Packaging holds the key for emerging technologies

9th April 2018
Caroline Hayes


Vicor believes its Power on Packaging technology will help power system designers meet processing and power needs and anticipate the next power requirements.

A packaging technology by Vicor allows real-time computing is set to increase significantly as it is adopted in applications as diverse as autonomous vehicles to smart factories.  All demand a lot of power at high current and low voltages, explains Henryk Dabrowski, vice president of sales, Vicor. “Supercomputer customers and anyone doing real time computing, hybrid cars for example, use lots of processing, yet have to manage the high current, low voltage paradigm, as well as meeting thermal mechanical performance,” he says. Industrial applications where real-time monitoring is required, also need high current and low voltage delivery with a package that is able to be placed close to the chip. Autonomous vehicles also require a maximum battery life for untethered driving yet they need to be small and lightweight for effective automotive design, while for AI, processors need considerable current and power yet power devices, which can deliver up to 1000A peak cannot run through the PCB without dissipating 100s of Watts and losing efficiency.  

Vicor’s Power-on-Package technology simplifies motherboard design and improves performance by resolving the obstacles met by CPUs and GPUs through external high current delivery at the ‘last inch’ (i.e motherboard conductors and interconnects within the CPU or GPU socket).

The Power-on-Package Modular Current Multipliers (MCMs) fit within the processor package to expand the efficiency, density, and bandwidth of Vicor Factorized Power Architecture (FPA), which is used in 48V direct-to-XPU (CPU or GPU) motherboard applications.

The technology also allows higher peak and average current in systems, and reduces the copper required on the motherboard and the XPU socket interconnect resistances as well as the XPU power pin count by up to a factor of 10, says the company.

The package technology moves high current delivery from the voltage regulator to next to the XPU, to eliminate the power delivery network, or ‘last inch’ from the motherboard

By delivering 48V to the XPU socket, the number of pins required for power and current delivery can be reduced from 200A to 4A, says the company.

An example of how this can reduced the size of data centre servers without impeding the density and performance, is the Gyoukou supercomputer, installed at Jamstec Yokohama Research Institute, Japan. Here, the ExaScaler/PEZY ZettaScale-2.2 liquid immersion cooling supercomputing (pictured) produces 19.1 peta floating point operations per second (PFLOP) and has a Green500 rating of 14.1GFLOP/W.

At present only 19 of the 26 tanks are used, leaving room for expansion. Each tank has 256 processors and uses Vicor’s 48V FPA. The PEZY CPUs are co-packaged with Power-on-Package Modular Current Multipliers (MCMs) for direct 48V to sub-1V current multiplication at the XPU.

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