The System Star Hub option—for the Strategic Test UltraFast oscilloscope/digitizer, arbitrary waveform generator (AWG), digital I/O, and digital-pattern-generator PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) cards—allows users to connect up to 270 cards in multiple PCs. The option distributes a common sampling clock and trigger bus across up to 17 PCs, permitting a maximum of 4336 analog channels or 8672 digital channels. The System Star Hub Master option is installed on one UltraFast card in the main PC and System Star Hub Slave options are installed on one card in each of the remaining PCs. Master and Slave cards can then be connected externally with up to 2 m of cable.
Different types of cards can be used together to create systems with oscilloscopes, AWGs, high-speed digital I/Os, and digital pattern generators. Not all cards have to use the same sampling rate, as the master sampling clock can be divided uniquely on each card. In a multi-PC system, the System Star Hub offers the advantage of using the combined PCI bus bandwidths across all PCs to achieve a much higher streaming rate throughout the system. When one PC is used, the PCI bus has a maximum continuous transfer rate of 100 Mbytes/s. All the installed cards share this bandwidth, effectively limiting the maximum sampling rate of the cards.
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The Star Hub option costs $490 to synchronize up to five cards on one PC and $990 to synchronize up to 16 cards. The System Star Hub Master option needed for the first of multiple PCs costs $2800. The additional PCs each need a System Star Hub Slave priced at $590 for up to five cards and $990 for up to 16 cards.
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