When looking for a powerful device that combines PL or programmable logic and high-functioning, feature-rich processing system, designers should consider the EK-U1-ZCU111-G arm evaluation kit manufactured by primary PL supplier Xilinx. 

EK-U1-ZCU111-G arm evaluation kit by Xilinx
EK-U1-ZCU111-G arm evaluation kit

Xilinx’s ZCU111 evaluation kit allows designers to comfortably work on their RF-class high-performance applications and designs. Featuring the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC ZCU28DR device, the board integrates RF-DAC and RF-ADC functionality in addition to essential features like dual-core Arm Cortex-R5 real-time processors and quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 PS. It also has RF-FMC interface and DDR4 memory networking interfaces, which are important for design development.


Aside from the evaluation board, the ZCU111 ARM embedded development kit also has filters, cables, verified reference design, and documentation. In addition, it has an add-on card that’s ideal for signal analysis and loopback evaluation – the XM500 RFMC balun transformer. The main purpose of a balun is to convert balanced signals to unbalanced signals, and vice versa. 

This electrical device is typically utilized in transmitters and telephone lines. It also optimizes the AC signals and allows impedance transformation between balanced loads and coaxial cable. It is also needed to ensure that antennas and transmitters function correctly. Thus, the balun transformer is an essential aspect of the ZCU111.

The ZCU111’s core architecture is ARM (Advanced RISC Machines/Acorn RISC Machines). RISC is an acronym for “reduced instruction set computing”, which pertain to architectures designed for computer processors.

What is an evaluation board?

Also known as an EV kit or evaluation kit and development kit, an evaluation board is a printed circuit board (PCB) that comes with hardware, integrated circuitry, and other components vital for the creation of a working circuit. It provides a guide or automated flow and is useful in jumpstarting a project. It is specifically intended for efficient evaluation and development.

Evaluation boards play an important role in ensuring the reduction or elimination of risks. EV kits are almost always tested and fully assembled. Moreover, its features are similar or equivalent to the final product or application. 


The ZCU111 is manufactured by Xilinx, an American company credited for inventing programmable SoCs (System on a Chip), Area Communication Electronics Capability, and FPGA or field-programmable gate array (which is an important device for reprogramming outputs to the right functionality requirements or application.

One of Xilinx’s commitments is to create user-friendly development tools similar to the ZCU111 evaluation board. It also focuses on data analytics, machine learning, genomics, and video and image processing. 

Their innovative products are ideal for various sectors and fields, such as: 

  • aerospace and defense,
  • 5G wireless,
  • broadcast and A/V,
  • medical and science,
  • data center,
  • industrial,
  • wireless infrastructure,
  • wired communications, and
  • test, measure, & emulation.

Features and Specifications

The following are the features and specifications of ZCU111:

Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC ZCU111 Evaluation Kit
  • Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC evaluation board
  • ROHS3-compliant
  • Dimensions are 11.811in x 7.874in x 0.1in
  • 469kg unit weight
  • 4GB, 2666MT/s, 64-bit, attached to PL (DDR4 component)
  • SATA, DisplayPort, and USB3
  • 4GB, 2400MT/s, 64-bit, attached to PS or Processor Subsystem (DDR4 SODIMM)
  • XM500 RFMC balun transformer add-on card
  • FMC+ FPGA Mezzanine Card interface for I/O expansion
  • Tools, MicroSD
  • PMOD connectors
  • Ethernet support
  • 6 SMAs, Ethernet, Power, and USB cables