'unassigned' on the SSLC page, you can only view and obtain licenses. If you assign the license to another user, the licensed user can also view and obtain licenses.

Intel® FPGA T-Guard or dongle is also called a Software Guard ID. The Software Guard ID is a fixed node computer on the SSLC page. After you select a licensed product and wish to generate the license, you can ‘Create a New Computer’ or ‘Assign an Existing Computer.’ When you select the +New Computer button, a pop-up window will appear. Select the Computer Type as 'Guard ID,' License Type as ‘Fixed,’ and enter the computer name and computer ID. Once the information is filled, proceed to generate the license.

Manage Product Licenses

You can check which software your license enables by checking the Header at the top of your license file. The header outlines the type of license, the primary computer and companion IDs, maintenance expiration dates, and a product license summary. For more information, refer to the License File Header.

The maintenance expiration date indicates the versions of Intel® Quartus® Design Software and IP core that can be used. All product versions released prior to the maintenance expiration date can be used. Since the release of version 4.1 of Intel® Quartus® Design Software in July 2004, Intel® FPGA IP has been included in the combined download package with the software.

There are two types of expiration: maintenance and license expiration. Maintenance expiration only controls which versions of the product can be used, while the license expiration determines whether the product stops working entirely. 

License files issued on or after July 5, 2010, include a header at the top of the file that indicates the license type and states whether there is a license expiration. If there is a license expiration date, it is provided for each product in the license. Alternatively, you can select the product license on the SSLC page and view product details to check the license expiration field. If the field is blank, the license is perpetual and has no expiration date.

Maintenance expiration controls which product version (s) can be used but does not affect the license itself. You can access the latest product releases and updates by renewing maintenance for an additional 12 months.

Evaluation and other types of licenses have an expiration date, and if the expiration date passes, the product stops working. To avoid this, you can purchase a full software or IP core license that gives you a perpetual license with no expiration date.

If the version of the Intel® Quartus® Prime Software you want to use was released prior to the maintenance expiration date of your license, you do not need a new license file, as most license entitlements for Intel® Quartus® Prime Software and Intel® FPGA IP cores are perpetual. You can use your existing license to run that version of the software.

A listing of all Intel® Quartus® Design Software releases and their release dates can be found on our FPGA Software Download Center webpage.

To merge your new license file with your existing one, please refer to Section B.18. Merging or Adding Seats on Your License and Generating License for instructions.

The security feature can be requested from Intel® by submitting a ticket through the Intel® Premier Support website.

You can find the answer in this KDB article.

License File

A companion license grants license portability to a fixed product license. Each fixed product license can be assigned to up to three computers: an office computer, a lab computer, and a home computer, as long as the same person uses all three. The license restricts the user to using the software on only one computer at a time.

Note: The Questa*-Intel® FPGA Edition Software does not support companion licenses. You must purchase additional licenses to run the software on other computers.

A checkout license enables portability for users with only floating seat licenses. The license administrator can issue a two-week fixed license, allowing one of the users to have access to the same product licenses from the network while traveling with a laptop.

License Rehost

Transferring products from one computer to another is called rehosting your license. Software and IP licenses can be transferred to a different computer by going to the SSLC page. You can refer to the Intel® FPGA Software Installation and Licensing user guide for instructions on rehosting a license. The guide provides details in section B.12. Rehosting a License on a Different Computer.

You can transfer your existing licenses from one computer to another, called Rehost licenses. You have a total of three rehosts for each license.

The SSLC page tracks the number of rehosts for each software and IP product. To view this information, navigate to Licenses > All Licenses in the SSLC menu bar. The available rehosts are displayed in the last column of the table. If you have exhausted, all available rehosts and still need to transfer a product license, log in to My Intel Account and submit a support ticket through the Intel Premier Support website.

We refer to this as Splitting Seats on your licenses. You can refer to the Intel® FPGA Software Installation and Licensing user guide for instructions on splitting licenses. The guide provides details in section B.17. Splitting Seats on Your License and Generating Licenses.

After you have entered the number of seats to be split, the newly split seats will be shown as separate product licenses. If the licenses were previously assigned to a computer, you must rehost them onto the appropriate machine. Refer to section B.12. Rehosting a License on a Different Computer to rehost license.

License Encryption Features

When the encryption generation is active, you can find 'FEATURE quartus_nonvolatile_encryption' in the license file.

Yes, encryption has been included as a standard option in subscription licenses since the end of 2011.

Please contact your local Intel® sales representative or Intel® authorized distributor for more information.

No, a 90-day evaluation license does not include the option to generate encrypted POF files and decryption keys for the EP3CLS device family. The encrypted POF files and decryption keys are only available with a purchased license for the EP3CLS device family.

Legacy Licenses

For software, IP, or Development Kit legacy licenses with a maintenance expiration date prior to January 1, 2009, you can now obtain a license file via the Intel® Self Service Licensing Center's Generate Legacy Licenses option.

Licensing Troubleshooting

There are several resources available to help in troubleshooting licensing problems, including the following:

  • Problems with floating licenses can occur due to configuration problems on the license server.
  • Run the command lmutil lmstat -a -c port@host, where port@host is the port number and hostname of the license server (1800@server1, for example).
  • Examine the output of the command. The license manager and Intel FPGA daemon should report UP. If the license server status is OK, the client computer may have a configuration problem.
  • Verify that the LM_LICENSE_FILE environment variable is set properly on the client computer.
  • Verify the version of the FLEXlm license manager server software used. We are upgrading the FLEXlm License Manager Server Software
  • If the license manager and altered versions are lower than 8.0, Intel recommends using the latest license manager (lmgrd) and vendor daemon (Intel FPGA), which are included with the Intel® Quartus® Prime Software. You can download the latest version on the License Daemon Downloads page.

  • You must set up a license file to use the DSP Builder for Intel FPGAs.
  • Your software will stop working if your license file expires. You may need a new license file to use the new version of the software.
  • Verify that the LM_LICENSE_FILE environment variable points to the location of the license.dat file.
  • Verify that your license file enables support for DSP Builder for Intel FPGAs. You can find what software your license enables by checking in the license file - lines beginning with FEATURE or INCREMENT list the software enabled by the license. For the DSP Builder for Intel FPGAs, the FEATURE line required begins with C4D5_512A. The following figure shows an example license.dat file with the DSP Builder for Intel FPGAs FEATURE line (highlighted).