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FPGA-based prototyping boards to fit all your design needs

Posted: 12 May 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Synopsys  processor  FPGA  Xilinx  ASIC 

MicroZed board

This development board introduced the system on module concept to the FPGA world. It combines a Xilinx Zynq along with DDR, flash, SD card and power management to provide a credit-card sized module that can be integrated into any application or test bench. The MicroZed is a module that you can develop on and then use in your system for the production run.

While this board does not come with many interfaces, the majority of its IO are broken out allowing it to be interfaced to either a specific carrier card like the embedded vision carrier card or the IO carrier card or your own custom developed one.

It also comes complete with an SoC device that combines Dual ARM A9 Cores with FPGA fabric providing true embedded system capability.

Applications for this board include embedded vision, industrial control, security and SDR.

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Figure 4: (Source:

ARTY board

This board is definitely aimed at the lower end of FPGA development but is still very capable. It comes complete with a number of Pmod (peripheral module) interfaces, which provide a common interface standard to a number of peripherals, such as ADC/DAC, H bridges, OLEDs, a rather impressive range of Pmods.

The ARTY board comes complete with an Arduino Shield interface allowing us to develop the FPGA such that we can drive shields or develop our own if the case be.

This board comes with both QSPI flash and DDR3L along with a Vivado Design Suite License. The memory enables us to create MicroBlaze softcore embedded processor applications. The low cost of this board coupled with its capability means that for those simple FPGA projects, you do not need to develop a custom board, just maybe the interface solution.

Applications for this board include embedded vision, control applications, SDR and commercial applications.

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Figure 5: (Source:


FPGA design is like any other area of engineering we want to select the right tool for the right job, and there are more FPGA vendors than just Xilinx and Altera. Lattice specialises in the development of small flash-based devices intended for low-power applications, areas that normally preclude the use of a FPGA.

The iCEstick is a simple development board that plugs directly into the USB port on your lap top and provides the FPGA, Pmod interface, IrDa transceiver and five LEDS.

If your application requires low-power operation modes for instance battery back-up and keep alive functionality, the iCEstick may be just what you need to try out your ideas and de-risk them early in the design cycle.

Applications include battery and low-power applications, system monitoring and security.

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Figure 6: (Source:

Smart Fusion 2 advanced development kit

Sometimes you need to develop a system that is both secure and offers high performance; one of the popular choices for secure systems are flash-based FPGAs as they provide no access to the configuration bit stream.

This development kit, based around the Smart Fusion 2 SoC, combines FPGA fabric with an embedded ARM Cortex M3 processor. The development board comes with a range of memory technologies and FMC interfaces.

Typical applications for development board may be industrial, power or military applications.

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Figure 7: (Source:

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