Dev Kit Weekly: Opal Kelly XEM8320-AU25P Xilinx Artix UltraScale+ FPGA Development Platform

July 22, 2022


This week on Dev Kit Weekly, we’re going over Opal Kelly’s XEM8320, the official development platform for the AMD Xilinx Artix UltraScale+ FPGA.

Intelligence and perception are inextricably linked, even in electronics. And vision is one of the smartest sensory investments you can make at the edge.

Modern vision systems consist of a high-resolution image sensor (of course), an image processing subsystem, I/O that connects the two, plenty of memory, and increasingly, resources that support the local execution of computer vision algorithms.

As you can see, there’s a lot to integrate, even for a prototyping platform. So why not just use what’s already available off-the-shelf, rather than reinventing the wheel?

The Opal Kelly XEM8320 is an FPGA Development Platform for the Xilinx Artix UltraScale+ AU25P, whose diverse suite of logic can serve as the heart of next-generation intelligent vision systems.

The device’s on-chip intelligence includes over 300 thousand system logic cells, more than 280 thousand configurable logic block flip-flops, and over 140 thousand look-up tables. These are joined by 1200 DSP slices, which gives the AU25P the highest compute density in its class for use cases like high-speed video pre-processing, image processing, and the execution of computer vision algorithms.

This logic is supported by on-chip block and distributed RAM, as well as 1 GiB of DDR4 memory, 16 Mebibytes of system flash, and 32 Mebibytes of QSPI flash elsewhere onboard.

Like other Artix UltraScale+ FPGAs, the AU25P includes twelve 16GB transceivers that enable the use of advanced protocols that are widely adopted in high-speed image applications like machine vision. And while the XEM8320 kit doesn’t come with CMOS image sensor itself, the Artix UltraScale+ device does offer up to 2.5 GB/s of MIPI performance alongside LVDS support for quick and easy integration of off-the-shelf cameras.

But looking around the board, you won’t find anything like a MIPI camera interface. That’s because those and other signals are routed over the open standard SYZYGY interface connector, which provides a low-cost, high-density, high-performance means of connecting FPGAs to peripherals in use cases like sensing and data acquisition. For example, the SYZYGY connectors can be used as a low-pin-count impedance-controlled interface to FPGA mezzanine cards, like the one in the image above that hosted three MIPI cameras simultaneously.

Speaking of that, the AU25P is, in fact, capable of supporting three simultaneous camera feeds, which you can implement yourself by following the camera reference design, available at, that works with pre-built okCameraApp and okSnapApp binaries.

This example includes FPGA logic that configures the AU25P as an image capture processor. The HDL is accessible through the FrontPanel SDK, a collection of light-weight FPGA blocks, proprietary device firmware for FPGA configuration, and APIs and drivers that facilitate communication between your software stack, the FPGA, and your image sensor of choice, all presented on the development front-end in familiar XML.

In other words, you can use FrontPanel to get off the ground with your intelligent vision system design, even if you aren’t familiar with FPGA programming. It also provides host simulation libraries that allow developers to perform full-system simulation over the simple FrontPanel API interface.

The FrontPanel API natively supports C++, C#, Python, Java, and JavaScript, as well as third party libraries like MATLAB and LabView.

More source code, binaries, and tool downloads can be found on the Opal Kelly documentation portal or GitHub repositories.

The XEM8320 development kit, with all the flexibility of the Xilinx Artix UltraScale+ FPGA, six open SYZYGY interfaces, and access to the FrontPanel design suite is enough to get any vision developer deep into their design from the jump. Aside from machine vision, all that I/O also makes the AU25P a great choice for 4K UHD video conversion and secure networking applications.

All it’ll cost you is $1,349.95 — plus $99.95 for a SYZYGY-compliant mezzanine module and approximately another $45 per high-resolution camera module like the DIGILENT Pcam 5C.

But, if you’d rather save the $1,349.95 for the XEM8320 development kit, you can enter the raffle linked below for a chance to win this one for free, and we’ll ship it to you anywhere in the world.

Powered by Formstack

As always, thanks for watching, and good luck on your intelligent vision system designs. We’ll see you on the next episode of Dev Kit Weekly.