Agilent addresses economy oscilloscope sector in ‘significant launch’

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In a move described as one the most significant for the company in the last 10 years, Agilent has expanded its oscilloscope portfolio with the launch of the InfiniiVision 2000 and 3000 X-series, comprising 26 models. The scopes take advantage of asic technology to bring the performance expected of more expensive devices to the general purpose price point.
Peter Kasenbacher, European product line manager for oscilloscopes, said: "It's a huge market, with hundreds of thousands of units shipping and one in which Agilent hasn't been strong. Already, orders are double what we expected and we believe the range will be very successful." The devices will only be available through Agilent's distribution partners.

The 2000 X-series has an entry point at £830. According to Kasenbacher, this price performance hasn't been seen before. "We introduced upgradability at the high end some years ago with good reason, because of changing protocols. Now, we're introducing it to the economy and bench top class. This is significant as many customers have a dedicated budget; they can now buy the entry level device and upgrade – for example, to get more channels." Members of the 2000-X series feature two or four channels, with bandwidth ranging from 70 to 200MHz. Sample rates can reach 2Gsample/s, while maximum memory is 100kpts. The display is updated at 50k waveform/s. The 3000-X range is also available in two and four channel options, with bandwidth ranging from 100 to 500MHz. Signals can be sampled at up to 4Gsample/s and there is 4Mpt of memory. The update rate is 1m waveform/s. Both families can also operate in mixed signal (MSO) mode. The 2000-X range features eight digital channels, while the 3000-X range has 16. But Kasenbacher said: "MSO mode is useless without memory for time correlation and triggering and an asic is needed to handle both." Jay Alexander, general manager of Agilent's Digital Test division, said: "We have integrated oscilloscope functionality into a 90nm cmos asic; essentially, we are providing most of an oscilloscope functionality on a single chip." The asic, which features 6million gates and 40Mbit of embedded dram, can support up to 1m updates per second. It supports serial decode, a function which has typically been done in software and which slows scope performance. Both families also see Agilent moving to the use of the Windows CE operating system, rather than VxWorks in previous models. "But we don't expose the desktop like we do in the Infiniium range," said Alexander. "Windows CE brings advantages for driver and I/O development."