Direct synthesis tools are earning a place on the serial designer's bench. They have the ability to create signals with all the characteristics needed for compliance measurements, stress testing, and troubleshooting. These characteristics range from simple SSC clock modulation to complex jitter and signal distortions. Direct synthesis platforms -- arbitrary waveform generators -- have only recently entered the arena of gigabit data rates. But emerging high-bandwidth (10 GS/s) AWG products are uniquely positioned to solve some long-standing problems for the serial designer. They will enable serial measurement solutions that are simpler and faster to use, while being almost infinitely flexible.