Power/Performance Bits: March 21


Tiny redox flow batteries for chips Researchers at ETH Zurich and IBM Research Zurich built a tiny redox flow battery capable of both powering and cooling stacks of chips. In a flow battery, an electrochemical reaction is used to produce electricity out of two liquid electrolytes, which are pumped to the battery cell from outside via a closed electrolyte loop. Such batteries are usually u... » read more

Power Impacting Cost Of Chips


The increase in complexity of the power delivery network (PDN) is starting to outpace increases in functional complexity, adding to the already escalating costs of modern chips. With no signs of slowdown, designers have to ensure that overdesign and margining do not eat up all of the profit margin. The semiconductor industry is used to problems becoming harder at smaller geometries, but unti... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: March 14


Magnetic storage on one atom Scientists at IBM Research created a single-atom magnet and were able to store one bit of data on it, making it the world's smallest magnetic storage device. Using electrical current, the researchers showed that two magnetic atoms could be written and read independently even when they were separated by just one nanometer. This tight spacing could, the team hop... » read more

Power, Performance And Electronic Surveillance


The disclosure that smart TVs can be used as for surveillance purposes is hardly a revelation. Makers of these devices have been advertising gesture recognition features for several years. Far from being evil, TV makers were responding to market research that showed voice inputs were a good way to boost sales in a saturated digital TV market. They added cameras so buyers could wave their han... » read more

Smart Antennas Come Into View


Antennas are getting smarter, particularly in light of their increasing complexity, along with the intricacies of the environments — existing and new — they play in. There are interesting ways in which antennas are being integrated into the latest vehicles, some examples of which are in-vehicle approaches that range from a single antenna in the infotainment (behind the screen in front of... » read more

HBM2: It’s All About The PHY


HBM DRAM is currently used in graphics, high-performance computing (HPC), server, networking and client applications. HBM, says JEDEC HBM Task Group Chairman Barry Wagner, provides a “compelling solution” to reduce the IO power and memory footprint for the most demanding applications. Recent examples of second-generation HBM deployment include NVIDIA’s Quadro GP100 GPU which is paired wit... » read more

10nm And 7nm Routability – How Is Your CAD Flow Doing?


At DesignCon in January, I was a panelist at a panel session entitled “Power Integrity For 10nm/7nm SoCs - Overcoming Physical Design Challenges And TAT.” I was on the panel together with Arvind Vel, Sr. Director Applications Engineering, ANSYS, Inc. and Ruggero Castagnetti, Distinguished Engineer, Broadcom Limited. This topic is of course extremely broad, but it was interesting getting fee... » read more

Antenna Design Grows Up


Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna issue represents a classic example of what can go wrong in modern antenna design. Put one in the wrong place, and a seemingly insignificant part can turn a cool new product into a public relations nightmare. Ever since antennas dropped out of sight, most consumers don't give them a second thought. In the 1960s, almost every home had a rooftop antenna. Fast forward ... » read more

New USB Audio Class For USB Type-C Digital Headsets


The ¼” phone jack was invented more than 100 years ago to connect people using a new invention called the “telephone.” Today, the modern variant - the 3.5mm phone jack - is widely used. As modern mobile phones are used for more than phone calls and do not have room for multiple connectors, a new approach for audio connectivity is needed, so product designers are retiring the 3.5mm jack. ... » read more

Correlating Software Execution With Switching Activity To Save Power In SoC Designs


There is probably no more pointless waste of energy than lighting and heating a room that is empty. The obvious optimization: notice that no one is there and turn off the lights. It works the same on an SoC or embedded system. To save energy, system developers are adding the ability turn off the parts of the system that are not being used. Big energy savings but with no compromise to functional... » read more

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