Analog Zone Selects Summit Voltage Controller for Product-of-the-Year

2/2/2004 - Summit Microelectronics has announced that its SMM665 six-channel ultra-precise voltage controller has won the Analog Zone ( 2003 award for "the Best Engineered Power Controller." The annual award program recognizes outstanding products introduced in a given year. Summit is the only privately held company among the eight recognized in the "Power Management Technology" category. The others include Linear Technology, Intersil, Analog Devices, ST Microelectronics and Siliconix.

Paul McGoldrick, AnalogZONE editor-in-chief, said "To achieve Product of the Year honors, the chosen product must be a standout in its class, possessing exceptional technical merit as well as well-targeted marketability." He commented on Summit's award, saying, "The SMM665 is one of those few products which will fascinate the analog engineer because of the sheer accuracy of the voltage settings it achieves. Beyond accuracy, sequencing and margining of supplies is becoming more and more critical in multi-voltage ASICs/processors/DSPs. The SMM665 can be sequenced in any order and in different ways and achieves highly-accurate margining voltage. The company has carefully listened to potential end users in a myriad of applications, and the decision to offer a factory pre-programming service is a strong additional lure."

The SMM665 has raised the bar on precision analog performance with Summit's new innovation called Active DC Output Control (ADOC) to intelligently maintain the output voltage of up to six DC/DC converters on the user's board with dramatically improved accuracy in system use &emdash; typically +/-0.1% of voltage output, and guaranteed to +/-0.2%. This is an order of magnitude improvement over existing solutions that are typically several percent innacurate. The SMM665 is rapidly gaining acceptance at a number of enterprise equipment makers &emdash; and not only because of its high voltage accuracy.

The SMM665 brings a highly-integrated suite of solutions that addresses critical power management requirements. This includes the higher accuracy DC/DC supply voltage increasingly demanded in high-performance processors, FPGAs and ASICs. This demand will be ever more critical as semiconductor feature size decreases. The allowable error can be as low as 10-15mV for state-of-the-art devices. The innovation embedded in the SMM665 meets these stringent standards.

The SMM665 is also a highly optimized controller with true cascaded sequencing capability so that the user can turn on up to six DC/DC power supplies in any order to accommodate the varied requirements of high-performance load devices. The ramp of a given supply voltage is not started until the prior voltage has reached it's threshold voltage level. This eliminates the risk of a voltage ramping up out of sequence because the prior voltage has not responded due to loadings problems or other difficulties. That risk is present in devices that are called sequencers, but which actually just blindly time the turnon of various voltage supplies.

In addition, the SMM665 is a precision marginer. Voltage margining is rapidly becoming recognized to have great value as equipment makers strive to improve the reliability of the product that they ship to customers. Precision margining lets the manufacturer verify each electronic board in production and weed out those with marginal component interactions. This is done by varying the voltage supply "rails" on the board to find sensitivities that predict longer-term reliability problems and field failure. The high-accuracy capability of the SMM665 effectively implements margining &emdash; unlike other margining controllers with as much as 10% or more innacuracy that negates the advantages of performing margining in the first place.

Summit's products are programmable. They provide the user with a rich set of configuration options to optimize them for particular applications. They're platform solutions because a given user typically designs ICs like the Summit SMM665 into a number of sockets, often dozens, across their equipment product lines. In each socket, they rapidly tailor the product to the needs of that socket using a high-level GUI supplied by Summit.

Once a user completes design and prototyping, the GUI automatically generates a hexadecimal data file that can be sent to Summit for review and approval. Summit then assigns a unique customer identification code to the file and programs the customer's production devices prior to production final electrical test. This ensures that the device will operate properly in the end application. The design kit software can be downloaded today from Summit's website at

Summit Microelectronics supplies semiconductors that provide precision analog control for a variety of end equipment, from server and storage and networking, to handheld battery-operated units.

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