High-Speed Non-Intrusive Board Test | PCIe, QPI

Non-intrusive testing according to a
dictionary means: “testing that is transparent to the [software] under
test, i.e. does not change its timing or processing characteristics. Non-intrusive
testing usually involves additional hardware that collects timing or
processing  information and processes
that information on other platforms


Non-intrusive board test. Does such a thing
really exist? If by the phrase you mean a test methodology that has no physical effect on the unit being
, then the answer is yes; it definitely exists.  Non-intrusive board test
(NBT) uses soft access to onboard embedded instruments and test technologies like
BIST to test circuit boards. All it needs is a single point of connection – the
rest is software. Software to access, drive and collect data from test routines,
and then to make sense of it all for the user. Almost everything from the
processor out can be driven and tested without physical access to anything but
the processer itself. And the higher the speed, the more crucial this becomes.
Physically probing signals above 5 GHz is not a good thing.

NBT works best from a platform of
non-intrusive test tools capable of applying many different kinds of tests and
utilizing multiple test technologies. Typically, with a NBT platform you’ll get
a deep understanding of the processor and how to test a board “inside-out”. Because
that’s what’s needed. An open platform where users can combine everything they need
in a single environment. How to take advantage of a NBT platform? First, get
all the design data and DFT in-house rules, as well as the design team intent. Then,
choose from the platform’s built-in test technologies and automatically build
tests. Next, use the same environment to apply those tests no matter the
processor flavor-of-the-month.  With all
the multitude and diversity of test options today, a platform environment is
more important than ever!

to an introduction to the world of soft access,
embedded instrumentation and
the economic drivers of non-intrusive board test. For more information click here.

Johan Renberg