Tektronix is looking to upend the mainstream oscilloscope market with two significant announcements today. First, the company is cutting the prices of its MDO4000 mixed-domain oscilloscopes to bring them in line with the prices of comparable-bandwidth MSO4000 mixed-signal oscilloscopes, which will be phased out. At the same time, the company is introducing a new line of MDO3000 oscilloscopes, all of which include spectrum analyzers plus optional DVM, function generator, logic analyzer, and protocol analyzer. The upshot is if you buy a 100-MHz to 1-GHz mainstream scope from Tektronix, you get a spectrum analyzer at no extra cost.
Dave Farrell, general manager, Mainstream Oscilloscopes, at Tektronix, said the mixed-domain scopes represent the continuation of a trend that began in 1990 with the analog-to-digital oscilloscope transition. That transition was followed in the first decade of this century with the addition of mixed-signal and protocol-analysis capability and in this decade with the addition of spectrum analysis capability. Farrell said the MDO4000 has achieved double-digit year-over-year growth despite a weak market.
Mark Briscoe, a product planner at Tektronix, cited some figures illustrating the need for spectrum analysis and other functionality in a scope: 45% of the companies use a spectrum analyzer several times per month, while 15% use a protocol analyzer, 33% use a logic analyzer, 68% use a function generator, and 87% use a DVM (the MDO3000's DVM is free with product registration). Farrell added that over 40% of embedded design projects now include some form of wireless capability, a percentage that is likely to grow. In addition, even designs that don't may require spectrum analysis to troubleshoot EMI problems.
The new prices for the MDO4000 scopes range from $9,500 for a 100-MHz, 2.5-GS/s model with a 3-GHz spectrum analyzer to $25,700 for a 1-GHz, 5-GS/s model with a 6-GHz spectrum analyzer. (All models have four analog channels, 16 digital channels, and a 20-Mpoint record length.) Those low-end and high-end prices are down from $12,400 and $29,800, respectively.
The new MDO3000 models also have analog bandwidths ranging from 100 MHz to 1 GHz. Sample rates are 2.5 GS/s or, for a two-channel 1-GHz analog-bandwidth model, 5 GS/s. Record length is 10 Mpoints. Spectrum-analyzer bandwidth is 9 kHz to the analog bandwidth; an optional 9-kHz to 3-GHz spectrum analyzer channel adds $2,500 to the base price (from $3,350 for a two-channel 100-MHz model to $13,900 for a four-channel 1-GHz model). A 16-digital-channel option with a 16-channel digital probe adds $1,500. A 1-GHz, four-channel model with the mixed-signal option, arbitrary function generator (AFG), and 3-GHz spectrum analyzer costs $18,650.
Farrell cautioned that integrated scopes like the MDO3000 models won't replace dedicated performance instruments. The goal, he said, was to combine into one personally assigned instrument 80 to 90% of the functionality an engineer would need, with shared performance instruments filling remaining requirements.