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Digilent embraces SYZYGY expansion with new Linux-on-Zynq SBCs

Oct 31, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,534 views

[Updated: Nov. 1] — Digilent’s “Eclypse Z7” and “Genesys ZU” SBCs run Linux on Zynq 7020 and Zynq UltraScale+ Arm/FPGA SoCs, respectively, and offer expansion slots for Pmod and higher-speed SYZYGY modules including new DAC and ADC modules.

Digilent, which is known for its Pmod standard for low-speed, up to 50MHz, FPGA expansion peripherals, is now embracing Opal Kelly’s open source, higher-speed SYZYGY expansion standard with its new Eclypse Z7 SBC and Genesys ZU SBCs. Both of which are due to launch in November along SYZYGY-baSed Zmod ADC 1410 and Zmod DAC 1411 modules.

The Eclypse Z7 runs Xilinx’s PetaLinux on a dual-core, Cortex-A9 Xilinx Zynq 7020 FPGA SoC, much like its earlier Zybo Z7 SBC. There are fewer details on the Genesys ZU, which taps the quad -A53 Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC (see farther below).

Eclypse Z7 with (left) and without the new Zmod ADC 1410 and Zmod DAC 1411 SYZYGY modules
(click images to enlarge)

The SYZYGY standard was first showcased in Opal Kelly’s SYZYGY Brain-1 SBC, which runs Linux on a Xilinx Zynq-7012S. SYZYGY bridges the gap between Pmod and the higher-end VITA 57.1 FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card) standard.


SYZYGY offers Standard and Transceiver connector types, both of which use Samtec connectors. The 40-pin Standard connector supports up to 28 single-ended, impedance-controlled signals at up to 500MHz per pin, while the higher-speed, 60-pin Transceiver connector has up to 16 single-end signals at up to 200MHz and up to 8x Gigabit transceiver pins at up to 5GHz per pin.

Eclypse Z7

The 160 x 99mm Eclypse Z7 will be an open source hardware/software product and will support instrumentation applications such as software defined radio, ultrasound, and medical technology. “Pre-built Linux images are accompanied by a software API for bulk data transfer,” says Digilent, a subsidiary of National Instruments.

The Eclypse Z7 taps the tried-and-true, Zynq-7020 with dual 667MHz -A9 cores and an FPGA with 53K LUT and 13,300 logic slices. The SBC provides 1GB of 1866MHz DDR3L plus 16MB QSPI flash and a microSD slot. You also get a GbE port and dual micro-USB ports: an OTG and a serial/JTAG debug port.

The board includes 2x Pmod and 2x SYZYGY connectors, but it does not appear likely that you could use more than two modules of any kind at a time. In addition to the new DAC and ADC modules provided as options by Digilent, you can choose from 10x Opal Kelly modules. These include ADC, DAC, camera, sensors, SFP+ networking, and various transceiver port modules and loopback test boards.

Digilent’s SYZYGY-compatible Zmod DAC 1411 digital-to-analog converter module and Zmod ADC 1410 analog digital converter can each can generate two simultaneous signals. For the DAC, the signal is described as “50Ω, ±5V, single-ended, 14-bit, 100MS/s, 40MHz+ bandwidth.” The ADC module’s signal is listed as “1MΩ, ±25V, single-ended, 14-bit, 100MS/s, 70MHz+ bandwidth.” On either module, the analog outputs or inputs, respectively, can be connected to a circuit using SMA cables.

The Eclypse Z7 is further equipped with a JTAG header, a 125MHz oscillator, and a pair each of user buttons and LEDs. There’s also mode select jumper, fan headers, and a 12V DC input.

A schematic and other open hardware files have been posted. If the price is under $200, we are likely to see it in the New Year’s edition of our Linux hacker board roundup.

Genesys ZU

The Genesys ZU follows other Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC development boards such as iWave’s sandwich-style iW-Rainbow G30D and Avnet’s 96Boards CE form-factor Ultra96. The SBC is equipped with single SYZYGY and FMC connectors and 4x Pmod connectors.

Genesys ZU
(click images to enlarge)

Two models will be available: a lower-end model with the ZU3EG with 103K-143K system logic cells and the ZU5EV model with 192K-504K cells that also adds a video control unit (VCU) that supports H.264/H.265 video support. Both models feature a Mali-400 MP2 GPU and 4x up to 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores. The Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC also integrates 2x Cortex-R5 real-time cores at up to 600MHz.

This “heavily Linux-based platform” features 256 Mbit QSPI flash, a microSD slot, and a USB FTDI interface for programming and debugging. Other features are said to include multiple camera inputs, 4K video, and both GbE and 10GbE Ethernet. Judging from the images, the latter appears to be in the form of optical SFP+.

The photos also show DDR4 RAM, WiFi, mini-PCIe, dual USB host, USB Type-C, and micro-USB debug ports. There’s also a DisplayPort, dual HDMI ports, and a CPU cooler. There’s no indication whether this will be an open hardware platform.

Further information

The Eclypse Z7 will be available Nov. 15 and the and Genesys ZU on Dec. 15, with pricing currently undisclosed. More information may be found in the preliminary Eclypse Z7 and Genesys ZU product pages, both of which link to the Zmod ADC 1410 and Zmod DAC 1411 SYZYGY module product pages. The Eclypse Z7 also has a more detailed wiki with manuals and links to schematics and other files.

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