Santa Clara, Calif.—Agilent Technologies has introduced a comprehensive test set for PCI Express 3.0 receiver characterization, and which they say is the industry's first such set. Using this solution, design and test engineers can both characterize and verify compliance of receiver ports in ASICs and chipsets, a complex task.
What's the challenge? Under the PCI Express Base Specification 3.0 (November 2010), the transfer rate of standard for these third-generation chipsets was increased to 8 gigatransfers/second (GT/sec) over inexpensive, high-speed-challenged PC boards. Receiver tests now become "normative" rather than just "informative" as they were previously, so compliance testing is absolutely needed to ensure interoperability and adherence to the specification. The transfer rate demands complex, sophisticated signal integrity and jitter testing to ensure that designs are robust and sufficient.
PCIe 3.0 receiver test challenges (click here to see enlarged version)
The Agilent PCI Express 3.0 test with J-BERT N4903B addresses needs such as: the definition of a stressed eye inside a reference receiver, which requires post-processing; emulation of worst-case intersymbol interference (ISI); receiver sensitivity with added signal interference; testing of jitter tolerance; and adjustment of de-emphasis, all along with link training with 128/130-bit coding and scrambling, as switching between 2.5 and 8 GT/sec operation.
The Agilent PCIe 3.0 receiver test set-up (click here to see enlarged version)
To achieve this, the test set provides automated stress calibration and post processing, compliant signal-interference injection, jitter injection, and tolerance testing; and a link-training suite using the J-BERT's pattern sequencer; shown here is one case:
PCIe 3.0 calibration of stressed eye for RX test (click here to see enlarged version)
The Agilent PCI Express 3.0 receiver test solution consists of a substantial amount of hardware and software:
- the J-BERT N4903B high-performance serial BERT with integrated and calibrated jitter sources (random jitter, period jitter and differential-mode sinusoidal interference);
- the N4916B de-emphasis signal generator for accurate and adjustable pre- and post-cursor generation;
- the 81150A/81160A pulse function arbitrary noise generator for injecting common-mode sinusoidal interference;
- the N4915A-014 PCIe 3.0 calibration channels for compliant and reproducible channel conditions;
- the N5990A-101 PCIe receiver test software with the new PCIe 3.0 stress calibration;
- the N5990A-301 PCIe 3.0 link-training wizard; and
- the Infiniium 90000 X-Series 16-GHz to 32-GHz oscilloscope for stress calibration.
U.S. Pricing and Availability: providing this level of sophistication and performance isn't inexpensive or easy:
- The 12.5 Gb/s J-BERT N4903B high-performance serial BERT starts at $192,000.
- The N4916B de-emphasis signal converter is $42,200.
- The new N4915A-014 PCIe 3.0 calibration channels are $8,150.
- The new N5990A test automation software Option 301 (link-training suite) and Option 101 (PCIe automated receiver test) are $9,400 and $13,250 respectively. (Users of N5990A-101 for PCIe 1.x and 2.x versions can use Option N5990A-011 to upgrade to PCIe 3.0 functionality for $7,200.
- The 81150A pulse function arbitrary noise generator is $13,000 in a two-channel configuration.
All the new products can be ordered in March 2011.
For more information: Details about the Agilent PCIe 3.0 receiver test solution are available at www.agilent.com/find/pcie_receiver_test.