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NI extends reach of software-designed instrumentation for electronic test

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National Instruments Aust & NZ announced several new additions to its NI LabVIEW RIO architecture, increasing user flexibility and power to meet modern automated test system challenges and reduce the total cost of test. 

Charles Schroeder, NI director of test systems explains that the increasing complexity of devices under test requires engineers to have new strategies to remain competitive, meet time to market deadlines and reduce cost. The platform-based approach of the LabVIEW RIO architecture offers engineers the flexible, scalable tools they need for success.

The new instrument driver FPGA extensions, one of the most significant platform updates, are a feature of the NI RF signal analyzer and RF signal generator instrument drivers that combine the flexibility of the open FPGA with the compatibility engineers expect from an industry-standard instrument driver. 

Building on the release of the NI PXIe-5644R vector signal transceiver announced at NIWeek 2012, the FPGA extensions make it even easier for those with little to no FPGA programming experience to access the benefits of an open FPGA to better meet application demands with additional processing and control. 

Engineers already using vector signal transceivers can upgrade their drivers, and then mix application-specific FPGA code with standard instrument driver code.

Gorkem Guven, vice president at Hittite Microwave Corporation observes that the user-programmable FPGA on the NI vector signal transceiver is absolutely essential for addressing the challenges associated with testing the latest highly-integrated RF components. 

Another addition to the LabVIEW RIO architecture is the NI PXIe-7975R NI FlexRIO FPGA module, which offers the latest Xilinx 7 Series FPGA technology for automated test and high-performance embedded applications. The new NI FlexRIO FPGA module doubles the data streaming bandwidth to 1.6 GB/s and quadruples the on-board DRAM to 2 GB when compared with current FPGA modules. Two new NI FlexRIO adapter modules, the 4.4 GHz NI 5792 receiver and NI 5793 RF transmitter are also available.

To address greater processing requirements for floating-point math, NI improves the CPU capability of the LabVIEW RIO architecture with the new NI PXIe-8383mc PXImc adapter module. With NI PXImc technology, engineers can spread floating-point processing across multiple CPUs in the system the same way fixed-point processing deploys across multiple FPGAs.

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