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Ultra fast digital pattern capture and generation

This page provides information on all the Spectrum PCI-Express digital cards, capable of capturing or generating digital patterns at very high speeds up to 32 bits wide. The M4i.77xx digital capture cards have the enhanced capability to work with a wide range of logic signal levels, whilst the M2p.75xx cards can handle LVTTL or TTL signals.

M4i77xx series cards with PCIe-x8 lane interface M2p75xx series cards with PCIe-x4 lane interface
Spectrum M4i programmable digital input cards

Using a high bandwidth multi-lane PCI Express Gen 2.0 interface, real time data streaming with the PC is greatly enhanced at over 3 Gbytes per second. This makes the M4i.77xx card series of particular value when recording patterns of bus wide digital signals for long periods at ultra-high speed. The universal logic level compatibility of range -3V to +5V covers many standards including LVDS, LVPECL, PECL, (N)ECL, and comes in single-ended and differential input format. Utilising the very latest digital technology, 32 digital channels of data can be captured at up to 350 MHz sampling, which results in a data rate of 700 mega bits per second when Double Data Rate clocking is used. This mode uses both edges of the sampling clock. Also the Bit pattern capture can be single shot or in a loop.

Up to eight cards from M4i.77xx series can be perfectly synchronised to provide up to 256 digital channels. They also have many useful features to allow pattern and gated triggering, plus time stamping of these triggers.

Building on the success of the previous generation of the M2i digital capture cards, the M4i series shares the same well proven software driver set. This follows the practice of supporting both existing and new users. The versatile Windows® and Linux® drivers support all popular text programming languages, as well as packages such as LabVIEW® and MATLAB®. For easy capture and analysis SBench6 Professional software is available as an option. This has a logic analyser window for comparison of multiple bit pattern streams. Menu driven no programming is required.

More information on the M4i.77xx series and the multi-purpose digital I/O options can be found by following the image links in the tables below.
Spectrum M2p programmable digital I/O cards:

The Spectrum M2p.75xx series of cards are not as fast as the M4i.77xx versions, however they have the advantage that they can not only capture fast digital signals but replay them too. Up to 32 digital channels of data can be clocked in or out at up to 125MHz. They represent a cost effective solution for many projects where high performance logic analysis or pattern generation is required.

The M2p.75xx is a half-length PCIe card, measuring just 168 x 107 mm in size. The small form factor means that it can be inserted into almost any desktop PC, turning it into a powerful tool for applications such as logic analysis or pattern generation. The channels offer 3.3 V and 5 V TTL compatibility. In generation mode, the cards typically deliver output levels of 0.2 V for low states and 2.8 V for high states into high impedance. A 1 GByte of on-board memory is standard for holding digital data. A variety of different acquisition and replay modes can operate short or long duration signals, the latter aided by an ultra-fast transfer speed over the PCIe x4 lane bus of up to 700 MBytes/s.

Fully programmable and the hardware comes with drivers for Windows and Linux operating systems, as well as programming examples for C++, LabVIEW, MATLAB, Visual Basic.NET, Python and most other popular programming languages. Spectrum offers its own control software SBench 6 Professional that allows signal generation, acquisition, display, processing, storage, reporting and includes a screen based logic analyser. This new M2p digital series also compliments the existing M2p analogue signal acquisition and generation cards, all of which can be sample and trigger synchronised together using the Star-Hub option. This versatility provides the ability to use these products in many applications and extend the number of channels easily.

The first release of this series, the M2p.7515-x4 replaces the earlier M2i.70xx digital I/O cards, but does share the same well proven software driver set, so moving over to the new digital I/O card is easy. It even shares the same Hirose FX2 signal digital port connectors. This follows the practice of supporting both existing and new users. Windows® and Linux® programming drivers are provided, plus examples to show the main operational features

We also provide multi-purpose digital I/O options which can be added to the Spectrum's existing range of M2p digitisers and AWG cards.

More information on the M4i.75xx series and the multi-purpose digital I/O options can be found by following the image links in the tables below.

Spectrum's digital I/0 hardware feature summary.

indexbar (1K) Signal data ports up to 32 bits wide
indexbar (1K) Data width on the cards ports is software programmable
indexbar (1K) Synchronisation of multiple cards using the Star-Hub option extends the bit width even further
indexbar (1K) M2p.75xx series cards can also be synchronised withe M2p analogue digitisers and waveform generators
indexbar (1K) Large standard memory of 4 GBytes on the M4i, 1Gbyte on M2p
indexbar (1K) Versatile trigger features, including fast auto re-arm
indexbar (1K) Multiple Recording (+ replay on M2p) for servicing fast repeated triggers.
Also Gated Recording (+ replay on M2p).
indexbar (1K) Programmable Sequence Replay Mode, dynamic change to new signal on event, or loop
indexbar (1K) Optimised clock section, internal or external clock reference
indexbar (1K) Multi-lane PCI-Express interface for sustained data streaming rate with the PC*
indexbar (1K) Versatile and wide ranging software support for programming the card in Windows® and Linux®
*Gen 2 multi-lane PCI-express currently provides the best streaming performance within the Spectrum range.
Find out more about PCI-Express. Click here for more information.
A dedicated fan for cooling the card bay of your PC, hence inserted cards, is recommended.
Essential for multiple card installations and any number of the M4i series.


This versatile 3/4 length M4i digital capture card range fits into desktop computers, but also some types of industrial computers too. A choice card models offer different maximum capture speeds and it is possible to program a wide range of input capture speeds up the maximum. Data bits can be captured at up to 350 MHz sampling rate on the fastest versions, which results in a data rate of 700 mega bits per second when Double Data Rate* clocking is used.

M4i (PCIe x8-lane)
Please click on the images for more information
M4i.77xx card navigation image, click hereM4i.77xx Digital input logic levels
-3.0V to +5V
Single-ended or LVDS
350 MHz
700 Mbits/sec. in DDR*
8, 16, 32 bits

Shown below, the versatile M2p.75xx series provides the capability for high-speed sampling and generation of digital signals. The direction is software programmable. Its x4-lane PCI-Express interface allows full speed digital signal streaming to or from the host PC. The compact half-length card makes for an easy fit. The digital ports FX2 connectors were also standard to Spectrum's earlier digital I/O cards (e.g. the M2i.70xx series), so providing an element of backward cabling compatibility.

M2p (PCIe - x4 lane)
Please click on the images for more information
M2p75 navigation image ,click hereM2p75xx Digital logic levels
(inputs 5V TTL tolerant)
125 MHz16, 32 bits

The digital options add multi-purpose digital I/O lines to the M2p.59xx digitisers or the M2p.65xx AWG cards, producing a "mixed-mode" type of operation. Access to these extra lines is via SMB or FX2 connectors. On the M2p.59xx digitisers the digital I/O can be set synchronous to A/D sampling.

M2p59 navigation image ,click hereM2p59.xxxx-Dig Digital multi-purpose lines for M2p.59xx digitiser cards
125 MHz16 bits
M2p65 navigation image ,click hereM2p65.xxxx-Dig Digital multi-purpose lines for M2p.65xx AWG cards
125 MHz16 bits

For existing users of the older PCI and PCI-Express M2i.70xx series cards, who simply wish for a drop-in replacement, we can still supply. For new applications requiring digital signal capture we now recommend the M2p.75xx series cards.