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Adam Taylor’s MicroZed Chronicles Part 174: UltraZed Edition Part 4

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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By Adam Taylor


Having looked at how we can quickly and easily get the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC up and running, I now want to look at the architecture of the system in a little more detail. I am going to start with examining the processor’s global address map. I am not going to look in detail into the contents of the address map. Initially, I want to explore how it is organized so that we understand it. I want to explain how the 32-bit ARM Cortex-R5 processors in the Zynq UlraScale+ MPSoC’s RPU (Real-time Processing Unit) and the 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processors in the APU (Application Processing Unit) share their address spaces.


The ARM Cortex-A53 processors use a 40-bit address bus, which can address up to 1Tbyte of memory. Compare this to the 32-bit address bus of the ARM Cortex-R5 processors, which can only address a 4Gbyte address space. The Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC architects therefore had to consider how these address spaces would work together. The solution they came up with is pretty straightforward.


The memory map of the The Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC is organised to so that the PMU (Platform Management Unit), MIO peripherals, DDR controller, the PL (programmable logic), etc. all fall within the first 4Gbyte of addressable space so that the APU and the RPU can both address these resources. The APU has further access to the DDR and PCIe controllers and the PL up to the remaining 1Tbyte address limit. The lower 4Gbytes of address space supports 32-bit addressing for some peripherals. One example of this is the PCIe controller, which supports 32-bit addressing via a 256Mbyte address range in the lower 4Gbytes and up to 256Gbytes (using 64-bit addressing) in the full address map.




MPSoC Global Address Map



It goes without saying that the only the APU can access the address space above 4 GB. However, the more observant amongst us will have noticed that there is also what appears to be a 36-bit addressable mode as well. Using a 36-bit address, provides for faster address translation, because the table walker uses only three stages instead of four for a 40-bit address. Therefore, 36 bit addressing should be used if possible to optimize system performance.


Address translation is the role of the System Memory Management Unit (SMMU), which has been designed to transform addresses from a virtual address space to a physical address space when using a virtualized environment. The SMMU can provide the following translations if desired:



Virtual Address (VA) - > Intermediate Physical Address (IPA) -> Physical Address (PA)



Within the SMMU, these are defined as being stage one VA to IPA or stage two IPA to PA and depending upon use case we can perform only a stage one, stage two or a stage one and two translation. To understand more about the SMMU—which is a complex subject—I would recommend reading chapters 3 and 10 of the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC TRM (UG1085) and the ARM SMMU architecture specification.





SMMU translation schemes




Now that we understand a little more about the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC’s global memory map, we will look at exactly what is contained within this memory map and how we can configure and use this map with both the APU and the RPU cores over the next few blogs.





Code is available on Github as always.


If you want E book or hardback versions of previous MicroZed chronicle blogs, you can get them below.




  • First Year E Book here
  • First Year Hardback here.




 MicroZed Chronicles hardcopy.jpg



  • Second Year E Book here
  • Second Year Hardback here



MicroZed Chronicles Second Year.jpg


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