Demonstrating that Digital Power is entering the mainstream market, Intel Corp.’s latest motherboard line, the DP55 desktop series, includes several models that use high efficiency multi-phase buck controllers from CHiL Semiconductor to provide precise digital power control to high performance users. Optimized for gaming, digital photography, video editing and other compute-intensive applications, the new motherboards combine the latest microprocessors with a variety of performance-tuning mechanisms to deliver maximum performance to the boards’ demanding users.
Key to the boards’ performance tuning capabilities are two multi-phase buck controllers from CHiL Semiconductor. The CHL8314 and CHL8316 voltage regulators bring four- and six-phase control, respectively to these new motherboards. Unlike traditional analog control loops that require large numbers of external components in their feedback circuits, the new regulators use simple digital controls that rely on device parameters stored in nonvolatile memory. In the process, designers were able to build significantly more accurate power controls that increase system power efficiency while using fewer components and a simpler board design.
The new controllers are especially effective in high performance designs like the Intel DP55 series. By digitally controlling current across up to six programmable synchronous phases, the new devices give designers unprecedented opportunity to optimize power efficiency at high load conditions. To manage heat at high performance levels, the controllers add a current balancing algorithm that automatically balances current across the IC’s phases during both dc and transient operation as well as an external heat sensor and embedded function that communicates heat levels to the CPU and an over temperature protection circuit.
This tremendous flexibility becomes particularly useful when users opt to overclock their system to push performance. By monitoring and adjusting current phase-to-phase, users can improve CPU performance and minimize heat dissipation. CHiL adds specialized digital overclocking features that allow demanding users such as gamers to extend voltage range and thereby boost processor performance without requiring additional external components or cost.