SuVolta, which came out of stealth mode, says its PowerShrink platform can cut the voltage in chips by 30 percent and the power consumption by half, key points when talking about processors for mobile devices.
A startup is unveiling a platform that officials say will cut the power
consumption in processors by more than half, a move that makes it the latest
entrant into an increasingly competitive mobile chip market.
a six-year-old company that came out of stealth mode June 6, is introducing its
PowerShrink platform, which officials said reduces power consumption through
new transistor technology called Deeply Depleted Channel-or DDC-CMOS
technology. The PowerShrink platform also includes DDC-optimized circuits and
design techniques, all of which together helps drive down voltage by up to 30
percent or more, which greatly reduces power consumption.
the same time, SuVolta's technology also reduces power leakage by 80 percent,
maintains the chip's performance and does not increase production costs.
Officials said the PowerShrink platform can be used for a variety of IC
(integrated circuits) platforms, including chips, SRAMs (static random-access
memory) and SoC (system-on-a-chip) architectures, such as chips designed by ARM
Holding, whose technology is found in most mobile devices, including
smartphones and tablets.
technology, which officials said should go into production in 2012, comes as
chip-makers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are driving down the power
consumption of their x86-based processors as they look to gain a share of the
red-hot mobile chip market, which currently is dominated by ARM-designed
chips from such vendors as Samsung, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.
the rise of such devices as smartphones and tablets, the emphasis in processors
has quickly shifted from simply performance gains to power consumption. SuVolta
executives say their PowerShrink platform and DDC technology will help in
driving down power consumption while maintaining performance.
consumption has become the limiting factor in the amount of functionality that
can be packed into mobile computing devices like smartphones, tablets and
notebooks," Bruce McWilliams, president and CEO at SuVolta, said in a
statement. "Lowering semiconductor power consumption has far-reaching
benefits for the range of applications and products that can be developed."
DDC CMOS technology, with its unique channel
structure, essential reduces the electrical variation of the threshold voltage
of the chip's transistors. This helps drive down the power consumption, which
officials said is crucial when scaling chip process technologies and adding
biggest problem in semiconductors today is not performance but power," SuVolta CTO
Scott Thompson said in a statement. "SuVolta is solving the power impasse by
significantly reducing transistor threshold voltage variation and therefore
enabling supply voltage scaling. SuVolta's DDC sub-micron technology addresses
threshold voltage control by limiting random and other sources of dopant
fluctuation while simultaneously improving carrier mobility and reducing device
capacitance so as to maintain circuit speed at much lower power."
the same time, SuVolta's platform can be used with current CMOS
design rules and process flows, according to company officials. This helps keep
production costs down because the platform can be built using existing fabs,
and won't require chip manufacturers to invest in new fabs or equipment. By
comparison, Intel is expected to spend millions of dollars to upgrade its fabs
to produce chips with its new
3D Tri-Gate transistor technology
, which the giant chip maker introduced in
is looking to license its technology to chip makers. Fujitsu Semiconductor is
the first manufacturer to license the technology. The two companies have begun
joint development in the push to commercialize the technology, SuVolta
SuVolta team has got some deep industry experience. Thompson, the CTO,
spent 12 years at Intel as a Fellow working on chip production processes.
McWilliams, the CEO, had led Tessera Technologies, which also develops and
licenses technologies for new electronic devices.
45-person company, which received $22 million in funding in 2010, is backed by
the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. One of the
firm's partners is Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, who also sits on the
SuVolta board of directors.
PowerShrink platform can greatly reduce the power consumption of digital ICs, a
$130 [billion] market," Joy said in a statement. "This will enable
straightforward power reductions in existing ICs and libraries, and even
greater improvements in new, and more aggressive designs which use additional
capabilities of the SuVolta PowerShrink platform."