SOURCE: Credence Systems

July 16, 2007 08:00 ET

Credence Helps Semiconductor Manufacturers Meet Rising Demand for Faster Data Rates With Sapphire D-6432DFT Test Solution

Innovative Loopback Methodology Makes Production-Level Testing of PCI Express, HyperTransport and Other High-Speed Serial Buses Viable for the First Time

MILPITAS, CA--(Marketwire - July 16, 2007) - Marking a major enhancement to the company's market-leading Sapphire test platform, Credence Systems (NASDAQ: CMOS) today launched the industry's most cost-effective, highest-performing solution for testing microprocessor, gaming, and graphics devices used in emerging high-speed computing and consumer applications. The Sapphire D-6432DFT instrument is the first integrated test solution for high-speed serial buses to combine at-speed loopback testing with jitter measurement and injection -- along with scan/functional tests and DC parametrics -- all in a single insertion. The D-6432DFT delivers four times greater density than comparative offerings, presenting manufacturers with a breakthrough design-for-test (DFT) methodology that dramatically lowers overall cost and time-to-market of high-speed semiconductor devices.

The new instrument was developed in partnership with microprocessor pacesetter Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), whose engineers are leveraging the Sapphire platform and the D-6432DFT to help accelerate the time-to-test and time-to-market of their most advanced products. Over 200 D-6432DFT instruments are being used in production, building upon the proven, award-winning Sapphire platform with an installed base of hundreds of testers worldwide.

"The increasing design challenges of high-speed bus interfaces together with even faster data rates necessitates more robust testing than what is possible with simple loadboard loopback techniques," stated Pete Hodakievic, senior member of technical staff and manager of ATE technology at AMD. "At the same time, the need to control the cost of test rules out conventional instrument methods. The Sapphire D-6432DFT enables us to perform high-speed loopback tests, DC parametric tests, and scan and functional tests -- all in the same socketing -- on our most advanced microprocessors. In addition to helping enable better test coverage compared to full-functional test, the D-6432DFT delivers a very attractive cost-of-test proposition."

High-speed interfaces such as PCI Express I and II, HyperTransport 2.0 and 3.0, XAUI, XDR, RapidIO and InfiniBand are increasingly being used to deliver faster data rates. Faster buses, however, render traditional "functional" testing methods ineffective in terms of cost, complexity, and cycle times. While these uncertainties can be worked around at lower speeds, compromising coverage above 6 Gbps is risky. Current "near end" loopback (i.e., using the device to source the test data and receive it back into the device for recognition) techniques are simple and cost effective, but their inability to adequately address variables such as jitter, signal variations, and protocol performance lead to incomplete testing and test escapes. IC manufacturers need to leverage DFT methodologies that enable flexible, comprehensive testing of key variables impacting device and system performance.

Far-end Loopback: Delivering Higher Value via Unsurpassed Jitter Measurement and Control

The Sapphire D-6432DFT effectively implements innovative far-end loopback techniques combining the flexibility of DFT with the more in-depth diagnostics of functional testing. Lengthening the feedback path by placing the DUT in communication with an intelligent but still cost-effective tester channel makes production-level testing of high-speed buses viable for the first time. Unlike piecemeal approaches requiring investment in multiple instruments to test a handful of lanes, the D-6432DFT integrates extensive functionality and enables testing of up to 16 lanes on a single instrument. Benefits include:

--  Simultaneous, parallel jitter injection and jitter measurement per
    lane through integrated electronics, rather than additional instruments
--  Full eye closure testing in the voltage and time domain
--  Exceptional low-cost differential test, with integrated 400/800 Mbps
    data subsystem for scan/functional test
--  Increased coverage in detecting sensitivity to signal integrity issues
--  Receiver and transmitter channels can be used to deliver test vectors
    to the core logic and protocol stack
--  Access to device pins for full DC parametric testing
    

"Partnerships with industry leaders like AMD enable us to deliver solutions to the marketplace that help our customers innovate with confidence and meet the twin challenges of time-to-market and cost pressures," said Chetan Desai, vice president and general manager of ATE products at Credence. "With the Sapphire D-6432 DFT, we are pleased to introduce the only viable solution for production testing of high-speed devices that not only meets today's requirements, but is adaptable for multiple product generations."

The Sapphire D-6432DFT is available now. The Credence Technology Center (Metreon, July 17-18) during Semicon West 2007 will showcase the new D-6432DFT instrument, as well product demos and presentations of the company's comprehensive suite of test solutions, including the award-winning Sapphire and Diamond platforms.

About Credence

Credence Systems Corporation is a leading provider of debug, characterization & ATE solutions for the global semiconductor industry. With a commitment to applying innovative technology to lower the cost-of-test, Credence delivers competitive cost & performance advantages to integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), wafer foundries, outsource assembly & test (OSAT) suppliers & fabless chip companies worldwide. A global, ISO 9001-certified company with a presence in 20 countries, Credence is headquartered in Milpitas, California. More information is available at http://www.credence.com.

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