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Why is the segmented memory acquisition mode useful and which Infiniium oscilloscopes support it?

Agilent introduced segmented memory for Infiniium oscilloscopes in the summer of 2004. All Infiniium units shipped after the introduction of segmented memory mode include this feature. This includes all 9000 and 90000 Series oscilloscopes.

Segmented memory on Infiniium oscilloscopes allows the acquisition memory to be divided into a set of equal-length sub-records, which are equal in total collective length to the full memory depth of the oscilloscope. Segmented memory is useful for applications that have multiple bursts of data that are separated by dead time, as it maximizes the oscilloscope’s memory depth by only capturing a sub-record after a triggered event.

Before segmented memory was available, the best way to acquire and store data from consecutive trigger events on-the-fly was to store the acquired data from each trigger to the oscilloscope's hard drive. The time it took to save each waveform to the hard drive greatly constrained the overall throughput.

With segmented memory, the oscilloscope uses the actual high-speed acquisition memory to store each waveform instead of the hard drive. This greatly improves throughput and minimizes between-cycle dead time.

For further details on the applications and use model for segmented memory, please refer to the application note Using a Scope's Segmented Memory to Capture Signals More Efficiently (5989-4932EN).

Infiniium Oscilloscopes with Segmented Memory