XRF16 Gen3 SOM features Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ ZU49DR RFSoC with up to 6GHz bandwidth

We’ve written about Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs that combine Arm Cortex-A53/R5 cores and Mali-400 GPU with Ultrascale FPGA fabric several times over the course of a few years. But AMD-Xilinx also offers the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC single-chip adaptable radio platforms that support up to 7.125GHz analog bandwidth.

The topic came to my attention because of an upcoming ZU49DR SoM from iWave Systems that seems to be under development but also noticed Avnet had launched a solution last year with the XRF16 Gen3 SoM featuring the same third-generation Zynq Ultrascale+ ZU49DR RFSoC with 16 RF-ADC, 16 RF-DAC channels, and 6GHz RF bandwidth.

Avnet XRF16 Xilinx RFSoC Gen3 SOM with ZU49DR

Avnet XRF16 specifications:

  • Main chip – Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ Gen3 ZU49DR RFSoC with
    • Quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processing subsystem
    • Dual-core Arm Cortex-R5F MPCore up to 533MHz
    • 16x ADCs, 14-bit up to 2.5 GSPS
    • 16x DACs, 14-bit up to 9.85 GSPS (10 GSPS Available)
    • 1 GbE, PCIe Gen1/2, SATA, USB2/3
    • UltraScale+ programmable logic (FPGA) with 930K logic cells
    • 16x GTY serial transceivers, each capable of 16 Gbps
  • System Memory
    • 4GB DDR4 @ Programmable Logic
    • 4GB DDR4 @ Processor Subsystem
  • Storage
    • 32GB eMMC persistent storage
    • 128MB QSPI boot storage
  • Clocks & Synchronization
    • Ultra-low jitter programmable sampling clocks
    • External or onboard programmable TCXO reference clock
    • Phase coherent synchronous sampling across all converters & multiple boards
  • Misc – Temperature monitor; air and conduction cooling options
  • Power Supply – 5.5 to 16V DC
  • Dimensions – 12.7 x 10.16 cm
  • Temperature Range – industrial
ZU49DR SoM block diagram
Block Diagram

The module is pre-loaded with the Quad Mesh firmware that “combines AMD-Xilinx Aurora protocol with GTY transceivers to stream data with four peers, facilitating tiling in high-performance real-time systems”. An XRF16 Carrier Card is also provided to get started.

XRF16 Carrier Board

It provides access to USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe, UART, SPI, I2C, GPIO, and JTAG, plus sixteen 28Gbps Xilinx GTY transceivers to enable standards such as PCIe over OCuLink, 10/25/100 GbE, and Xilinx Aurora. The Avnet module and Xilinx Zynq Ultrascale+ RFSoC in general can be used for phased array radar, 5G massive MIMO, hybrid beamforming, signal detection & jamming, medical imaging, and multi-channel RF instrumentation, meaning applications in telecommunications, medical, and military sectors.

High-end FPGA solutions can be pricey, and Avnet XFR16 SoM is no exception going for $24,995, with the carrier board offered for $4,995. There’s also a lower-end XRF8 Xilinx RFSoC SoM with 8-channel going for $22,995 instead. The lead time is 26 weeks for the complete devkit, and if you live outside of the US, you’d probably have to sign a ton of papers for this type of hardware due to export controls. Further details may be found on the product page.

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