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Semtech Creates an Intel-AMD Power Nexus

Semiconductor maker Semtech Monday unveiled a new chipset for motherboard OEMs and ODMs who are forced to build two separate systems with processors from either Intel or Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) .

Camarillo, Calif.-based Semtech's answer to the conundrum is a new configurable Vcore power chipset, which combines the company's SC2643VX multiphase DC-to-DC controller and its SC1211 high-speed MOSFET driver.

The configuration lets PC motherboard designers and manufacturers standardize on a single power solution for any high-performance microprocessor designed to Intel's 10.X VRD (VR down on board) and 9.X VRM (voltage regulator module) specifications or AMD's K8 or K7 specifications.

The chipset will allow for motherboards designed around the Intel Springdale platforms using Northwood and Prescott processors; the AMD-K7 architecture (Duron and Athlon processors); and the AMD-K8 Hammer architecture (Opteron processor).

"Designers and managers alike will appreciate the chipset's high performance as well as the significant cost benefits of its design flexibility and versatility," said Semtech director Ken Boyden.

The combination SC2643VX+SC1211 chipset converts a 12V main supply into highly accurate core supply voltages required by next-generation desktop microprocessors. The new chipset allows for processor voltage identification (VID) code sensing, which helps set Vcore output voltages automatically. Output-signal phase relationships are programmable for 2-, 3-, or 4-phase operation.

Semtech says its new chipset also uses Combi-Sense peak current-mode topology to provide loss-less current sharing and stable operation over all load conditions. The SC2643VX controller's internal 6-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) provides output voltages in 1.25mV steps with a 0.5 percent precision set-point accuracy, to meet VRM 10.X voltage specifications.

The SC2643VX+SC1211 chipset is rated for commercial temperature range applications ranging from freezing to 85 degrees C. The SC2643VX is available in 24-pin SOIC or 24-pin TSSOP packages, while the SC1211 MOSFET drivers come in SO-8 packages.

The company said samples of the chipset are available now and expects production quantities available in December 2002.