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Factorized Power Architecture: Achieving high density and efficiency in board mounted power

Author: Tom Curatolo, Principal Applications Engineer-Vicor

As motherboard loads and load power began to increase and density became even more challenging, power systems architecture evolved from a distributed DC-DC converter (or Brick) to IBA (Intermediate Bus Architecture). With IBA, a converter steps the 48V input down to 12V and multiple niPOLs (non-isolated point-of-load regulators) buck the 12V down to specific load voltage requirements. Power system architectures adapted to solve the new challenges of a changing communications, computing and industrial world, driven by ever-increasing performance demands.

Today’s power requirements and lower (<<1V) PoL operating voltages, are placing new demands on IBA that now affect system performance. ><1V) PoL operating voltages, are placing new demands on IBA that now affect system performance. The increase in power and dynamic-load requirements of many of today’s loads (CPUs, GPUs, AI processors) demand that their voltage regulators (VRs) be located as close as possible to the load input power pins. This significantly reduces power losses through printed circuit board or substrate copper power planes referred to as the Power Delivery Network, or PDN. Additionally, many loads require extremely high-current transient response (di/dt), which motherboard impedance can impact.

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