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TRADING POWER AND PERFORMANCE TO ACHIEVE OPTIMAL THERMAL DESIGN FOR BATTERY-POWERED DEVICES

18 July 2012 /Mark Benson

Presentation at Communications, Microsystems, Optoelectronics, and Sensors (CMOS) in Vancouver, BC, by Mark Benson.

ABSTRACT: In embedded systems there is a science to choosing the right processor for a given design. Usually processors are chosen based on objective factors such as peripheral support, physical packaging, memory, architecture family, and software tools available.

This type of quantitative analysis lends itself well to spreadsheets and formulas that can help choose which processor is best.

However, for small high-performance battery-powered devices that have heavy processing requirements, thermal performance quickly becomes an urgent design issue to overcome and is often viewed as an elusive and opinion-fraught black-art.

Modeling, managing, and characterizing the efficient dissipation of heat in these types of devices is complex. Fortunately, there are new processors coming to the embedded marketplace that have advanced features for managing thermal performance.

This, combined with new advances in software modeling techniques and algorithms gives us a fresh playground to innovate new ways to manage thermals in a way that was not previously possible.