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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

APEC 2015: Powering FPGAs and DSPs Aimee Kalnoskas

The Charlotte, North Carolina Convention Center, home to APEC 2015, is a decent size. But with nearly 4500 attendees (a 10% increase over last year), hundreds of technical and industry sessions, and nearly 250 exhibitors, it certainly packed a lot into one space.

More Power, Smaller Spaces

Smaller, more power, more functionality….it’s the name of the game in nearly all electronics applications these days, but the industrial power and infrastructure markets are particularly demanding when it comes to higher power density in less space. Intersil is targeting that market with the ISL8272M fully encapsulated digital DC/DC PMBus power module. The step-down power supply delivers up to 50A of output current from industry standard 5V or 12V input power rails. What should be of particular interest to the power infrastructure market is the ability to combine up to four 50A modules to support up to 200A rails.

The ISL8272M’s ChargeMode control loop also provides a single clock cycle, fast transient response to output current load steps that are common in FPGAs and DSPs when processing power bursts. The apparently free Power Navigator software-based tool simplifies the ISL8272M’s setup and configuration, including all device parameters and full telemetry. The tool makes it easy to change the features and functions of a digital power supply design without writing a single line of code.

Intersil is betting on the part’s integration, ease-of-use, and high density array (HDA) packaging to offer substantial savings in development, time, and resources to justify the “premium product” status. Since this is tuned nicely to assist design, power engineers might find the added value worth it in labor and frustration savings alone. “Many large companies still have power engineers,” said Intersil’s Senior Product Marketing manager Eric Pittana, “But most of those are focusing their efforts on FPGA and DSPs. Power tends to be last thing on their minds.”

CUI Steps Up To 90A Space

CUI announced the NDM3Z-90 90A POL power module for powering high-end FPGAs and other advanced ICs for applications in video, datacom, telecom, medical and more. The device features a programmable output range, active current sharing, voltage sequencing, voltage tracking, synchronization and phase spreading, programmable soft start and stop, and monitoring capabilities.

“Customers still need more power and no one else is in the 90A space,” said CUI VP of Marketing Jeff Schnabel. The device is capable of paralleling four modules in an active current sharing manner to output a whopping 360A.

The device meets the “teraAMPtm” standard for high-current digital POL modules recently announced by the Architects of Modern Power (“The AMP Group”) consortium. The newly formed industry group is comprised of CUI, Ericsson Power Modules, and Murata with the goal of driving design for plug-and-play interoperability.

Not at the conference but want to get a sense for how technically dense APEC is? Download the full conference program here (PDF). And make certain to join us here tomorrow for a taste of Day 2…

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Aimee Kalnoskas

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