Austin, TX - Instrumentation speeds are going to be moving upward dramatically next year when the PXI bus evolves to PXI Express. That will let engineers and scientists move data at up to 6 Gbytes per second per system, 45 times faster than traditional PXI systems.
The specification, unveiled at NIWeek, is based on PCI Express, which is shipping on high-end PCs. It also includes CompactPCI technology, which helps in the rugged applications many instruments are used in. PXI Systems Alliance Loofie Gutterman notes that the development of PXI Express took some time since it requires triggering, real time capabilities and other factors needed in instrumentation and industrial control. They weren’t addressed in PCI Express. He predicts that PXI Express product shipments will begin next year.
These products will be backwards compatible with existing products. “Longevity in this field is huge. People still use technology that is 10-15 years old,” says Terry West, a marketing director at Intel Corp. “This is fully software compatible, a program that’s running on a PXI will run on PXI Express,” adds Eric Starkloff, director of PXI marketing at National Instruments.
Last year, the PXI market reached $118.1 million in sales on more than 62,100 systems with a 40 % growth rate, according to Frost and Sullivan.
Both CompactPCI Express and PXI Express use a new Advanced Differential Fabric connector. “Using this new ADF connector, we can bring PCI Express to PXI, incorporate advanced synchronization signals and create hybrid slots that accept both PXI and PXI Express signaling,” says Mark Wetzel, technical chair of the PXI Systems Alliance. That helps boost data throughput to a peak rate of 6 GBytes/s in each direction. PXI Express designers will be able to leverage the speed and low cost of PC chipsets that incorporate PCI Express, prompters say.
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