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National Instruments Integrates Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA Technology into New Customizable I/O Devices


Engineers Can Combine New Suite of PXI Modules and LabVIEW FPGA for High-Speed Acquisition, Control and Test Applications

NEWS RELEASE – April 2008 – National Instruments today announced the release of four new R Series I/O modules for the PXI platform that are equipped with high-performance Xilinx Virtex®-5 field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The NI PXI-7841R, PXI-7842R, PXI-7851R and PXI-7852R modules feature eight analog inputs, eight analog outputs and 96 digital I/O lines as well as analog input rates that are more than 3.5 times faster than previously released R Series devices. These new modules provide engineers and scientists with commercial off-the-shelf hardware that can be graphically programmed with the NI LabVIEW FPGA Module to perform custom onboard processing for inline data analysis and deterministic I/O control for applications that require specialized timing and triggering.

“The unprecedented flexibility of FPGA technology makes FPGAs ideal for both complex embedded system design and high-performance data acquisition and test applications,” said Dr. James Truchard, National Instruments president, CEO and cofounder. “With our continued investment in FPGA technology including the new R Series devices and the LabVIEW FPGA Module, National Instruments is giving test engineers and embedded programmers alike a tightly integrated platform that makes it easy for them to take advantage of the incredible potential of FPGAs.”

Engineers and scientists can achieve 16-bit analog input sampling rates up to 200 kS/s/ch with the PXI-7841R and PXI-7842R and sampling rates up to 750 kS/s/ch with the PXI-7851R and PXI-7852R. Additionally, the new R Series modules are equipped with either a Virtex-5 LX30 or Virtex-5 LX50 FPGA, which deliver improved optimization capabilities that provide faster code execution and increased LabVIEW code capacity than previous R Series devices. Virtex-5 FPGAs feature a six-input LUT architecture for substantially improved resource utilization as well as DSP slices that make it possible for users to implement more complex digital signal processing at faster rates. The combination of high-speed I/O and Virtex-5 FPGAs on these new R Series modules makes them ideal for high-performance processing and control applications in industries such as automotive, life science and aerospace/defense.

“The industry-leading Virtex-5 family gives designers an unprecedented level of computational performance and system integration capabilities for embedded design and test applications,” said Steve Douglass, vice president and general manager for the Xilinx Advanced Product Group. “By incorporating this strategically enabling technology into their new R Series devices, National Instruments is delivering high-performance hardware that can be easily optimized with LabVIEW graphical programming to help reduce design cycles and improve time to market.”

With PXI instrumentation, engineers and scientists can customize their applications by choosing from more than 1,500 measurement, signal generation, RF, power and switch modules and configuring their instruments in software to achieve the functionality they need. The new R Series modules extend this customization even further by incorporating a Virtex-5 FPGA that can be programmed with the LabVIEW FPGA Module to create user-defined hardware. The LabVIEW FPGA Module simplifies the task of customizing hardware through easy-to-use graphical programming that abstracts VHDL code used to configure the FPGA. LabVIEW also offers pre-built function blocks and other code optimization techniques that expedite application development. This graphical system design approach, or the tight integration of flexible software and commercial off-the-shelf hardware, helps engineers and scientists design, prototype, test and deploy custom measurement and embedded design applications faster and more cost-efficiently than the traditional approach to custom hardware design.

Readers can visit for more information, including data sheets, webcasts and white papers, about the new R Series modules.


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