Strategic Test Releases First 64-bit Windows XP Driver for Digitizer, AWG and Fast Digital I/O Cards

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Combined with a host PC having up to 128 GigaByte RAM, even longer signals to be recorded or replayed at high-speed - uses low-cost PC memory to reduce system cost.

Strategic Test Corporation has announced the new Windows XP Pro 64-bit driver for its range of Digitizer, AWG, fast Digital I/O and Digital Pattern Generator cards. The driver is compatible with all of the 150 different PCI/PCI-X, PXI and CompactPCI products in the UltraFast range.

There are two distinct advantages to 64-bit Windows over 32-bit. In the first case, 64-bit Windows delivers a higher computation performance that is a particular benefit to engineers and scientists who undertake real-time analysis of measurement data or signal processing. Secondly, 64-bit Windows supports up to 128 GigaByte of PC RAM (note 1) compared to the 4 GBytes of 32-bit Windows XP. This means that if the Digitizer or AWG card supports streaming (note 2), the signal data to/from the host-PC RAM and the total recording/replay rate is lower than the data transfer bandwidth of the PCI bus used, then the engineer can use the low-cost PC-memory instead of buying expensive instrument memory (note 3). This method also allows longer recording/replay times, as the maximum amount of signal memory that can be added to the current range of Digitizer or AWG cards from most vendors is 4 GBytes.

To illustrate this further. A Digitizer card with two 100 MS/s 8-bit A/D channels will quantize the signals at a rate of 200 MBytes/second. In order for this data to be transferred continuously and gap-free to the host-PC memory, the PCI bus would need to support this data transfer rate. Assuming that the card is based on the 66 MHz / 32-bit PCI bus (also known as PCI-X) that is available on newer products, this bus supports continuous data transfer rates of up to 225 MBytes per second and therefore can be used to stream the data in this example. Using 32-bit Windows XP Pro, the maximum measurement time would be limited by the 3.5 GB useable memory giving a maximum time of 17.5 seconds. However, on a PC configured with 128 GB RAM running 64-bit Windows XP Pro, the measurement time would increase to over 6.5 minutes.

The Windows XP Pro x64 driver is supplied at no cost and can be downloaded by existing customers from the company website. The same simple programming concept found in the other Windows and Linux drivers has been employed, allowing customers to upgrade their OS without modifying their application code.

Further information on Windows XP Pro x64 can be found at Microsofts website:


Note 1.

Windows Pro x64 supports up to 4 Gbyte RAM and up to 4 TerraBytes of virtual memory, compared to 32-bit Windows that supports only 4 GigaByte RAM and virtual memory combined.

Note 2.

Streaming is a term used to describe the continuous transfer of data from the measurement device to the host-PC during the measurement. It can also be used to describe data being continuously transferred from the host-PC to the signal generator. While either PC-RAM or hard disk can be used for signal data storage, PC-RAM has the obvious advantage of write/read speed compared to disks.

Not all Digitizer or AWG cards support streaming. Most digitizer and AWG cards on the market operate in a similar manner to traditional instruments. The recorded data is stored to card memory and then off-loaded at the end of the measurement, or the signals are downloaded to the AWG memory prior to generation. This means the measurement or generation time is limited by the available onboard memory.

All of the UltraFast cards provide the additional streaming mode and are able to transfer the data at up to the continuous data transfer limit of the card bus. In the case of the 33 MHz/32-bit PCI, PXI and CompactPCI bus this is approximately 100 Mbytes per second, but, for the newer PCI-X 66 MHz / 32-bit PCI bus found in newer PCs, this can reach a data loss free 225 MBytes/s (measured by Strategic Test). Therefore, if the total sampling or generation rate for all active channels on the card is less than the bus limit, the engineer can avoid buying expensive card memory (typically between $8,000 and $12,000 for 4 GBytes depending on product and vendor) and instead use cheaper PC memory, while benefiting for even longer measurement or generation times.

Note 3.

Different Digitizer and AWG cards usually offer a variety of maximum memory options. 64 Mbyte, 128 Mbyte and 512 Mbyte are relatively common, while 1 Gbyte, 2 GByte are available from fewer vendors. The latest generation cards (including those from Strategic Test and Gage) can be configured with up to 4 GBytes.

About Strategic Test

With a product range of more than 150 high-speed Digitizer, Arbitrary Waveform Generator and high-speed Digital I/O PCI, 3U PXI and 6U CompactPCI cards, Strategic Test Corporation is one of the leading suppliers of high-speed PC-based instruments. The UltraFast cards are designed at the R&D facility in northern Germany and distributed through our offices in Woburn (MA) and Stockholm (Sweden).

The first high-speed measurement card for PCs was designed in 1989. The UF2 series based on the PCI-X 66 MHz/32-bit PCI bus is the forth generation and sets new standards in on board memory size, data transfer rates and user flexibility. Strategic Tests clients include global electronics, semiconductor, defense, telecommunications and medical instrument companies, government funded research labs and universities in five continents.

A picture can be downloaded from the website at

Caption: Windows XP Pro x64 driver allows longer signals to be recorded or generated at high-speed.

For further information please contact:

Bob Giblett


Strategic Test Corporation

12 Alfred Street, Suite 300

Woburn, MA 01801-1915

United States

Tel: (617)621-0080

Fax: (617)621-1414

Press contacts:

Europe / Asia

Nigel Robson

Vortex Public Relations

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1481 233080

Fax: +44 1481 233082


Leslie Logan

Precision Communications

Tel: (508)876-9400


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