NI Introduces PCI Express digital instruments

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NI Introduces PCI Express digital instrumentsNational Instruments has announced the industry's first high-speed digital I/O instruments for PCI Express to deliver up to 200 MB/s dedicated throughput per direction to and from the host processor. The NI PCIe-6536 25 MHz and NI PCIe-6537 50 MHz low-cost digital I/O boards build on the throughput of the PCI Express interface to acquire and generate large digital patterns that are otherwise impossible to sustain. Using this high-performance bus, the new digital I/O boards can directly stream data to and from the host processor at full data rates with increased performance and lower costs than traditional proprietary test systems. Engineers can use the new instruments to meet a variety of applications including interfacing to memory devices, emulating communications protocols and testing image sensors and display panels.

The new NI PCIe-6536 and NI PCIe-6537 digital I/O boards offer a flexible, universal parallel interface that is entirely software configurable. The digital boards feature maximum clock rates of 25 MHz and 50 MHz across 32 channels for maximum sustainable throughput of 100 MB/s and 200 MB/s, respectively. Engineers can set the direction of each channel for acquisition or generation and can choose from 2.5, 3.3 or 5.0 V TTL compliant logic levels per direction. The boards are capable of both synchronous and asynchronous timing modes for applications including pattern I/O, handshaking and change detection. Engineers can also easily synchronise the new PCI Express digital boards with other PCI Express data acquisition boards to create powerful mixed-signal test systems.

Devices built on slower buses, such as LAN, PCI or GPIB, require large amounts of expensive, onboard memory to acquire and generate long waveforms at the maximum data rates of the instruments. The new digital devices take advantage of the high bandwidth of PCI Express and use inexpensive PC memory to increase performance while reducing the overall cost of the board.

Engineers can further reduce the development and maintenance costs of a new digital test system by using NI-DAQmx driver software and graphical programming to rapidly prototype their systems. Customers can reuse existing digital applications written with the NI-DAQmx API for the popular NI 6533 and NI 6534 digital devices with their new PCI Express instruments. The boards are also compatible with NI Digital Waveform Editor software for interactively creating, editing and importing digital waveforms. The new instruments seamlessly integrate with the National Instruments LabVIEW graphical programming platform, LabWindows/CVI software for ANSI C development and NI TestStand test management software.

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14 November 2006

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