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Adam Taylor’s MicroZed Chronicles Part 199: The AD9467 SDSOC Platform

by Xilinx Employee ‎05-31-2017 03:36 PM - edited ‎05-31-2017 03:54 PM (5,342 Views)


By Adam Taylor


Having got the base hardware and software designs up and running, the next step is to create a SDSoC platform so that we can use this design efficiently. The SDSoC platform allows us to implement algorithms at a much higher level using C or C++. We can therefore develop C or C++ programs using SDSoC to access the ADC sample data within the DDR memory and verify that our algorithms work correctly. Once we are sure that we have the correct algorithmic function (but not necessarily the desired performance), we can accelerate these algorithms by putting them into the Zynq SoC’s programmable logic (PL) rather seamlessly. Taking such an approach enables us to use one base design for a range of applications. Because we are developing in a higher language, the time taken to produce the first working demonstration is reduced.


To generate an SDSoC platform, we need a Vivado base design, the necessary software libraries, and three definition files:


  • XPFM – This is the top-level definition of the Platform – Generated by hand
  • HPFM – The hardware definition of the platform – Generated by Vivado
  • SPFM – Defines the software definition of the platform – Generated by hand


The first thing we need to do to create the SDSoC platform (I am using version 2016.3) is to modify the design in Vivado using the UG1146 requirements for a hardware platform. This means that we need to update the concatenation block and move the used interrupts down to the least significant inputs. This frees up the remaining interrupts so that SDSoC can use them when it accelerates an algorithm using hardware. I also enabled all four FCLKs and Resets from the Zynq SoC’s PS (processing system) to the PL and instantiated the reset blocks for each of these clocks. I then followed the steps within UG1146 to create the hardware metadata to create one half of the platform. In this case, the hardware side of the SDSoC Platform makes available the AXI ACP, AXI HP2, AXI HP3, and AXI GP Master 1 connections. The other AXI interfaces are already in use by the existing AD9467 demo design.


There is one more thing we need as we create the hardware platform. Because this is a custom platform, which uses custom IP, we need to ensure that the IP is within the Vivado project for the SDSoC Platform. If it is not, then when we try to build our SDSoC platform we will get several failures in the build process because it cannot find IP information. The simplest method for preventing this problem is to use the Vivado Archive function to archive the design. Then the archived design will be extracted and used to define the SDSoC hardware platform.


To create the software platform (as we are using the ZedBoard for this example), I initially copied the software and top-level XML file from the <SDSoC Install>/platforms/zed directory, before editing them to reflect the needs of the platform:





Top Level of the ad9467_fmc_zed SDSoC Platform



These steps provided me with an SDSoC platform that I can use for development with the ZedBoard and the AD9467 FMC. My next step then was to perform some pipe cleaning to ensure that the platform functions as intended. To do this I wanted to:



  1. Build the AD9467 demo application and run it from with SDSoC with no acceleration.
  2. Create a simple acceleration example built onto to the base hardware. For this I am going to use one of the matrix multiply examples.



As I did not declare a prebuilt platform, SDSoC will generate the hardware the first time we build the application. I did this to ensure that SDSoC can re-build the hardware design without any accelerations but with the custom IP blocks needed for the AD9467 demo.






Vivado Diagram as used for the AD9467 Demo application



Having built the first application successfully, I then ran it on the ZedBoard with the AD9467 FMC connected and observed the same performance as I had previously seen when using SDK. This means that I can start developing that use the data provided by the AD9467 within the SDSoC environment.






However, once I have finished generating and testing my algorithms in C/C++, I will want to accelerate elements of the design. That is where the second test of the platform comes in: to test that the platform is correctly defined and is therefore capable of accelerating C and C++ functions into the hardware. Within the AD9467 FMC SDSoC platform, I created an example application for acceleration using one of the predefined SDSoC examples: the mmult. This will add functionality necessary to perform the MMult within the hardware in addition to the base design we have been using for the AD9467.





Accelerating the mmult_accel function in the AD9467 FMC Zed Platform






Resultant SDSoC Vivado design, AD9467 FMC design with additional hardware for the mmult_accel function (circled in red)






MMULT results on the AD9467 FMC Zed Platform



Generating this SDSoC platform was pretty simple and it allows us to develop our applications much faster than would be the case if we were using a standard HDL based approach. We will look at how we can do signal processing with this platform in future blogs.



I have uploaded the SDSoC Platform to the following git hub repository which is different to the standard one due to the organization of the platform.






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



About the Author
  • Be sure to join the Xilinx LinkedIn group to get an update for every new Xcell Daily post! ******************** Steve Leibson is the Director of Strategic Marketing and Business Planning at Xilinx. He started as a system design engineer at HP in the early days of desktop computing, then switched to EDA at Cadnetix, and subsequently became a technical editor for EDN Magazine. He's served as Editor in Chief of EDN Magazine, Embedded Developers Journal, and Microprocessor Report. He has extensive experience in computing, microprocessors, microcontrollers, embedded systems design, design IP, EDA, and programmable logic.