Zynq SATA Storage Extension for the Avnet Mini-ITX

This Technical Brief shows how to setup the Zynq SSE. After going through the steps described herein, you will have a working Linux System running on the Zynq with an attached SATA HDD or SSD.

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Block Diagram

The block diagram shown below gives an overview over the Zynq SSE reference design: Within the Zynq Programmable Logic (PL) the MLE storage micro-architecture instantiates the DMA and the SATA Host Controller IP blocks. The storage micro-architecture itself interfaces with the Zynq Processing System (PS) via the high-performance AXI HP0 slave port. The ARM A9 in the PS runs Xilinx PetaLinux and the SATA Linux kernel driver.




Implementation Details
Design Type PS + PL
SW Type Linux (Petalinux)
CPUs 2 CPUs 700 MHz
Boards/Tools Avnet Mini ITX Z100
Xilinx Tools Version Vivado 2014.1, PETALINUX 2013-2
Other Details SATA SSD(including Cable and Power Supply), SD-Card


Adress Map
  Base Address Size Interface
SATA IP 0x41000000 4K S AXI
DMA IP 0x41010000 4K S AXI, M AXI


Files Provided
BOOT.bin Compilation of Bitstream, FSBL and U-Boot
Image.ub Linux Ramdisk Image


Step by Step Instructions



Hardware needed:

Software Assembly:

  1. Format the SD Card using FAT32 File system
  2. Put image.ub and BOOT.bin into the root directory of the SD Card

Hardware Assembly:

  1. Insert the SD Card into the Avnet Mini ITX board’s SD Slot
  2. Connect the micro USB cable to the UART port of the Avnet Mini ITX board and the USB Port of your PC
  3. Connect the SSD to the SATA connector on the Avnet Mini ITX board using the SATA Cable.
  4. Connect the SSD to power
  5. Switch the Avnet Mini ITX board’s SW7 to SD Boot mode (as shown in picture)
  6. Connect the Avnet Mini ITX board to the Power Supply

The system should now look like in the supplied image


  1. Switch on the Avnet Mini ITX board
  2. On the PC open a Serial Terminal on the new serial port using the settings 115200 Baud 8N1
  3. Observe the Linux System booting
  4. After some time you should see a screen similar to the screenshot in the Expected Results.
  5. Login using
    • Login:root
    • Password: root


LED Description


Status LEDs can be found next to the PCIe connector. The associated meanings can be seen in the following table and in the Image below.

D7 Timeout LED, indicates the Timeout of the IP core.
D6 Gen3 Link, indicates 6 GBit/s connection
D5 Gen2 Link, indicates 3 GBit/s connection
D4 Linkup and Activity, Led will light up on Linkup and will go dark during data transfers


Figure 1: Location of the User LEDs on the Avnet Mini ITX Board

Expected Results


As a result you should be having a running Linux system on the ZC706 Zynq board. The UART Console output should be similar to the screenshot below.

The Evaluation Reference Design (ERD) of the Zynq SSE comprises a hardware license management which allows to run full SATA functionality for up to 12 hours after power-up. After approximately 12 hours the evaluation expires, which is indicated by illuminating the LED ’timeout’. You will also notice that the Linux kernel driver informs you of having lost the SATA link to the SSD/HDD.