An example would be the NI USB-6366.

My guess is that it's primarily due to the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) since it should be the component responsible for the high rate conversion, even though I don't know what are the specifics that make high-sampling-rate ADCs expensive (an info on that would be appreciated). Nonetheless, there are all the other considerations like: BNC connectors (for electromagnetic isolation), usb and ethernet connectors, memory, software, # of I/O, etc.

So is it equally the result of all these factors or is there one that stands out?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Low volumes mean a relatively large portion of the prices are R&D costs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Turbo J
    Sep 14 '17 at 14:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Design work, verification, software for this, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joren Vaes
    Sep 14 '17 at 14:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ofcourse, but gennerally it's not that massive a factor. But ofcourse, these types of things don't use low-quality components \$\endgroup\$
    – Joren Vaes
    Sep 14 '17 at 14:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not especially easy to design things that work at 100MHz and have e.g. very low crossover between channels. It looks like it will have multiple osciliscope-like frontends too. It looks like the sort of thing that costs multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars to design (ie a few senior engineers for several months), and sells maybe a few hundred or thousand units. \$\endgroup\$
    – pjc50
    Sep 14 '17 at 16:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Three words: "amortized R&D costs", and five more words: "What the market will bear". \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Sep 14 '17 at 16:02

I would not call the example a board.. it's a complete product targeted for a very small niche market.

As others have mentioned, a lot of the cost will be to recoup development, but it also has a number of certifications that also did not come cheap.

I would also assume that someone also figured out that whatever market they were after, presumably academia, was willing to fork over big bucks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm surprised that hardware itself has the less influence on the price. Would you say there are cheap alternatives, maybe general purpuse, to the example product I gave? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14 '17 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hardware has an effect too, but for products like your example, it's a smaller factor. I am sure you can find a lot cheaper data acquisition solutions out there though, esp PC cards. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trevor_G
    Sep 14 '17 at 15:52

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