Mixed Signal Oscilloscopes vs. Logic Analyzers

Question: How is the digital acquisition of a mixed signal oscilloscope different from a logic analyzer?

Answer: Mixed Signal Oscilloscopes (MSOs) always sample signals using an internal sample clock, similar to a logic analyzer’s “timing acquisition mode”. This provides time-correlated mixed-signal displays with good timing resolution. The Tektronix MSO Series also simultaneously samples the digital signals with a higher-speed sampler called MagniVu to provide even higher timing resolution where it really counts, like in setup & hold time or flight-time measurements.

Logic analyzers have a second acquisition mode called “state acquisition mode” which samples the digital signals with an external clock source. This mode stores the digital state of the signals only on the clock edge. When this data is displayed, you see only the stable states, not the real-time transitions.

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