Wireless Applications

Samplify Announces ADC with Real-Time Data Compression

October 29, 2008

The low-power, 16-channel, 12-bit ADC with Samplify's Prism data compression reduces I/O pin count and power consumption in ultrasound equipment and WiMax wireless base stations.


SANTA CLARA, CA /PRNewswire/ -- Samplify Systems, Inc. announces the immediate availability of an innovative family of true 16-channel, 12-bit, 65 Msps analog-to-digital converter (ADC) ICs with integrated data compression technology. 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.

Tom Sparkman, Samplify CEO, commented, "With the SAM1600 family, Samplify completes its transformation into a high-performance, mixed-signal semiconductor company. Not only has Samplify built a world-class data converter with twice the channel density and nearly half the power of competing solutions, but we have also integrated a sophisticated digital back-end on the same die, improving I/O efficiency without degrading the analog performance of the part. I'm very proud of our team for this major breakthrough in converter technology."

According to recent analysis by Jeff Bier, president of independent market research firm BDTI, "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."(1)

The SAM1600 family includes the SAM1610, SAM1605, and SAM1600. The 16-channel SAM1610 and 8-channel SAM1605 combine 12-bit, 45/65 Msps 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) performance 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% 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 revolutionary benefit for ultrasound systems and multi-antenna, direct-conversion WiMax base stations," noted Al Wegener, Samplify founder and CTO. "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 Modes 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% 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 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 Msps 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 (sales@samplify.com) 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 the SAM1600 family at the Embedded Systems Conference, Booth 1026, on October 28–29 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA.

About Samplify Systems
Samplify Systems, Inc. is a fabless mixed-signal semiconductor company that combines high performance analog with sophisticated digital processing to deliver a new class of intelligent data converters. Samplify provides the only real-time lossless and lossy compression solutions for high-speed sampled data systems. Delivering simply the bits that matter, Samplify's Prism compression technology turbo-charges the I/O subsystem of Samplify data converters, reducing bandwidth and storage bottlenecks in DSP systems without the power, area, and cost of brute-force hardware solutions. Samplify targets real-time embedded applications in medical imaging, wireless, defense, communications, and industrial markets. Samplify Systems is a privately held company based in Santa Clara, CA with over $11M in investment from Charles River Ventures and Formative Ventures.


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