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Preaching to the converted

DC/DC converter technology is developing to address the electronics mainstream. By Vanessa Knivett.

The power market has not been renowned for its innovation. However, with advanced electronics migrating into mass market applications in the automotive, communications and pc sectors, the levels of power efficiency and performance now required are at the levels reserved previously for the likes of military and other mission critical equipment. Consequently, power has become something of a hot topic.
Foreseeing some years ago that mobile computers would be limited by thermal management issues associated with power supplies, Intel instigated an industry wide effort to reduce power consumption, starting by reducing voltages on mobile system components. The industry also put pressure on power providers to more suitable ways of integrating power features into a system.
Power supply developers have concentrated their efforts in two main areas: shrinking the size of the power device or maximising the power available from the same sized device; and moving away from a centralised power architecture to a distributed one. Centralised power supplies cope less well with the demands placed by today’s systems which comprise lower voltage drops and the need to respond well to transient loads.

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Vanessa Knivett

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