Optimizing the power delivery network in a smartphone platform

Woojoo Lee, Yanzhi Wang, Donghwa Shin, Naehyuck Chang, Massoud Pedram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Smartphones consume a significant amount of power. Indeed, they can hardly provide a full day of use between charging operations even with a 2000 mAh battery. While power minimization and dynamic power management techniques have been heavily explored to improve the power efficiency of modules (processors, memory, display, GPS, etc.) inside a smartphone platform, there is one critical factor that is often overlooked: the power conversion efficiency of the power delivery network (PDN). This paper focuses on dc-dc converters, which play a pivotal role in the PDN of the smartphone platform. Starting from detailed models of the dc-dc converter designs, two optimization methods are presented: 1) static switch sizing to maximize the efficiency of a dc-dc converter under statistical loading profiles and 2) dynamic switch modulation to achieve the high efficiency enhancement under dynamically varying load conditions. To verify the efficacy of the optimization methods in actual smartphone platforms, this paper also presents a characterization procedure for the PDN. The procedure is as follows: 1) group the modules in the smartphone platform together and use profiling to estimate their average and peak power consumption levels and 2) build an equivalent dc-dc converter model for the power delivery path from the battery source to each group of modules and use linear regression to estimate the conversion efficiency of the corresponding equivalent converter. Experimental results demonstrate that the static switch sizing can achieve 6% power conversion efficiency enhancement, which translates to 19% reduction in power loss general usage of the smartphone. The dynamic switch modulation accomplishes similar improvement at the same condition, while also achieving high efficiency enhancement in various load conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6685857
Pages (from-to)36-49
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • DC-DC power converter
  • Low-power design
  • Power delivery network (PDN)
  • Smartphone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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