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Kintex-7 FPGAs sweep the design of six new Keysight high-speed PXI AWGs and Digitizers

by Xilinx Employee ‎02-24-2017 02:19 PM - edited ‎02-24-2017 09:41 PM (15,681 Views)


The six new PXI digitizers and AWGs (arbitrary waveform generators) in the Keysight M3xxx instrument series all take advantage of the real-time processing power and immense programmability of Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGAs. All six instruments are offered with either a Kintex-7 325T or 410T FPGA. Keysight provides programming libraries for C, C++, Visual Studio, LabVIEW, MATLAB, Python, other programming languages, and the Keysight M3602A Graphical FPGA Development Environment. Thanks to the built-in FPGA programmability, you can customize these instruments’ high- and low-level design elements using off-the-shelf DSP blocks, MATLAB/Simulink, the Xilinx CORE Generator and IP cores, and the Xilinx Vivado Design Suite with either VHDL or Verilog code. Clearly, Keysight has made FPGA programmability (and dynamic reprogrammability) integral to the feature sets of these instruments.


The six new Keysight PXI instruments are:


M3100A               100MSamples/sec, 4 or 8-channel FPGA digitizer

M3102A               500Msamples/sec, 2 or 4-channel FPGA digitizer

M3201A               500MSamples/sec FPGA arbitrary waveform generator

M3202A               1GSamples/sec FPGA arbitrary waveform generator

M3300A               500MSamples/sec, 2-channel FPGA AWG/digitizer combo

M3302A               500MSamples/sec, 4-channel FPGA AWG/digitizer combo




Keysight M3302A AWG and Digitizer.jpg



Keysight M3302A PXI AWG and Digitizer



According to a just-published article by Martin Rowe on EDN.com:


“The FPGA-based instruments in the table come from Signadyne, acquired by Keysight in 2016. The addition of the FPGA gives digitizers the ability to perform data processing on board, relieving the system controller from that resource-intensive task… Adding an FPGA to a waveform generator lets you program waveforms with complex modulation for emulating wireless signals such as [for] multiple input multiple output (MIMO) [antennas].”


This family of Keysight M3xxx instruments clearly demonstrates the ability to create an FPGA-based hardware platform that enables rapid development of many end products from one master set of hardware designs. In this case, the same data-acquisition and AWG block diagrams recur on the data sheets of these instruments, so you know there’s a common set of designs.


Xilinx FPGAs are inherently well-suited to this type of platform-based product design because of the All-Programmable (I/O, hardware, and software) nature of the devices. I/O programmability permits any-to-any connectivity—as is common with, for example, camera designs when you’re concerned about adapting to a range of sensors or different ADCs and DACs for digitizers and AWGs. Hardware programmability allows you to rapidly modify real-time signal-processing or motor-control algorithms—as is common with diverse designs including high-speed instrument designs and industrial controllers. Software programmability is of course pervasive and is common to every embedded design. Remember, all Xilinx devices give you all three; conventional SoCs, application processors, and microcontrollers do not.


About the Author
  • Be sure to join the Xilinx LinkedIn group to get an update for every new Xcell Daily post! ******************** Steve Leibson is the Director of Strategic Marketing and Business Planning at Xilinx. He started as a system design engineer at HP in the early days of desktop computing, then switched to EDA at Cadnetix, and subsequently became a technical editor for EDN Magazine. He's served as Editor in Chief of EDN Magazine, Embedded Developers Journal, and Microprocessor Report. He has extensive experience in computing, microprocessors, microcontrollers, embedded systems design, design IP, EDA, and programmable logic.