I wonder what is the minimal latency of a digital-to-analog converter (DAC). What is the minimal clock cycle the DAC takes between the arrival of the digital signal to the output of analog signal?

  • \$\begingroup\$ It depends on how rich you are. I am a poor hobbyist. My favourite DAC/ADC module is this: aliexpress.com/w/wholesale-pcf8591.html \$\endgroup\$
    – tlfong01
    Jul 30 at 3:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ And conversion rate is about 10kHz: PCF8591 8-bit A/D and D/A converter (I2C, Conversio frequncy ~= 11kHz) - NXP 2013 nxp.com/docs/en/data-sheet/PCF8591.pdf \$\endgroup\$
    – tlfong01
    Jul 30 at 3:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't have to take any clock cycles at all. If you make the DAC out of a chain of resistors, how could it? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 30 at 10:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ After the arrival of DAC data, you have a settling time of 90us for the PCF8591. Latency is generally used in systems that "delays" data samples while converting. Latency can also be defined with N samples ... that is to say that the results of the actual conversions will be "delayed" by N samples (example N =1). \$\endgroup\$
    – Antonio51
    Jul 30 at 12:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tlfong01, if budget is unlimited? \$\endgroup\$
    – Rickyim
    Jul 31 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


I used an AD9742 12-bit DAC in a recent project. No doubt far from the fastest, but fast enough to synthesize some clean low MHz signals when fed fast digital data.

Settling time is ~11ns. Something like $12 in 100's, so not crazy expensive.

When you develop your specific requirements you can do parametric searches at the suppliers such as analog.com, ti.com etc. and distributors and narrow down your search.


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