Tektronix introduces two real-time oscilloscopes, probe

Beaverton, OR—Tektronix Inc. has introduced what it reports are the world's fastest, most capable, real-time oscilloscopes and a new probe that facilitates designs in the computing, communications, and consumer electronics industries, based on second-generation, serial-data standards, such as second-generation PCI-Express, SATAIII, and double XAUI.

By Control Engineering Staff February 1, 2005

Beaverton, OR— Tektronix Inc. has introduced what it reports are the world’s fastest, most capable, real-time oscilloscopes and a new probe that facilitates designs in the computing, communications, and consumer electronics industries, based on second-generation, serial-data standards, such as second-generation PCI-Express, SATAIII, and double XAUI. Tektronix says the new members of its TDS6000 family of digital storage oscilloscopes (DSO) include the 12-GHz TDS6124C and the record-breaking 15-GHz TDS6154C, as well as its P7313 Z-Active low-loading probe.

To keep up with their own high-speed technologies and applications, Tektronix says engineers are developing systems that operate at serial data rates in excess of 4 Gbps. This is leading to faster, more sophisticated computers, data storage networks, wired and wireless technologies, and consumer electronics. Based on third-generation silicon germanium (SiGe) integrated circuits developed in partnership with IBM, Tektronix claims its new oscilloscopes offer the highest bandwidth, longest record length and timing resolution, lowest noise floor, and the most complete analysis capabilities for current and emerging serial data standards.

‘Industry trends are driving markets to develop ever faster and more capable technologies,’ says Kiran Unni, Frost & Sullivan’s test and measurement industry analyst. ‘Electrical system designers demand the very best performance and precision from their test and measurement instruments. With the highest bandwidth and the longest record length at maximum sample rate, TDS6124C and TDS6154C provide impressive gains, and will deliver to customers the highest performance for capturing and analyzing high-speed serial data on multiple channels at long time windows and with the best timing resolution.’

Colin Shepard, VP of Tektronix’ Performance Oscilloscopes division, adds that, ‘Our customers have been telling us that they want high bandwidth, fast rise times, long record length, and comprehensive support for next generation serial standards. With the new oscilloscopes and probe, Tektronix has raised the benchmark for performance. The combination of new TDS6000C oscilloscopes and the Z-Active P7313 low-loading probe provides customers with uncompromised performance; the fastest, most capable, and most complete design and test instrumentation giving engineers working on high-speed serial data applications a superior solution in every way.’

Engineers who need to precisely characterize a signal need to acquire energy at the fifth harmonic. TDS6154C reportedly is the only oscilloscope able to capture the fifth harmonic of the highest frequency pattern for next-generation serial standards, such as 5-6.25 Gbps second-generation PCI-Express, 6 Gbps SATA III, and 6.25 Gbps double XAUI. TDS6154C reportedly is also the only oscilloscope able to capture the critical third harmonic of a 10 Gbps signal.

In addition, TDS6124C provides 12 GHz true analog bandwidth and user-selectable DSP for channel-to-channel and unit-to-unit matching. TDS6154C also includes user-selectable DSP for channel-to-channel and unit-to-unit matching plus bandwidth extension to 15 GHz. DSP adjusts the response throughout the bandwidth of the scope to accurately reflect magnitude and corrects phase response to make it linear. TDS6154C is able to measure rise/fall times of 30 ps (typical) with accuracy to within 5% (20/80% rise time).

Both TDS6124C and TDS6154C provide 40 GSps sample rate on two channels simultaneously and up to 64 M optional record length on two channels (2 M on four channels standard). This equates to the longest time window of 1.6 ms at full bandwidth and 25 ps sample interval, ensuring the best resolution at full performance compared to alternative products. Their TDS6000C family provides a random jitter noise floor of 420 fs rms (typical) for critical jitter measurements, lower than any competing instruments at comparable bandwidth.

Jeff Johnson, Cadence Design Systems’ engineering services project manager, adds that, ‘With these new oscilloscopes, Tektronix provides our engineers with industry-leading features and great performance at all stages of high speed IC and board-level design, validation, compliance, and debug. The latest improvements in banner specifications, as well as the broad and deep set of serial data applications provided with these new oscilloscopes, give our services teams critical capabilities for capturing and analyzing important signals to resolve tough IC and board-level high-speed design challenges.’

The SiGe Z-active probing architecture of the new P7313 offers high speed (>12.5 true bandwidth, typical), high dc impedance, fast rise time (25 ps 20/80%), and the stable high frequency loading of Z0 probes to provide high bandwidth, flat frequency response, low-loading, and low noise differential for high-speed circuit designers. Detachable Tip-Clip assemblies for the P7313 make it possible to replace a tip for a fraction of the cost formerly associated with such hardware changes. Also, Tip-Clips are interchangeable depending on the connectivity needs, providing a large degree of flexibility for using the probe.

In addition, the Pinpoint trigger system reportedly is the only complete A/B triggering, and provides glitch/width triggering down to 100 ps. Pinpoint in the TDS6000C family provides advanced serial pattern triggering up to 3.125 Gbps in TDS6124C and TDS6154C. Also, a new option provides oscilloscope 8b/10b protocol triggering and decoding, with which designers can trigger on four consecutive 10b symbols or defined errors. This means that incoming data can be triggered on in real-time without post processing, enabling designers to actually trigger on a fault rather than just hoping to find it through repeated searches.

‘Characterizing serial data signals with embedded clocks has historically been a significant challenge,’ adds Galen Wampler, Prime Data’s president. ‘Signal standards, such as second-generation PCI-Express or double XAUI require instruments that can acquire these complex signals at ultra fast rates, and that can be used for precise characterization. The new models in the Tektronix TDS6000C series with the 8b/10b hardware triggering and decoding provide an exemplary real-time, ultra high-bandwidth oscilloscope for the most demanding serial data applications.’

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor