All News | Boards | Chips | Devices | Software | Archive | About | Contact | Subscribe
Follow LinuxGizmos:
Twitter Facebook Pinterest RSS feed
*   get email updates   *

Zynq Ultrascale+ Pico-ITX SBC offers Xilinx AI support

May 25, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 5240 views

iWave’s “iW-RainboW-G36S Corazon AI” Pico-ITX SBC runs Linux on an FPGA-equipped, Zynq Ultrascale+ MPSoC with 2x GbE, HDMI in and out, mini-PCIe and M.2, a -40 to 85°C range, and support for the Xilinx Vitis AI Stack.

iWave has announced what appears to be the first Pico-ITX board based on the Arm/FPGA hybrid Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC. The iW-RainboW-G36S (AKA Corazon-AI SBC or ZU5/4/3/2 Zynq Ultrascale+ SBC) was announced in a roundabout way in an iWave Covid-19 solutions press release that also included the i.MX8M Mini based iW-RainboW-G34D Pico-ITX SBC that we covered last week.

The announcement describes an iWave Corazon-AI SBC for Covid-19 related AI surveillance applications. The text is accompanied by an image of a compact embedded system but links to the iW-RainboW-G36S product page, which makes no mention of an enclosure configuration. The post also links to a separate blog post about using the SBC in conjunction with the Xilinx Vitis AI Stack (see farther below).

iW-RainboW-G36S Corazon-AI ZU5/4/3/2 Zynq Ultrascale+ SBC (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Other products in the Covid-19 announcement included a Skin Analyzing Solution that is attached to an iW-RainboW-G15D-Q7 i.MX6 Qseven Development Platform, which we will cover in a separate report. The announcement also mentioned an MCU-based fitness and health tracker and a family of iW-RainboW-G32 HMI system for medical applications based on various microcontrollers and Qualcomm Kyro based SoCs, some of which are said to support Linux.


The iW-RainboW-G36S Corazon-AI SBC follows two iWave compute modules based on the Zynq Ultrascale+: an iW-RainboW-G30M for ZU7/5/4 models in the Ultrascale+ family and a later iW-RainboW-G35M with higher-end ZU19/17/11 FPGA support. The iW-RainboW-G35M previously used the same iW-Rainbow G30D carrier board as the earlier iW-RainboW-G30M but is now supported with its own iW-RainboW-G35D board, which we cover farther below.

The iW-RainboW-G36S follows other similarly monolithic SBCs based on the Zynq Ultrascale+ including Avnet’s 96Boards CE compatible Ultra96-V2 and Digilent’s much larger Genesys ZU. The Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC runs Linux on 4x up to 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores, which are joined by a Mali-400 MP2 GPU and 2x Cortex-R5 real-time cores.

Like the Ultra-96 and Genesys ZU, iWave’s new Pico-ITX SBC supports the lower end Ultrascale+ FPGA models: ZU5/4/3/2 parts with up to 256K logic cells. iWave claims the 100 x 72mm, Linux-driven SBC “is the industry-first Two in One Board which serves as both Single Board Computer and System On Module.” This is said to be due to its FMC HPC connector with 192 FPGA IOs and 4x GTH transceivers for expansion.

Actually, we have seen a number SOM-like SBCs over the years, including FriendlyElec’s SOM-RK3399 COM/SBC hybrid and the Khadas Edge, both built around the Rockchip RK3399. Other Zynq based SBCs with FMC connectors include the Genesys ZU and Innovative Integration’s Zynq-7000 based Cardsharp.

As with other hybrid Arm/FPGA products, RAM and I/O are split between the Arm Processing System (PS) and the FPGA Programming Logic (PL). The system ships with 4GB DDR4 RAM with ECC for the PS and 2GB DDR4 for the PL as well as 8GB eMMC and a microSD slot.

Dual GbE ports are available along with optional WiFi/Bluetooth. Further wireless options available via the mini-PCIe and M.2 E-key slots and nano-SIM slot. The M.2 slot also supports mSATA and NVMe SSDs. Dual USB 3.0 ports are available along with various I/O headers.

Media features include a DisplayPort and PL-driven HDMI in and out ports with 4K support. PL expansion includes the FMC connector and dual Pmod connectors. The 12V board supports -40 to 85°C temperatures.

Specifications listed for the iW-RainboW-G36S (AKA Corazon-AI SBC or ZU5/4/3/2 Zynq Ultrascale+ SBC) include the following. Note that unless marked as PL, all I/O supports PS or entire system:

  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC ZU5/4/3/2 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); FPGA with up to 256K logic cells; Mali-400 MP2 GPU @ 677MHz; 2x Cortex-R5 MCUs @ 600MHz
  • Memory/storage:
    • 4GB DDR4 RAM with ECC
    • 2GB DDR4 (PL)
    • 8GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot
    • Optional QSPI flash (PL)
    • mSATA or NVMe available via M.2 slot (see expansion below)
  • Networking:
    • 2x GbE ports
    • Optional SFP+ connector (PL)
    • Optional WiFi/Bluetooth with antenna connectors
    • Wireless available via M.2 and mini-PCIe (see expansion below)
  • Media Features:
    • DisplayPort
    • HDMI out port with 4K support (PL)
    • HDMI in port with 4K support (PL)
    • Camera support including up to 8x IP via Ethernet, 2x via USB 3.0, and SDI
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 host ports
    • RS232, JTAG, and 20-pin GPIO headers
    • 12G SDI inputs and outputs via BNC jacks (PL)
    • 20-pin ADC header (PL)
  • Expansion:
    • Mini-PCIe slot with PCIe and USB 2.0
    • M.2 B-key slot with SATA (mSATA and NVMe), PCIe, and USB 3.0
    • Nano-SIM slot
    • 2x 12-pin Pmod connectors (PL)
    • FMC HPC Connector (PL):
      • FPGA IOs from HP Bank — 48LVDS/96SE
      • FPGA IOs from HD Bank — 48LVDS/96SE
      • Optional, 4-ch. GTH High Speed transceiver with support for 2x CAN etc.
  • Other features — RTC with coin-cell holder; optional heatsink; Xilinx Vitis AI Stack support; HW/SW customization services
  • Power — 12V DC jack; PMIC
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form factor
  • Operating system — Linux BSP (presumably Xilinx PetaLinux) with Xilinx Vitis support; optional QNX

Corazon-AI with Xilinx Vitis AI Stack

The iW-RainboW-G36S is also marketed as the Corazon-AI SBC, which is available with an undocumented enclosure with antennas. This implementation showcases the Vitis and Xilinx AI software platforms, which Xilinx announced last October. Based on open source libraries, Xilinx Vitis is billed as an easier alternative to its Vivado Design Suite that also includes a Vitis AI component.

Corazon-AI computer

The interrelated technologies, which iWave refers to as the Xilinx Vitis AI Stack, are aimed primarily at an upcoming Xilinx Versal ACAP (adaptive compute acceleration platform) processor family. However, they also support the Zynq and Zynq Ultrascale+ processors.

The Linux-driven Versal will provide dual 7nm, 1.7GHz Cortex-A72 cores and dual 750MHz Cortex-R5 cores plus FPGA-like Versal Adaptable Engines. There is also an AI Engine that features 1.3GHz VLIW/SIMD vector processors. The AI engine integrates technology from the Xilinx AI Platform, which is based on Xilinx’s acquisition of an AI firm called Deephi. The Deephi “sparse neural network” Core technology features a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) pruning technology and deep compression algorithm to reduce the size of AI algorithms for edge applications.

The same week that Xilinx announced Versal and Xilinx AI, iWave announced that the previously mentioned iW-Rainbow G30D dev kit for the mid-range FPGA iW-Rainbow G30M module supports the Xilinx AI Platform and Vitis. The support also extends to the higher-end iW-RainboW-G35M module.

Xilinx Vitis AI Stack (left) and Xilinx Edge AI Platform DPU architecture
(click images to enlarge)

The Corazon-AI blog posts describes how Xilinx Vitis AI Stack enables neural processing on the Corazon-AI SBC. The Xilinx Vitis AI Stack includes pre-optimized deep learning models from frameworks such as Tensor-flow, Caffe, Darknet, and Computer Vision Libraries. It also supports support C++/python APIs. The software integrates a deep-learning processor unit (DPU) algorithm implemented in the PL of the Zynq Ultrascale+ that includes CNNs such as VGG, SSD, Yolov2/v3, FPN, and Resnet50.

On the iW-RainboW-G36S Corazon-AI SBC, the Xilinx Vitis AI Stack and DPU process and analyze camera input from up to 8x IP cameras, 2x USB 3.0 cameras and SDI cameras. Applications include video surveillance, ADAS, medical robotics, industrial automation, and augmented reality. (See our earlier iW-Rainbow G30D and Xilinx AI report for more on these technologies, as well as the Versal processors.)

iW-RainboW-G35D dev kit

When we reported on the high-end, Zynq Ultrascale+ based iW-RainboW-G35M module last December, it still used the iW-Rainbow G30D carrier board for the mid-range iW-Rainbow G30M. Since our report, iWave has added an iW-RainboW-G35D dev kit with the iW-RainboW-G35M.

iW-RainboW-G35D and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The design is similar to that of the iW-Rainbow G30D, but adds some additional features including HDMI in and out ports and a Firefly connector (PDF). There is also a new QSFP+ connector that joins the earlier SFP+ cage.

Like the iW-Rainbow G30D, the carrier board features 2x GbE ports and single DisplayPort, USB 2.0 OTG, USB Type-C, and debug console ports. Internal I/O includes SD, CAN, JTAG, and 20-pin I/O headers.

Dual FMC HPC connectors provide FPGA-related I/O including LVDS, 14 high-speed transceivers, dual 12-pin PMOD, SATA, PCIe x4, and more. The board has an RTC and a 12V input and supports -40 to 85°C temperatures.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the iW-RainboW-G36S Corazon-AI ZU5/4/3/2 Zynq Ultrascale+ SBC. More information may be found in iWave’s Covid-19 solutions announcement, as well as its Corazon-AI blog post and iW-RainboW-G36S product page.


(advertise here)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Please comment here...