Many of our old members haven't used the MicroZed or any of the other ZedBoards, so I am always looking for ways to interest them in the ZedBoard line. (See What Zedboard Do You Prefer Working With and Why?) The other day I happened to read a roadtest review by one of our long time members ( Fred27 ), and I thought it was really good, so I encourage everyone to look it over here:
New to the RoadTest Program?
If you are new to the element14 community, let me just say briefly that our Roadtest program ( RoadTests & Reviews ) is one of our flagship member engagement programs. It's a product review program where members compete to get free product (which sometimes is in the thousands of dollars) and all we want in return is a review. The best reviews go above and beyond the reviewer's opinion of the product; rather, they share their experience of the product, show how to use it, and sometimes build a project with it. Some reviews are tutorials and comprehensive learning experiences. This last category is where I feel David's review should be placed.
There are two really interesting things David does in his review. He first goes into the ZYNQ chip. To fully appreciate the MicroZed, one must appreciate and understand the Zynq. The next thing that David does is briefly compares the MicroZed to the other boards in the ZedBoard line. It is personal and helpful to someone new to the ZedBoards. I've pasted that section from his review below:
How does the MicroZed compare to other Zynq boards?
OK, so you're interested in the Zynq processor. What now? There are quite a few Zynq boards available. The main manufacturers are Avnet (with their Zedboard range), and Digilent. I won't describe every Zynq board available, but here's a selection of the more notable ones.
This is one of the smallest boards available. Even more so that the MicroZed I'll be testing, this is intended to be a drop-in module on another board. It's available in quite a few variants of the Zynq - the 7Z010, 7Z015, 7Z020 and 7Z030. If size is very important and Ethernet / USB connectivity is not then this might be the right choice. Where the MicroZed has 2 high-density connectors underneath, the PicoZed has 3 - but very little else, not even a debug header. Debugging must be done via one of the high density connectors.
This is the board I'll be road testing, so expect more details to follow. Like the PicoZed it's mainly intended to be added to your own carrier board. Any Ethernet or USB requirements are handled for you though. A JTAg debug header is included although the debugger is not onboard. It's available with either the Zynq 7Z010 onboard (as tested here) or the larger 7Z020.
To make use of those high density connectors you will either need a https://www.element14.com/community/view-product.jspa?fsku=2843219&nsku=&COM=noscriptbreakout board, https://www.element14.com/community/view-product.jspa?fsku=2843220&nsku=&COM=noscriptPmod board, https://www.element14.com/community/view-product.jspa?fsku=2915525&nsku=&COM=noscriptFMC carrier card or to spin up your own design. This makes it a little harder for hobbyist use, but ideally suited to being a SOM for a production design.
This is a great getting-started board. Perhaps better than the MicroZed for many users. It has an onboard debugger, Arduino style headers and WiFi rather than Ethernet. If you want to get to grips with Zynq this might be the board for you. It's cheaper and can be used standalone.
This is a much more powerful Zynq board. It contains a Zynq Ultrascale+ chip and is a huge step up for the boards we've mentioned so far. For instance it has a DisplayPort output if you want to Petalinux as a desktop environment. There are currently a few lucky traines learning about the Ultra96 v2 as part of Path II Programmable. I suggest that if you want to know more about this high-end Zynq board that would be the place to start.
This another Ultrascale+ Zynq board like the Ultra96, but available as a System on Module in two versions, the EG and EV.
Cora Z7 (Digilent)
This is another basic low cost offering, this time from Digilent. It's available with a Zynq 7Z010 onboard (like the lower MicroZed) but rather than stepping up to the 7Z020 it steps down to the single-core ARM version of the 7Z007S. A nice starter board though. Compared to the MiniZed though, it does need an external JTAG programmer.
Zybo Z7 (Digilent)
This is a nice Zynq board available in 7Z010 and 7Z020 variants. It's ideal if you want to do video processing. It has been road tested in that capacity here: Digilent Zybo Z7 + Pcam 5C
Don't fancy getting your hands dirty with Vivado and HDL? More comfortable with Python? This Z7020 based board is the one for you. Once again, this has been thoroughly road tested by E14 members here: PYNQ-Z2 Dev Board: Python Productivity for Zynq
Anyway, I encourage you to read David's review.
Feel free to offer comments or tell me what you found helpful about David's review.
RoadTest Program Manager