In all electronic devices and products, there is no shortage of "shadows" of power management ICs. With the joint high-speed development of digital high-speed IC technology and chip manufacturing process technology, the role of high-performance power ICs “helping the array” becomes more and more important. The ever-changing electronic product applications and the rise of environmental protection and green energy saving requirements have also placed higher requirements on power ICs, which has led to the demand for a new generation of highly integrated, high-performance and energy-efficient power management ICs. mission.
Power IC needs to be "raised"
、网络通信、移动互联领域都是主要的应用市场， 汽车电子 、新能源领域也逐渐发力。 According to market research agency iSuppli, the power management IC market is expected to reach 38.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Consumer electronics , network communications, and mobile internet are all major application markets. Automotive electronics and new energy are also gradually gaining momentum. Driven by application drivers and technological advancements, the technical requirements for power ICs have also continued to rise. And with the continuous innovation of applications, the market for power ICs also shows diversified needs and segmentation of applications. The market demand for more high-performance power ICs continues to deepen and expand, better to meet system innovation and improve performance And service.
On the one hand, with the continuous upgrade of semiconductor process technology, the chips and components on the PCB board have higher functions, faster operation, and smaller size, which drives the power management IC to provide lower and more accurate nuclear power voltage and larger power supply. Current, tighter voltage feedback accuracy, and higher efficiency performance. On the other hand, the continuous expansion and deepening of power management IC application fields, achieving better control functions, smarter control loops, faster dynamic response characteristics, and simpler peripheral layout design are all "indispensable." Power management ICs need to face these problems if they want to "get it."
Mark Davidson, marketing director of Altera's power business unit, said that in order to help customers solve these challenges and simplify designs, digital, modular, and intelligent power ICs are inevitable.
For example, he said, for FPGA customers, power management has increasingly become a strategic competitive advantage, especially in the fields of communications, computing, and industrial applications. With the continuous development of FPGAs and SoCs, designers have added a large number of mixed-signal functions to next-generation embedded systems, achieving system-level performance that was previously unattainable. How to power FPGAs with more and more functions, higher performance, and more advanced technology is indeed a very challenging issue. For example, an FPGA with a 14nm process will have higher performance, and accordingly a higher-performance power supply will be required to match it. And 14nm FPGAs have more stringent power requirements and higher power accuracy requirements. If the voltage range exceeds the requirements of the specification, the FPGA may fail or even burn out.
In-depth analysis of three major trends in power management ICs
和系统对功能和性能的要求之间找到最佳结合点，这殊非易事。 This also means that designers must meet strict FPGA power rail requirements, system power consumption and thermal budget constraints, build robust and reliable systems, meet budget requirements to complete their projects on time, and fully meet their circuit board and system Finding the best combination of functionality and performance requirements is not easy.
Digital power inspires vitality
In response to this market trend, major power management IC manufacturers are stepping up their ranks, and digital power supplies have become their "trick". With the great advantages of flexibility, fast response, high integration, and high controllability, digital power has shown strong development momentum.
According to a report from IMS Research, a research organization of IHS, the global digital power market revenue is expected to increase to $ 12.4 billion in 2017, and the digital power IC market will reach $ 2.6 billion. The digital power market is dominated by server and communication equipment applications, while expanding into other application areas, or as the spark of the flames.
，DSP及其它具有极高动态特性的数字电路 ）提供电压。 POL converters generally provide voltage for low-voltage, high-current digital loads (such as FPGAs, microprocessors , DSPs, and other digital circuits with extremely high dynamic characteristics). It is becoming more and more difficult to maintain precise adjustment of the voltage around 1V, while using pure analog control technology to meet the load transient requirements of nearly 200A / ns. Some digital controllers can provide functions that are difficult to achieve in similar analog ICs, such as nonlinear control. In fact, almost all POL digital controllers include a number of different control techniques designed to improve transient response. These specialized control algorithms form the threshold for traditional analog power companies to enter digital power development. If the power supply uses a digital core internally to implement the control loop, it can meet extremely stringent transient requirements, achieve very low ripple voltage, and achieve extremely high precision voltage regulation within the output voltage range. At the same time, it can support PMbus communication interface, which can realize remote accurate current, voltage and temperature monitoring.
Digital power has injected new vitality into the power supply design field, and at the same time, it has put forward higher requirements for power management IC manufacturers. ，包括硬件和图形介面（GUI）；最后，获得相关周边元件如Power Train，才能创建完整解决方案。 It is understood that on the one hand, power management IC manufacturers must not only provide a series of integrated design solutions, but not a single component, and provide a full range of high-end, low-end, and high-end products. Second, they also need a complete set of digital power development tools , including hardware and graphical interfaces ( GUI); Finally, get related peripheral components such as Power Train to create a complete solution. On the other hand, if digital power IC manufacturers are "single-handed", they are obviously "incapable". Zhang Weichao, senior business manager of Altera ’s Enpirion power supply products in China, mentioned that the technology of main chip manufacturers such as FPGA / ASSP / ASIC is changing rapidly, and the requirements for power supply are also extremely stringent while the performance is constantly improving, and power management IC manufacturers can no longer As in the past, fighting alone, but must cooperate with digital chip manufacturers. 进行有效地技术沟通，因为只有了解系统芯片的需求，电源IC的目标设计规格才显得更有意义，这种为系统性能需求而定制的电源设计最终能为系统的功耗优化做出巨大的贡献。 Power IC manufacturers need to communicate effectively with the main chip manufacturers , because the target design specifications of power ICs become more meaningful only if they understand the system chip requirements. This kind of customized power supply design for system performance requirements can ultimately Power optimization makes a huge contribution. This collaboration can help power management IC vendors' products become more competitive and gain more market share.
Judging from market mergers and acquisitions in recent years, this trend is undoubtedly confirmed. Qualcomm bought Summit, Mediatek bought Richtek, Microchip bought Micrel, Altera bought Enpirion, and recently acquired the digital power controller division of German innovative chip company ZMDI. The truth is the same, and the industry recognizes and implements similar strategies. And the benefits of acquiring a power supply company may be far more "direct" than working with a power supply company. Mark Davidson said that there are many different application areas for power devices of large power management IC manufacturers. They will not and will not be able to devote all their energy to the FPGA field, and Altera will pay more attention to power devices in FPGAs through acquisition. Applications. He emphasized that after acquiring Enpirion, we became a company, and we can gather experts in power supply, FPGA system engineering, and circuit board layout to jointly develop a better solution.
Modular trend highlights
Affected by the SoC-based design trend, power management IC technology has shown an increasingly modular trend in recent years. 上集成更多功能同时以更高的设计灵活性实现更强的系统用电性能，这正在改变传统的电源设计方法。 On the one hand, devices are becoming more and more complex. More functional features, faster and more complex processors require more advanced power management solutions. Power management technology must integrate more functions on smaller silicon chips while improving High design flexibility enables stronger system power performance, which is changing traditional power supply design methods. 空间，提高系统的长期可靠性，同时也能有效降低系统成本，带来的好处是显而易见的。 On the other hand, the modular power management IC can effectively reduce the complexity of system design, save circuit board space, improve the long-term reliability of the system, and also effectively reduce the cost of the system. The benefits are obvious.
As a result, modular power management ICs on the market are beginning to surface. Altera recently added a 30amp PowerSoC DC-DC step-down converter EM1130 to its Enpirion power solution. Seen as a "milestone" product by Altera, this is the first product in the integrated digital DC-DC buck converter family and provides power management capabilities for Altera's 10th generation FPGAs. EM1130's "deep power", the pin density is the highest in the industry, and the area is less than half of other solutions. It not only provides strict high output voltage regulation and fast transient response functions, but also can remotely measure key current, voltage and temperature. parameter.
以及通过数字控制环路实现更快的负载瞬态响应和更低的噪声，从而能够更加智能化地适应平台厂商对于降低系统功耗的最新需求同时提升性能的严苛挑战，将经验证的Enpirion电源SoC解决方案与Altera的FPGA结合使用，客户能够在尽可能最小的电路板上完成他们的设计，同时还能最大程度地提高性能和降低功耗，加快产品上市、削减材料成本以及增强系统可靠性。 Zhang Weichao said that the biggest advantage of the integrated Enpirion power single-chip system is that it greatly improves the reliability and ease of use of the system, while the module power supply has a small size, low EMI, and faster load transients through digital control loops. State response and lower noise, which can more intelligently adapt to the latest requirements of platform vendors to reduce system power consumption while improving performance, and use the proven Enpirion power SoC solution in combination with Altera ’s FPGA. Customers Able to complete their designs on the smallest board possible, while maximizing performance and reducing power consumption, speeding time to market, reducing material costs, and enhancing system reliability.
In addition, the modularization trend of power management ICs is also reflected in the "integration" with other chips on the board, and the integration of functions such as communication and monitoring between power management ICs and main control chips in the market is also increasing. Zhang Weichao mentioned that in the future, Altera will use Enpirion's power supply technology to integrate certain power modules into the FPGA, making the system circuit board circuit more concise, power consumption and cost optimized, and simplifying the FPGA system. Development.
Intelligentization improves intelligence
And the intelligence of the power management IC is also a general trend, or can we actively "coordinate" the platform's main chip function to continuously upgrade the demand. Zhang Weichao said that as the system functions become more and more complex, the requirements for energy consumption are getting higher and higher, and customers' requirements for the perception and control of power supply operating conditions are becoming higher and higher. Power supply designers are no longer satisfied with real-time monitoring of current, Voltage, temperature, and requirements for diagnosing the power supply and setting each output voltage parameter flexibly. In addition, the power management IC must be effectively connected to the equipment that needs to be powered on the circuit board. Because the system requires more real-time cooperation and cooperation between the power subsystem and the main system, it must even support monitoring and management through the cloud. The management and regulation of change have become necessary.
How to achieve intelligence? Zhang Weichao said that this requires two efforts. The first is that the power management IC must communicate with the kernel. The various parts can communicate with each other. Timely dynamic control and seamless communication can achieve an intelligent power management system. It can detect, analyze and respond to the changing power supply demand of the system in real time, thereby greatly improving the efficiency of the system. The second is that the internal parameters can be adjusted online. This means that the dynamic characteristics of the power supply are variable, and can adapt to changes in the load within a relatively large range while ensuring a certain performance. Digital power supplies play an important role in this regard. It is also necessary to continuously achieve breakthroughs in control algorithms and adaptation.
Altera has made new progress in this area through continuous innovation. Not long ago, Altera held the 2015 Altera Technology Day event in 14 cities in the Asia-Pacific region, showing the latest FPGA, SoC and Enpirion power solutions. Among them, Arria 10 and Enpirion's digital PowerSoC combine to achieve an intelligent FPGA power system and the lowest power consumption. Its specific characteristics include the following aspects:
1. All power supply requirements of FPGA design will lead to the establishment of FPGA power tree, and different power requirements have different power-up sequences, which places higher requirements on power converters. Enpirion devices have “Power OK” or “Power Good” pins, support grouping of power rails of different resources in the FPGA, send signals to the system controller or sequencing device, and an FPGA input has been powered on. You can start downloading A sorting step;
2. Another common system power requirement is the ability to perform remote monitoring, real-time monitoring of all parameters of the power supply, fault alarms and corresponding adjustments. The simplest, cheapest, and most compact way is to use a power conditioner that integrates remote monitoring and the corresponding communication bus. Through the Smart Voltage ID (SmartVID) feature, Altera's Arria 10 FPGA and SoC determine the VCC voltage and communication required with the Enpirion voltage regulator system through the PMBus interface, and dynamically adjust the core voltage rail to the minimum as possible without Will sacrifice system performance. At the same time, Enpirion's ED8101P0xQI single-phase digital controller that supports PMBus is paired with the ET4040QI high-current power supply to achieve a variety of remote monitoring and low power consumption features of the FPGA.
FPGA power supply designs have some common requirements. Understanding how FPGA design and applications affect power consumption and power supply requirements will make the design clearer and easier to succeed. Altera's Enpirion power solution is designed to meet these demanding FPGA power requirements. The functions of future electronic systems will become increasingly complex, diverse and intelligent, and the requirements for power management systems will become higher and higher. In-depth understanding of the characteristics and power supply requirements of each system, and complying with the development trend of digitalization, modularization and intelligence, can provide a customized "perfect" power supply guarantee for the system.