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Smaller (and cheaper) sbRIO based on Xilinx Zynq

A smaller (and cheaper) sbRIO based on the Xilinx Zynq chip. Target size is SO-DIMM form factor (68 x 30 mm (half the area of a credit card), 200 pins). Such a board  would be OEM friendly and can be plugged into a product (rather than the current sbRIO offerings that requires the product to be developed around the sbRIO rather than the sbRIO fitting into your product). Also, a Base Board that is (only) used during development. Below is what the proposed sbRIO and Base Board would roughly look like (courtesy of Enclustra FPGA Solutions)

mars_pm3_350.jpg       mars_pm3_350.jpg

23 Comments
Active Participant

 

Peter,

 

The concept of a developemnt board + a deployment board, is spot on.

 

The size is spot on.

 

The price is way off! The Parallella offering mentioned above is $99 per unit, presumably for one-off. The National Instruments offering is $559 per unit, for quantity 100. I note that Parallella is a "non-profit" offering. I'm willing to pay more for NI hardware, but my limit would be about twice the going-rate, which would be about four times a "non-profi" offering. Therefore to me, to be a good solution, it needs to be priced at $400 (or less) in quantity one. For volume pricing $200 to $250 would make it a viable option to compete with multiple microcontrolers in OEM products. So, NI, think about it. How about selling the deployoment board for four times cost ... that would be a win-win.

 

Regards,

Vito

Member

Vito, you are not comparing things correctly. The parallela is an entire dev board not a small module. You should be comparing it to the enclustra module which you framed this entire thread off. If you do that the prices pretty much match.

 

http://www.enclustra.com/en/products/system-on-chip-modules/mars-zx3/

 

One bonus over enclustra is that you get to program it in LabVIEW rather than a text based programming language.

Peter Badcock
Product Development
ResMed Ltd.
Member

Actually, sorry, no they don't match. I was incorrectly converting Euros to USD in my head.     NI charge about a 50% premium.  I agree they could drop their price about 20% because personally I'm happy to pay a premium for NI H/W given they offer such a systems experience which works out of the box and most of us are already comfortable paying a premium for their H/W anyway.

 

 

Enclustra Zync Modules

Product NumberUSD
1+30+100+1000+10000+
MA-ZX3-20-1C-D9 362 332 303 226 151
MA-ZX3-20-2I-D10 485 430 378 269 174

 

NI sbRIO-9651 System on Module (SOM)

100     500      1,000 
US$559  US$479   US$399 
€499    €429     €359 
¥69,999 ¥59,999  ¥49,999

 

Peter Badcock
Product Development
ResMed Ltd.
Member

NI customers should thinks twice, Am I stupid to pay extra 200-300 dollars for NI happinies.

 

I dont want to pay more than one hundred dolar (100$) for NI sbRIO-9651 System on Module (SOM).

 

Any solution ?

Active Participant

There is no doubt in my mind that the sbRIO-9651 is an exciting product with great potential for embedded applications. The Zynq chip is a game changer that should open up more universal use of microcontrollers together with FPGA. This is a powerful combination as deterministic functions can be delegated to the FPGA and other aspects, such as data communication and user interface, can be delegated to the microcontroller.

 

The main interest/issue with users appears to be pricing. To be fair, the sbRIO-9651 should be compared to the Enclustra MA-ZX3-20-2I-D10 since they have the same specification (the difference between the two Enclustra offerings is the amount of RAM)

 

Here's the comparison in US dollars using the latest Enclustra figures and the sbRIO-9651 prices provided by Peter_B (NI does supply sbRIO prices on their website):

 

 

1+

30+

100+

500+

1000+

10000+

MA-ZX3-20-2I-D10

$385

$341

$301

$301

$215

$138

NI sbRIO-9651

N/A

N/A

$559

$479

$399

N/A

Difference (dollar)

-

-

+$258

+$178

+$184

-

Difference (%)

-

-

+86%

+59%

+86%

-

 

So, basically paying, generally, 86% more for the NI product.

 

Two interesting observations here:

 

1) By offering a NI-RIO SOM SoC product with RAM reduced from 1024MB to 512MB, the price should be able to be reduced by about 20%.Furthemore, if this alternative board used a Z-7010 (as per myRIO), rather than a Z-7020, the price could be reduced even more. An entry level NI Zynq-7010 board would increase uptake of this exciting new board/concept.

 

2) There is room to move for NI to reduce the price difference (I'm happy to pay more for an NI product, but 20% more, rather than 86% more, would be my comfort point.)

 

There are now over 10 entrants in the Zynq-70X0 SOM SoC arena. This should entice competition, by which we the consumer will benefit. An exciting arena to watch over the next couple of years.

 

Incidentally, IMO the main competition to the Zynq-70X0 SOM SoC arena is not other similar boards but rather conventional microcontrollers such as the ARM Cortex M4. By using two of these devices it is possible to develop a product with deterministic aspects delegated to one processor and other aspects, such as data communication and user interface to the other. This I exactly what I am in the process of using for a low volume product development.

 

Of course, you need to give up the ease of programming in LabVIEW and have the development overhead of interfacing two microcontrollers, but then in return you do get increased processor utilization and reduced cost when programming in C.

 

Active Participant

FYI: Prices for the Enclustra SOM above are in Euro, while the NI SOM prices are in USD.

Spex
National Instruments

To the pessimist, the glass is half empty; to the optimist, the glass is half full; to the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be...
Active Participant

Thanks Spex. My apologies to all, the prices above for the Enclustra product are indeed in Euros. (The website allows pricing in EUR, USD or CHF pricing, and I did select USD, but I may have inadvertently done a screen refresh or something inbetween Smiley Embarassed)

 

Here is how the above mentioned table should look like with all figures in USD:

 

 

1+

30+

100+

500+

1000+

10000+

MA-ZX3-20-2I-D10

$472

$418

$369

$369

$264

$169

NI sbRIO-9651

N/A

N/A

$559

$479

$399

N/A

Difference (dollar)

-

-

+$190

+$110

+$135

-

Difference (%)

-

-

+51%

+30%

+51%

-

 

So, basically paying, generally, 51% more for the NI product.

 

Please adjust my comments accordingly.

 

It would be interesting to see what the price from the many (and growing) other entrants in the Zynq SOM Soc market is like. It would also be interesting to see if someone, somewhere comes up with an easy way to programme the FPGA portion (which LabVIEW does very well), along the same lines as what Arduino did for microcontroller programming. The Zynq chip, with it's combined ARM microcontroller and FPGA fabric would drive the developer community to find that paradigm shift in programming.

 

Of course, NI are technically already there. I see this as a  great marketing opportunity for NI. Imagine the uptake in LabVIEW if an inexpensive low end module was provided. In addition, for the student and hobby market provide "student" versions of LabVIEW (already exists) and LabVIEW FPGA.

 

I'm been trying to get LabVIEW sales to dramatically  increase for years now; not through evolution , but by a disruptive paradigm shift. I'm talking about 4 times as many LabVIEW users! This may be disruptive paradigm shift product that will do the trick.

 

LabVIEW is the only current developemtn environemt that allows programming of desktop computers, microcontrllers and FPGA using the same language. What a great marketing edge. Add mobile devices to that and we may see an explosion in LabVIEW usage Smiley Happy

 

I'm looking forward to pricing, across the board, to decrease significantly over the next two years and for a low end offerings (Zynq-7010 and 512MB RAM) that would be cheaper still. Personally, my "break-even" point would be $250 for 1,000. At $200 for 1,000 it would be exciting enough to actively promote to others my organisation. So the NI module offering would need to drop by 37%, which given trends in processor pricing sounds reasonable over the next couple of years.

Member

 

NI customers should thinks twice, Am I stupid to pay extra 200-300 dollars for NI happinies.  

>I dont want to pay more than one hundred dolar (100$) for NI sbRIO-9651 System on Module (SOM).

 

 

thotho, even the entry level price for the Low cost MicroZed board from Avnet is US$199.  The Zybo is US$189.   Over time they will drop in price as other competitors release their products.

 

You should always expect to pay a premium  for NI product (up to say 20% extra) and I can think of three reasons why.

 

  1. NI make good quality and reliable hardware.
  2. You can use the best language in the world to program them in.  That's LabVIEW of course.  NI know plenty of people are hooked on LabVIEW so they charge a premium for it.
  3. NI hardware will work out of the box more often and get you to a soution faster (albeit for a higer price, remember time is money in business)

 

If you don't need these benefits then you are free to shop elsewhere, but you won't find something for USS$100 right now.

 

 

Peter Badcock
Product Development
ResMed Ltd.
Member

Peter_B, I will pay 50 % extra to feel premium, reliable, everything best bla bla...

 

Do you think NI can produce around 100 $ Xilinx Fpga board like below ?

 

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=2013.1.20141001.2.HYw9vP&id=19389394679&scm=1007.10115.2077.i168...

 

Below board price : 48 $

Lumigus_Instruments.jpg

Active Participant

Great to see the level of interest in a smaller (and cheaper) sbRIO based on Xilinx Zynq. Although I don't think we are quite there yet, I think that given another 2 years there will be an under $100 Zynq based small board available that is easy to program on both the microcontroller and FPGA side. National Instruments have a great opportunity to be first-to-market with this. This would require NI's marketing to embrace this opportunity.

 

However, I'm confident that if NI don’t come to the party, someone else will. The Zynq chip with a combined microcontroller and FPGA is a compelling reason for some innovative company to come up with a cost effective and easy way to programme the Zynq chip; just like Arduino did for microcontrollers.

 

thotho, the Lumigus Instruments Spartan 6 board at $48 may be outside the scope of this request/idea. Does the board have a microcontroller on it?

 

Given the ongoing interest, I thought I'd take another look at inexpensive Zynq based boards. I found three, all based on the Zynq 7010, which is more than adequate for my applications:

1) Parallela-16 Micro-Server $119

2) Digilent Zybo $189

3) MicroZed $199

 

All prices are for quantity of 1. Undoubtedly there would be quantity discounts. We have already achieved my price objective of a Zynq based board for under $200 for 1,000 units. The other half of the equation is an easy development environment.

 

We may shortly see the point at which there would be an explosion of developer and user interest, which I arbitrary put at a Zynq based development board for under $100 for quantity of 1. I cannot see how this would not create the "Arduino for Zynq" revolution within 2 years. Hopefully it will be National Instruments that provides me with the solution.

 

Interestingly one of the reason I say this is because another of my ambitions is that I would like to see the number of LabVIEW users increase to 4 times as many as today (and ten times more would be even better). https://forums.ni.com/t5/LabVIEW-Idea-Exchange/LabVIEW-as-one-of-the-Top-20-software-development-env...

 

National instruments are in a great position to fulfil two of my ambitions in one move. One is to to give us a smaller (and cheaper) sbRIO based on Xilinx Zynq [under $200 in quantity 1,000] and increase LabVIEW users by at least 4 times. I believe both of these can be done by releasing a SO-DIMM size (68 x 30 mm, which is half the size of a credit card), Znyq chip based, under $100 (or $200) board.

 

Exciting times ahead.