ICs add smart control to batteries News & Analysis 2/22/1999 Post a comment "Smart battery" is a broad term, used to describe battery packs containing anything from a ROM identity chip to integrated battery-management circuits that report the battery's charge state, monitor and control charging, and supervise the operating environment of the rechargeable batteries.
Inductorless switching saves power News & Analysis 2/22/1999 Post a comment Lower operating voltages give the biggest bang for the buck when longer operating life in battery-powered devices is your goal. But those lower voltages also present power-supply designers with new challenges as they strive to wring every last watt-hour from the battery.
Supply noise plagues portable RF News & Analysis 2/22/1999 Post a comment While power-supply efficiency and battery life have always been problematic in handheld designs, powering the portable RF circuitry -one of the most compelling features of portable devices-remains especially challenging. But the presence of low-level RF circuitry makes power-supply noise a far greater concern than in earlier portable systems. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques to help power supplies accommodate RF designs-usually without adding to system cost or size.
MOSFETs minimize circuitry for Vaux News & Analysis 2/22/1999 Post a comment Every year, technology advances the capabilities of the PC. These advances can be seen either externally or functionally as display types, sound capability and operating speed. And they may be related to operating voltages or low-power modes of operation, making them somewhat invisible to the user. To maintain compliance and interoperability, designers in the PC industry must be aware of specifications such as ACPI, PS 98 and PC 98.
Two steps to 1.5-V power conversion News & Analysis 2/22/1999 Post a comment Declining microprocessor operating voltages complicate the task of CPU-core power conversion. A core power supply must exhibit fast transient response times, high efficiency and low heat generation in the vicinity of the processor. Those factors will soon force a move away from one-step power conversion (from a battery or wall adapter to the processor) to a two-step conversion, wherein the CPU-core power is obtained from the 5-V supply.
Power-hungry apps demand diverse strategies News & Analysis 2/22/1999 Post a comment It is no coincidence that this week's "Focus" on power management runs concurrently with the Penton Wireless Symposium/Portable by Design Conference in San Jose, Calif. (Feb. 22-26). Power management is one of the fastest-growing markets for analog and mixed-signal ICs. And portable appliances-especially computers and cell phones-are among the biggest consumers of power-management devices.
ISSCC: Hitachi to market SH3 as IP core News & Analysis 2/18/1999 Post a comment Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc. has quietly let it be known at ISSCC this week that it would soon market its SH3-DSP chip as a synthesizable core. The device, which combines a 32-bit, 133-MHz microprocessor with a 133-Mips digital signal processor, is currently available only as a packaged part (the SH7729). The maneuver is intended to make the SH3-DSP more competitive with the ARM and Oak DSP cores, which are available as highly customizable soft cores, said Peter Clark, president and chie
VSI spec establishes system-modeling taxonomy News & Analysis 2/17/1999 Post a comment Most designers would say they know what a "behavioral" model is or what "cycle-accurate" means. But because such terms are used differently by individuals and companies, the Virtual Socket Interface (VSI) alliance is trying to define a common nomenclature in its latest specification: the System-Level Design Model Taxonomy.
Startup looks to put price tags on IP cores News & Analysis 2/8/1999 Post a comment IP Valuation, a unique startup, is bringing a fresh approach to an emerging problem placing a financial value on silicon intellectual-property (IP) cores. The company is working with both IP providers and purchasers on a consulting basis, and may soon start selling a software application that places a value on IP.
De Geus IDs trouble spots for system-on-a-chip designs News & Analysis 2/3/1999 Post a comment Aart de Geus, chairman of Synopsys Inc., presented two sides of the system-on-a-chip argument in his keynote speech at DesignCon '99 on Tuesday (Feb. 2). On one hand, the complex chips present opportunities for radically new design tools to become the saviors of the electronics industry. Conversely, the shortcomings of current tools are holding back the progress of system-on-a-chip development, he said.
VSIA bids to jump-start system-on-chip specs News & Analysis 2/1/1999 Post a comment Attempting to jump-start adoption of its system-on-a-chip specifications, the Virtual Socket Interface Alliance (VSIA) will officially launch its Registered VSIA Adopter (RVA) program today (Feb. 1) at DesignCon99.
Graphics framework bridges systems News & Analysis 2/1/1999 Post a comment Software engineers recognize the opportunities for innovation afforded by the proliferation of advanced 3-D graphics hardware. Once used only in high-end professional systems, quality digital graphics are now available on lower-end consumer systems.