Over the past two years Digilent has released several Xilinx Zynq platforms. We thought it would be a good time to review the offering and help navigate users to a board that is optimized for their end use!
Zynq is an All Programmable System on a Chip, or APSoC. Xilinx usually uses the term “All Programmable” to describe their FPGA technology. One can read the APSoC part of the name as, ‘an FPGA technology system in a single chip.’
So what does “System” actually mean, since FPGA chips are generally used to create custom system chips (or ASIC = Application Specific Integrated Circuits)?
In the case of Zynq It means that there are dedicated processors (two Dual-ARM Cortex A9 processors) inside of the chip as well as FPGA technology. This combination allows users to leverage the best of the Processor world and the FPGA world.
|Examples: Artix 7, Kintex 7 etc.||Examples: Raspberry Pi, Arduino|
Form Factor Overview
From single core offerings, FMC peripherals and onboard features such as a OLED display, our Zynq product offering is broken down into four main categories.
Cora is the smallest of the offerings, and in the most compact form factor, the Cora board was optimized for cost. This means we chose to omit on-board flash and to not populate headers. The board starts at $99 and comes in a single core Zynq option and a dual core-7010 option. It, like most Digilent boards has Pmod connectors and offers a dual-row Arduino expansion header.
The Arty is the next step up from the Cora board. It also has the dual-row Arduino headers and two Pmod ports, but has added HDMI in and out and on-board flash. The Arty comes in a dual core 7010 and 7020 version. The board starts at $199 and was optimized to provide low-cost expansion options (such as Arduino shields, Pmods, computer monitor, keyboard and SD card).
The Zybo really is the flagship of the Digilent Zynq offering. It is a board that is below $300 and is on it’s second generation. Offering a wide variety of peripherals such as audio in and out, HDMI, flash memory, USB and 5/6 Pmod ports the Zybo is optimized to be a low-cost training platform. The second generation of the Zybo offers a Pcam camera connector and comes in both a 7010 version and a 7020.
The largest of the boards is the iconic Zedboard. The Zedboard, a collaboration with Avnet, was the first widely available Zynq board to be released in the market. It only comes in a 7020 version, but offers higher-end peripherals such as an audio codec, onboard OLED display and a high speed FMC connector.
Which board is right for me?
To address that question, we have put together the selection table below. It’s helpful to first think about what peripherals you are looking for on the board. Then, the form factor. Once you have decided that, then you can choose between the Zynq options.
|—||Cora Z7s||Cora Z7-10||Arty Z7-10||Zybo Z7-10||Zybo Z7-20||Arty Z7-20||ZedBoard|
|Processor||Single Arm Cortex™-A9||Dual Arm Cortex™-A9||Dual Arm Cortex™-A9||Dual Arm Cortex™-A9||Dual Arm Cortex™-A9||Dual Arm Cortex™-A9||Dual Arm Cortex™-A9|
|1MSPS on chip ADC||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Look Up Tables||14,400||17,600||17,600||17,600||53,200||53,200||53,200|
|Block RAM||225 KB||270 KB||270 KB||270 KB||630 KB||630 KB||630 KB|
|Clock Management Tiles||2||2||2||2||4||4||4|
|Total Pmod Ports||2||2||2||5||6||2||5|
|Pcam Connector||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes, with Pcam FMC Adapter|
|HDMI||No||No||TX and RX ports||TX Port only||TX and RX Ports||TX and RX ports||560 KB|
|DDR3||512 MB||512 MB||512 MB||1GB||1GB||512 MB||512 MB|
|Quad-SPI Flash||N/A||N/A||16 MB||16 MB||16 MB||16 MB||256 MB|
|External Power||4.5-5.5V||4.5-5.5V||7V-15V||5 V||5V||7V-15V||12 V|
|SD||1 microSD||1 microSD||1 microSD||1 microSD||1 microSD||1 microSD||1 SD|
|Audio Codec||n/a||n/a||PWM driven||SSM2603||SSM2603||PWM driven||ADU1761|
|USB||HID||HID||OTG (Host Only)||OTG||OTG||OTG (Host Only)||OTG|
|Video I/O||N/A||N/A||HDMI in and Out||HDMI in and out||HDMI In and Out||HDMI in and out||HDMI VGA 128×32 OLED Display|
|Other Features||unpopulated header and Arduino Expansion||unpopulated header and Arduino Expansion||Dual Arduino Explansion Headers||Pcam Port||Pcam Port||Dual Arduino Expansion Headers||FMC Port|
sync-up Zynq-up helped out with navigating our offering. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or hop onto our website to see all of our Zynq products yourself!