9 January 2018
Transphorm’s GaN enters PC gaming market via CORSAIR’s new power supply
Transphorm Inc of Goleta, near Santa Barbara, CA, USA – which designs and manufactures JEDEC- and AEC-Q101-qualified 650V gallium nitride (GaN) field-effect transistors (FETs) for high-voltage power conversion applications – says that its GaN FETs are being used in CORSAIR’s new AX1600i power supply unit (PSU).
CORSAIR supplies the gaming community with high-performance products used in custom PCs. Its latest product establishes a new class of AC-to-DC PSUs, as it is the first to use GaN and achieves 99% efficiency. Transphorm’s GaN is said to increase the PSU’s power output by 6.5% in an 11% smaller package at the same temperature.
The AX1600i uses Transphorm’s TPH3205WS 650V FETs in a bridgeless totem-pole power factor correction (PFC) topology (the topology that complements GaN’s performance and efficiency potential). With an increase of 6% within this topology, CORSAIR’s PSU efficiency now earns a better-than 80 PLUS Titanium rating. Previous CORSAIR power supplies used silicon superjunction (SJ) MOSFETs in a 2-phased interleaved PFC, reaching 93% efficiency.
“Our objective was to take an already award-winning PSU and make it better,” says CORSAIR’s PSU R&D manager Jon Gerow. “We aimed to maximize output from any PC running on a 115V mains. To do this was, we had to adopt innovative methods and materials,” he adds. “Transphorm’s GaN ultimately gave us the boost in performance, efficiency and size we wanted along with the high quality and reliability we needed to confidently release the AX1600i to our customers.”
After researching market-available GaN devices, CORSAIR chose Transphorm’s FETs as they enabled the AX1600i to deliver new benchmarks compared to the previous AX1500i, i.e. a 6.5% increase in power output to 1600W; a 11% reduction in size (20mm shorter); a thermal impact equivalent to 50°C continuous output; and an audible noise impact (slower fan speed, less noise at full load).
CORSAIR says that Transphorm’s packaging also played a role in its selection process. The TPH3205WS comes in a commonly used TO-247 package, reducing some design complexity.
“CORSAIR’s brand is built on products that give our customers a competitive edge, inside and outside of the gaming PC,” says Gerow. “Transphorm’s GaN presented an invaluable opportunity to advance the PSU — to make it smaller, quieter, cooler, and, most importantly, more powerful.”
Since GaN devices are higher frequency, they sometimes requiring different design techniques than previously used with silicon. Transphorm says that its GaN experts collaborate regularly with customers to provide guidance as well as to identify areas of opportunity for future platform innovation and customer design resources. Regarding the AX1600i project, Transphorm supported CORSAIR during both the prototyping and the design validation testing phases. CORSAIR tapped Transphorm’s teams on the ground in both Shenzhen, China, and California, USA.