A new soft x-ray pulse height analysis (PHA) array including nine independent subsystems, on basis of a nonconventional software multichannel analysis system and a silicon drift detector (SDD) linear array consisting of nine high performance SDD detectors, has been developed in the HL-2A tokamak. The use of SDD has greatly improved the measurement accuracy and the spatiotemporal resolutions of the soft x-ray PHA system. Since the ratio of peak to background counts obtained from the SDD PHA system is very high, p/b > or = 3000, the soft x-ray spectra measured by the SDD PHA system can approximatively be regarded as electron velocity distribution. The electron velocity distribution can be well derived in the pure ohmic and auxiliary heating discharges. The performance of the new soft x-ray PHA array and the first experimental results with some discussions are presented.