Agilent Announces High-Speed I/O Solution for Testing SOC Devices

11/4/2004 - Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) introduced an automated test solution for functional, at-speed test that reduces the cost of testing high-speed, system-on-a-chip (SOC) devices to the lowest in the industry. Part of the Agilent 93000 SOC Series, this complete high-speed I/O solution enables functional testing of high-pin-count devices, such as next-generation PC chipsets up to speeds of 3.6 Gb/s.

The solution is enabled by Agilent's new Pin Scale 3600 Digital Card, which offers unprecedented per-pin scalability from 800 Mb/s to 3.6 Gb/s, allowing the test system to be configured to match device requirements, pin by pin and at the lowest cost. High-speed SOC devices are widely used in computer, digital consumer, communications, and networking products.

The demand for more functionality in a single electronic device is driving the convergence of consumer devices and redefining the digital home. As a result of this miniaturization and increased functionality of consumer electronics, SOCs are becoming very complex. The uncertainty in the rate of integration and the convergence of consumer devices requires that test equipment have the scalability and capability to test next-generation SOCs with higher speeds and more interfaces. At the same time, the continuing price pressure on consumer electronics makes it imperative to keep cost-of-test as low as possible.

Consumer demand for more data-intensive applications, such as 3D gaming and video editing, is driving the need for faster processing and higher-speed interfaces in next-generation SOC devices. Next-generation SOCs are designed using deep submicron process technologies, such as 90 nm and below, that generate a new class of defects and require faster, more accurate high-speed testing. Nanometer fabrication defects such as timing failures, for example, manifest themselves only at higher frequencies and must be tested at-speed. Similarly, signal integrity issues such as inductive crosstalk and electromigration cannot be revealed by current simulation techniques and need to be identified by using at-speed functional tests.

"The convergence of electronics and the complexity of next-generation SOCs have made it imperative for customers to balance risk and cost," said Tom Newsom, vice president of Agilent and general manager of its SOC Business Unit. "The Agilent 93000 SOC Series' scalable platform architecture empowers our customers to meet these next-frontier risks at the industry's lowest cost. As data rates go higher and more interfaces are integrated into complex SOCs, the Agilent 93000 can scale to higher speeds or additional pins, providing customers with a low-risk solution for the future."

Based on the scalable platform architecture of the Agilent 93000 SOC Series, the Pin Scale 3600 Digital Card allows each test pin to be configured from 800 Mb/s to 3.6 Gb/s using software upgrades that can be performed instantly to meet changing test needs. Each pin offers both single-ended and differential I/O test capabilities that make it possible to test a wide range of interfaces including DDR, G-DDR, PCI Express, S-ATA, HyperTransport and Front Side Bus (FSB). The configurability allows the automated test equipment to be matched to the device through software scaling, pin by pin, which results in lower costs.

The Agilent Pin Scale 3600 Digital Card features a test processor per-pin architecture, which localizes all test processing instead of using centralized resources, resulting in minimal measurement overhead and higher throughput. This architecture also delivers a differential pin edge placement accuracy (EPA) of better than (30 ps, which is required for high-speed device testing.

With an industry record of up to eight independent clock domains, the Agilent 93000 SOC Series can satisfy the most complex timing needs for concurrent at-speed testing of multiple buses running at non-friendly speed ratios (bus fractions). As the speed of next-generation interfaces rises above 3.6 Gb/s, the Agilent 93000 SOC Series' high-speed I/O solution will allow customers to upgrade to more than 8 Gb/s functional test capabilities, thereby protecting their investment in test equipment.

Pricing and Availability
Agilent's high-speed I/O solution is comprised of the 93000 SOC Series, Pin Scale 3600 Digital Cards and associated software, services and support. The solution is available in various data-rate, memory and pin-count configurations. A complete PC chipset solution configured with more than 600 Pin Scale 3600 pins is available for less than $1.8 million. This configuration includes more than 250 pins operating at 1.8 or 3.2 Gb/s for interfaces such as PCI Express, FSB, S-ATA and others. (Additional high-speed pins can be added to the solution for just $2,000 per pin, as device test requirements change.)

Agilent's high-speed I/O solution will be available in January 2005. More information about the Pin-Scale 3600 Digital Card is available at

About the Agilent 93000 SOC Series
The Agilent 93000 SOC Series is the industry's fastest-growing, lowest-cost single, scalable platform architecture with more than 850 installed systems worldwide. The Agilent 93000 SOC Series is designed to meet both the demanding performance and cost challenges of SOC testing. Models are configured to span the widest range of applications that may require ultra-high-speed digital data rates, up to 10 Gb/s, and the broadest range of mixed-signal and RF capabilities. With this range of capabilities, the 93000 SOC Series is the first choice for subcontract manufacturers and the preference for high-volume manufacturing. More information is available at

More information about Agilent's semiconductor test products is available at

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 28,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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