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In this paper, a novel equivalent circuit model for the frequency performance of separate absorption grading charge multiplication (SAGCM) avalanche photodiode (APD) is developed. This model includes effects of carrier transit time, avalanche buildup time, and parasitic RC elements. Based on the equivalent circuit model, frequency and bandwidth characteristics of SAGCM APD can be simulated in advance to device fabrication, and the simulation results are in good agreement with experimental data. Conventional pin photodiodes can also be simulated as a special case when M=1. In addition, the frequency response of SAGCM APDs and pin photodiodes with different illumination directions are investigated.