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Linux-ready modules support range of Xilinx FPGAs

Sep 8, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 2,437 views

Avnet released a series of four Linux-ready “PicoZed” COMs based on Xilinx’s Zynq-7000 SoCs, which integrate dual ARM Cortex-A9 cores along with FPGAs.

We’ve flip-flopped between calling Avnet’s MicroZed boards computer-on-modules or single board computers. In fact, the compact boards reflect aspects of both, and are much more COM-like than Avnet’s original Zynq-based ZedBoard. Now, Avnet has served up a true COM without the real-world Ethernet and USB ports of the MicroZed, but sharing its basic design and support for running Linux on a variety of Xilinx Zynq-7000 system-on-chips.

PicoZed 7030
(click image to enlarge)

While Avnet has spun off different versions of the MicroZed for various Zynq-7000 models, the PicoZed is essentially a single board that offers pin compatibility with an even greater range of Zynq SoC variants. The PicoZed, which is offered in versions based on including the Zynq-7010, -7015, -7020, and -7030 SoCs, is aimed at industrial control, embedded vision, test and measurement, motor control, and software-defined radio applications. Avnet also offers industrial temperature versions, and has released a PicoZed Carrier Card (see farther below).

PicoZed block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The PicoZed is available with the Zynq-7010, -7015, -7020, and -7030 SoCs in a pin-compatible footprint, offering common functions including memory, configuration, Ethernet, USB, clocks, and power, says Avnet. Most of the PicoZed’s programmable logic I/O is expressed via a Low-Pin Count (LPC) FMC connector. Also provided are interfaces for HDMI output, a second gigabit Ethernet port, and several peripheral module connectors.

All four supported Zynq SoCs provide the same ARM subsystem, with dual Cortex-A9 cores. No clock rate was mentioned, but on the more recent MicroZed boards, the SoCs were clocked to 866MHz.

PicoZed 7010
(click images to enlarge)

The Zynq models differ in the tightly linked FPGA subsystem. For example, the Zynq-7020 offers an FPGA with 85K logic cells, compared to 28K for the Zynq-7010. It also offers 53,200 look-up tables (LUTs), up from 17,600, and supplies 560KB of extensible block RAM, compared to 240KB. The -7020 provides 220 programmable DSP slices, up from 80, and features over twice the DSP processing power with over 200 GMACs.

PicoZed 7015
(click images to enlarge)

The Zynq-7015 falls in between the Zynq-7010 and -7020 with 74k logic cells and 160 DSP slices, and it also adds four 6.25Gbps transceivers. Moving up from the Artix-7 level FPGA functionality provided by these three SoCs, the Zynq-7030 mimics lower-end models of the upper-range Kintex-7 FPFA family, with 125k logic cells and 400 DSP slices. The Zynq-7030 also provides four 12.5Gbps transceivers. (More information may be found on this Xilinx Zynq comparison chart.)

PicoZed 7020
(click images to enlarge)

All four versions provide access to over 100 user I/O pins through three I/O connectors on the rear of the module for connecting Ethernet, USB, JTAG, power and other control signals. The Zynq-7015 and -7030 models are supersets of the other two models. They add support for these SoCs’ GTP/GTX high-speed serial transceivers by adding four transceiver ports to the I/O connectors.

PicoZed 7030
(click images to enlarge)

The four serial transceivers on the Zynq-7015 and -7030 based PicoZeds are allocated to a PCI-Express x1 (Gen2) card edge interface, as well as the FMC connector, an SFP+ cage, and a general purpose SMA interface, says Avnet. Adjustable bank voltage power supplies are said to enable user I/O voltage selection of the various I/O banks.

Summary of PicoZed COM specs

Specifications listed for the PicoZed include:

  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7010, -7015, -7020, or -7030 (2x Cortex-A9 cores @ up to 866MHz); FPGA varies for each model
  • Memory:
    • 1GB DDR3 SDRAM
    • 4GB eMMC flash
    • 128Mb QSPI flash
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet PHY
  • Other common I/O:
    • USB 2.0 PHY
    • JTAG config. port via I/O connectors
    • PS JTAG pins via I/O connectors
    • 33.33MHz oscillator
  • FPGA I/O:
    • 7Z010 Version:
      • 113 User I/O (100 PL, 13 PS MIO)
      • PL I/O configurable as up to 48 LVDS pairs or 100 single-ended I/O
    • 7Z015 Version:
      • 148 User I/O (135 PL, 13 PS MIO)
      • PL I/O configurable as up to 65 LVDS pairs or 135 single-ended I/O
      • 4 GTP transceivers
    • 7Z020 Version:
      • 138 User I/O (125 PL, 13 PS MIO)
      • PL I/O configurable as up to 60 LVDS pairs or 125 single-ended I/O
    • 7Z030 Version:
      • 148 User I/O (135 PL, 13 PS MIO)
      • PL I/O configurable as up to 65 LVDS pairs or 135 single-ended I/O
      • 4 GTX transceivers
  • Operating system — Linux BSP and reference design

Baseboard for the PicoZed COMs

PicoZed Carrier Card
(click image to enlarge)

The PicoZed Carrier Card extends the PicoZed modules with the following features:
  • Processor/memory — Zynq-7xxx via PicoZed modules
  • Storage — MicroSD slot
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI out port
    • USB 2.0 port
    • USB UART
    • SFP+ cage
    • SMA port for GTX/GTP
    • JTAG port
    • Programmable clock mux
    • SMA reference clock input
    • User I/O:
      • FMC (Low Pin Count)
      • PS Pmod (Shared with eMMC)
      • PL Pmod (7015/20/30 only)
      • PL Pmod (7015/30 only)
  • Expansion — PCIe x1 Gen 2
  • Other features — User push buttons; LEDs
  • Power — 12V AC/DC supply with adjustable bank voltage

PicoZed Carrier Card block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

“With the launch of PicoZed, Avnet is providing a cost-effective alternative to chip-down SoC design,” stated Jim Beneke, VP of global technical marketing at Avnet Electronics Marketing. “The scalability in being able to go from a lower density, transceiver-less 7010 to a higher density, transceiver-based 7030 Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC opens the door to some creative options for designers.”

Further information

The PicoZed is available now, with pricing per hundred pieces for the Zynq-7010, -7015, -7020, and -7030 models at $179, $299, $229, and $399, respectively. Industrial temperature versions are also available. The PicoZed Carrier Card is available for $425. More information may be found at the Avnet PicoZed and PicoZed Carrier Card product pages.

The PicoZed is being demonstrated at Avnet’s X-fest technical workshops. X-fest events will be hosted in nearly 40 locations throughout Asia, Europe, North America and Japan, starting this month and ranging through January 2015.

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