Altera brings in ZMDI to boost digital power control integration

August 04, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
In May 2013, Altera acquired point-of-load power regulation specialist Enpirion; now it is aiming to advance the level of integration and digital control around the power regulation function, with the aim of improving the overall power efficiency of the its large FPGAs and their associated power feeds.

Altera is accessing the digital power management technology and expertise of ZMDI (Dresden, Germany) via a licensing agreement and the addition of a digital power design team within Altera. ZMDI (Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden AG) is an analogue and mixed signal semiconductor house; a design team with digital power expertise will focus on expanding the control, adaptability and power saving features of Enpirion PowerSoCs.

Altera’s – Enpirion’s – power products integrate high-frequency power IC technology and advanced magnetics engineering into small form factor packages. With this move, Altera says it will achieve greater control performance between its FPGAs and its power management ICs. MMDC-enabled Enpirion devices will be capable of supporting various new power modes thereby delivering up to a 30% reduction in FPGA power consumption (static and dynamic).

A team of experienced engineers focused on developing this leading-edge digital power technology will join Altera’s research and development team focused on developing advanced power ICs. Dr. Anthony Kelly, formerly ZMDI’s chief system architect, will join Altera and lead the digital power design team.

Enpirion PowerSoCs address the unique power requirements of FPGAs and SoC FPGAs with high efficiency and signal integrity at the highest power density. ZMDI’s digital power technology allows the implementation of multi-objective, heterogeneous control modes while delivering best-in-class transient response in a programmable digital domain. Integrating advanced digital control technology into Enpirion PowerSoCs will enable Altera to create highly innovative power solutions that are optimised to meet the high-performance demands of Altera FPGAs and SoC FPGAs.