Are you a hobbyist or a professional engineer? Do you need a lot of digital logic gates, fast memory, DSP blocks, embedded RAMs, and DSP blocks?
If so, check out this blog post from Xilinx! Xilinx has been manufacturing FPGA chips for over forty years. They have their own Kintex UltraScale+ chipset. It provides plenty of digital logic gates and other features which are relevant to engineers. This is quite a detailed blog post about the specs on the board.
The first question that you should ask yourself is: What do I need from an FPGA? The answer to that question will determine what type of FPGA chip you’re going to purchase. To get started, you should look at the official documentation from Xilinx. Xilinx provides an FPGA fabric that they sell in different packages. For example, the smallest package is the DIP package which contains the smallest amount of circuitry on the die. We call the largest available package UltraScale+. It has significantly more logic blocks and other functions. To use an FPGA, you’re going to need an FPGA board.
What’s an FPGA board?
An FPGA board is a type of electronic device that contains a socketed FPGA chip. In other words, you can fit the FPGA chip into a socket and add more chips to add extra logic blocks to your project. This article will be discussing the specs on their Kintex UltraScale+ host interface board [which is what I’m going to go to within my system].
What is UltraScale FPGA?
UltraScale is a new and powerful FPGA architecture that Xilinx unveiled in 2014. This architecture aims to increase the performance and density of high-end FPGA designs. This architecture aims to meet the demand of cloud computing and other applications requiring large amounts of computing power. For instance, machine learning and data science applications, etc.
Xilinx uses deep submicron silicon technology to build up this new architecture. It helps them fit as many transistors as possible onto this chip. This will allow Xilinx to increase the performance of its FPGA designs.
Xilinx has also designed this new architecture in such a way that it can support up to 25 million transistors with a very high aspect ratio. This means that you will be able to fit all these transistors onto the same chip.
Differences Between UltraScale FPGA Families
When creating an FPGA system, it’s essential to make sure that you purchase the right chip. I’ve included a table below which lists each of the features in each family. The Kintex UltraScale+ family is quite versatile because we can use it in many different projects for different purposes.
FAMILY NUMBER OF LOGIC BLOCKS MAXIMUM CLOCK RATE I/O PORTS UltraScale+ 3M up to 2GHz 8,000 clock within one package plus 4 MTP links UltraScale 3M up to 1.5GHz 6,400 clocks within one package plus 3 MTP links Kintex UltraScale 2M up to 1.5GHz 6,500 clocks within one package plus 3 MTP links Kintex UltraScale 1M up to 1.5GHz 6,500 clocks within one package plus 3 MTP links Kintex UltraScale+ 7M up to 2.5GHz 8,000 clocks within one package plus 4 MTP links
The examples above show the different UltraScale families and the maximum processing performance of each chip compared to each other.
UltraScale+ versus Plus versus Plus+: FPGA Boards in Comparison:
There are many types of FPGA boards in this category, and Xilinx has released various types of boards that you can buy from leading companies such as RayMing PCB and Assembly for your own processing needs. This table from Xilinx lists all the different options that are available to purchase an FPGA board.
Kintex UltraScale+ Board
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ board is a programmable logic device that fits into a system. We can use it for a wide variety of applications that require plenty of digital logic, memory, embedded RAMs, and DSP blocks. This board can work in conjunction with a VME compatible carrier card.
Xilinx Kintex UltraScale Design Considerations
Xilinx has produced a lot of official documentation on the Kintex UltraScale board provided on their website. If you look at their documentation page, you can find out a lot about how the Kintex UltraScale works and how we can use it in conjunction with other FPGA boards.
The good thing about this documentation page is that it analyzes design considerations for the Kintex UltraScale+ board. For example, Xilinx recommends that you use at least four MTP links if you need to communicate with other devices from the FPGA chip using external transceivers. Look at this diagram from Xilinx, which demonstrates how to wire up an MTP link to an external device.
The device’s output on two MTP links connects to a Xilinx XDB-4X504C board that we can use for serial programming. In addition, the USB port is useful when it comes to downloading and uploading code from a PC which can be useful in some situations [but not for my systems]. This board also includes two external memories that are useful when used in conjunction with other FPGA boards.
The next page from Xilinx’s documentation is about how the Kintex UltraScale+ works with a high-end DSP board that we can use for digital signal processing.
The diagram above from Xilinx shows how the Kintex UltraScale+ works with a digital signal processor board. In my example project, you can use this same hardware setup to create a complete digital signal processing system. In addition, you can use the digital signal processor as an instrumentation block if you need to measure various voltages, currents, or frequencies that are present in your system or project.
Xilinx Kintex UltraScale features
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale Board can work with high-end applications where you have plenty of digital logic, bit memory, and embedded RAMs required for your project. This board features 14Mb of embedded memory, 8,000 LEs [Logic Elements], and it takes up the same amount of space as a dual-layer PCB. The board is useful when you have plenty of processing power required by your design because it doesn’t require any external FPGA boards to work. Some of the notable features include:
We can configure the Kintex UltraScale+ using the Xilinx Vivado HLx toolset and connect the board to an external PC using a MicroUSB cable. If you want to download and upload code from an external PC, you’ll need to install the MicroBlaze Linux Kernel and support packages on your development system.
2. Embedded Memory
The main feature of the Kintex UltraScale+ is that it contains 14Mb of embedded memory that can store data in high-speed applications. This embedded memory is quite helpful because you can use it to store data that you will be using throughout your design. The main thing to note about the embedded memory is that it’s extremely fast, and we can store various types of data in this embedded memory, such as:
The Kintex UltraScale+ has a built-in Ethernet port which helps connect it to other devices on your system. If you’re developing a project that requires plenty of digital logic, then the built-in Ethernet port is the way of ensuring that these devices will be able to communicate with each other. Some of the applications that you can use the Ethernet port for include:
4. USB 2.0 Data Port
The Kintex UltraScale+ board has a USB 2.0 data port that is useful for connecting it to other development systems, motherboards, and computers attached to your development system. To use the USB 2.0 data port, you’ll need to download and install the appropriate software package from Xilinx‘s website to use it with your design.
5. Power Supply
If you have a power supply that feeds voltage into your development system, you can supply this through the power supply port on the Kintex UltraScale+.
6. Digital I/O
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ features 8,000 LEs of digital logic, which we can use with an external FPGA board if you want to build up your design. This is useful because it allows you to use different types of logic blocks if your design needs these types of blocks. The following diagrams from Xilinx’s website show how the digital logic on this board we can use with various high-end FPGA boards.
7. Communication between Boards
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ features an MTP link that we can use to communicate between boards. This means that you can communicate with other parts of your design using this board. The diagram below from Xilinx shows how we can use the digital logic with the Xilinx Particle Core iCORE board, which is like my own FPGA core.
8. Power Consumption
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ consumes about 30 mA of power which is quite low compared to some other boards on the market. We can use this board best in designs with plenty of digital logic, embedded memory, and embedded RAMs required for your design. You can use the Xilinx Software Development Kit to monitor the current that the Kintex UltraScale+ consumes while it is in use.
The Kintex UltraScale+ has a built-in cooling feature useful when using this board in a high-temperature application. It has a built-in thermal sensor that we can configure through the Xilinx Vivado HLx tools. It helps control a fan so that it slows down, or speeds up as required by your application.
Limitations of Xilinx Kintex UltraScale
The Kintex UltraScale+ board is a useful tool in a design when you have plenty of digital logic, embedded memory, and embedded RAMs that you require for your project. However, there are some limitations to this card which you should take into consideration when using it in your design:
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ costs about $3,300 from the ESTEK website. This is quite expensive compared to other FPGA boards available on the market. The main reason it costs so much is because of the MTP link that’s built-in to this board. Also, it is because of the high amount of memory that’s built-in to this board.
2. USB Driver
The relevant software required for using the USB data port on the Kintex UltraScale+ isn’t free and costs about $99 per year to use it. The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ targets developers of high-end systems who are usually willing to spend money on professional tools for their designs.
3. Has No FPGA Board
The Kintex UltraScale+ has no FPGA board. This means that you’ll need to purchase an external FPGA board if you’re using plenty of digital logic, embedded memory, and embedded RAMs required by your design. So, you’ll have to pay for the cost of the additional FPGA board, which is an added extra cost to consider if you’re thinking about purchasing this board.
4. No Black Design Space Support
If you want to develop a design using the Xilinx Vivado HLx tools, you’ll have to work within the constraints of the black design space. If you need to use features that this design space does not support, you can’t do so with this card. You can purchase additional IP cores from Xilinx or third-party companies to use these non-standard features if they support them in their IP cores.
5. Limited Documentation
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ documentation is not easily accessible. You will need to purchase additional documentation from Xilinx to learn more about this board’s features. Other FPGA boards on the market face this problem.
6. No HDMI Port
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ has no HDMI port. It means that if your design requires a graphical interface, you’ll have to use the USB 2.0 data port instead. Therefore, it’s not as useful for it building up high-end designs. Other FPGA boards on the market will use HDMI ports for this purpose. In conclusion, The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ is a beneficial FPGA board targeted at high-end designs that require plenty of digital logic, embedded memory, and embedded RAMs. This is because it features many logic blocks, memories, and RAMs, useful in these designs.
The Kintex UltraScale+ is an exciting board to consider if you want to build up a design that requires a large amount of digital logic, embedded memory, or embedded RAMs. That’s because it has plenty of logic blocks, embedded memory, and embedded RAMs built-in to this board which we can use in your design. This means that you don’t need to buy an external FPGA board for your design which is a bonus. However, there are some limitations to the Kintex UltraScale+ that you should consider before purchasing this board. The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ costs about $3,300 from the ESTEK website. It is quite expensive compared to other FPGA boards available on the market.
Applications of UltraScale+ FPGA boards
Below are some of the most common applications of Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ boards:
1. Embedded Processing
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ is essential in FPGA-based embedded processing designs. An example of this application is the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ All Programmable SoC. It features a dual or quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, a quad-core ARM Cortex-R5 real-time co-processor. It also has plenty of RAMs and logic blocks on the board itself. This makes it a useful board for implementing embedded applications. For instance, vehicle control systems, robotics systems, military systems, and many more.
2. High-Definition Audio
You can also implement high-definition audio on the Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+. An example of this application is the Xilinx UltraScale+ ZU3EG Evaluation Board. It has an HDMI port, high-definition audio processing, and plenty of RAMs and digital logic. They are essential in implementing high-definition audio designs.
3. Industrial Applications
Many industrial applications use the Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+. An example of this application is the Xilinx KC705-D FPGA Module. We use it for embedded control applications that require plenty of digital logic, embedded memory, and embedded RAMs. You can also use it for building up control systems that your project needs.
We can implement the Bitcoin mining process using a Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ FPGA board. An example of this application is Xilinx Bitcoin Mining Board. It allows you to use a Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ FPGA board to implement Bitcoin mining applications.
5. Medical Applications
We can implement the Gerber Server Application Software using the Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ FPGA board. This is because it features plenty of digital logic, embedded memory, and RAMs. We use it in medical design applications, such as medical telemetry systems and other medical equipment, etc.
6. Industrial Automation Applications
We can implement the B32-Family of industrial automation applications using a Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ FPGA board. An example of this application is Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC. It is essential in industrial automation and control systems and network control applications.
7. Networking Applications
We can implement the OpenFlow Networking Application on the Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ FPGA board. This is because it features plenty of digital logic, embedded memory, and RAMs. They are essential in networking designs to implement high-speed data transmission designs.
8. 19-inch Rack-Mountable FPGA Boards
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ board is also suited for 19-inch rack-mounted applications. An example of this application is Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ ZC706-X1 FPGA Module. It has a 19X3 rack space design which means we can install it in a 19-inch rack with 3U height. This allows it for mounting in a 19-inch rack with 3U height and a depth of about 1U. The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ ZC706-X1 is essential in industrial automation and control systems, networking applications, embedded processing designs, and many more.
[XCM-116L] Xilinx Kintex UltraScale / UltraScale+ FPGA board
- Made In Japan
- RoHS compliance
- Tested all I/Os
- Compact size 1.693″ x 2.126″ (43 x 54 mm)
- High-quality ten-layer PCB (Immersion gold)
- Configuration device
- JTAG buffer for stable download and debug
- JTAG port (7 pin socket)
- Status LED x2 (Power, Done)
- User LED x 1
- User Switch x 1 (DIP x1bit)
- Power-on Reset IC for FPGA configuration
- DDR3 SDRAM: MT41K256M16TW-107:P (Micron, 4Gbit)
- Rocket IO Tx/Rx 2ch.
- Rocket IO reference clocks: 125 MHz and external input (MMCX connectors)
- 50 MHz, 200 MHz Oscillator (50 ppm), or External inputs
- Quad SPI ROM: MT25QU128 (Micron, 128Mbit)
- Separable VCCO
- Power: 3.3V, VCCOA, VCCOB – Sequenced power supplies (Power on)
- 1.0/1.2/1.5/2.5V generated by onboard regulators
- 128 user I/Os (with two 80pin HIROSE connectors) – Kintex UltraScale CNB: 64 user I/O(HP)*
- CNA: 64 user I/O(HR)* – Kintex UltraScale+ CNB: 64 user I/O (HP)*
- CNA: 46 user I/O (HD)* + 18 user I/O (HP)* – Separable VCCO (CNA/CNB) * HD = High-density I/O with support for I/O voltage from 1.2V to 3.3V
- * HP = High-performance I/O with support for I/O voltage from 1.0V to 1.8V
- * HR = High-range I/O with support for I/O voltage from 1.2V to 3.3V
· XCKU035: 444,343 System Logic Cells, 406,256 CLB Flip-Flops, 203,128 CLB LUTs, 5,9 Maximum Distributed RAM (Mb), 540 Block RAM Blocks, 19.0 Block RAM (Mb), 10 CMTs (1MMCM,2PLLs), 40 I/O DLLs, 1,700 DSP Slices, 1 System Monitor, 104/208 Max HR/HP I/O (Device), and 64+64 Max HR/HP I/O (Board)
· XCKU040: 64+64 Max HR/HP I/O (Board), 104/208 Max HR/HP I/O (Device), 1 System Monitor, 1,920 DSP Slices, 40 I/O DLLs, 10 CMTs (1MMCM,2PLLs), 21.1 Block RAM (Mb), 600 Block RAM Blocks, 7,0 Maximum Distributed RAM (Mb), 242,400 CLB LUTs, 484,800 CLB Flip-Flops, and 530,250 System Logic Cells
· XCKU3P: 46+82 Max HD/HP I/O (Board), 48/208 Max HD/HP I/O (Device), 1 System Monitor, 1,368 DSP Slices, 4 CMTs (1MMCM,2PLLs), 13.5 UltraRAM (Mb), 48 UltraRAM Blocks, 12.7 Block RAM (Mb), 360 Block RAM Blocks, 4.7 Maximum Distributed RAM (Mb), 162,720 CLB LUTs, 325,440 CLB Flip-Flops, and 355,950 System Logic Cells
· XCKU5P: 46+82 Max HD/HP I/O (Board), 48/208 Max HD/HP I/O (Device), 1 System Monitor, 1,824 DSP Slices, 4 CMTs (1MMCM,2PLLs), 18.0 UltraRAM (Mb), 64 UltraRAM Blocks, 16.9 Block RAM (Mb), 480 Block RAM Blocks, 6.1 Maximum Distributed RAM (Mb), 216,960 CLB LUTs, 433,920 CLB Flip-Flops, and 474,600 System Logic Cells
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ is a useful FPGA board that manufacturers design to implement high-end designs. It is perfect for those who want to build up high-end digital logic applications. It is also suitable for those that require plenty of embedded memory and embedded RAMs. This makes it a competent board for those who want to implement high-speed data transmission designs. For instance, high-speed data transmission systems and many more.
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ features plenty of logic blocks, memory, and RAMs that you can use in your design. So it is beneficial for building large designs. However, there are some limitations to it, although we should consider these before purchasing this board. The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ costs about $3,300 from the ESTEK website. This is quite expensive compared to other FPGA boards available on the market.