Agilent Technologies Introduces Industry-First Half-Size Mid-Bus Probing Solution for PCI Express®


SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 4, 2009

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today introduced the industry's only half size mid-bus probing solution for its PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 E2960B Series analyzers. The half-size mid-bus probe is critical for lower link width designs (up to x4) where space constraints make it difficult to design in a full-size debug point. The new probe will allow designers to monitor the PCI Express protocol with a probe that is much more compact, reducing routing concerns and simplifying the board layout. The half-size mid-bus probe supports both 2.5 GT/s and 5.0 GT/s PCI Express data rates.

The PCI Express technology is expanding beyond the computer segment into other industries such as embedded designs in medical instruments as well as communication and military sectors. Traditional PCI Express in the computer system typically has connections through a slot connector with easy probing solutions. However, in these new industries, space and signal access for debugging is a big challenge. Space constraints dictate the test and debug strategy for any given design. Without the right type of probe, designers cannot easily see the protocol exchanges, and debugging becomes much more challenging. The Agilent N5328A half-size mid-bus probe for PCIe 2.0 offers a method to probe these embedded signals effortlessly.

"Our flying leads probe is designed for space-constrained systems," said Jun Chie, marketing manager of Agilent's Logic and Protocol Test business. "In conjunction with our powerful protocol analyzer, the half-size mid-bus probe will allow designers to monitor the PCI Express protocol with a probe that is much more compact. This reduces routing concerns and simplifies the board layout."

At PCIe 2.0 speeds, reliable probing becomes even more important. Without a reliable probing solution and the right form factor, reliable data capture becomes difficult if not impossible. Agilent's half-size mid-bus probe is designed with reliable and consistent signals in mind and includes the following features:

  • with its very low capacity loading, it enables insight without influencing the monitored signals;
  • soft touch, micro-spring pin technology provides reliable contact to signal pads even when probing uneven or contaminated board surfaces; and
  • top-side retention module eliminates the need to access the back of the board.

Agilent understands that probing is key to enable reliable monitoring and debugging of the PCIe 2.0 link. With the introduction of the half-size mid-bus probe, Agilent provides an industry-unique probe portfolio for PCIe 2.0, including the full-size mid-bus probe (straight, swizzle and split styles available), slot interposer probe, flying leads probe and now the N5328A half-size mid-bus probe. Agilent's extensive probing capabilities are combined with a powerful PCIe 2.0 analyzer, with a reliable data capture engine, easy-to-use graphical user interface and a versatile form factor, making Agilent's E2960B Series the leader in the industry for PCI Express 2.0 test and debugging.

Agilent Strategic Product Planner Michael Fleischer-Reumann will present a webcast, "How to pass the receiver compliance test for PCI Express," on June 30. For details and registration please visit Agilent's Digital Webcast Series.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Agilent N5328A half-size mid-bus probe 2.0 is available now. Pricing for a full analysis system, including the half-size mid-bus probe, starts at $38,500. More information is available at

High-resolution images are available at

More information about Agilent's PCIe test solutions is available at

A backgrounder on PCI Express technology and Agilent's test solutions is available at

Agilent's Digital Test Standards Program

Agilent’s solutions for digital applications are driven and supported by Agilent experts that are involved in the various international standard committees. We call it the Agilent Digital Test Standards Program. The company’s experts are active in the Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC), PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG®), Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), USB-Implementers Forum (USB-IF), Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Alliance, and many others. Agilent’s involvement in these standards groups and their related workshops, plugfests, and seminars enables the company to bring the right solutions to the market when customers need them.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world's premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 19,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $5.8 billion in fiscal 2008. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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Janet Smith
+1 970 679 5397