PS/PL Interfaces

The Zynq has 9 AXI interfaces between the PS and the PL. On the PL side, there are 4x AXI Master HP (High Performance) ports, 2x AXI GP (General Purpose) ports, 2x AXI Slave GP ports and 1x AXI Master ACP port. There are also GPIO controllers in the PS that are connected to the PL.


There are four pynq classes that are used to manage data movement between the Zynq PS (including the PS DRAM) and PL interfaces.

The class used depends on the Zynq PS interface the IP is connected to, and the interface of the IP.

Python code running on PYNQ can access IP connected to an AXI Slave connected to a GP port. MMIO can be used to do this.

IP connected to an AXI Master port is not under direct control of the PS. The AXI Master port allows the IP to access DRAM directly. Before doing this, memory should be allocated for the IP to use. The allocate function can be used to do this. For higher performance data transfer between PS DRAM and an IP, DMAs can be used. PYNQ provides a DMA class.

When designing your own overlay, you need to consider the type of IP you need, and how it will connect to the PS. You should then be able to determine which classes you need to use the IP.


There are 64 GPIO (wires) from the Zynq PS to PL.

PS GPIO wires from the PS can be used as a very simple way to communicate between PS and PL. For example, GPIO can be used as control signals for resets, or interrupts.

IP does not have to be mapped into the system memory map to be connected to GPIO.

More information about using PS GPIO can be found in the PS GPIO section.


Any IP connected to the AXI Slave GP port will be mapped into the system memory map. MMIO can be used read/write a memory mapped location. A MMIO read or write command is a single transaction to transfer 32 bits of data to or from a memory location. As burst instructions are not supported, MMIO is most appropriate for reading and writing small amounts of data to/from IP connect to the AXI Slave GP ports.

More information about using MMIO can be found in the MMIO section.


Memory must be allocated before it can be accessed by the IP. allocate allows memory buffers to be allocated. The pynq.buffer.allocate() function allocates a contiguous memory buffer which allows efficient transfers of data between PS and PL. Python or other code running in Linux on the PS can access the memory buffer directly.

As PYNQ is running Linux, the buffer will exist in the Linux virtual memory. The Zynq AXI Slave ports allow an AXI-master IP in an overlay to access physical memory. The numpy array returned can also provide the physical memory pointer to the buffer which can be sent to an IP in the overlay. The physical address is stored in the device_address property of the allocated memory buffer instance. An IP in an overlay can then access the same buffer using the physical address.

More information about using allocate can be found in the Allocate section.


AXI stream interfaces are commonly used for high performance streaming applications. AXI streams can be used with Zynq AXI HP ports via a DMA.

The pynq.lib.dma.DMA class supports the AXI Direct Memory Access IP. This allows data to be read from DRAM, and sent to an AXI stream, or received from a stream and written to DRAM.

More information about using DMA can be found in the DMA section.


There are dedicated interrupts which are linked with asyncio events in the python environment. To integrate into the PYNQ framework Dedicated interrupts must be attached to an AXI Interrupt Controller which is in turn attached to the first interrupt line to the processing system. If more than 32 interrupts are required then AXI interrupt controllers can be cascaded. This arrangement leaves the other interrupts free for IP not controlled by PYNQ directly such as Vitis accelerators. The AXI Interrupt Controller can be avoided for overlays with only one interrupt, in such overlays the interrupt pin must be connected to the first interrupt line of the processing system.

Interrupts are managed by the Interrupt class, and the implementation is built on top of asyncio, part of the Python standard library.

More information about using the Interrupt class can be found in the Interrupt section.

For more details on asyncio, how it can be used with PYNQ see the PYNQ and Asyncio section.