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Electronic Design UPDATE: July 16, 2003


Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine PlanetEE ==> July 16, 2003


*************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** JULY ONLY-Electronics Sale at Newark InOne *SAVE 10% on semiconductors & passives in July. Huge selection from 75+ top manufacturers ready to ship today. *SAVE 5% on Fluke & Tenma test equipment in July. Plus trade in for a new Tektronix, and take 12% off *Experience our newly enhanced parametric search feature and find the exact component you're looking for-fast. Receive Frequent Flyer Miles for every online order you place. **************************************************************** HOT TIP: Visit our recently redesigned Web site,, where the power of Electronic Design is a mouse click away! Read our Web exclusives, discover Featured Vendors, access our archives, share viewpoints in our Forums, explore our e-newsletters, and more. Be sure to participate in our current QUICK POLL: Editor-in-Chief Mark David asks: Do you think we were right to cancel the subscription of convicted double-murderer Steven Jacob? Go to Today's Table of Contents: 1. Industry View Test Trends: Multifunction Instruments, Less Programming, More PC Standards 2. News From The Editors * DiskOnChip Flash Device Hits 1-Gbit Mark * Low-Jitter, Dual-Clock Generators Meet Sonet, Ethernet Needs * Jobless Rate Dips Among EEs, But Remains High * CompactPCI Solution Targets Rugged Environments 3. Upcoming Industry Events In August * iWirelessWorld/Wireless Developer Conference * Linuxworld Conference and Expo * Wescon * Symposium on High Performance Chips (a.k.a. Hot Chips) * International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED) 4. Magazine Highlights: July 7, 2003 issue * Cover Story: Technology Report -- Nonvolatile Memory: More Than Just A Flash In The Pan * Leapfrog: First Look -- Graphics Engines Soup Up Handhelds * Embedded in Electronic Design -- Finding The Right Solution * Design View: Software Simulation Blasts Bugs In Network Hardware Designs Edited by John Novellino ********************** 1. Industry View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** Test Trends: Multifunction Instruments, Less Programming, More PC Standards By Grant Drenkow, Instrument Solution Planner, Agilent Technologies Inc. Challenging economic times are putting more demands on individual engineers. Test equipment budgets and test departments are shrinking, causing a "do more with less" mentality. As a result, three trends are emerging in test and measurement -- an increase in the need for reusable instruments, a decrease in the amount of test programming, and a desire to use more PC-standard solutions. Let's look at each of these in more detail. Reusable instruments Engineering managers are faced with lower budgets for test equipment. They are meeting these challenges by using existing test equipment whenever possible. Some are even using the services of T&M suppliers who will refurbish and recertify used equipment. Companies are increasingly purchasing used equipment from rental companies or over the Internet. When they do purchase new equipment, they follow a more rigorous set of rules. Savvy engineers are purchasing equipment that handles not only the requirements of their current project but can also be used for other projects. They avoid an instrument highly tuned for production because it may also be needed on the bench. Many are finding it difficult to justify a new modular solution given the startup costs of an expensive frame and embedded PC and because it's difficult to share these instruments since they all must travel with the frame. Finally, engineers can't afford to compromise measurement integrity, accuracy, and reliability despite the pressure to minimize expenses. Decrease in programming As test departments shrink due to downsizing and the selling off of production facilities, engineers are now expected to write their own test programs instead of relying on software engineers to do so. Design engineers are balking at the weeks required to learn a T&M-specific language. As a result, T&M companies are designing more intelligence into their instruments to turn raw data into measurement results, thereby reducing the code a designer has to write. As technologies and measurements change, engineers simply pay a small fee to download new personalities into their instruments. These enhancements not only extend the life of the hardware, they also decrease the need to write long test programs. Managers, realizing the lack of software expertise in their departments, are encouraging the use of PC-standard languages like Microsoft Visual Studio. These languages evolve as the PC evolves. Managers can be assured of an abundant pool of experienced programmers and libraries of prewritten code. Visual Studio 7.0 is particularly attractive because engineers can combine code written in Visual Basic, C#, and C++ together in one program. Engineers program less and leverage more. Tie to PC standards The PC, which comes standard with USB and local-area networking (LAN), is clearly the controller of choice for test systems. Because engineers don't want to spend any time installing GPIB cards and debugging the layers of I/O libraries and instrument drivers, test systems will increasingly use these built-in ports. Agilent and other T&M companies have begun offering instruments with USB and LAN. USB/GPIB and LAN/GPIB converters help engineers continue to use existing GPIB instruments. Standard instrument drivers (IVI-COM) make it possible to operate instruments using all PC-standard languages. These trends are driving T&M companies to use standard PC I/O, drivers, and software. They are pushing instrument suppliers to do more for the engineer, particularly to reduce programming. It won't be long before instruments evolve into measurement engines that can communicate from anywhere in the world. To comment on this Industry View, go to Reader Comments at the foot of the Web page ********************** 2. News -- From The Editors ********************** ***DiskOnChip Flash Device Hits 1-Gbit Mark The DiskOnChip G3, a storage device for mobile systems, is now available in a 1-Gbit version. Based on a multilevel cell technology jointly developed by M-Systems and Toshiba Corp., the NAND-architecture flash memory can store two bits per cell. The companies announced a 512-Mbit version earlier this year. The 1-Gbit (128-Mbyte) model comes in a package that measures just 9 by 12 by 1.2 mm, and it consumes as little as 10 mA in its active mode and just 10 microamps in its deep power-down mode. Samples will be available in October, with mass production by the end of the year. It will be marketed jointly by M-Systems and Toshiba. M-Systems ==> Toshiba ==> ***Low-Jitter, Dual-Clock Generators Meet Sonet, Ethernet Needs With jitter of less than 0.5 ps rms, the 5T940 family of clock generators can deliver timing signals that are a good match for Gigabit Ethernet and Sonet applications at speeds of up to OC-192. The chips feature a jitter-cleaning capability, a selectable-loop bandwidth, a wide range of clock multiplication options, and hitless auto switchover for robust clock redundancy. The jitter-cleaning scheme allows the chip to attenuate jitter from clock signals recovered from the data stream in the line transceiver. The device's two independent clock outputs deliver signals in any of three configurations: 155.5- to 166.6-MHz and 622- to 666.5-MHz output; 155.6- to 166.6-MHz output plus a regenerated version of input clock; and 622- to 666.5-MHz plus a regenerated version of the input clock. In 10,000-unit lots, the clock generators cost $39 each. The 5T940-10 has low-voltage differential signalling output signalling, while the 5T940-30 provides LVPECL-compatible outputs. Both come in 28-contact leadless surface-mount packages. Integrated Device Technology ==> ***Jobless Rate Dips Among EEs, But Remains High At 6.4%, the unemployment rate for EEs is still more than twice that of all managers and professionals (3.1%), according to second-quarter statistics. The 6.4% rate is an improvement over the first quarter's 7.0%, notes the IEEE, but remains higher than the second quarter rate for all workers of 5.6%. Figures from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that the EE unemployment rate went down because new jobs were added, not because of a reduction among existing unemployed EEs, said John Steadman, IEEE-USA president-elect. The report showed that 17,000 more EEs were employed in the second quarter compared with the first three months of 2003 (386,000 versus 369,000), but that the number of jobless EEs held steady at 28,000. "Just who these new jobs are going to is not clear, although we're concerned that many of them are being filled by temporary guest workers," said Steadman. The 6.4% EE unemployment rate compares to 1% in 1997 and 1.2% in 2000. IEEE-USA ==> ***CompactPCI Solution Targets Rugged Environments The RT4PowerPact computer system incorporates the IMP1A CompactPCI PowerPC processor board with a 500-MHz 7410, two Ethernet ports, two serial ports, and parallel I/O. The case has room for three additional 3U conduction-cooled CompactPCI cards. The pluggable power-supply unit is available in a range of power configurations. The processor card supports Wind River VxWorks, Lynuxworks LynxOS, and Green Hills Software Integrity. The unit is housed in a high-integrity, bonded-section chassis for ruggedness. The I/O connector panel and backplane are formed as a single, removable assembly for easy maintenance. Pricing starts at $13,940. Radstone Technology Corp. ==> ********************** 3. Upcoming Industry Events ********************** Aug. 4-5, iWirelessWorld/Wireless Developer Conference, Los Angeles, Calif. Aug. 4-7, Linuxworld Conference and Expo, San Francisco, Calif. Aug. 12-14, Wescon, San Francisco, Calif. Aug. 17-19, Symposium on High Performance Chips (a.k.a. Hot Chips), Stanford, Calif. August 25-27, International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED), Seoul, Korea ********************** 4. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue, July 7, 2003. * Cover Story: Technology Report Nonvolatile Memory: More Than Just A Flash In The Pan Advances in nonvolatile storage technology will bring higher densities, faster operation, and higher endurance levels. * Leapfrog: First Look -- Graphics Engines Soup Up Handhelds New generations of handheld devices demand higher-performance graphics to deliver video and provide more interactive games. * Embedded in Electronic Design -- Finding The Right Solution * Design View / Design Solution -- Software Simulation Blasts Bugs In Network Hardware Designs You can save time and money by finding system bugs and performance bottlenecks early -- and with only a single hardware design cycle. For the complete Table of Contents, go to




Editorial: Lucinda Mattera, Associate Chief Editor: mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Associate Publisher: mailto:[email protected]


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