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Video Blog Entry: ITIC 2500A PCI Express Protocol Analyzer HW & SW Description


Published on Aug 22, 2014 by  John Gulbrandsen

This video demonstrates the capabilities of the ITIC 2500A PCI Express Protocol Analyzer, available at http://www.InternationalTestInstruments/com

1. Overview of the 2500A PCI Express Protocol Analyzer PCB. Comparison with earlier 1480A USB Protocol Analyzer. Description of DDR2 SODIMM.
2. Description of external PCIe x4 cable and how the external 2.5 Gbps probe is connected to the 2500A PCI Express Protocol Analyzer.
3. Description of signal splitters on the PCIe Probe. 100 MHz PCIe refclk is also copied and sent to the 2500A PCI Express Protocol Analyzer.
4. Description of the SODIMM DDR2 design and the associated 1.8V/3A Switched Mode Power Supply.
5. Description of the Altera Arria II GX FPGA and the associated 0.9V/3A FPGA core voltage switched mode power supply.
6. The PCB is constructed in 10 layers and is made with high-speed PCB materials.
7. Description of the rear trigger port, which allows connection to external lab instruments. The trigger port can trigger in or out, depending on settings in the 2500A PC software.
8. Demo of the 2500A PC Software features. Most features will be ported over to the new 1480B USB Protocol Analyzer design.
9. Demo of how to load a previously saved capture. The trace data is pre-indexed by the 2500A PCIe Protocol Analyzer hardware after capture so loading data from file is extremely fast. The Dynamic Data Display technology in the 2500A Application only
loads enough data needed to show the visible protocol items on screen.
10. Explanation of how packets are displayed within higher level transactions and how the 2500A software neatly organizes request and response TLPs and associated DLLPs under a common higher-level transaction node.
11. Explanation of how the protocol view is created via pre-indexed protocol item locations by the 2500A PCI Express Protocol analyzer hardware.
12. Demo of how the virtual protocol view allows instantaneous scrolling through the full 2 gigabytes worth of trace data without any delays.
13. Demo of the Details View shows how Packet Details or Transaction Details are decoded and displayed.
14. Demonstration of how selecting rows in the details view will highlight the corresponding rows in the Lane View. This makes it very easy to pin-point where the decoded information originates from. This feature will be ported to the 1480B Advanced USB Protocol Analyzer design.
15. The Payload view now allows data to be copied to clipboard via new context menu. The Protocol and Lane Views also allow copy to clipboard.
16. Description of how to export Protocol View and Lane View data to XML. Markers define the start and end of the export range. Colors can now also be set in the markers.
17. XML Export writes out all available information available in the 2500A software so no loss of information occurs in the export process. This allows 3rd party programs to be written that post-processes the captured trace data.
18. Demo of the new Print and Print Preview functionality that will be ported over to the new 1480B USB Protocol Analyzer software.
19. Explanation of how to show and hide protocol items of certain types on certain link direction. Protocol View filtering is extremely fast due to the design where all protocol item locations are pre-index by the 2500A hardware.
20. Protocol Item show/hide via the Node Finder view will be ported to the 1480B USB Protocol Analyzer.
21. Demo of select and copy to clipboard is demo'ed.
22. Demonstration of how the Search Payload Data dialog now runs the search in the background. This allows the user to continue working while long data searches are running in the background on a separate thread. This will be ported to the 1480B.
23. Demo of the time reference, absolute and relative timestamp features.
24. Demo of the Lane View and display of a x4 lane SKP ordered set sent in parallel on all four device to host lanes.
25. Discussion of the Protocol View and Lane View context menues and how the commands affect the view the menu was opened in.
26. Demo of the functionality in the Capture Configuration dialog. Trigger position, capture buffer size, link width, lane polarity and lane mapping can be configured.
27. Description of the Trigger Configuration dialog and its eight-level Trigger Level functionality. Up to 2048 bytes can be defined for each of the eight sequence detectors, for a total of 16 Kilobyte byte long sequences.
28. Description of the trigger in/out external trigger port.
29. Consulting Services are offered via Summit Soft Consulting (
30. Summary of features that will be incorporated in the new 1480B USB Protocol Analyzer.
31. Discussion of time invested into the 2500A PCI Express and 1480A USB Protocol Analyzers. 9 years and 9000 pages of very detailed research notes.


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