NI Unveils MXI-4 High-speed Serial Interface Link for PC Control

3/3/2004 - National Instruments announced MXI-4, a high-speed serial interface link compatible with the latest PCI standards commonly found in high-performance servers and workstations. With MXI-4, engineers can combine PXI-based modular instrumentation with high-performance computers in applications requiring intense data analysis or real-time numerical calculations.

The MXI-4 interface, an evolution of the NI MXI-3 interface, adds universal PCI compatibility so that engineers can control PXI and CompactPCI systems from any PCI slot -- including 32-bit, 33 MHz, 5 V PCI slots; 64-bit, 66 MHz 3.3 V PCI slots; and PCI-X slots. MXI-4 delivers remote control of PXI systems from computers by implementing a PCI-PCI bridge across a high-bandwidth link at 132 MB/s peak performance and 78 MB/s sustained performance. The MXI-4 interface is completely transparent to software and operating systems, so engineers can use the MXI-4 interface to control PXI/CompactPCI modules as if they were PCI modules directly installed in their computer. In addition, engineers can interchange software written for an embedded PXI controller to a desktop PC with a MXI-4 link with no changes.

With new reliability features such as error checking and retransmission on the high-speed serial link, engineers now can use the MXI-4 interface in harsh, electrically noisy industrial environments. MXI-4 also delivers industrial, rugged connectivity that eliminates the possibility of loose cable connections that can interfere with PXI system performance.

As with MXI-3, MXI-4 offers engineers a choice of copper or fiber-optic cabling. Fiber optic cabling is ideal for systems requiring electrical isolation and long range, with the fiber-optic links extending up to 200 m. Copper cabling offers a low-cost solution with a range of up to 10 m. MXI-4 works with the entire PXI platform and a variety of software including NI LabVIEW 7 Express, LabWindows/CVI, TestStand and DIAdem.

About PXI
PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXI) is an open specification governed by the PXI Systems Alliance ( that defines a rugged, CompactPCI-based platform optimized for test, measurement and control. PXI products are compatible with the CompactPCI industrial computer standard that is supported by more than 60 member companies and more than 1,000 products. PXI offers additional features such as environmental specifications, standardized software and built-in timing and synchronization.

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation -- a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for customers worldwide through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,000 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2002, the company sold products to more than 25,000 different companies in more than 80 countries around the world. For the past five consecutive years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America. Readers may obtain investment information from the company’s investor relations department at (512) 683-5090, by sending e-mail to or on the Web at

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