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Linux-driven Zynq SBC launches at $89 with WiFi, BT, and Arduino

Jun 13, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 3,496 views
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[Updated: June 14] — Avnet’s $89 MiniZed SBC is its lowest cost Zynq-based board yet. It offers 8GB eMMC, WiFi, BT, USB host, 2x micro-USB, and an Arduino interface.

The MiniZed SBC breaks new ground in pricing among Avnet’s Xilinx Zynq-7000 based computer-on-modules and SBCs, selling for $89 compared to $199 for the MicroZed SBC. The MiniZed supports “industrial IoT applications such as motor control and embedded vision,” says Avnet. Like Avnet’s other Zed boards, it’s not a fully open source hardware design, but it offers a Linux SDK, and is supported with extensive documentation and the long-running Zedboard.org community site. (See farther below for more on other Zed boards, including a fairly recent, Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC based UltraZed module and starter kit.)



Two views of the MiniZed SBC
(click images to enlarge)

The (3.0 x 2.8-inch (76 x 71mm) MiniZed is slightly smaller than the 4.0 x 2.25-inch (102 x 57mm) MicroZed SBC. The MiniZed is built around the Xilinx Zynq 7Z007S SoC, which integrates a single 667MHz Cortex-A9 core instead of the dual cores of the Zynq-7020 SoCs used by some of the Zed boards. Like the Zynq-7020, however, the MiniZed’s 7Z007S offers Artix-7 based FPGA logic.

The MiniZed has half the RAM of the MicroZed boards, with 512MB DDR3, but unlike those boards it provides 8GB eMMC. The board also features 128MB QSPI flash, which like the other memories comes from Micron.



MiniZed with USB ports connected and Nucleo Arduino shield (left) and MiniZed detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The MiniZed lacks the MicroZed’s GbE and microSD connections, but provides WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 with BLE via a Murata 1DX module. Other features include a USB 2.0 host port and two micro-USB ports: one for JTAG and the other as an alternative, power-only input to the onboard Dialog power supply. User buttons and switches are also available, along with a reset and programmable LEDs.

Like the MicroZed boards, the MiniZed provides dual Pmod connectors for 16x FPGA-related GPIO signals. In place of the additional 100x GPIO connectors, it features an Arduino shield compatible connector with 22x GPIO.



MiniZed (left) and Zynq-7000 block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

Other new features include two ST Micro sensors: an LIS2DS12 motion and temperature sensor and a MP34DT05 digital microphone. Zedboard.org will post tutorials on how to use the mic “as an example input to demonstrate how to easily implement filters and FFTs in the fabric,” says Avnet. In addition to the Linux SDK, the MiniZed is available with Xilinx’s SDSoC Development Environment, “which enables software engineers to quickly migrate compute-intensive C/C++ functions to hardware, effectively accelerating the functions and offloading the processor,” says Avnet.

 
UltraZed-EG SOM and carrier boards

We missed Avnet’s UltraZed-EG SOM, a true computer-on-module, with 3.5 x 2.0-inch (89 x 51mm) dimensions, that arrived late last year. The UltraZed is the first Zed board with the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, a quad-core, 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 ARM/FPGA hybrid SoC available on several other Linux-driven COMs, including the Enclustra Mars XU3 and Mercury+ XU1.



UltraZed-EG SOM (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Linux-supported UltraZed-EG SOM is available with up to 2GB DDR4 RAM and up to 8GB eMMC, and offers PHY for USB 2.0 and GbE. Other I/O includes I2C, JTAG, and interfaces such as 180x user I/O pins, 26x PS MIO pins, and 4x high-speed PS GTR transceivers.


UltraZed-EG Starter Kit
(click image to enlarge)

The module is available with an UltraZed IO Carrier Card to create an UltraZed-EG Starter Kit. The carrier includes USB 2.0 and GbE ports, as well as a variety of expansion interfaces. These include a 100-pin GPIO header, 12x Digilent Pmod pins, an Arduino shield interface, and an LVDS connection, among other features. Finally, Avnet introduced an UltraZed PCIe Carrier Card in a PCI Express form factor.

 
Other Zed boards

Avnet’s Zed line of Zynq-based boards started with the dual-core Zynq-7020 based, 6.3 x 5.3-inch ZedBoard SBC, which was later made available with an open-spec ZIDK-II add-on board kit for motor control. The first MicroZed shipped in 2013 with a single-core Zynq-7010. Smaller than the ZedBoard, the MicroZed also offers a reduced, COM-like feature set. Avnet calls most of its MicroZeds system-on-modules, but with their USB, Ethernet, and microSD connections, they are essentially COM-like SBCs.

In 2014, Avnet followed up with two new “COM” versions as well as a development board “SBC” version that added a few more interfaces and offered Zynq-7020 options. In 2015, a MicroZed Carrier Card Kit for Arduino arrived that extended the MicroZed boards with Arduino and MCU expansion.



MicroZed SBC (left) and PicoZed 7030
(click images to enlarge)

In 2014, MicroZed announced its first PicoZed, a true COM without real-world ports that supports Zynq-7010, -7015, -7020, and -7030 SoCs, adding higher levels of FPGA circuitry. The tiny COM is available with a PicoZed Carrier Card. In 2015, Avnet followed up with a Zynq-7035 driven, 100 x 72mm PicoZed SDR 2×2 COM for dual-channel software defined radio, and early this year it unveiled a PicoZed SDR 1×1 SOM with single-channel SDR support.

 
Further information

The $89 MiniZed starter kit is now available for ordering, with shipments starting in early July. More information may be found on the Avnet and Zedboard.org MiniZed product pages.
 

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