Design Software

Altera's broad range of development tools provide everything you need to design for Altera FPGAs, CPLDs, and SoCs.

ModelSim-Altera Edition Software

  • Recommended for simulating all FPGA designs (Arria®, Cyclone®, Stratix® series FPGA designs, and MAX® series CPLDs)
  • 33 percent faster simulation performance than ModelSim®-Altera® Starter Edition software
  • No line limitations
  • Buy today for $1,995
  • Mixed-language support


ModelSim-Altera Starter Edition Software

  • Support for simulating small FPGA designs
  • 10,000 executable line limitations
  • Free, no license required
  • Mixed-language support

Quartus Prime Design Software and ModelSim-Altera Software Design Flow

ModelSim-Altera Software Products

Product Details ModelSim-
Altera Starter Edition
Altera Edition (1)
Price Free
No license required

$1,995, includes software
updates for one year


$1,695 for renewal

Quartus® Prime design software
Quartus Prime Lite Edition, Standard Edition, and Pro Edition software
Device support All Altera devices
(Including MAX CPLDs, Arria, Cyclone, and Stratix series FPGAs)
Mixed-language support Mixed-language support
Operating system (OS) support Windows, Linux (more details)

Design size support

Small designs
10,000 executable line limit
All design sizes (2)
No line limitations
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  1. The ModelSim-Altera Edition software requires a valid license. The ModelSim-Altera Edition software license expires 15 months after the date of purchase. Every 15 months you must regenerate your license file in the Self-Service Licensing Center to renew your license for the specific ModelSim-Altera Edition software version that you purchased.
  2. ModelSim-Altera Edition software supports designs of up to 3,000 instances. Instances from Altera's pre-compiled libraries do not count towards the 3,000 instance limitation.

Altera licenses Mentor Graphics® ModelSim-Altera simulation software to customers with Altera Quartus Prime design software. Both ModelSim-Altera Edition and ModelSim-Altera Starter Edition are available for Web Edition and Subscription Edition software users.

  • ModelSim-Altera Edition—A license is required (paid)
  • ModelSim-Altera Starter Edition—No license is required (free)

Shorten your FPGA verification time by using the ModelSim-Altera software in your FPGA design flow. ModelSim-Altera software (view full size screenshot) supports behavioral and gate-level simulations, including VHDL or Verilog testbenches for all Altera devices.

Learn how to perform a functional and a timing simulation with the Mentor GraphicsModelSim-Altera software

ModelSim-Altera Software Q & A

Is the ModelSim-Altera Edition software the same as the ModelSim PE/DE software?

No. ModelSim-Altera Edition software only supports Altera gate-level libraries. The ModelSim-Altera Edition software includes the base features of ModelSim PE, including behavioral simulation, HDL testbenches, and Tcl scripting. However, ModelSim PE optional features are not supported in the ModelSim-Altera Edition software and the simulation performance of the ModelSim-Altera Edition software is slower than that of the ModelSim PE/DE software.

ModelSim-Altera Starter Edition software is the same as ModelSim-Altera Edition software except for two areas. ModelSim-Altera Starter Edition's simulation performance is lower than ModelSim-Altera Edition's, and has a line limit of 10,000 executable lines compared to the unlimited number of lines allowed in the ModelSim-Altera Edition software.

Does ModelSim-Altera Edition software support dual-language simulation?

Yes. Starting with Quartus Prime software v15.0, the Modelsim-Altera Edition software supports dual-language simulation. This includes designs that are written in a combination of Verilog, System Verilog, and VHDL languages, also known as mixed HDL.

How do I upgrade my version of ModelSim-Altera software?

Contact your local Mentor Graphics sales office to upgrade your ModelSim-Altera software to ModelSim PE/DE software or Questa advanced simulator. Contact information is available on the Mentor Graphics website.

Does ModelSim-Altera Edition software support all three editions of Quartus Prime software?