ZUBoard 1CG Development Kit: New Low-Cost Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC with SYZYGY

The ZUBoard 1CG Development Kit from Avnet is an FPGA development platform based on the latest AMD-Xilinx ZU1CG chip.

Today, Avnet announces one of its first launches since the AMD-Xilinx merger. The ZUBoard 1CG Development Kit is an FPGA development platform boasting the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC with multiple SYZYGY connectors. The particular Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC chip on the ZUBoard 1C is also the latest and greatest revision of the chip from AMD-Xilinx: the ZU1CG.

The ZU1CG is the smallest, lowest power, and most cost-optimized member of the Zynq UltraScale+ family. And with the price tag of the ZUBoard 1CG Development Kit at $159 compared to other low-cost Zynq UltraScale+ development boards such as the Ultra96-V2 with a price tag currently sitting at $299, this is definitely an ideal board to kick off your next design with.

In terms of peripherals on the ZUBoard 1CG Development board it hosts three SYZYGY connectors, RJ45 Ethernet, an SD card slot, micro-USB A for JTAG/UART, regular USB A, USB-C, and a Click Mezzanine board connector to overall expose four PS GTR transceivers and 87 user GPIO pins of the Zynq UltraScale+ device.

Click Mezzanine cards are handy little breakout boards for the MikroBUS standard that Avnet originally rolled out on the Ultra96 that supported UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, and analog input interfaces for use with various sensor, display, storage, timing, mixed-signal, and audio Click boards.

MikroBUS is a handy interface standard to have available because it facilitates maximum expandability with the smallest number of pins as compared to other add-on board socket standards.

The SYZYGY connectors are very appealing on this board as they offer a very high pin count in an ideally compact footprint while still maintaining a low price point. SYZYGY's open standard has gained popularity and I've been noticing SYZYGY peripheral boards have been popping up over the past few years.

The SYZYGY connectors fill a prevalent gap in the connector market as that are ideal for low-speed applications that need a higher pin count than PMOD, as well as high-speed applications that don't need all of the pins in an FMC (or can't afford the large footprint of an FMC).

The ZUBoard 1CG Development Kit is targeted to provide hobbyist and industrial engineers alike with a platform for rapid development of miniaturized compute-intensive edge applications in IoT systems, embedded vision cameras, AV-over-IP 4K and 8K-ready streaming, handheld test equipment, consumer, medical applications, artificial intelligence/machine learning applications, and more.

Example designs in Vivado/Vitis as well as a Linux board support package (BSP) are already on deck to be released with the 1CG board when it ships out later this year in Q4. While that's a standard we've come to expect from Avnet and AMD-Xilinx over the years, the 1CG will also have complex circuit and layout examples for Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC power, LPDDR4, Ethernet and USB designs provided.

It will be very interesting to see what projects start to crop up based on the ZUBoard 1CG Development Kit, especially as we start to see better integration between AMD-Xilinx chips and services such as Edge Impulse. If you're excited to see the 1CG board in action, it will be on display at the Embedded Vision Summit May 17-19, 2022 in Santa Clara, California!

Whitney Knitter
Working as a full-time SDR/FPGA engineer, but making time for the fun projects at home.
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