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A high resolution x-ray imaging system designated the solid state x-ray image intensifier (SSXII) is being developed as a potential replacement of conventional lower-resolution x-ray detectors for neurovascular interventions. The SSXII consists of a CsI(Tl) phosphor to convert x-rays to light, a fiber optic taper to extend the field-of-view and to couple the phosphor to an Electron-Multiplying CCD (EMCCD) which has a built-in gain to boost the signal above the read-out noise floor. A parallel cascade linear-system model is explored and applied to quantitatively analyze the signal and noise transfer at each stage, and optimize the detector performance. The modulation transfer function (MTF), detective quantum efficiency (DQE) and frequency dependent instrumentation noise equivalent exposure (INEE) can be obtained from the theoretical model and experimental measurement. Agreement of these results validates the effectiveness of the model. Finally, compared with the traditional flat-panel detector (FPD), the SSXII exhibits better performance with higher spatial resolution, higher DQE and lower INEE.