For designers of industrial computers, tailoring systems to different requirements is a task that is almost irsurmountable. As the application of the board may lead to different design changes, it is common that such changes cause problems to arise. Thus, the key factors for development teams to win this fiercely contested market are their abilities to tackle these problems and boosting the quality of their signals. With years of experience and professional knowledge, members of AAEON’s R&D team are all extremely proficient troubleshooters, and the following is their experience in using PhyTune SATA Tool in correcting the Intel® 8 Series Chipset.
From SATA1.0 (1.5Gb/s) to SATA3.0 (6.0Gb/s), SATA (Serial ATA) applications have seen a great leap in transfer speed. Through the use of the SATA Eye Diagrams as well as high precision measuring tools, AAEON’s hardware development team managed to get a better picture in whether the quality of high-speed signals still met any stipulated standards during the transmission process, regardless of SATA-GEN1 or SATA-GEN3. For the Intel® 8 Series Chipset, the PhyTune SATA Tool can be used to compare and adjust SATA Eye Diagrams in real time. Image 1 shows the statuses of the related parameters for SATA port 0. Among the more important adjustable parameters are the output voltage swing; which simultaneously affects the strength of the output voltage waves when modified, restoring original signals with De-emphasis and the Register Values for BIOS; which simultaneously change any register values stored there when any parameters are modified. For modifications using the abovementioned tools, a set of SATA port is selected while measuring for the quality of high-speed signals and a set of optimized registered values for BIOS and a set of address will be shown.
Image 1.SATA Port Information and PhyTune Tool Interface
Image 2. Intel Chipset Specifications
The registered value is then written into the SATA address of corresponding chipset in the BIOS. As shown in Image 2, the SATA definition index is highlighted in the chipset specification. Each time the system is power on, the registered value in the BIOS will be read and the adjusted SATA eye diagram will be outputted, ensuring the strength of the high-speed signals during transmission. Different cad designs, such as cable length and PCB stack structures will directly affect the parameters of their respective PhyTune Tools, and excessive adjustments or performing adjustments with a lack of knowledge on the definitions of various parameters will also have an adverse effect on the system. Image 3 and 4 respectively showed the eye diagrams before and after PhyTune Tool adjustments. From these images it is revealed that when adjustments of the PhyTune Tool is applied on SATA CONN and boards of the same model, its SATA signals are appropriately corrected, thereby achieving the best output in both the testing phase as well as actual SATA applications.
Image 3. Initial Eye Diagram Measurement Prior PhyTune Adjustment
Image 4. Initial Eye Diagram Measurement After PhyTune Adjustment
The PhyTune SATA Tool not only replaces the traditional method of measuring resistance, it also shortens the troubleshooting time during development, saving the trouble of repeating the correction and debugging of the board’s SATA features and fulfilling the cilent’s needs. In order for this verification method to work, proficiency and strict quality standards are needed, and the Intel PhyTune SATA has once again proved the professionalism of AAEON’s development team as well as the stability of their products.