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USB blaster I vs USB blaster II

petrxx
Beginner
525 Views

Hello,
I'm totally new here and I'd like to start using Intel MAX 10 family of FPGAs. I was looking for JTAG programmers and I found out that I can use both USB Blaster I (PL-USB-BLASTER-RCN) and USB Blaster II (PL-USB2-BLASTER). I also found Terasic blaster, which seems to be clone of USB Blaster I officially supported by Altera. It is also interesting that this Terasic Blaster clone has in datasheet on Mouser on page 11 same picture as USB Blaster I in datasheet on Mouser on page 12 with just some label cleared from programmer itself but not logo of ALTERA from illustrated PCB.
Here are links for the Blasters in Mouser E-shop.
https://mouser.com/ProductDetail/Intel-Altera/PL-USB-BLASTER-RCN?qs=jblrfmjbeiFezz56mIHRCg%3D%3D
https://mouser.com/ProductDetail/Intel-Altera/PL-USB2-BLASTER?qs=%252B9%2Fcbd0IE0TFJATuRScm0A%3D%3D
https://mouser.com/ProductDetail/Terasic-Technologies/P0302?qs=ePbE9GiMmvVJztTDlxPoAw%3D%3D

Questions are:
1) What is main practical difference between those programmers/debuggers like speed of configuration/debug speeds or limitations?
2) Why is USB Blaster I more expensive than newer USB Blaster II?
3) Do I understand correctly that Terasic Blaster is clone of USB Blaster I? I read they share even the same USB ID which Altera provided to them legally in the past.
4) What is compatibility of USB Blaters in newer Quartus software?

Thank You very much for answers or explanations.
Best Regards
Petr

0 Kudos
3 Replies
JohnT_Intel
Employee
508 Views

Hi,


1) What is main practical difference between those

programmers/debuggers like speed of configuration/debug speeds or

limitations?

USB-Blaster from Altera and Terasic is the same in case of speed as both will be running in 6Mhz while USB-Blaster can run up to 24Mhz. USB-Blaster II will support more features if you planned to use FPGA that support AES. Please refer to https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/programmable/support/support-resources/knowledge-base/soluti....

2) Why is USB Blaster I more expensive than newer USB

Blaster II?

I don't have this information as you will need to contact the seller for this.

3) Do I understand correctly that Terasic Blaster is clone of

USB Blaster I? I read they share even the same USB ID which Altera

provided to them legally in the past.

Yes.

4) What is compatibility of USB

Blaters in newer Quartus software?

It is compatible.


petrxx
Beginner
494 Views

Hi John,
Thank you very much for answers. It was very helpful. Now, when I know the basics I need to ask additional questions (probably stupid ones) to help me make final decision what will be proper for me.

Because of price I’m deciding between Terasic Blaster and USB Blaster II, where USB Blaster II is more than 4 times more expensive.


Will I get considerably faster:
• Image flashing?
• Signal debugging?
• Soft CPU debugging?

I really want to avoid debugging softcore CPU slowly like with Texas Instrument’s radar chips with real ARM and DSP, where it took each time 3 seconds to make 1 step in C code in theirs modified Eclipse and I’m willing to pay extra to avoid this but only if it’s justified by performance.

I know You wrote Terasic Blater has 4 times slower JTAG clock than USB Blaster but what about USB Blaster II?
Has faster JTAG clock significant real world speed effect for Max 10 family FPGA which is not that “cutting edge”?


I am also interested in securing my design but link You’ve sent me is not mentioning Max 10 FPGA family or any other Max family. Will programming of keys directly into Max 10 devices (or any other security measures) be possible with Terasic Blaster on Max 10 family?


Thank You for Your time.
Petr

JohnT_Intel
Employee
473 Views

Hi,


The Max 10 will be able to support up to 24Mhz without any issue. But in case of Signal Integrity issue then we will recommend user to reduce the TCK frequency (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/programmable/support/support-resources/knowledge-base/soluti...).


For Max 10 design security, it can work on either USB-Blaster or USB-Blaster II.


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