Maximum Digital Output Frequency on USB-6xxx Devices

Updated Dec 29, 2022

Reported In


  • USB-6008
  • USB-6001
  • USB-6501
  • USB-6211
  • USB-6003
  • USB-6002
  • USB-6009


  • NI-DAQmx

Issue Details

I am using a USB-6xxx device to output a digital square wave. I am using the DAQmx Digital Write function to achieve this. What is the maximum digital output frequency rate?


By using the DAQmx Digital Write function, the hardware USB 6XXX devices is using software timing for its digital output. Software-timed digital output is dependent on the timing of the operating system and code. If using a non-real-time operating system like Windows, there will be larger jitter and the timing will also be affected by other processes happening on the computer. For more information regarding software versus hardware timed, please refer to Timing, Hardware Versus Software.

The USB 6001, 6002 and 6003 have analog outputs that can be software timed or hardware timed. Hardware timing allows for less time between sample generation and timing can be deterministic. The fastest rate a square waveform can be generated is 5kHz, which may prove better than the digital waveform for some instances. 

Additional Information

The USB-6xxx devices' digital outputs are not designed to output waveform signals in this manner, they are designed for static control of digital output lines.