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With present-day detectors in high energy physics one often faces fast analog pulses of a few nanoseconds length which cover large dynamic ranges. In many experiments both amplitude and timing information have to be measured with high accuracy. Additionally, the data rate per readout channel can reach several MHz, which leads to high demands on the separation of pile-up pulses. For an upgrade of the COMPASS experiment at CERN we have designed the GANDALF transient recorder with a resolution of 12 bit@1 GS/s and an analog bandwidth of 500 MHz. Signals are digitized with high precision and processed by fast algorithms to extract pulse arrival times and amplitudes in real-time and to generate trigger signals for the experiment. With up to 16 analog channels, deep memories and a high data rate interface, this 6U-VME64x/VXS module is not only a dead-time free digitization unit but also has huge numerical capabilities provided by the implementation of a Virtex5-SXT FPGA. Fast algorithms implemented in the FPGA may be used to disentangle possible pile-up pulses and determine timing information from sampled pulse shapes with a time resolution better than 50 ps.