New Industry Products

CHiL Semi Announces VR11.1-Compliant Digital Controllers For Server, Gaming Applications

September 10, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

CHiL Semiconductor Corp. announced two new digital multi-phase buck controllers for VR11.1-compliant server and gaming/enthusiast desktop applications. According to the company, as the first digital controllers to offer up to 8-phase control, the CHL8316 and CHL8318 controllers are said to use a number of innovative patent-pending digital control techniques to meet over 90% power efficiency levels across virtually all load ranges. At the same time CHiL is also announcing the CHL8510 server driver, a new high frequency MOSFET gate driver designed to support these new additions to the company’s rapidly growing family of multiphase digital controllers.

The CHL8316 is an Intel VR11.1-compliant digital multi-phase buck controller. The new device supports up to six programmable interleaved synchronous buck phases. Designers can digitally configure the switching frequency of each phase from 200 kHz to 1 MHz. By storing device parameters in non-volatile memory embedded on chip, designers can modify and optimize their design without changing external components. CHiL provides a GUI that can be used to easily access, set and modify those parameters. Moreover, by using more accurate digital controls designers can significantly reduce component count, PCB space requirements and bill of material (BOM) costs compared to legacy analog approaches.

To address the fast transients in today’s VR11.1-compliant CPU designs, the CHL8316 adds a highly optimized analog-to-digital converter architecture. This high-speed ADC responds to a very fast transient response of > 2000 A/µs.

By digitally controlling current across six programmable synchronous phases, designers can use the CHL8316 to optimize power efficiency at high load conditions. As current drops the CHL8316 automatically detects and dynamically reduces the number of phases to further improve power efficiency. A patent-pending variable gate drive reduces MOSFET gate losses and especially improves efficiency at lower operating currents. Finally, these products report the operating voltage, current and efficiency through an SMBus, allowing system level control of power management. These new functions enable system designers to maximize power efficiency at the circuit and system levels.

The CHL8318 controller adds a number of additional capabilities to support higher performance server and gamer/enthusiast desktop PC applications. Eight phase control offer faster transient response and better power efficiency. Custom digital overclocking features allow gaming and enthusiast users to extend voltage range up to 2.3V, while VID scaling and offset controls and load line adjustment features offer additional performance enhancements. Importantly, none of the gaming features require additional external components.

The CHL8318 features the same power efficiency capabilities found on the CHL8316. Using eight phase control for high load conditions along with dynamic phase control and adjustable gate drive for mid-to-low load conditions, designers using the CHL8318 can achieve better than 90% power efficiency across virtually all load conditions.

To control the large amounts of heat generated by its overclocking functions, the CHL8318 also adds advanced thermal management capabilities. Three external temperature sensors support more comprehensive monitoring and control of phase current to balance temperature variations. In addition, the controller adds the same programmable VR HOT and OTP features as well as the automatic thermal balancing capability found on the CHL8316.

Specified across the 0 to 85°C range, the 6-phase CHL8316 controller is available in a Pb-free 48-pin QFN package. It sells for $2.49 in 1K quantities. The 8-phase CHL8318 controller is also specified across the 0 to 85°C range and is available in a Pb-free 56-pin QFN package. The IC sells for $3.29 in 1K quantities. Qualified across the same temperature range, the CHL8510 MOSFET driver comes in a 10-pin DFN and sells for $0.49 in 1K quantities.