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Thread: rfi - Current "Leading Edge" Power Supply Innovations

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    More on point ... In terms of PC computing, I think there have been some notable efforts over the years to radically re-think the PC entirely from the ground up. I doubt it's going to happen for any energy-related reason, but maybe security concerns could drive it. If that happens, then a complete rethink of the power supply could be an ancillary benefit. ATX power supplies are apparently a little like an I.C.E. and from what I'm reading here, maybe there's just not much more to be squeezed out of the technology, even at any cost (and cost is always going to be the primary consideration in design for any mass market item).

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    Fusion could take us into the far future... but will the moderators let us continue?

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    Maybe but the thread might get moved.

    I'm curious to know why you think so and I'm being sincere. I would love to know better. My understanding is that man-made fusion will likely be a part of the far future (somehow) but I'm not sure how it's actually going to get it us to the far future. They're talking about commercializing tokamak-type reactors at some point, like what they're doing over there is even remotely practical on any level. That just seems utterly ridiculous to me. They're orders of magnitude too complex and really don't make radically more power than what is put into them! But again - you probably know something I don't about the practicality of fusion in general. I'll admit I need to do more reading on the topic.

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    @ashiekh - GaN (Gallium Nitride) & other "Compound Semicon" materials
    to follow up on my opening posts on "concrete innovation" (and the underlying materials science)

    I saw you posted this pointer on yet another thread in this forum section
    http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/show...ange-the-world

    Now GaN is not the only compound semiconductor material around...
    there's InP, GaAs (used in RF power electronics), InGaAs, AlGaAs, (used in optoelectronics)
    there's CdTe (used in xray sensors), SiGe for higher frequency applications, especially comm ICs (instead of pure Silicon)
    and recently I heard about "Carbon Diamond" as a power semiconductor material
    Edit ... and of course there is SiC (Silicon Carbide) - which I almost forgot - with properties in between Si/SiGe and GaN

    for power electronics, the materials of choice appear to be Si, SiGe, GaAs, InP, GaAn and "Carbon Diamond"
    interesting ... I saw GaAs applications in RF Power (a lot being made by Corvo - formerly TriQuint Semi)
    GaN appears to be gaining hold in very high-density lower-frequency (non-RF) Power applications

    "Carbon Diamond" ... no idea, just heard that usable power density is even higher with this material
    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ronic_material
    https://www.power-and-beyond.com/gan...ices-a-931191/
    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/1...463/aaaf9d/pdf
    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...O3_and_Diamond

    I wonder when such "New Age materials" will enter our "regular" computer systems' PSU. Maybe never ever.
    So far only the topmost part of the high-power / high efficiency PSU market seems to make use of GaN
    (the target market for the Corsair AX-1600i ... rated 1600W)

    kind regards,
    CROSSY

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    As someone alluded to earlier, since power supplies are already so efficient, those other technologies may never find their way into consumer-oriented PSUs unless a) power somehow became so much more expensive that tiny improvements in efficiency would warrant their adoption or b) some other application adopts one of those technologies driving their cost down to the point where they become widely used throughout the mass-market semiconductor industry in ways they hadn't been before - e.g. - making them cheap, abundant. Under those circumstances, designers would probably go ahead and adopt them because ... why not?

    Though that said ... The ax1600i seems to have been a surprising success. What few are left in the market are commanding a substantial premium over earlier prices. I don't believe any retailer ever had to mark them down or put them on clearance. Corsair sold every one they had made. Many people apparently like owning bleeding edge technology whether there's a lot of practical benefit to doing so or not. It's a prestige product. For that reason and given the success of the ax1600i, we have seen and probably will continue to see additional exotic technologies incorporated into higher margin niche-PSUs. Those things may eventually trickle down but it may not happen quickly because it really doesn't need to.
    Last edited by 99wjtx; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:04 PM.

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    Perhaps no innovations are needed.

    In theory running a chip at half speed allows for one eighth power consumption, i.e. a 400% improvement in efficiency.

    P ~ V^2 f
    f ~ V

    The first is just ohmic heating (V^2/R) and the second is the voltage needed to sustain a certain frequency; so by halving the voltage one halves performance but cuts the power consumption by a factor of 8.


    I read that Windows 10 runs reasonably on an 8GB Raspberry Pi 4, which consumes around 5W; at that level power supply efficiency is almost moot.
    Last edited by ashiekh; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:21 AM.

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    @ashiekh
    thanks for mentioning this relationship - I haven't been aware of that. While reducing CPU power is not an avenue for my own needs, I do realize that "ubiquitous" computing power needs are very divergent and especially IoT and "MCU like" applications (POS terminals, ATM machines, vending machines etc.) of logic could benefit from reducing power and limiting speed, especially that their feature set (use cases) are more or less predefined and limited.

    @99wjtx
    you raise a valid point. Increasingly "mainstream technology" appears to be far better than merely "good enough" these days. For example, recently I was able to purchase 3 units of 450W Xilence Performance A+ / III (XP450R11) - this is the XN081 model for around 30 including 20% VAT on Amazon in a "clearance batch" sale. This is such a fine PSU (LLC primary circuit, DC/DC secondary stage, synchronous rectifiers) , Bronze rated (the higher wattage model appear almost 80% EU Silver to me) and I was able to pick up 3 units of these for a price point where you would formerly only have picked up garbage. I know these are 200-240V PSUs only so the component specs are less stringent and powerful compared to the 100-250V models. OTOH, I'm in Europe and our grid typically runs at 220-240V/60Hz here.

    kind regards
    CROSSY

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