Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Real-time recording and playback instrument

Pentek has announced its first multi-channel real-time recording and playback instrument based on the company’s popular Cobalt family of Xilinx® Virtex™-6 FPGA modules – the Model RTS 2706. Housed in a 4U rack-mountable enclosure, the RTS 2706 utilizes 16-bit 200 MHz A/Ds and 16-bit 800 MHz D/As with as many as 20 hot swappable SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) drives configurable as RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) Levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 or 50. The RTS 2706 instrument includes COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) features that can be selected by the customer to suit his application.

These flexible, customer-selectable features include A/D channel count, DDC (digital down converter) capabilities, D/A and DUC (digital upconverter) resources for the real-time reproduction of recorded signals, storage drive capacity and GPS time stamping and positioning. The net result of this flexibility is a turn-key, high-bandwidth recording and playback instrument suitable for a wide range of applications, including with all the benefits of a COTS system including faster delivery and value pricing.

RTS 2706
"As an example, the RTS 2706 in a four-channel configuration, provides sustained recording rates of up to 1600 MB/sec,” said Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek. He added, "The instrument is much faster than Pentek's previously released recorders and this system offers unmatched flexibility. With the RTS 2706, our customers can now record larger signal bandwidths for longer periods of time and choose configuration options that work best for their specific application."

The RTS 2706 supports GPS (Global Positioning System) for GPS time and position stamping of recorded data. The RTS 2706 allows synchronization across all channels and operates under a single GUI (Graphical User Interface) virtual instrument that is scalable to meet any recording requirement.

Embedded Workstation Speeds Processing and Analysis
"In addition to the recording and playback of data, the RTS 2706 serves as a fully-functional signal processing workstation. Based on the Intel® Core™ i7 processor and Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs, the instrument can perform real-time signal analysis during capture and playback so operators can validate input sources and examine signals on the fly,” said Pentek product manager Chris Tojeira. “And the multi-core Intel Core i7 is only lightly loaded during recording, so users have a powerful workstation to handle post acquisition signal analysis and processing.”

The RTS 2706 is Pentek's first high-bandwidth digital recorder to utilize the Windows® 7 Professional operating system. By using this operating system, the instrument is able to handle as many as twenty, one Terabyte drives in a RAID configuration, recording data in NTFS (New Technology File System) format to eliminate the need for data conversion that can take as long as the recording itself.

Users have a variety of options for transferring data recorded on the RTS 2706 to other systems for additional processing or archiving. The instrument’s SATA drives are hot swappable, allowing them to be removed and inserted in another system for immediate access. Users can also offload data via two gigabit Ethernet ports, six USB 2.0 ports or two eSATA ports. Additionally, data can be copied to optical disk using the instrument’s built-in 8X double layer DVD±R/RW drive.

Software Provides Full Analysis Capability
As with all Pentek recording instruments, the RTS 2706 has full software support with Pentek’s SystemFlow package. The software provides a GUI for easy instrument setup and control and can save user profiles for single-click configuration. The software also includes a Signal Viewer, which provides virtual instruments such as a spectrum analyzer and an oscilloscope for real-time viewing of data before, during and after recording.

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