As the performance levels of embedded systems escalate, the tools required to verify and debug them must keep pace. Most designers need to examine analog and digital signals simultaneously, with many dealing with memory buses in terms of integrity and timing. Combining the probing attributes of a high-performance logic analyzer with the analog capabilities of a real-time scope, the MSO70000 series of mixed-signal oscilloscopes is Tektronix’s take on a mixed-signal scope that’s up to the challenge (see the figure).
The instruments include four traditional analog scope channels, all of which offer 20-GHz bandwidth, a 50-Gsample/s sampling rate, and a record length of 250 Mpoints maximum simultaneously. The digital side of the equation is equally impressive: 16 channels with 2.5 GHz of analog bandwidth, timing resolution of 80 ps, and the same 250 Mpoints of record length.
Because the instrument performs both analog and digital signal acquisitions on a shared reference clock, it delivers extremely tight system timing performance. The result is high signal fidelity out to the instrument’s full 20-GHz bandwidth.
The MSO70000 incorporates Tek’s iCapture technology from the logic-analyzer side of its parentage. iCapture enables use of a single probe connection to capture either analog or digital signals and to quickly route any digital channel to any analog channel. This enables users to simultaneously view digital and analog views of the same signal. Seeing an analog view of a digital signal can provide an accurate assessment of ground bounce issues, glitches, false transitions, and other anomalies.
For work with memory-bus subsystems, the MSO70000 provides ball-grid array (BGA) access through a reusable socket that allows for multiple chip exchanges. The socket lets users monitor double-data rate (DDR) bus traffic using an interposer that goes between the board controlling the memory chip and the chip itself. The measurement system accounts for all timing errors imposed by the interposer.
Intelligence has been added to the MSO70000’s 16 channels of logic triggering with the addition of digital triggers that can detect specific values on signals, such as command-bus values. This enhancement to Tek’s existing analog Pinpoint Triggering features enables users to qualify events of interest with more accuracy.
A built-in utility enables users to define parallel buses, making it easier to search for problems within signals. Many designers, especially those doing defense work, use bus structures that are proprietary and not open. In such cases, they can create a lookup table for their bus protocol that provides them with a high degree of visibility into the system state. The instrument offers built-in decoding, display, and triggering for the popular I2C and SPI bus protocols.
The MSO70000 series scopes also offer an impressive array of analysis features and applications, such as the DDR validation toolset software. The software features a configuration wizard that helps new users get underway and a battery of JEDEC conformance tests. More than 30 different software analysis packages are available for jitter/timing analysis, power analysis, communications tests, serial data debug/compliance testing, and memory verification.
The six models in the MSO7000 series range in bandwidth from 4 to 20 GHz. Prices start at $67,400 at the low end and rise to $174,000 for the top of the line. Also available are general-purpose and differential-input logic probes.