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Upgraded Zynq-based Zybo SBC targets embedded vision apps

Nov 6, 2017 — by Eric Brown 1,797 views

Digilent’s “Zybo Z7” SBC runs Linux on the Xilinx Zynq-7010 and -7020 ARM/FPGA SoCs, and offers HDMI in and out, MIPI-CSI, and up to 6x Pmod connectors.

Digilent, which is owned by National Instruments, is known for its FPGA-driven Pmod peripheral modules and Arty FPGA development board. In 2012, the company also launched a Zybo board supporting the lowest end Xilinx Zynq-7010 version of the Zynq family, which combines dual Cortex-A9 cores running Linux with an FPGA. Now Digilent has introduced a more capable Zybo Z7 board aimed at embedded vision applications. The Zybo Z7 offers an option for the Zynq-7020, which has a faster FPGA, as well as enhancements including the addition of a MIPI-CSI camera interface and separate HDMI in and out ports.

Zybo Z7-20, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Starting at $199 at Mouser for the Zynq-7010 version, the new board is only $10 more than the original. Many of the features and much of the layout is similar, and Digilent supplies a migration guide aimed at its many educational customers. Schematics are also available.

The Zybo Z7 is available in Zybo Z7-10 and Zybo Z7-20 models. The latter not only has the Zynq-7020 with a 53K LUT FPGA, but adds 8x more shield I/Os for 40x total, plus 1x more Pmod ports, for a total of 6x, and a pair of RGB LEDs instead of one. The Zybo Z7-20 is the only model with a fan connector and heat sink, and its HDMI CEC support supports RX in addition to TX.


Otherwise, the two SKUs appear to be the same. Both models support 1GB DDR3L instead of the previous 512MB, and provide a microSD slot, GbE port, USB OTG port, and a micro-USB debug port with power support. There are also 3x audio jacks and a several pushbuttons, sliders, and LEDs.

Zybo Z7-20 angle view (left) and with VGA Pmod module
(click images to enlarge)

The Zybo Z7 provides separate HDMI in and out ports instead of the previous single port, which could be configured for either. The VGA port has been sacrificed, but you can buy a Pmod card with VGA, among the more than 70 other Pmods, including motor controllers, sensors, and display peripherals.

Specifications listed for the Zybo Z7-10 and Zybo Z7-20 include:

  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7010 (Z7-10) or Zynq-7020 7010 (Z7-20) — 2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 667MHz, plus FPGA)
  • Memory:
    • 1GB DDR3L-1066 RAM
    • 16MB SPI Flash
    • MicroSD slot
  • Display/multimedia:
    • HDMI in port (CEC support only on Z7-20)
    • HDMI out port with CEC
    • Pcam connector with MIPI-CSI support
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 OTG port
    • Micro-USB UART debug port
    • Stereo headphone, line-in, and mi jacks
    • Fan connector (Z7-20 only)
  • Expansion — 6x (Z7-20) or 5x (Z7-10) Pmod Ports:
    • 8x processor I/O
    • 40x Zybo Z7-20) or 32x (Zybo Z7-10) FPGA I/O
    • 4x analog capable 0-1.0V differential pairs to XADC
  • Other features — 5x pushbuttons; 4x slide switches; 5x LEDs; 2x (Z7-20) or 1x (Z7-10) RGB LEDs; heatsink (Z7-20 only); optional fan
  • Power — 5V DC in jack; supports micro-USB power
  • Operating system — Linux (Xilinx PetaLinux coming soon); voucher for Xilinx SDSoc dev environment

Other Zynq based boards include MYIR’s Z-turn Lite and Z-turn board, as well as its MYC-CZ010/20 and MYD-CZ010/20 COM and carrier board. Other boards include Avnet’s Zedboard and Microzed, as well as the the Red Pitaya, Parallela, and many others.

Zybo Z7 video overview

Further information

The Zybo Z7-10 and Zybo Z7-20 is available now from Digilent and Mouser. The Zybo Z7-10 sells for $199 (currently “non-stocked”) or with a voucher for Xilinx’s SDSoC development environment, $209. The Zybo Z7-20 sells for $299 with the voucher. More information may be found on the well-documented Digilent Zybo Z7-20 product page, which includes schematics and a reference manual. Educational discounts are available.

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