New Chiplet DC-DC Converter Unveiled for 1kW Processors at ISSCC

February 26, 2024

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Instantaneous power demand on large processor ICs is reaching unprecedented levels, with a thousand amps flowing through them at times. This surge in power requirements has prompted Intel to explore innovative solutions for future system-in-package designs that are expected to consume around 1kW.

At the recent International Solid-State Circuit Conference in San Francisco, Intel unveiled a groundbreaking prototype - a 52 phase buck converter created using a 16nm finfet CMOS process. This converter is designed to be integrated into ICs to meet the escalating power demands of modern computing systems.

The point-of-load DC-DC converter is capable of taking in 2V and delivering 200A (with a peak of 624A) at regulated sub-volt levels. Intel has stated that operating at 200A would ensure a 5-year lifetime in real-world usage scenarios, highlighting the robustness of their design.

In the demonstration, the converter's phases were interleaved and paralleled to create a four-phase system that switches at an impressive 65MHz. The peak efficiency of this innovative converter is reported to be 87%, showcasing its effectiveness in managing power delivery efficiently.

The passive components of the converter include MIM capacitors and one-per-phase inductors (~2.4nH) made from conductors and a 730μm thick magnetic layer. With a total height of approximately 2mm, the converter can be configured as a stand-alone device for the back of a PCB or utilized as a bare-die chiplet within a stacked die system-in-module.

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