Use of "blocks" in Quartus design

I'm a fairly experienced user of Quartus but I've never considered using "blocks" in block design files i.e. my design hierarchy consists of only symbols with a mixture of Verilog and graphic design modules "underneath" each symbol. I have never seen a need to use them.

My question is: does anyone routinely use blocks in their designs and what are the advantages/disadvantages of doing so?

It seems to me that they must be there for a good reason. I just can't see what that reason is and i think I may be missing out on something potentially useful.

When I say block I mean using the "block" tool not the "symbol" tool. Blocks are or can be connected together with "conduits" whereas I think symbols can only be connected with "bus" and "node" connections.

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The blocks are useful if you want to follow a top down design methodology. When you use the blocks it is akin to creating a "block diagram" sketch of your system before the entire design is fleshed out. You can export each block as VHDL or Verilog file which you can fill in later.

The symbols are useful if you are usiing a bottom up design flow. You would create your VHDL, have a symbol created and then hook it up in the schematic editor. The schematic editor allows you to mix blocks and symbols.

Hope this helps, Subroto Datta Altera Corp.

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Subroto Datta

I happen to be using blocks at the top level entity in my current design because it allows quick and dirty connections with conduits. It has a "rapid-prototyping" feel. A right-click on the conduit lets me see all the mappings Quartus did for me between the blocks.

Everything below that is done in canned symbols or VHDL rendered into symbols. Note that (manual) conduit mappings are easily wiped out, and beg the use of symbols and nodes/buses.

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Thanks for the input so far. I did have a quick go at using blocks and conduits but I thought the mapping of I/O to signals in the conduit was quite cumbersome and confusing so I'm leaning away from the idea now. I'm not sure I would actually gain that much other than a nice looking top-level diagram (although that is one of my aims from a maintenance point of view).

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The other way to get that diagram is let the Quartus rtl viewer draw it for you from the source code. See the "object" links here:

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-- Mike Treseler

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Mike Treseler

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