Tektronix Speeds Development of NVIDIA GeForce 6 Graphics Card

9/9/2004 - Tektronix, Inc. (NYSE: TEK), a leading worldwide provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, announced that NVIDIA Corporation, the worldwide leader in visual processing solutions, was able to expedite time to market for its GeForce 6 series of graphics solutions based on PCI ExpressTM by using an automated test suite consisting of the Tektronix TMS817 PCI Express support for the TLA700 logic analyzer, TDS6000 Series digital storage oscilloscope, P7380 Series probes, and RT-EyeTM test software. This combination provided NVIDIA with a comprehensive set of capabilities resulting in reduced time for validation and compliance tests, and greater confidence in the results.

PCI-Express is a third-generation bus I/O architecture that supports much faster throughput for data intensive applications such as graphics. With this new architecture comes interoperability and compliance issues that designers must resolve to implement PCI-Express into their designs. For example, PCI Express is a multilane serial bus, with each lane capable of supporting speeds at 2.5Gb/s and edge rates down to 50ps. Signals at these speeds require a minimum acquisition bandwidth of 6GHz bandwidth with 20GS/s sample rate. Beyond the acquisition, the PCI Express specification has unique signal integrity test requirements such as capturing 3500 consecutive bits, recovering the clock in software using '3500:250 Clock Recovery', and separating transition bits from non-transition bits for mask testing.

"High-speed serial buses such as PCI Express present new signal integrity challenges in the development of our next-generation products," said Barry Wagner, Director of Technical Marketing, NVIDIA. "The TMS817 PCI-Express Support Package for Logic Analyzer solution from Tektronix has been a valuable tool for our engineers. We have been working closely with Tektronix for years and applaud Tektronix for bringing support for the x16 market in time to impact development of the first generation of PCI Express products. Combining this logic analysis support with the RT-Eye test software has helped NVIDIA become the first company to be included on the PCI-SIG Integrators list for PCI Express.

"We're pleased that NVIDIA has been able to leverage our PCI-Express test capabilities to achieve time to market advantage," said Colin Shepard, Vice President, Performance Oscilloscopes, Tektronix. "Tektronix delivers a comprehensive, integrated and automated ool set - oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, signal sources, probes, and software - that allows engineers to resolve analog validation and compliance issues quickly and efficiently so that they can efficiently implement their PCI-Express designs."

Automation is critical to efficient testing due to the sophisticated multilane architecture of PCI Express. For example, each NVIDIA GeForce 6 series-based graphics card has 16 lanes that need to be tested. The RT-Eye Serial Data Compliance and analysis softwar is integral to the test process as it provides single button Pass/Fail testing for amplitude, timing, and jitter measurements specifically called out in the latest PCI Express specification. When signals fail the test, analysis tools such as jitter trend, histogram, spectrum, provide key insight into signal behavior and identify specific issues in the design.

As PCI Express moves from the design lab into production, automated compliance tools such as the TDS6000 Series with RT-Eye become even more important, enabling add-in card and PC vendors to perform the compulsory electrical compliance tests quickly and easily.

Once the bits are determined to be correct, data integrity must be validated with a logic analyzer. With PCI Express, data is carried in serial symbols and packets instead of parallel words. The Tektronix TMS817 is used to deserialize, descramble, deskew and decode the PCI Express data stream into the proper transactions so that customers can use the TLA700 to debug and validate PCI Express from a system level.

"Tektronix was the first to deliver x16 PCI Express support for logic analyzers," said David Bennett, General Manager, Logic Analyzers, Tektronix. "The combination of tools and capabilities from Tektronix provide a unique solution to the testing needs presented by PCI Express. With these, leading companies such as NVIDIA are able to more effectively test their designs and improve their time-to-market for next generation products."

About PCI Express
Developed by the PCI-SIG industry group to extend the PCI bus to meet the present and future computing and communications interconnect requirements, PCI Express is suitable for both chip-to-chip and add-in card implementations. The packetized protocol and layered architecture of the standard enables attachment to copper, optical, or emerging physical signaling media. These properties, combined with an initial bit rate of 2.5 Gigabits per second (Gbs) per lane per direction, make it ideal for performance-intensive applications such as next-generation graphics, video editing and streaming multimedia, as well as high-speed interconnects such as 1394b, USB 2.0, InfiniBand and Gigabit Ethernet.

NVIDIA Corporation is a market leader in visual computing technology dedicated to creating products that enhance the interactive experience on consumer and professional computing platforms. Its graphics and communications processors have broad market reach and are incorporated into a wide variety of computing platforms, including consumer digital-media PCs, enterprise PCs, professional workstations, digital content creation systems, notebook PCs, military navigation systems, and video game consoles. NVIDIA is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and employs more than 2000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the Company's Web site at www.nvidia.com.

About Tektronix
Tektronix, Inc. is a test, measurement, and monitoring company providing measurement solutions to the communications, computer, and semiconductor industries worldwide. With more than 55 years of experience, Tektronix enables its customers to design, build, deploy, and manage next-generation global communications networks and advanced technologies. Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, Tektronix has operations in 19 countries worldwide. Tektronix' Web address is www.tektronix.com.

Tektronix is a registered trademark of Tektronix, Inc. NVIDIA and GEFORCE are registered trademarks or trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the United States and other countries.

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