Renesas’ new programmable clock generator

30th November 2022
Beth Floyd

Renesas Electronics, a supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, introduced the VersaClock 7 clock generators, a family of configurable clock generators with an internal crystal oscillator for PCIe and networking applications in high-end computing, wired infrastructure and data centre equipment.

The VersaClock 7 delivers unmatched flexibility, enabling designers to configure frequencies, Input/Output (I/O) levels, and General Purpose I/O (GPIO) pin functionality. It establishes a new benchmark in combining low power consumption, cost-efficiency, and small package size.

“Timing needs can vary greatly between different applications and equipment, and often change during a product design cycle,” said Zaher Baidas, Vice President of the Timing Products Division at Renesas. “VersaClock 7 gives our customers the flexibility to configure multiple design parameters while offering the best value available for their particular performance requirements.”

“High levels of integration and the flexibility of programmability helps manufacturers reduce component counts, saving board space and power,” said Susie Inouye, Principal Analyst at Databeans in Reno, Nevada. “Additionally, using fewer components reduces the risk of supply-chain issues interrupting production.”

Key features

  • 8-, 12- differential outputs with integrated crystal options
  • 150fs typical RMS 12k-20MHz phase jitter
  • 1.8V/2.5V/3.3V flexible power rails
  • Digital holdover and hitless switching
  • SPI / I2C/ SMBUS interface support
  • PCIe Gen 1-6 support
  • Synchronous Ethernet support
  • 5 x 5mm, 6 x 6 mm space saving QFN package
  • One-time programmable (OTP) up to 27 configurations or external EEPROM

Configuration with new Renesas IC ToolBox (RICBox)

In order to configure the VersaClock 7 devices, Renesas offers the new Renesas IC ToolBox (RICBox) Windows application that enables users to create configurations and program devices on evaluation boards. RICBox is a new introduced platform for delivering software to customers for evaluating Renesas products. Customers can use either Python drivers or a Windows GUI to create customised configurations and program VersaClock 7 devices on evaluation boards.

Customers can create optimised configurations for devices by specifying high-level parameters that don’t require expert knowledge of the device. RICBox interfaces seamlessly with Renesas’ innovative Lab on The Cloud platform. Customers can download the configuration they create and work with it locally using RICBox. Alternatively, they can start with RICBox and upload their configuration to Lab on the Cloud to analyse the performance.

Winning Combination

Renesas has combined the VersaClock 7 clock generators with numerous analogue and power offerings to create comprehensive solutions for a variety of applications, such as the “Power & Timing System for AI Accelerator Card” Winning Combination. This solution incorporates the RC21008A programmable VersaClock 7, 9QXL2001 PCIe Buffer and the ISL99390 90A Smart Power Stage module. The new VersaClock 7 is also available on Renesas Lab on The Cloud, for users to evaluate the phase noise performance of a specific clock configuration on a board using a phase noise analyser. It can be found under “Clock ICs and Clock Timing Solutions.” Renesas Winning Combinations have technically vetted system architectures from mutually compatible devices that work together seamlessly to create an optimised, low-risk design for faster time to market. Renesas offers more than 300 Winning Combinations with a wide range of products to enable customers to bring their products to market more quickly. 

All of the new VersaClock 7 devices are available today from Renesas and its distribution partners, along with programming boards for instant prototyping. The RICBox programming application is available via a free download at www.renesas.com/ricbox.

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