Power-on-Package: Enabling Higher Performance in Artificial Intelligence Applications

August 22, 2017
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Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data mining and other demanding applications are driving CPU/GPU/ASIC (“XPU”) processor operating currents to hundreds of Amperes. As these currents increase, the remaining short distance to the XPU, the “last inch” in point-of-load power architectures, have become a limiting factor in XPU performance and total system efficiency.

VIcor Power on Package MCM_MCDOver the past ten years Vicor has pioneered 48V Direct-to-XPU power development, reducing losses by an average of 25% every two years, while increasing power system density and cost-effectiveness. Today at the Open Data Center Committee (ODCC) meeting in Beijing, China, Vicor continued this evolution with the announcement of our Power-on-Package modular current multipliers. By freeing up XPU socket pins and eliminating losses associated with delivery of current from the motherboard to the XPU, Vicor’s Power-on-Package solution enables higher current delivery for maximum XPU performance.

Power-on-Package Modular Current Multipliers (“MCMs”) fit within the XPU package to expand upon the efficiency, density, and bandwidth advantages of Vicor’s Factorized Power Architecture, already established in 48V Direct-to-XPU motherboard applications by early adopters. As current multipliers, MCMs mounted on the XPU substrate under the XPU package lid, or outside of it, are driven at a fraction (e.g., 1/64th) of the XPU current from an external Modular Current Driver (MCD). The MCD, located on the motherboard, drives MCMs and accurately regulates the XPU voltage with high bandwidth and low noise.  The solution profiled today, consisting of two MCMs and one MCD, enables delivery of up to 320A of continuous current to the XPU, with peak current capability of 640A.

Vicor Power on PackageWith MCMs mounted directly to the XPU substrate, the XPU current delivered by the MCMs does not traverse the XPU socket. Because the MCD drives MCMs at a low current, power from the MCD can be efficiently routed to MCMs reducing interconnect losses by 10X even though 90% of the XPU pins typically required for power delivery are reclaimed for expanded I/O functionality. Additional benefits include a simplified motherboard design and a substantial reduction in the minimum bypass capacitance required to keep the XPU within its voltage limits.

Two initial Power-on-Package devices have been announced: a MCM3208S59Z01A6C00 Modular Current Multiplier (MCM) and a MCD3509S60E59D0C01 Modular Current Multiplier Driver (MCD). Multiple MCMs may be operated in parallel for increased current capability. The small (32mm x 8mm x 2.75mm) package and low noise characteristics of the MCM make it suitable for co-packaging with noise-sensitive, high performance ASICs, GPUs and CPUs.

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