Microwave Journal
www.microwavejournal.com/articles/25624-spectrum-offers-seamless-pc-based-waveform-acquisition-and-replay-up-to-the-ghz-range

Spectrum offers seamless PC-based waveform acquisition and replay up to the GHz range

December 14, 2015

For applications requiring extended electronic waveform acquisition and generation, Spectrum announced a new storage system that works with its PC-based digitizer and generator cards to dramatically increase possible recording and replay times. The new system can be used with any of Spectrum's M2i, M3i or M4i series of PCIe digitizer or waveform generator cards and delivers data storage sizes from 1 to 32 TB with full support for continuous data streaming at rates up to 3 GB/s. The combination makes it possible to capture high frequency signals up to the GHz range and continuously store them for hours on end or lower frequency signals for even longer periods of time.

Each Tera-store system can house up to six digitizer cards, making it possible to configure instruments with 1 to 96 fully synchronous acquisition channels. If more channels are required then a 16 slot docking station can be added to expand the system up to 256 channels. A wide selection of digitizers is available offering sampling rates from 100 kS/s up to 5 GS/s with resolutions of 8, 12, 14 and 16 bit. The systems can also be used with AWG cards to create replay systems that can have from 1 to 24 channels. A wide range of AWG cards is available offering output rates from 20 MS/s up to 1.25 GS/s with 8, 14 or 16 bit resolution.

At the heart of the platform is a carefully selected base PC system. This powerful computer includes a Supermicro 4U/Tower with eight drive bays and six free PCIe slots for digitizer or generator cards. The PC is powered by a Xeon Quad Core 2.4 GHz processor, has on-board graphics, 8 GB RAM, a separate 256 GB SSD for the system installation, a DVD drive, and runs under Windows 7 Professional. The chassis also hosts a powerful 865 W power supply with whisper quiet fan-based cooling.

The Tera-store streaming solutions are complete turn-key systems and come factory configured with Spectrum’s Sbench 6 Professional software for digitizer control, data capture, display and analysis. Sbench 6 is optimized to ensure fast data transfer speeds and allows the use of all the possible acquisition modes such as single shot, segmented acquisitions, or continuous streaming (FIFO). The program comfortably handles large data files and makes it easy to setup an acquisition, then view, analyze and document the result.

The systems are available with a choice of streaming rates, from 400 MB/s up to 3 GB/s, and storage capacities, from 1 TB to 32 TB. The various options consist of a high performance RAID controller and a number of solid-state or hard-disk drives (SSD/HDD’s) that are configured to support the required transfer rates and storage times. Spectrum integrates the complete system, providing full factory configuration and performance testing. This includes the PC setup, software and hardware installation, as well as digitizer calibration. Both the hardware and software are optimized and tested to guarantee the specified streaming rates.

Tera-store systems are suited to applications where continuous data acquisition or replay is required or large volumes of data need to be collected, stored and analyzed. Examples include research and development in communications, radar, media testing, automation, imaging, science, transport, surveillance, aerospace and defense.