The Xilinx® LogiCORE IP AXI InterConnect and SmartConnect cores both connect one or more AXI memory-mapped master devices to one or more memory-mapped slave devices; however, the SmartConnect is more tightly integrated into the Vivado design environment to automatically configure and adapt to connected AXI master and slave IP with minimal user intervention. The AXI Interconnect can be used in all memory-mapped designs.
There are certain cases for high bandwidth application where using a SmartConnect provides better optimization. The SmartConnect IP delivers the maximum system throughput at low latency by synthesizing a low area custom interconnect that is optimized for important interfaces.
The IP Integrator provides you with a choice to select either the AXI InterConnect or a SmartConnect if the endpoints being connected are AXI4 memory-mapped endpoints.
As an example, consider the design example shown in the following figure, where a memory interface IP needs to be connected to a MicroBlaze processor.
When you click the Run Connection Automation link, shown in the following figure, the connection automation provides a choice to instantiate either a InterConnect or a SmartConnect, shown in the following figure.
Leaving it to the default selection of Auto instantiates a SmartConnect IP to connect the MicroBlaze processor to the Memory Interface IP.