Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

How To... Operate a Multi-camera System With the Fast IEEE1394b FireWire Interface

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With the appearance of 1394b-compatible cameras, such as the AVT PIKE family, the bandwidth requirements for the PC's PCI bus keep increasing.

For example, by using fast and large CCD sensors from Kodak and SONY, the AVT PIKE camera family generates lots of data on the 1394b bus.

Chart 1 shows concisely that the bandwidth generated by the sensors can easily be transported through the 1394b bus, since it is capable of moving 64 Mbytes/s of isochronous—image—data and, in addition, up to 20 Mbytes of asynchronous data.

In practice, however, such a camera fills the capacity of the standard PCI bus with its 32 bit and 33 MHz, as the bus also has to handle a few other players in the game, such as network, WLAN and so on.

So it's a good thing PC technology has already come up with a successor to the PCI bus: for one thing, there are 64-bit-wide buses, but what is more often used and better suited for handling these tasks is the PCI Express bus. It manages 250 Mbytes/s on one channel. Many mainboards hold up to four of them, as the following illustration of INTEL demonstrates.

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