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Better Fix That Leak

Comments(0)Filed under: Low power , Logic Design, conformal, leakage power, system design, energy star

Things that leak are bad.  If your hot water tank leaks, you might ruin your basement.  If your furnace leaks, you might get blown up.  And if your device leaks, you might not be able to sell your products in the EU.

 

Ok, maybe the later isn’t as bad as being blown up, but it will probably have more of an impact on the business of design.  There are some new standards proposed for major devices.  From an article on vnunet

The Eco-design Regulatory Committee this week endorsed standby limits proposed by the European Commission. These limits would be introduced through the 2005 Eco-design Directive, which provides a framework for rules covering any class of electrical device used in households and offices, such as TVs, computers and microwave ovens. The next stage in the EU legislative process will see the proposals debated by the European Parliament.The proposals aim to set a maximum power consumption for standby of either one or two watts from 2010, depending on the type of product. In 2013, the admissible power consumption levels would drop to 0.5W or 1W.

From the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (eceee)

"This first measure under the Ecodesign Directive[1]will drastically reduce standby electricity consumption of household and office products. It is a concrete contribution to reach the EU's energy efficiency and climate protection targets, while saving citizens' money", remarked Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

Just to see if the US is behind the times, or with them, I went and looked up the Energy Star 8.0 requirements:

B. Standby: To qualify as ENERGY STAR under both Tier 1 and Tier 2 of this specification, TVs, TV Combination Units, Television Monitors, and Component Television Units must not exceed power consumption of 1 watt in Standby. Additionally, this lowest power consuming Standby must be the default Standby for the TV as shipped to consumers. Measurements are to be taken without a POD module, if present on the product, installed.

So, with the increasing demands for functionality, how are systems designers going to accomplish these tight power requirements?  Because this really is a system level problem – the person designing the TV must consider the tube, the electronics, the software – all the functions.  And must consider them early enough in the design cycle to be able to do something about it.  With these restrictions, it is no use to anyone to get to tapeout only to discover that the device consumes 2W.

 

The other interesting thing is that this really means that power is for everyone.  I’ve been going around the world now for a number of years discussing the Cadence Low Power Solution.  And, I’ve heard from a number of people that, “we’re not wireless, so we really don’t care about power.”  Or if they did care about power, it was a just a system cost since they’d need bigger power supplies and bigger heat sinks, and the cost could be managed.  Those days are over.  With the standards above, and with the increasing attention paid to Green Initiatives, power is now a system requirement for pretty much everything.

 

I’d like to understand from the user community – what changes do you think this will have on the design environment?  Will we start to see pre-qualified pieces of IP (hardware and software) with standby leakage modes measured and certified?  Will we see different software development methods so as to minimize the average power?  Are new performance metrics – flop per watt, say – in our future?  How are we going to set and track system level power requirements throughout the design process, and throughout the design chain?  And what have I not even thought of?  Let’s get a dialog going.

 

Oh, and fix that leak.  My first car, a1974 Plymouth Duster, leaked oil like a sieve.  This certainly wasn’t green, and certainly didn’t help my car last too long.  Leaks are bad no matter the source.

 

Plug of the Week

The Conformal 10th Anniversary Celebration will be in San Jose on December 11.  This event will look back over the past 10 years of formal verification, but more importantly, it will look forward to where Conformal is going.  Don’t miss this chance to talk to the key R&D developers – we’re emphasizing customer/R&D interaction for this event.

 

More details and registration can be found at the registration site.

  

 

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