Steve Pimpis, AMP Group
EDN (October 06, 2016)
Designers of advanced computing systems are no longer able to consider the power supply as a “black box” that can be plugged in at the end of the project. Giving due consideration to power design at an early stage is essential given the growing complexity of server boards, demands for greater power and efficiency, and the need to plan for multiple product generations. On the other hand, engineers also need flexible power solutions in order to respond to system design changes and adopt a platform approach to the power design, which can help streamline future development. The ability to easily configure, control and monitor power delivery functions is a valuable characteristic enabled by digitally configurable power modules.
Pressure on power design
High-performance computer boards such as data-center servers present increasingly complex routing and component-placement challenges as designers seek to maximize data-processing and storage capabilities in the minimum possible area to comply with the standard rack dimensions. With a mix of advanced processors, ASICs and FPGAs that feature large numbers of I/Os and multiple power domains, the PCB can incorporate 20 layers or more for timing-critical high-speed signal traces and power distribution.
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