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14 June 2016

UTAC, Sarda and AT&S collaborate on small, fast GaAs-based voltage regulators to improve data-center energy efficiency

At the International Symposium on 3D Power Electronics, Integration and Manufacturing Symposium in Raleigh, NC, USA (13-15 June), power management component supplier Sarda Technologies of Durham, NC, USA announced a collaboration to implement its Heterogeneous Integrated Power Stage (HIPS) in the three-dimensional system-in-package (3D SiP) of Singapore-based semiconductor assembly & test services provider UTAC Holdings Ltd, based on Embedded Component Packaging (ECP) technology from printed-circuit board (PCB) maker Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG (AT&S) in order to improve data-center energy efficiency.

Designed to address the rapidly escalating power consumption in data centers, Sarda's HIPS replaces silicon switches with gallium arsenide (GaAs) in voltage regulators that are said to increase switching frequency by 10 times, improve transient response by five times and reduce size by 80%. With these fast, small voltage regulators, this enables granular power delivery to reduce data-center power consumption by 30%, it is reckoned.

"UTAC's 3D SiP enables Sarda to integrate GaAs switches, silicon driver and passive components in a compact, low-profile package that minimizes parasitics for efficient, high-speed operation," says Sarda's CEO & co-founder Bob Conner. "UTAC's collaboration with AT&S also provides a full turn-key supply chain assembly and test flow with much needed alignment of roadmaps as well as design rules for 3D SiP solutions with embedded chip in substrate technology," he adds. 

"System manufacturers are moving from use of discrete components to highly integrated power management solutions to improve power density and energy efficiency," notes Lee Smith, UTAC's VP of Advanced Package Product Line. "UTAC is very excited in working closely with Sarda and AT&S to demonstrate the benefits of using 3D SiP to reduce footprint and improve electrical and thermal performance," he adds.

"Our collaboration with UTAC maximizes the benefits of utilizing AT&S' ECP technology for the Sarda HIPS Solution," says Michael Lang, CEO of Advanced Packaging at AT&S. "The major ECP advantages compared to standard IC packaging and PCB assembly include a significant form-factor reduction, higher reliability, improved thermal management, and a fast and easy system integration with high efficiency."

Reducing data-center cost-per-workload

Servers, routers and communications systems require new power management technology to keep up with the growth in data consumption and mobile connectivity, says Sarda. But power delivery and heat removal issues constrain system performance. Moreover, each system board uses dozens of voltage regulators which consume precious board space.

Designers can no longer rely solely on Moore's Law to deliver the required gains in energy efficiency, the firm adds.  Leading-edge processors now operate at less than 1V, which prevents designers from reducing operating voltage enough to keep power consumption constant while increasing transistor density. Instead, developers are turning to 'More-than-Moore Scaling', which heterogeneously integrates different materials and components to improve system performance-per-watt.

Small, fast voltage regulators enable granular power, which reduces system power consumption through dynamic power management of each load, notes Sarda. Miniaturizing the voltage regulators also frees up board space for more processors and memory to increase system performance. Increasing system performance-per-watt decreases the system cost-per-workload.

Tags: Power management integrated circuits

Visit: www.3D-PEIM.org

Visit: www.sardatech.com

Visit: www.utacgroup.com

Visit: www.ats.net

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