PC-based waveform acquisition and replay up to the GHz range.

December 11, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
For applications requiring extended electronic waveform acquisition and generation, Spectrum (Grosshansdorf, Germany) has announced a storage system that works with their PC-based digitiser and generator cards to dramatically increase possible recording and replay times.

The system can be used with any of Spectrum's M2i, M3i or M4i series of PCIe digitiser 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/sec. 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 digitiser 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 selection of digitisers is available offering sampling rates from 100 ksample/sec up to 5 Gsample/sec 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 range of AWG cards is available offering output rates from 20 Msample/sec up to 1.25 Gsample/sec with 8, 14 or 16 bit resolution.

At the heart of the platform is a carefully selected base PC system that includes a Supermicro 4U/Tower with 8 drive bays and 6 free PCIe slots for digitiser 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 865W 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 digitiser control, data capture, display and analysis. Sbench 6 is optimised to ensure the fastest possible data transfer speeds and allows the use of all the possible