Power management integrated circuits (power management ICs or PMICs) are integrated circuits that perform different functions related to power management. They may have one or more functions including DC to DC conversion, battery charging, power-source selection, voltage scaling, power sequencing, and miscellaneous functions. PMICs control the flow and direction of electrical power. Electrical devices contain internal voltages and sources of external power. PMICs usually incorporate multiple functions into one IC to increase efficiency, decrease size, and create better heat dissipation.

Powervation Ltd. is a semiconductor company that develops digital power integrated circuit system-on-chip solutions. They are used for cloud computing, communication, and high-performance power system designers. They use a multiprocessor SoC architecture for digital power management solutions. The multiprocessor has a proprietary dual-core (DSP and RISC) processor, RAM and Sidense one-time-programmable (OTP) memory, power conversion blocks, and serial interfaces.

The Sidense 1T-OTP stores firmware and DSP code, and security codes, design, and user-specific configuration parameters for the voltage regulator. OTP data is loaded to RAM once the power is turned on. This allows quick access to the processing unit. Some of the other memory options are non-volatile memory such as flash, separate off-chip memory, and read-only memory (ROM).

The benefit of using OTP memory over the other types of memory is that it is smaller and has no additional wafer processing steps. The processor’s firmware is fixed with ROM and any change in content costs time and money. Flash memory is power-intensive and susceptible to corruption. OTP memory not only decreases the time and cost of derivative products but is also capable of handling software modifications and therefore increases the processor’s flexibility. Unlike any other form of memory, only OTP is the only memory that is durable enough to deal with the requirements of power management and other such applications.

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Virtual Reality and the ever increasing interest in life-like computer game graphics has led to the development of very advanced graphics for computers and mobile devices. With the development of these new technologies in mind, companies such as Intel, Nvidia and AMD are designing chips that work better with higher quality graphics. Improvements to chip design are being made, such as developing faster ways in which Graphic Processing Units can create and broadcast images.

To accomplish this feat companies are also developing units with faster Graphic Processing Unit architecture and increasing the speed of computer memory is another way in which computer graphics are being improved.

The GDDR5X and HBM2 memory standards are examples of improvements in memory that have recently been developed. Both of these standards were recently approved by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association and their effectiveness in producing faster memory operations is already being honed by companies such as Samsung, Micron and AMD.

HBM2 is considered revolutionary primarily due to the changes in the way it helps move data in Graphic Processing Units. Unlike other memory standards HBM2 cells are stacked in a 3D format, thereby making the movement of data within its cells much faster. As stated by Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64,

“With HBM2, there are multiple chips stacked and instead of increasing the frequency, you are widening the interface.”

In a similar manner GDDR5X is twice as fast as its predecessor, GDDR5. It is an incremental improvement, with a memory structure that has been redefined and has data rates of 10 to 14 gigabits per second. Both of these memory standards no doubt will have huge impact on how computer graphics are developed and how Graphic Processing Units function.

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