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World’s first 16-Channel, 12-bit, 65 Msps A/D converter with integrated real-time data compression

The folks at Samplify Systems have just announced the immediate availability of an innovative family of true 16-channel, 12-bit, 65 Msample/sec analog-to-digital converter (ADC) ICs with integrated data compression technology (see also the associated How To article on Programmable Logic DesignLine for more details).

The SAM1600 family boasts industry-leading power consumption in a 16-channel, 12-bit device of just 44 mW per channel. The performance of the SAM1600 family is further enhanced by the integration of Samplify's patented Prism data compression technology, which reduces the number of LVDS I/O pairs, and thereby the power they consume, by up to 75% for high channel density applications such as ultrasound front-ends, 4G wireless base stations, automated test equipment (ATE), and RADAR/SONAR receivers.

According to recent analysis by Jeff Bier, president of the independent market research firm BDTI (www.BDTI.com), “One of the trends for the next decade is that embedded processor companies need to be increasingly differentiated by their ownership of proprietary algorithms. For this approach to be successful, chip companies will need to make a major shift in their mindsets and talent pools – but the result may be the difference between succeeding in the coming decades and being left in the (silicon) dust.” (From the September 2008 issue of BDTI's DSP Insider newsletter.)

The SAM1600 family includes the SAM1610, SAM1605, and SAM1600. The 16-channel SAM1610 and 8-channel SAM1605 combine 12-bit, 41/65 Msample/sec ADCs with Samplify's patented Prism signal compression and patent-pending port concentration technology. The SAM1610/00 have 16 truly independent ADC channels, keeping crosstalk below the noise floor of the ADC. In contrast, the signal to noise ratio (SNR) of pseudo-16 channel devices, which time-share an ADC across two analog input channels, is limited by crosstalk.

Samplify's Prism compression engine and port concentration technology reduces the number of LVDS outputs from sixteen to as few as four in some applications. For systems not yet ready to exploit the benefits of compression, Samplify offers the SAM1600 in a traditional ADC configuration, allowing designers to take full advantage of the SAM1600's higher channel density and lower power.

The SAM1600 can also be configured as two independent octal ADCs with separate frame and clock outputs to maintain compatibility with legacy FPGA or ASIC beamforming designs. All members of the SAM1600 family are packaged in a 12 mm by 12 mm 196 ball grid array.

The Prism compression engine in the SAM1610/05 is fully compatible with Samplify's existing FPGA intellectual property (IP) and software-based decompression blocks, enabling compression to be used throughout the entire signal chain. Prism compression modes include:

  • Veribit delivering bit-true, 100 percent lossless compression. 
     
  • RateTrak maintaining a fixed, user-selected compression ratio where fixed bandwidth links, such fiber optics or SERDES interfaces, are used. 
     
  • OptiBit providing a user-selected dynamic range to preserve key system quality metrics

Real time data compression embedded in SAM1600 family devices is a huge benefit for applications such as ultrasound systems and multi-antenna, direct-conversion WiMax base stations. The SAM1600 family's integrated compression technology dramatically reduces skyrocketing ADC pin count and I/O power consumption while also reducing ultrasound beamformer memory by more than half.

Enhanced imaging and lower power for ultrasound
The high-channel density, low-power consumption, and significantly lower-output pin count of the SAM1610/00 provide significant benefits to both portable and high-end console ultrasound systems.

For portable applications, the SAM1610/00, combined with a high-performance discrete LNA/VGA, actually produces a lower-power and similarly-sized solution when compared to integrated LNA/VGA/ADC solutions. As a result, these portable systems provide differentiating imaging modes, such as deep-tissue scanning, color Doppler, or harmonic modes without a degradation in image quality or battery life.

For a 256-channel console machine, a 75 percent reduction in LVDS pairs translates to 384 fewer FPGA pins and board traces between the SAM1610 and beamformer FPGAs, reducing power consumption, board space, and backplane complexity while allowing the use of fewer and/or cheaper FPGAs. Samplify's integrated compression can also facilitate new imaging modes requiring software beamforming by reducing the data transfer rates and memory costs.

Enabling 4G wireless migration within a 3G infrastructure
The SAM1600 members also are well suited for fourth generation (4G) wireless base stations using smart antenna or MIMO (multiple-in-multiple-out) technology.

Since 4G wireless systems, such as LTE, WiMAX/WiBro, or Super3G, all use OFDM technology they can take advantage of the cost savings of direct-conversion radio architectures. A single SAM1610 can provide I/Q data conversion for a complete base station using beamforming across 8 antennas, replacing four expensive dual-channel IF sampling ADCs. For MIMO systems, the SAM1605 provides I/Q data conversion for a complete 4-antenna sector of a base station, replacing two dual-channel IF sampling ADCs. Prism compression allows wireless OEMs to send this increased amount of baseband data over the same fiber-optic infrastructure already in place for 3G systems.

All members of the SAM1600 family offer Samplify's patent-pending port concentration technology, which maintains the full-rate 800 Mbps serialized LVDS I/O bandwidth, all the time. Port concentration reduces the number of LVDS I/O without using compression. At 50 Msample/sec in port concentration mode, the SAM1610/00 use just 12 LVDS output pairs to carry 16 ADC channels.

Availability and pricing
Samples of the SAM1600 family of devices are available now from Samplify or its distribution partners. Pricing for the SAM1610, SAM1605, and SAM1600 is $79.00, $39.50, and $64.00 in 1K quantities, respectively. Customers using any SAM1600 family devices receive a royalty-free license to Samplify's Prism decompression FPGA IP or software. A complete ADC evaluation board with data analysis software is also available now for $1,995.00.

See the SAM1600 family at ESC Boston
Samplify will be exhibiting its SAM1600 family October 28-29 at the Embedded Systems Conference, Booth 1026, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

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