The trend with FPGAs follows the rest of the semiconductor market where the goal is to keep moving to the next smallest process node. Moving to smaller process nodes generally mean better efficiency and smaller transistors which translate to more processing power for a given die area. From a power management perspective, smaller nodes mean lower core voltages that require more current with margins that keep getting tighter. In the space industry, engineers tend to lean towards power solutions that are more risk adverse and thus apply margins on top of margins to ensure staying within the operating range of the FPGA. This poses a unique challenge for power electronics in that exceeding these tight voltage margins can lead to reliability concerns for the FPGA itself.
This paper discusses the power requirements of the Xilinx XQRKU060 FPGA and how Renesas’ Intersil family of high reliability products can be used to develop a best-in-class power solution.