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Phase Multiplier for High Phase Count Voltage Regulator for High Power Chips

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247872D
Publication Date: 2016-Oct-07

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

"Power supply to computing equipment in data centers is regulated within a narrow range

of voltage in order to ensure continuous, reliable operation. As data centers become more

powerful and centralized, data center equipment is subjected to wide and rapid variation in

power demand. Such variation in power demand can cause the voltage of a power supply to

fluctuate beyond specification and result in malfunction or damage to equipment. This

disclosure describes a two-stage architecture for a voltage regulator with a number of parallel

branches (phases) of high bandwidth. A feedback process is described that ensures balanced

loading across the branches. The voltage regulator with large number of parallel branches is

capable of handling a wide variation in load. The high bandwidth of each branch enables the

voltage regulator to handle rapid changes in load."

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   Phase Multiplier for High Phase Count Voltage Regulator for High Power Chips ABSTRACT

    Power supply to computing equipment in data centers is regulated within a narrow range of voltage in order to ensure continuous, reliable operation. As data centers become more powerful and centralized, data center equipment is subjected to wide and rapid variation in power demand. Such variation in power demand can cause the voltage of a power supply to fluctuate beyond specification and result in malfunction or damage to equipment. This disclosure describes a two-stage architecture for a voltage regulator with a number of parallel branches (phases) of high bandwidth. A feedback process is described that ensures balanced loading across the branches. The voltage regulator with large number of parallel branches is capable of handling a wide variation in load. The high bandwidth of each branch enables the voltage regulator to handle rapid changes in load.

KEYWORDS
● Multi-phase voltage regulator
● Data center power supply
● DC-DC converter
● Duty cycle modulation
● Current-balanced voltage regulator

BACKGROUND

    Computer equipment in data centers, e.g., CPUs, GPUs, switches, accelerators, etc. are getting increasingly powerful and consequently consume large amounts of current, e.g., as high as 400 amperes. At the same time, such equipment can experience wide and rapid variation in load. With too wide and rapid a variation in load, a power supply to such equipment may


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experience voltage fluctuation beyond specification. A large voltage fluctuation may result in abnormal behavior or even damage to equipment. In order to keep up with the wide and rapid variation in load, the power supply to such equipment is regulated by a voltage regulator (VR) with a very fast dynamic response.

    Voltage regulators with fast dynamic response and good current sourcing capability are constructed by combining multiple buck (DC-to-DC) converters along parallel branches and feeding each buck converter with pulsed waveforms that are offset in phase. Such a VR is shown in Fig. 1, and is known as a multi-phase VR.

Fig. 1: A multi-phase voltage regulator

    In Fig. 1, N similar buck regulators (102, 112) are connected in parallel and driven by N pulse-width modulated waveforms PWM1 (110) through PWMN(114). Each buck regulator converts an input voltage Vin(104) to a voltage Vout (116) that powers load equipment (118). The pulse-width modulated waveforms PWM1-PWMN are interleaved in time such that at any time only one of the pulse-width modulated waveforms is at an active phase of duty cycle.


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Consequently, corresponding currents Iout 1through Iout N, sourced by each buck regulator, are each equal to 1/N of the total current feeding the load.

    The described configuration results in lower power rated components sharing the total current among the branches. This results in lower current and voltage ripple even as the load varies dynamically over a...