Digitisers acquire, stream and analyse data at up to 10Gsamples per second

Claiming to set a new standard for data acquisition, Spectrum Instrumentation has added a new streaming mode to its M5i.33xx digitiser series. The mode allows these ADC cards to continuously acquire, stream and analyse data at a maximum sampling rate of 10Gsamples per second. The new capability enables the digitisers to be used with COTS (commercial off the shelf) PC technology, such as GPUs for endless signal processing, and SSD arrays to create streaming systems that can record for hours on end.

There are seven models in the M5i.33xx digitiser family, offering sampling speeds from 3.2 to 10Gsamples per second, 12-bit vertical resolution and bandwidths from 1.0 to 4.7GHz. They feature a 16-lane Gen3 PCIe bus, capable of transferring data at rates up to 12.8Gbytes per second. This is claimed to be a market-leading transfer speed which allows data, acquired on one channel at a sampling rate of 6.4Gsamples per second, or two channels at 3.2Gsamples per second, to be streamed directly to the PC environment without any loss of information. For faster sampling rates, there is an eight-bit transfer mode that supports the streaming of data acquired at rates up to 10Gsamples per second on one channel, or 5Gsamples per second on two.

The M5i.33xx series digitisers use SCAPP (Spectrum CUDA Access for Parallel Processing). This software package transfers the acquired data, using an RDMA process, directly from the digitisers to GPUs based on Nvidia’s CUDA standard where the GPUs’ multiple processing cores (up to 10,000) and large (up to 48Gbyte) memory can deliver on-the-fly parallel processing.

SCAPP includes a set of routines for interaction between the digitiser and GPU cards, as well as a set of CUDA parallel processing examples. These provide building blocks for powerful processing functions like digital down conversion (DDC), filtering, signal averaging, data de-multiplexing, data conversion or fast fourier transforms (FFTs). All the SCAPP software is based on C/C++ and Python.

The company also offers streaming and data storage systems based on a Supermicro server, with an AMD EPYC processor, and RAID storage using U.2 SSDs. With up to 240Tbyte of storage, these COTS systems can record six or more hours of data at the maximum 10Gsample per second sampling rate. The acquired data is completely seamless, with no gaps or missing information. Once stored, it can be inspected, partitioned, and processed. The systems provide a unique data logging capability at unprecedented speeds and over ultrawide frequency ranges.

The digitisers can be programmed with popular languages including C, C++, C#, Delphi, VB.NET, J#, Python, Julia, Java, LabVIEW, and MATLAB. A software development kit (SDK) contains an assortment of programming examples and the necessary driver libraries for running with either Windows or Linus operating systems. The company also offers its own measurement software, SBench 6 Professional, which provides full card control, along with display, analysis, storage, and documentation capabilities.

The M5i.33xx series digitisers and streaming systems are available now. The new eight-bit transfer mode is part of every M5i digitiser card.


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