Second-gen analyzer dissects 5-Gbit/s PCI Express through Windows -

Second-gen analyzer dissects 5-Gbit/s PCI Express through Windows


LeCroy Introduces PCI Express Gen2 Protocol Analyzer; First PCI Express Protocol Analyzer to support 5 Gb/s

Chestnut Ridge, NJ—LeCroy Corporation, a leading supplier of oscilloscopes and serial data test solutions, introduces its fourth generation protocol analyzer for PCI Express. The PETracer Gen2 Summit x16 captures and analyzes second generation PCI Express bus traffic at data rates up to 5 Gb/s per lane, providing developers of servers, workstations, desktop graphics, and add-in boards an essential new tool to ensure design performance.

The performance of the PETracer Gen2 Summit brings numerous benefits to design applications. The analyzer locates errors much faster using the widely acclaimed PETracer application with its powerful triggering, filtering, and error reporting tools. Unlike other analyzers, the PETracer Gen2 Summit records and displays all traffic, even at high lane widths and high data rates.

Engineers are provided much more useful results because the system displays added views and greater analysis tools within the trace display. LeCroy has designed the PETracer Gen2 Summit with real-time monitoring tools to analyze response and latency of transactions, data throughput, and link utilization.

“This new analyzer doubles our acquisition bandwidth for PCI Express,” said Fred Rastgar, General Manager, Protocol Solutions Group, LeCroy. “Our expertise in serial protocols and experience in the PCI Express industry allows us to deliver the right features when our customers need them.”

“Comprehensive development tools are vital to the continued advancements within the PCI Express industry,” said Jim Pappas, director of initiative marketing, Intel Corporation. “With the availability of products such as the LeCroy PCI Express PETracer Gen2 Summit x16 analyzer, engineers will be better equipped to face the challenges of developing products at faster bus speeds.”

The PETracer Gen2 Summit has all the inherent advantages of the PETracer system architecture. With powerful analysis features provided in the PETracer software, it allows for real-time statistics, protocol traffic summaries, detailed error reports, powerful scripting, and the ability to create user-defined test reports. Ethernet and USB ports are provided for flexibility in connection and configuration.

The new analyzer supports spread spectrum clocked (SSC) traffic, lane swizzling for flexibility in board configurations, and support for multi-link operations where PCI Express ports are bifurcated into narrower links. Also featured is auto link sensing for links of varying width. The Raw Mode Recording is another newly developed capability which records bytes just as they come across the link, allowing debugging of PHY layer problems and combining the features of a logic analyzer format with a decoded protocol analyzer display.

In addition to the PETracer Gen2 Summit, LeCroy's PCI Express PETracer family includes the PETracer Edge for Gen1 support from x1 to x4, the PETracer ML Analyzer and Exerciser for Gen1 support from x1 to x8, and the PETracer EML Analyzer and Exerciser for Gen1 support from x1 to x16.

The PETracer Gen2 Summit can be ordered starting immediately. For additional information, contact LeCroy at 1-800-5LeCroy (1-800-553-2769) or visit LeCroy's Web site at

We first reported on PETracer in September of 2003. Devised by CATC (Computer Access Technology Corp)., it's an evolving product, especially now that CATC is part of LeCroy Corp .

When it initially debuted, the first-generation PETracer Multi-Lane PCI Express verification system was a great product for doing bi-directional decode and capture of x8, x4, x2, and x1 PCI Express links. PETracer used a high-impedance non-intrusive probing scheme that supported un-altered data pass-through. The system tapped into a PCI Express fabric with a slot interposer card and a mid-bus probe.

The 5-Gbit Version

This second-generation PETracer Gen2 Summit now analyzes PCI Express bus packets at data rates up to 5-Gbits/s/lane. It will handily analyze PCI Express Spec 2.0 traffic, and accommodate data rates of both 2.5-Gbits/s as well as 5-Gbits.

It affords full data capture on bi-directional lane widths, using 8-Gbytes of trace memory (4-Gbytes of buffer for each direction).

If you're working on a first generation application, but envision Gen2 on your radar scope, this product should fill the bill. Gen2 speeds demand new analysis capabilities. As such, the second-generation PETracer Gen2 Summit packs a new raw recording mode. The raw mode records bytes exactly how they come across a link, letting you debug PHY (physical layer) layer problems.

Ethernet Connectivity

Moreover, the PETracer Gen2 Summit packs 10/100-Mbit/s Ethernet ports. You can connect one of these systems to your Ethernet network or the Web, and share the analyzer's resources throughout your lab.

In use, the system combines the features of a logic analyzer with a decoded protocol analyzer. Using an auto sense link feature, applications with different link sizes can be analyzed to see their complete negotiation sequences.

The auto sense lane width feature lets you analyze negotiation traffic between devices with different lane widths, eliminating the need to setup lane widths before a trace.

Lane Swizzling

What's more, so-called lane swizzling accommodates specialized or unique board layouts for mid-bus connections. Lane swizzling lets you lay out a mid-bus probe pad with lanes in non-standard order, simplifying the design of your circuit board. Internally, the PETracer Gen2 Summit then maps the lanes back into their correct order and displays the embedded bus traffic. Nifty, eh?

As briefly mentioned in the company's press release (on the left), the PETracer Gen2 Summit also recognizes multi-link operations where PCI Express ports are bi-furcated into narrower links. With that, all events on links can be analyzed in both up-stream and down-stream directions.

As with predecessor PETracer wares, the PCI Express PETracer Summit uses Windows -based CATC Trace expert software. The graphical and color-coded CATC Trace interface helps find errors with a combination of triggering, filtering, and error reporting. It lets you view protocol behavior reports in realtime, as well as with post-captured traffic.

Click for larger typical screen image

CATC Trace embeds detailed knowledge of the protocol hierarchy and intricacies as defined in the protocol specs. Windows gives you graphical navigation through a captured traffic session, and you're alerted as violations are detected at all levels of the protocol layering. Using CATC Trace, you can drill down to areas of interest, or collapse and hide fields that aren't relevant. You can clarify transactions by removing non-essential fields from a trace.

All Sides Now

Protocol data can also be viewed in several ways. These ways range from logical to chronological, and by events unique to PCI Express. The system's triggering and filtering hooks let you quickly zero-in on errors by isolating important traffic, specific errors, or data patterns. You can also identify and track error rates, abnormal link or timing conditions, display configuration space, and protocol specification details.

Accuracy is maintained by CRC (cyclical redundancy checking). The CRC tests ensure complete decodes of TLP s (Transaction Layer Packets), DLLP s (Data Link Layer Packets), and all PCI Express primitives for all lane widths.

Field Upgrades

The PETracer Gen2 Summit is available in two configurations to support either x1 , x2, x4 and x8 systems, or x1, x2, x4, x8 and x16 systems. The system uses field-upgradeable firmware, so you can get latest PETracer enhancements. The field upgradeability is what makes it possible to go from an x8 to a x16 system with relative ease.

The PETracer Gen2 Summit also packs an independent power supply. It permits you to record on systems during power-up. Full training sequences can therefore be accurately monitored.

Click here for a datasheet (in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).

For more details contact LeCroy Corp., Customer Care Center, 700 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Chestnut Ridge, New York 10977. Phone: 800-453-2769 or 845-425-2000. Fax: 845-425-8967. E-mail:

LeCroy , 845-425-2000,

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