Xilinx FPGAs - Getting Started


We appreciate the donation of 2x Alveo U280 boards and licenses from Xilinx’s University Program as well as the donation of an AC-510 and AC-511 HMC chip from Micron.

Xilinx FPGA Hardware

Currently, the Rogues Gallery hosts the following Xilinx FPGA hardware.

Server-based Hardware
FPGA Board FPGA Chip Memory Hosting Machine Notes
Xilinx Alveo U50   8 GB HBM flubber1 2 boards
Xilinx Alveo U250     flubber9  
Xilinx Alveo U280     flubber5 3 boards (1 currently)
Xilinx SmartSSD     flubber9  
AC-510 XCVU060 (Pkg FFVA1156) 4 GB HMC 1.0 rg-fpga-cubed  
Development Board Hardware
FPGA Board FPGA Chip Memory Hosting Machine Notes
Versal VCK190     TBD  
Pynq Z2     synestia2 50+ boards available for classes

Xilinx Software

Please see the specifc pages on using Vitis (standard flow), `Vivado flow (advanced) <>`__, or frameworks for SmartNics like OpenNIC.

Vitis vs. Vivado vs..

Xilinx released the Vitis SW and HW focused framework officially in 2020 to complement existing tools like Vivado (for RTL-based designs), and replace existing tools like SDx (for OpenCL-based designs). However, it is still somewhat confusing as to which tool you might want to use for which situation. This issue on the Vitis Tutorials repo includes an insightful table from Víctor Vilches which we have included and modified slightly.

Xilinx Tool Variations (from Issue 73 and Víctor Vilches)
Tool Stakeholder Aim of Tool
Vivado Hardware engineer Develops RTL (ie, Verilog) kernels
Vitis Embedded engineer Creates low level firmware, BSPs, boot sequences and integrates software and hardware efforts
Vitis HLS Software engineer Develops C, C++ or OpenCL kernels
Vitis AI Data scientist Uses HLS and frameworks to develop AI constructs/kernels

Supported Versions of Xilinx Tools

With that in mind, we support the following versions of Xilinx software on our testbed:

Supported Software
Software Versions Notes
Vitis 2020.2, 2021.1, 2021.2, 2022.1  
Vivado 2020.2, 2021.1, 2021.2, 2022.1  
Vitis HLS 2020.2, 2021.1, 2021.2, 2022.1  
SDAccel 2019.2 Deprecated
  • How to quickly start Vitis/Vivado 20.2:

How do I check the licenses that are available?

You can either use the licensing center from the GUI version of a tool like Vivado or Vitis, or you can run the following:

Getting started with AWS for development

Amazon supports F1 instances that have between 1 and 8 Xilinx FPGAs. Currently they support the VCU1525 with an Ultrascale+ part. Xilinx and Amazon both have good references on getting started with these instances.

Xilinx Accelerator Program

Xilinx has a program for faculty and staff that seems to provide discounts on Alveo board (~$1500 discount for up to two board) and links to existing resources for SDAccel, AWS, and Alveo products. These are normally behind a login wall, but please see the links below:

Xilinx Machine Learning Options