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Oscilloscope recommendation DS1054Z / SDS1104X-E / GDS-1104B / etc?

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Hi all, new member here. I've done a bit of hunting around on these forums and mm after some advice on currently available oscilloscopes, at the moment I'm in the market for my first benchtop one with a budget of AU$600-800. Just trying to find what's the best value in this range at the moment, including any hacking necessary. Not sure I'll need 4-ch but I've seen them recommended a few times as a general comment, "why not get a 4-ch?". Obviously looking at maximum BW/Gsps for the price/value.

Looks like the Siglent SDS1104X-E is a good option but can it be hacked to increase the BW to say 250MHz? It's a 1Gsps unit.

Also its datasheet says for the memory depth it has 7 Mpts/CH (not interleave mode); 14 Mpts/CH (interleave mode). So it's saying 14 Mpts per channel x 4 = 56 Mpts total?

The other I'm thinking about is the ol' Rigol DS1054Z. On TEquipment, it says they come with the mem depth upgrade: 24Mpts (1 CH)/12Mpts (2 CH)/6Mpts (4 CH). This implies a total of 24 Mpts.

Anything else I should be looking at?

(There's also the GWInstek GDS-1054B or 1104B, I don't know if the 1054B can be hacked to increase BW given it's a 1 Gsps)

Looks like forwarding would be around US$90 using (I've used them in the past).


Welcome to the forum.

SDS1104X-E uses two 1GSa/s ADC's, each with 14 Mpts memory support. Therefore we consider what channel pairs are active for the resources available to each channel.
They are a 200 MHz design and -3dB rolloff is in the region of 220 MHz for the 200 MHz model.

The Siglent one has better user interface. The FFT function is very decent. It can do FFT at very low frequency.( You will be surprised a $24k 12-bit LeCroy scope cannot do FFT in low frequency region. Software screwed up.)

My first scope was the DS1054Z. I hated it. I didn't like the display, it was slow, and any remote connection was tedious to make and even slower. I returned it and got the SDS1104X-E.

The Siglent is a great scope, and the web server that's built in is excellent. You can also get a $9 dongle to get it to work on WIFI if you need to. Take a look at the threads on here for "improving" most of the Siglent stuff if you're inclined to.

I got GW-Instek GDS1054B. I'm happy with it, but if you want max bandwidth/sampling rate for the money, Siglent SDS1104X-E is what you want. As Tautech said it has two ADCs, so it effectively doubles what the Rigol and the Instek can do: 200 vs 100 MHz. Since each of these ADCs takes care of two channels, you can get 1 Gsa/s using channels 1 and 3 with 200 MHz bandwidth (sampling rate=5xBW=>really good). 500 MSa/s with all four channels active at 200 MHz (sampling rate = 2.5XBW => good enough). No doubt this is the most bang-for-the-buck you can get at this entry-level. At the end of the day, oscilloscopes are mainly about sampling rate and bandwidth.

In practice, 200 MHz will not get you much more further than 100 MHz however. If you want to do things with, say, really fast MCUs, 200 MHz probably isn't going to be good enough much longer than 100 MHz BW. But the price is not much higher, either, so why not? Unless you are on a short budget, of course.

The Instek has probably the better UI. Fast response, independent controls for all the 4 channels. But it comes with 70 MHz probes which aren't good enough after you hack it up to 100 MHz, so you'd be better getting new probes ipso facto. You would need at least 250 MHz probes to get total system bandwidth into 100 MHz range after hacking the Instek. That means the price could be near Siglent's (with original probes) but bandwidth can't go further than 100 MHz.

Keep in mind the recommendation is to have probes with "at least" 3x the signal bandwidth you want to measure. You could do with less than that, but having 70 MHz probes on a 100 MHz oscilloscope somehow defeats your "upgrading". Both the Siglent and the Rigol came with better probes than the Instek (I'm told) so you could probably initially do with the original probes and delay the purchase of new ones. I'm not really sure which probes would you need to get Siglent's total system bandwidth into 200 MHz range however. Total system bandwidth = 1/sqrt((1/o'scopeBW²)+(1/probesBW²)). Things get crazy expensive quite fast when bandwidth increases. Surely others can give some advice here.

The Rigol is the cheapest I think. I'm told its user interface is the slowest but it can do all you need at the low-end MCU level. Which is probably the usual stuff when speaking about entry-level benchtop oscilloscopes. So it would be the obvious option if you are on a short budget. You are probably going to need more stuff than just an oscilloscope so that matter is worth some consideration.

If you are ever going to do anything with sensors/LCD displays, you'll be doing digital work. In that case you'll be happy with a 4-channel oscilloscope and a logic analyzer like, say, a DSLogic Plus or, perhaps even better, an oscilloscope with a good-working MSO option. If you are sure you'd never be touching any digital stuff, then a 2 channel oscilloscope would be enough, I think.

So, if you have the money and want to get the most bandwidth, get the Siglent. If you are on a short budget, get the Rigol. Leave the Instek for those that have the money and want a responsive UI, but don't care so much about the greatest bandwidth.

Unless you are on a really short budget, the 4-channel Siglent is probably the way to go. Just don't think its MSO option is any good and get a separate logic analizer like DSLogic Plus if necessary.
If you have deep pockets and really want to have lots of bandwidth, and good-working MSO option, it could be wise to save some more money (double/triple your budget) and go for an oscilloscope that could be hacked to 350 MHZ like Rigol MSO5074 or Siglent SDS2104X Plus.

Good luck


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