Assistance with product selection

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Hello everyone. 

So I'm a Computer Engineering student coming up on his senior year and looking to familiarize myself with an SoC development platform like Zynq.  I am pretty familiar with embedded programming, especially with ARM processors, but am pretty new to FPGA development. 

That being said, I love the idea of having both on a development board, but you have quite a few options that I'm not sure which one is best for me.  I wish I could tell you what I'm going to do for my senior project.  My current internship deals with a lot of DSP for hardware encoders and radios.  I think I'd like to play around with SDR's, but I don't want to be limit myself to just that, nor do I want to get a platform that won't allow for it either.

I'm not necessarily dead set on digilent but your affiliation with NI is definitely a plus. I've been using multisim and labview for most of my digital and analog design courses, so the idea that I could use those tools as well is really appealing. 

Should I settle for the Z7-10 or go for the -20 model?  Is there another digilent product that meets or exceeds my needs? Thanks in advance.


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10 years ago in engineering school I was new to FPGAs also they didn't have ARM cores then and I knew very little about FPGAs.  What I know now versus then Ill tell you to carefully consider all of the features of the entire Xilinx FPGA product line before you make your final selection.  I had a great starter learning experience with the Digilent Xilinx Spartan 3 board but wish I would have considered the Digilent Spartan 6 board back then because it had a lot more room to grow.



Edited by DigitalConfig
poor wording
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@DigitalConfig True.  I guess I don't know enough about the difference in the features to make an educated purchase, primarily in the difference between the Zynq capable boards, especially on the FPGA side of the house.  I'm sure if I had a design in mind for my senior project that I'd be able to make more sense of what features I'll need, but I'm not quite there yet.  I really just wanted a second opinion from someone more knowledgeable than me.

@JColvin      Thank you for the link. I'll chew on that for a bit. 

Since new models have been released since that thread, what, if any, would be the major distinction of purchasing the Zybo Zynq board and the Arty Z7?  I was leaning towards the Zybo because of the education discount, despite it being more expensive.  In that thread, one member posted that the Arty's have a chipkit interface which is probably a feature I'd end up using.  What I don't like about the Z7 is the lack of mounting holes, as other reviewers on the product page have commented about.  I'm not planning on mounting it to anything moving or in situations where environmental variables like shock and vibe are of consideration, but I'd still like to be able to fasten it down with screws if I end up using the board as a prototype.

Also, what is the current state of Lab View support for the Z7 boards? I know that there is support for the A7 as per the resource page, but I don't see any information about compatibility on the Z7 resource page, nor can I find anything via these forums or google.


Edited by strangequark
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