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In this paper, we develop a performance analysis of an surface-emitting second harmonic generation (SESHG) optical serial-to-parallel converter using an erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) as a preamplifier. The analysis is complicated by the fourth-order nonlinearity that acts on the signal plus amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) noise to create many beat noises at the binary decision device. However, we demonstrate that Gaussian approximation for the beat noise statistics is reasonable. We calculate the BER of the system as a function of the SHG nonlinear cross section (A/sup NL/), EDFA gain, the bandwidth of the optical filter that band-limits the ASE noise, and the timing pulse-to-data pulse power ratio. We find that for reasonable values of these and other parameters, the EDFA/SESHG serial-to-parallel converter combination should be able to operate at or below a BER of 10/sup -12/. We find that small increments (0-2 dB) in the signal power that is input to the EDFA are enough to compensate the effects of ASE noise for most of the parameter variations we consider. From this point of view, the ASE noise has little effect on system performance. However, when the input power is fixed, we show evidence in terms of BER that the ASE noise plays a significant role, particularly in the high A/sup NL/, high gain case. Also in this case, we show that the optimal timing pulse-to-data pulse power ratio is somewhat different from the value that is optimal for the system without an EDFA.