June 1, 2011

NI Expands FPGA-Enabled NI FlexRIO Family for PXI With Six New I/O Modules

National Instruments introduced the expansion of its NI FlexRIO product line with six new adapter modules featuring FPGA-based reconfigurable I/O to deliver enhanced functionality for general-purpose automated test and high-speed digital communication. The NI FlexRIO family is the industry’s first commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution to provide engineers the flexibility of NI LabVIEW FPGA technology with high-speed, user-configurable I/O on the PXI platform. The new group of adapter modules includes four general-purpose digitizers, a module for high-speed digital I/O and the industry’s fastest 16-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) from Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), which is optimized for modulated communications.

“The Analog Devices AD9467 is the fastest 16-bit A/D converter at 250 MS/s available today,” said Tom Gratzek, strategic marketing manager of data converters at Analog Devices. “By combining our high sample rate and resolution with the reconfigurable I/O of NI FlexRIO, engineers and scientists can now attain unparalleled flexibility when deploying algorithms onto acquisition hardware, prototyping communications systems and achieving extremely high-performance measurements.”
All NI FlexRIO solutions require two distinct hardware components – an I/O-specific adapter module and a PXI-based NI FlexRIO FPGA module, which features a Xilinx Virtex-class field-programmable gate array (FPGA). With 15 different NI FlexRIO adapter modules now available, engineers and scientists can directly interface FPGAs to a broad variety of I/O for measurement applications requiring real-time performance, low-latency processing and reconfigurable behavior.

The six new adapter modules feature the following specifications:

-- NI 5762: 16-bit, 250 MS/s digitizer, featuring the AD9467 ADC from Analog Devices
-- NI 6587: 16-ch, 1 Gb/s digital I/O module for high-speed LVDS interfaces
-- NI 5731: 12-bit, 40 MS/s general-purpose digitizer adapter module, featuring typical SFDR better than -87 dBc
-- NI 5732: 14-bit, 80 MS/s general-purpose digitizer adapter module, featuring typical SNR better than 69 dB
-- NI 5733: 16-bit, 120 MS/s high-resolution digitizer adapter module, featuring 37 MHz of alias-free bandwidth
-- NI 5734: 16-bit, 120 MS/s, quad-channel, high-resolution digitizer adapter module

The modules also integrate with the new NI FlexRIO Instrument Development Library, a collection of LabVIEW host and FPGA code, designed to provide capabilities commonly found in instruments such as acquisition engines, DRAM interfaces and trigger logic, along with the associated host APIs. Additionally, the new NI-573xR Example Instrument Driver builds on the code from the Instrument Development Library to create a default FPGA personality and familiar host API for using an NI 573x adapter module as a basic digitizer. Together, these tools decrease the time to first measurement. Both software components are available for download through ni.com/labs.

Unlike other user-programmable FPGA hardware, NI FlexRIO FPGAs can be programmed with LabVIEW graphical system design software and the LabVIEW FPGA Module. This approach helps domain experts to target their applications to FPGAs without requiring VHDL knowledge, while still providing an interface to import existing VHDL code directly into LabVIEW FPGA.

Readers can learn more about the new NI FlexRIO adapter modules by visiting www.ni.com/flexrio.

About National Instruments
National Instruments (www.ni.com) is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype and deploy systems for measurement, automation and embedded applications. NI empowers customers with off-the-shelf software such as NI LabVIEW and modular cost-effective hardware, and sells to a broad base of more than 30,000 different companies worldwide, with its largest customer representing approximately 4 percent of revenue in 2010 and no one industry representing more than 15 percent of revenue. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has approximately 5,500 employees and direct operations in more than 40 countries. For the past 12 years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.