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Power Consumption Example

Example: core area 64 mm²; average net length 0.1 mm; 400K gates/mm², a=0.25.

Net capacitance = 0.1 mm × 1 fF/mm × 400K × 64 mm² = 2.5 nF.

Vcc Freq Static Power Dynamic Power Total Power
Volts MHz mW mW mW
0.8 100 40 24 64
1.35 100 67 68 135
1.35 200 67 136 204
1.8 100 90 121 211
1.8 200 90 243 333
1.8 400 90 486 576

In the past we were often core-bound or pad-bound.

Today's VLSI designs are commonly power-bound.

Workstation microprocessors dissipate tens of Watts: hence cooling fans.

The table shows example power consumption for a circuit when clocked at different frequencies and voltages. The important thing to ensure is that the supply voltage must be sufficient for the clock frequency in use: too low a voltage means that signals do not arrive at D-type inputs in time to meet set up times.

Compare 1.35V to 1.8V: twice the power and twice the clock frequency.

In the past, chips were often core-bound or pad-bound. Pad-bound meant that the chip had too many I/O signals for its core logic area: the number of I/O's puts a lower bound on the perimeter of the chip.

Today's VLSI technology allows I/O pads in the middle of the chip and designs are commonly power-bound.

(C) 2008-10, DJ Greaves, University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory.