MicroZed Chronicles: A Look at the UltraZed EV/EG Board

The first-ever MPSoC I received to work and create blogs with was an engineering sample of the UltraZed-EG in red. It worked well, but different boards supporting the Xilinx MPSoC were released over the years. This includes the Ultra96 which has become my go-to MPSoC development board.

Recently however, I have been working on many projects which use the MPSoC. The production quantities are limited though, which means a System on Module (SoM) is a good consideration. Using an SoM has several benefits in development which I have covered several times in the past. As a reminder however, generally SoMs enable the following:

· Reduced risk of development. Complex design elements such as DDR3/4 interfacing is provided and configuration and power solution / sequencing are also implemented on the SoM.

  • · Reduced risk of development. Complex design elements such as DDR3/4 interfacing is provided and configuration and power solution / sequencing are also implemented on the SoM.

  • Through life support and obsolescence management is addressed by the SoM provider

  • Development of the program can start earlier using a SoM and carrier card. All the necessary board definition files are provided and verified.

  • Potentially reduced development costs because the non-recurring engineering effort is focused on the carrier / mission card.

There are a range of SoMs for the MPSoC from multiple suppliers like Avent, Trenz, and Enclustra etc. Each of these vendors offer a range of FPGA, Zynq SoC, and MPSoC devices so you should be able to find a suitable device for your application.

With that in mind, I thought I would purchase a production standard UltraZed-EG development board. This would enable me to demonstrate to clients how we can port designs from the Ultra96-V2 to a more production ready solution. The main difference of course is the interfacing and necessary peripherals for field deployment compared to a development board. This is especially true for configurations where the popular SD Card used for bread boards is not suitable for deployment.

Let’s take a look at the UltraZed SoM which is available in both 3EG and 7EV varieties. Using the 3EG makes it ideal for embedded system applications and the 7EV for image processing / video processing.

Both boards provide the user with PS DDR4, 2 GB for the EG variant, and 4GB for the EV variant. The larger memory in the EV is due to video applications being memory intensive. The EV variant also provides 1GB of DDR4 connected to the programmable logic. Again this allows the developer to use this for frame buffering or to support the video codec in the PL.

UltraZed EG Block Diagram

As you would expect with a SoM, the IO is broken out to provide the user maximum flexibility on the carrier / mission card. This includes a mixture of IO from both the PS MIO and the PL IO. The number of IO varies depending upon the board type, however a range of high performance, high density and GTH interfaces are provided. The PS IO broken out includes the USB2.0, Ethernet, MIO and 4 GTR with associated GTR reference clock.

To get started, there are a range of carrier cards that can be used to develop the application using the SoM. These are the IO carrier cards which break out the IO to provide USB, JTAG, SD Card, Ethernet, USB, DisplayPort, SATA, PMod and Arduino Shield.

Of course, the EV Starter Kit is more focused around the video interfaces as would be expected. It provides HDMI in/out, 3G-SDI in/out, SFP+, USB, Ethernet, and DisplayPort.

To help get started with more complicated designs where an FMC support maybe required, there is also a PCIe carrier card available that supports both FMC and PCIe interfacing.

I have purchased both the EG Starter that comes with the IOCC and the PCIe carrier card. Over the next few months, I intend to create some white papers on how to convert from the Ulta96-V2 to the UltraZed for deployment and how to use the IOCC and PCIe development boards to get started developing applications as well

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