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Electronic Design UPDATE: June 4, 2003


Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine - June 4, 2003


NEWS FLASH: At our newly redesigned Web site,, the power of Electronic Design is a mouse click away! Read our Web exclusives, discover Featured Vendors, access our archives, share viewpoints in our Forums, explore our e-newsletters, and more. Be sure to participate in our current QUICK POLL: "I plan to implement my next chip design using _____." Go to Today's Table of Contents: 1. Editor's View Board-Mounted Power Components Are Looking To Blend In 2. News From The Editors * Bridge Chips Link Network, Telecom Systems * PCI Express Core Targeted For Sampling In Fourth Quarter * Fast System Slices Packed With Logic, Memory * Transmitter, Receiver ICs Simplify Simplex RF Design * SBC Packs Pentium 4 3. Upcoming Industry Events in June * Transducers '03 * JavaOne * Embedded Processor Forum 2003 * Third Conference on Microelectronics and Packaging 4. Magazine Highlights: May 26, 2003 issue * Cover Story: Engineering Feature Nanotechnology: The Next Revolution To Redefine Electronics... ...Industry Leaders Share Their Views * Leapfrog: Industry First Ethernet Aggregation Chip Slashes System Cost * Conference Preview What's Hot At DAC * Design View Prevent ADSL Modems From Getting Zapped Edited by John Novellino ********************** 1. Editor's View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** Board-Mounted Power Components Are Looking To Blend In By David G. Morrison, Analog /Power Editor The days when board-mounted power components dwarfed all other circuitry on the pc board may be coming to an end. Improvements in the performance of both isolated and non-isolated dc-dc converters are rapidly shrinking space requirements for the supplies needed to power analog, mixed-signal, and logic circuitry. At the same time, alternative distributed power schemes are arising that promise to shrink board-mounted power modules to their logical objective -- IC-style packages that blend in with the chips on the board. A number of recent developments seem to point in this direction. But before looking at the latest power component developments, consider the potential influence of the intermediate-voltage bus architecture (IBA). A variation on the traditional distributed power architecture, the IBA does not power loads directly off of the isolated dc-dc converter. Instead, it uses the isolated converter (or brick) to generate an intermediate-voltage bus that powers non-isolated point-of-load converters (POLs), which in turn power the loads. Opinions vary on how widespread IBA will become. Nevertheless, over the last year or so, brick manufacturers have really stepped up development of non-isolated POLs. Whereas just a few years ago, probably just a handful of power-supply vendors offered non-isolated power modules, today there are more than a dozen companies with quickly growing portfolios of non-isolated POLs. So either the power-supply merchants expect IBA to proliferate, or they expect greater use of POLs to meet requirements for more voltages on the board. Either way, the result should be more POLs and fewer bricks. One of the primary reasons for choosing a non-isolated POL over a brick is the POL’s lower cost. However, increasing levels of performance should also encourage POL adoption. A year ago, you would have been hard pressed to find a POL converter that could deliver as much as 15 A in the usual SIP and DIP formats. Now, several models boast 15 A or more. For example, Texas Instruments’ Power Trends Group recently introduced a family of non-isolated POLs that includes a device rated for 30 A at a 0.8- to 3.6-V output (the PTHxx030). Designed to operate from a 3.3 or 5-V input, this horizontally mounted module measures 1.37 by 1.12 by 0.3 in. Although many of the high-current POLs are being offered in SIP formats, there’s clearly a strong interest in putting these modules flat on the board. Other recent announcements suggest that the power-supply companies themselves believe IC-style packages are the logical choice for doing so. First, there’s Vicor’s announcement of its Factorized Power Architecture, which relies on a BGA-style power converter to provide isolated dc-dc conversion at the point of load. This non-traditional approach to distributed power promises to deliver as much as 80 A from its 0.846- by 1.260- by 0.236-in. surface-mount package. Then, there’s Power-One’s introduction of a 0.39- by 0.47- by 0.059-in. LGA-style non-isolated POL that delivers 15 A (the maXyz family). This introduction puts Power One in direct competition with semiconductor vendors International Rectifier and Philips, who have introduced similar components. It also puts them in competition with the rest of the semiconductor vendors who offer "embedded" dc-dc converters based on their power-supply controllers. Meanwhile, bricks are not going away, but they’re getting awfully small and less brick-like. Astec Power recently introduced a sixteenth brick that delivers 15 to 20 A at 3.3 V and lower. The surface-mountable device measures 0.8 by 1.65 by 0.33 in., which is smaller than some POLs and not much bigger than some IC packages. In the quarter-brick format, some devices claim 165 W of output with ratings of 50 A at 3.3 V. At lower output voltages, 60-A and even 70-A models are offered. And just a week ago, Artesyn Technologies expanded its Typhoon series of quarter bricks to include models that deliver 80 A at 1.8 V or 100 A at 1.2 V. Moreover, Typhoon’s 0.3-in. height cuts some of the vertical distance between the quarter brick and the chips it may power. With package heights and footprints steadily shrinking, new power components will change the landscape of their targeted applications. Nevertheless, as power components and applications become more compact and crowded, a host of other performance issues looms. Requirements ranging from complex power sequencing to superfast transient response to very difficult thermal management promise to make the job of power component and power-system design all the more challenging. Contact David G. Morrison at: [email protected] To discuss this article, go to ********************** 2. News -- From The Editors ********************** ***Bridge Chips Link Network, Telecom Systems Three bridge chips from Agere Systems link various network and telecommunications systems. The UB2G5NP links Agere's traffic processing chips to the PI-40 switch-chip family. The UB2G5LC is a universal bridge for 2.5G line cards. It can aggregate ATM cells from chips using the industry-standard interface to Agere's PI-40X/C and PI-40SAX high-speed switching chips. The device handles four times as many digital-subscriber-line channels on a line card than previous solutions. Traffic is transported across a point-to-point serializer/deserializer backplane to the PI-40SAX switching fabric and APP550 traffic processor. The third IC, the UB2G5AG, is an aggregation chip that targets systems that need only the aggregation of line cards into a network processor function, rather than full switching functionality. It thus provides a low-cost way to serialize a backplane. It can be used in systems too small for the UB2G5LC. The UBG5LC, NP, and AG sell for $40, $50, and $90 each in lots of 10,000. For more information, go to ***PCI Express Core Targeted For Sampling In Fourth Quarter Artisan Components Inc. and UMC have jointly developed a PCI-Express physical-layer (PHY) intellectual-property core for 0.13-micron chips. The core will be based on the PCI Express Architecture proposed by the PCI Special Interest Group, which owns and manages PCI specifications as open industry standards. The new core is based on Artisan's silicon-proven XAUI-compatible SerDes Core. This will allow the design to meet or exceed the PCI Express specifications. The modular eight-lane PCI Express 2.5-Gbit/s PHY will supply general-purpose I/O interconnections for "in-the-box" applications. It will offer connectivity for adapter cards, an attach point for graphics I/O, and an I/O attach point for other interconnections such as 1394b, USB 2.0, InfiniBand, and Ethernet. The PHY creates a complete serial link including the multiplexer/demultiplexer, 8b/10b encode and decode, and clock recovery circuitry that complies with the PCI Express specification. The core will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. For more, go to or ***Fast System Slices Packed With Logic, Memory Providing up to 1.8 million gates and 2.6 Mbits of SRAM, the CX5000 family of system slices from Chip Express delivers higher performance than previous fast-turnaround ASICs. One version has eight family members that contain from 44 kgates and 65 kbits of memory to 1.8 million gates and 2.6 Mbits of RAM. The other version includes four system slices that pack between 1 and 4.5 Mbits of memory and from 117 to 546 kgates. The system slices also include prediffused resources such as phase-locked loops, delay-locked loops, and high-speed I/O cells. Logic blocks can be clocked at up to 200 MHz, while the RAM, in single- or dual-port modes, can be accessed in just 2 ns. Wafers are premanufactured up through the fourth layer of metal and use two additional layers for customization. Completed chips can be delivered in under three weeks after sign-off of the finished design. Nonrecurring engineering charges run $35,000 to $100,000, depending on the design. In 100,000-unit/year quantities, device prices range from under $2 each to about $60. For more details, go to ***Transmitter, Receiver ICs Simplify Simplex RF Design A family of individual transmitters and receivers targets unidirection (simplex) remote embedded-control applications, like keyless entry and sensor systems. The devices may be configured for either amplitude-shift-keyed or frequency-shift-keyed modulation. The line's three transmitters are actually 20-pin PIC microcontrollers with UHF transmitters built in. The rfPIC12F675K covers 260 to 350 MHz, the rfPIC12F675F 390 to 450 MHz, and the rfPIC12F675H 850 to 930 MHz. Maximum data rate is 40 kbits/s, and output power is 6 dBm. Incorporated are a 14-bit instruction word, 1.8 kbytes of flash memory, 64 bytes of RAM, and 128 bytes of EEPROM. A built-in analog comparator and four channels of 10-bit analog-to-digital conversion are handy for sensor applications. The single-conversion superheterodyne receivers (the rfRX0420 for 300 to 450 MHz and the rfRX0920 for 850 to 930 MHz) have an low-noise amplifier and can handle 80 kbits/s. Operating from 2.5 to 5 V dc, the ICs feature low-power and standby modes to conserve power in battery-powered applications. The receivers cost $2.55 and the transmitters $2.03 in 10,000-unit quantities. For more information, go to ***SBC Packs Pentium 4 Trenton Technology’s T4G single-board computer supports Intel’s Pentium 4 and Celeron processors with a 400/533-MHz system bus. The T4G uses the Intel 845GV chip set, which provides 2048-by-1536 3D high-performance graphics and up to 2 Gbytes of DDR200/266 memory. A 10/100BaseT Ethernet is included. The Winbond W83783S chip handles hardware monitoring. Prices start at $1200. For more information, go to ********************** 3. Upcoming Industry Events ********************** June 8-12, Transducers '03, Boston, Mass. or contact Katharine Cline at (619) 232-9499 June 10-13, JavaOne, San Francisco, Calif. June 16-19, Embedded Processor Forum 2003, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, Calif. June 18, Third Conference on Microelectronics and Packaging, Herzelia on the Sea, Israel or contact conference office at [email protected] ********************** 4. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue, May 26, 2003. * Cover Story: Engineering Feature Nanotechnology: The Next Revolution To Redefine Electronics... ...Industry Leaders Share Their Views Working with atoms, molecules, and quantum effects from the bottom up, researchers are hot on the trail of self-assembling, precise, and affordable nanosystems. * Leapfrog: Industry First -- Ethernet Aggregation Chip Slashes System Cost Aggregating device reduces bandwidth requirements by combining two dozen 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports into a single 10-Gbit/s channel. * Conference Preview: What's Hot At DAC New tools and methodologies to be unveiled span system-level design to post-layout analysis. * Design View -- Prevent ADSL Modems From Getting Zapped Because they connect to ordinary phone lines, ADSL modems are subject to electrical hazards like lightning, power-line crossings, and ESD. For the complete Table of Contents, go to




Editorial: Lucinda Mattera, Associate Chief Editor: mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Associate Publisher: mailto:[email protected]


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TAGS: Components
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