Power Electronics

Fast Serial Bus Aids Power Management in Computers

Analog Devices (www.analog.com) has teamed with Intel to develop a new way to efficiently communicate computer system heat dissipation and voltage management and control information to safeguard the performance and reliability of desktop computers, workstations and servers. The two companies have codeveloped and launched a new interface called the Simple Serial Transport (SST) bus that enables faster and more precise communication of system efficiency-determining factors of temperature and voltage within a variety of computing systems.By relaying this environmental information to a computer's core-logic chipset with greater speed and accuracy, the SST bus can dramatically reduce thermal management errors that can lead to a drop in computing performance. In a related announcement, ADI has introduced the ADT748x family of SST-enabled temperature and voltage sensors for use in personal computers, workstations and servers.

By communicating data in a robust, noise-immune and scalable way, the SST bus improves on the existing 100-Kbps SMBus in high-performance computing applications by offering increased bandwidth and higher noise sensitivity. Designed to reduce fan noise and improve platform performance in desktop PCs, servers and workstations, the SST bus relays key environmental information, such as temperature and voltage, directly to the system's core logic or dedicated ASIC fan-speed controllers at a rate of 1 Mbps.

The SST bus enhances system reliability and performance by significantly reducing communication errors. In particular, when tested in the same environment on new PC motherboards, the SMBus measures about one error every 10,000 bits, compared to the SST bus' one error for every one billion bits processed. As a result, the user may see improved boot time and less chance of delays caused when a thermal event is not properly relayed to the core logic. In addition, the SST bus allows PC and workstation designers to use new features found in some next-generation Intel chipsets, such as the recently announced Intel Quiet System Technology (Intel QST).

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