SOURCE: CHiL Semiconductor

September 16, 2008 07:55 ET

CHiL Semiconductor Announces High-Efficiency VR11.1-Compliant Digital Controllers for Server, Gaming Applications

ICs Are the First to Combine Up to 8-Phase Control, Dynamic Phase Control and Variable Gate Drive to Deliver Over 90 Percent Efficiency Across All Loads

TEWKSBURY, MA--(Marketwire - September 16, 2008) - CHiL Semiconductor Corporation, an innovative developer of mixed-signal power management ICs for use in a wide variety of computing devices, today announced two new extremely high-efficiency digital multi-phase buck controllers for VR11.1-compliant server and gaming/enthusiast desktop applications. As the first digital controllers to offer up to 8-phase control, the CHL8316 and CHL8318 controllers use a number of innovative patent-pending digital control techniques to meet over 90 percent power efficiency levels across virtually all load ranges.

At the same time CHiL is also announcing the CHL8510 server driver, a new high-frequency MOSFET gate driver designed to support these new additions to the company's rapidly growing family of multiphase digital controllers.

"While digital approaches have always promised dramatic advantages in terms of power monitoring and control, buck controller manufacturers have never developed devices with the performance and architectural attributes needed to efficiently power CPUs, GPUs and memory in high-performance VR11.1-compliant server and desktop designs," said Larry Spaziani, Vice President of Marketing. "By optimizing our architecture for fast transient response and coupling that capability with up to 8-phase control and a number of new innovative digital control techniques, the CHL8316 and CHL8318 controllers offer data center managers and gaming/enthusiast desktop users unprecedented advantages in terms of power efficiency, performance and thermal management."

Many users are beginning to monitor efficiency at a system level. Data Center managers can now track server power savings from virtualization or other conservation techniques on a control panel while energy-conscious individuals can visualize power savings on their desktop monitors. CHiL's products provide detailed, accurate SMBus power, current and efficiency information needed for users to easily manage energy-saving efforts.

Managing and Reporting Efficiency

The CHL8316 is an Intel VR11.1-compliant digital multi-phase buck controller. The new device supports up to six programmable interleaved synchronous buck phases. Designers can digitally configure the switching frequency of each phase from 200 kHz to 1 MHz. By storing device parameters in non-volatile memory embedded on chip, designers can modify and optimize their design without changing external components. CHiL provides a GUI that can be used to easily access, set and modify those parameters. Moreover, by using more accurate digital controls designers can significantly reduce component count, PCB space requirements and bill of material (BOM) costs compared to legacy analog approaches.

To address the fast transients in today's VR11.1-compliant CPU designs, the CHL8316 adds a highly optimized analog-to-digital converter architecture. This high-speed ADC responds to a very fast transient response of > 2000 A/u.

By digitally controlling current across six programmable synchronous phases, designers can use the CHL8316 to optimize power efficiency at high load conditions. As current drops the CHL8316 automatically detects and dynamically reduces the number of phases to further improve power efficiency. A patent-pending variable gate drive reduces MOSFET gate losses and especially improves efficiency at lower operating currents. Finally, these products report the operating voltage, current and efficiency through an SMBus, allowing system level control of power management. These new functions enable system designers to maximize power efficiency at the circuit and system levels.

"As energy costs skyrocket, IT managers need to manage power efficiency and improve their bottom line. Available in compact, cost-effective packages, the 6-phase 8316 and 8-phase 8318 controllers can exceed 90 percent efficiency across the entire load range," notes Ram Sudireddy, Founder, President and CEO of CHiL Semiconductor. "Fast transient response, dynamic phase control, and variable gate drive, produce dramatic power savings across low, medium and high currents.

"At currents ranging from 30-40A, we simultaneously meet transient control requirements and increase server power efficiency by about 8 percent. This results in a 150W reduction at the voltage regulator level alone on a typically configured blade server. Studies indicate that we boost savings by up to seven times when AC/DC power generation, distribution, and cooling effects are also considered. These results demonstrate that OEMs and ODMs can now waste far less energy and sharply reduce heat dissipation by taking full advantage of the intelligent power management techniques we offer," continued Sudireddy.

To manage heat dissipation, the CHL8316 adds an external temperature sensor. In addition, a VRHOT function communicates heat levels to the CPU and an over temperature protection (OTP) circuit automatically shuts down VR PWM signals when the operating temperature exceeds a second threshold. The CHL8316 also features a current balancing algorithm that automatically balances current across the IC's six phases during both DC and transient operation to optimize thermal management.

Eight Phase Control

The CHL8318 controller adds a number of additional capabilities to support higher performance server and gamer/enthusiast desktop PC applications. Eight-phase control offers faster transient response and better power efficiency. Custom digital overclocking features allow gaming and enthusiast users to extend voltage range up to 2.3V, while VID scaling and offset controls and load line adjustment features offer additional performance enhancements. Importantly, none of the gaming features require additional external components.

The CHL8318 features the same power efficiency capabilities found on the CHL8316. Using 8-phase control for high load conditions along with dynamic phase control and adjustable gate drive for mid-to-low load conditions, designers using the CHL8318 can achieve better than 90 percent power efficiency across virtually all load conditions.

To control the large amounts of heat generated by its overclocking functions, the CHL8318 also adds advanced thermal management capabilities. Three external temperature sensors support more comprehensive monitoring and control of phase current to balance temperature variations. In addition, the controller adds the same programmable VR HOT and OTP features as well as the automatic thermal balancing capability found on the CHL8316.

To support the rapid development of voltage regulator (VR) solutions, the CHL8510 server driver IC is specially designed to support these new buck controllers. The driver offers fast tri-level disable for the Power Status Indicator (PSI) signal in VR11.1 designs and LVCC down to 5V for variable gate drive functions.

Price and Availability

Specified across the 0 to 85° C range, the 6-phase CHL8316 controller is available in a Pb-free 48-pin QFN package. It sells for $2.49 in 1K quantities. The 8-phase CHL8318 controller is also specified across the 0 to 85° C range and is available in a Pb-free 56-pin QFN package. The IC sells for $3.29 in 1K quantities. Qualified across the same temperature range, the CHL8510 MOSFET driver comes in a 10-pin DFN and sells for $0.49 in 1K quantities.

About CHiL Semiconductor

Founded in 2006, CHiL Semiconductor develops high-performance, mixed-signal power management ICs primarily targeted at servers, personal computers and other high-volume computing market segments. CHiL Semiconductor's devices tightly integrate digital technology, which provides a number of unique, intelligent features that precisely monitor and control the power management process, yielding significant gains in system power efficiency and performance, while reducing system design and complexity. For more information, please visit www.chilsemi.com.

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