PXI Express products handle 600MB/s data streaming

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PXI Express products handle 600MB/s data streamingEngineers can use the newest National Instruments PXI products to sustain higher data streaming rates than ever before possible with an industry-standard test and measurement platform. The combination of these new PXI products, based on the PXI Express specification, include modular instruments, an embedded controller and RAID hard drive arrays, offers sustained hard drive recording and playback at 600 MBytes/s. With these new data streaming capabilities, engineers can achieve higher sustained acquisition and generation rates, reduce test times and meet new application challenges. Previous data streaming applications required dedicated, proprietary systems typically costing tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The new NI PXIe-5442 16-bit arbitrary waveform generator can stream from disk at the full rate of 100 MS/s (200MB/s) for generation of arbitrary waveforms up to several terabytes in length. Streaming from hard drives at the module's full rate reduces test times by eliminating the delay of uploading waveforms across slower instrument control buses. The NI PXIe-5442 module complements the company's existing NI PXIe-5122 100 MS/s, two-channel digitiser and NI PXIe-6536/7 25/50MHz, 32-channel digital I/O modules to provide a full IF/baseband and mixed-signal streaming module. Because PXI Express is compatible with all existing PXI modules, engineers can also use the new NI PXIe-5442 module with the NI PXI-5610 2.7GHz RF upconverter to stream the full 20MHz real-time bandwidth from disk for RF generation and playback applications in communications and military/aerospace.

Controller and storage

In addition to high-throughput PXI Express modular instruments, data streaming applications require a high-bandwidth system controller and RAID data storage. With four x4 PCI Express links, the new NI PXIe-8130 embedded controller delivers up to 4GB/s of bandwidth to a PXI Express system. The controller includes a 2.3GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 dual-core processor, ExpressCard slot and Gigabit Ethernet. In addition, the new NI 8262 module and NI HDD-8263 and HDD-8264 external RAID hard drive enclosures offer sustained, long-duration hard drive streaming rates of up to 600MB/s. The NI 8262 module provides a x4 cabled PCI Express link that can cable to the 3U HDD-8264, which includes twelve 250GB SATA hard drives (3TB), or the 1U HDD-8263, which includes four 250GB SATA hard drives (1TB).

PXI Express, an extension of the PXI specification, leverages commercial PC technology to offer what is said to be the industry's highest-bandwidth, lowest-latency and highest-performance timing and synchronisation capabilities as well as software and hardware compatibility with the large installed base of existing PXI systems. The new PXI Express products work with all existing PXI modules and software. All of the new products integrate with a variety of software including the NI LabVIEW 8.5 graphical development environment, which offers inherent parallelism and multithreading for high-speed streaming with PXI Express. Engineers can use existing code written for LabVIEW, the NI LabWindows/CVI ANSI C development environment and NI Measurement Studio for Microsoft Visual Studio code with these new products.

About PXI and Modular Instruments

PXI is an open specification governed by the PXI Systems Alliance ( that defines a rugged, PC-based modular instrumentation platform optimised for automated test, measurement, and control. Founded in 1997, the PXI specification is supported by more than 70 member companies and more than 1500 products are available. With PXI modular instruments, engineers specify the essential functionality they require – choosing from a wide variety of measurement, signal generation, RF, power and switch modules. Then they configure the instruments in software for their specific measurement tasks. PXI and modular instruments provide high-speed test execution by harnessing the power of industry-standard PC and advanced timing and synchronisation technologies.

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07 August 2007

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