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MSOs ready for Gen 4 standard, probes out to 33GHz

25 Jul 2013  | Janine Love

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Tektronix recently rounded out its MSO line with its new MSO/DPO70000DX series, taking its mixed signal and probing capabilities out to 33GHz. Targeted applications include high-speed communications, wideband RF, and serial data bandwidth. I recently spoke with Chris Loberg of Tektronix about what's happening with the company's mixed-signal oscilloscope (MSO) line. He shared that he is seeing many more applications move to a MSO platform.

One of the reasons for the new scope is the growth of Gen 4 standards, including PCIe 4.0, SAS 126, and SuperSpeed+ USB. Some of the company's customers also need to characterise next-gen SERDES systems associated with FPGAs. Memory test is also becoming more challenging as read/write speeds increase. The implications of these trends are that we need new techniques for transmitter and receiver equalisation, higher data rate signals have less margin so they require more precision, edge/slew rate speeds are difficult to characterize, new jitter separation measurements are required, and complex 8b/10b signalling is difficult to verify in PHY. In addition, Loberg says "mixed signal systems are proliferating. SOCs are growing in complexity in terms of signal access and interaction between different environments and buses. We need to take a step back and analyse that."

In response to these industry needs, Tektronix developed its MSO/DPO70000DX Series, adding 25 and 33GHz MSO models and making some other improvements as well. I found the 33GHz P7600 series TriMode probing system capability noteworthy as well. Loberg claims it is the industry's fastest scope/probe combination. Sampling is 100GS/s analogue and 12.5GS/s on the digital channels. "It offers the best combination of sampling across all 20 channels," he claims.

By expanding functionality to 600 mV/div (6V full scale), Tek hopes to address the need to analyse power supply performance. The company's customers are looking at large voltage swings, and they need to look at them without compressing the waveform.

The scope is a Windows based instrument that has an on-board quad-core processor. The company has also invested some significant brain power into integrating the digital with the analogue capabilities in this scope. "We make the digital channels and integral part of how the engineer works with the scope, bringing triggering to the digital channel," says Loberg. For example, the iCapture feature allows engineers to verify the analogue characteristics of any of the 16 signals connected to the MSO70000DX series' digital channels without changing probes or connections.

Datasheets for Tektronix's latest offerings can be found below:

  • Probe datasheet
  • Scope datasheet

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