Voltage Regulator Analysis
Graphics processors use ample amounts of power; in fact, they use even more power than modern day CPUs. The TDP of a 5960X is 140W, while the TDP of the R9 290 is 275W; this means that the VRM on the R9 290 must be ready for the challenge. So, let's take a look at what VisionTek is offering.
The main VDDC (VCore) of the GPU is provided by a total of six high current phases, consisting of an International Rectifier PWM, as well as six International Rectifier IR3551 PowIRstages. The IR3551 are 50A all-in-one power stages, which output higher current at over 90% efficiency. They are well known in the motherboard arena, and they have also made their way over to the GPU scene. The standard R9 290 from AMD uses DirectFETs (also from IR), and these should be equal or better, considering the PowIRstages use DirectFET technology to produce such high current output.
Six high frequency ferrite core inductors are also utilized for the output filter. Eight 820uF low ESR aluminum polymer capacitors are used for the output, as well as a lot of smaller ceramics for high frequency performance.
An International Rectifier IR3567B fully digital PWM is in use. This PWM features a 6+2 phase output with a variable gate voltage feature. The +2 phases are only being utilized as +1 in this case for the VDDCI, which is the voltage for the IO bus between the GPU and the memory. Since the VDDC and VDDCI power stages are all IR3551, there is no need for drivers since they are integrated into the IR3551. The use of the IR3567B for these two VRMs means you get real-time monitoring through GPUz.
This is a single-phase that powers the VDDCI, which is the voltage for the CPU and memory IO bus. This voltage is important, and has increased in importance over time, replacing the PLL as the 3rd largest output VRM on the GPU.
The GPU memory VRM is made up of a single powerful phase. It is controlled by an APW8722 single-phase analog PWM. It uses four MOSFETs in a redundant array. There are a total of four MOSFETs; two NTMFS4983 are the low-side MOSFETs, and two NTMFS4C08 are the high-side MOSFETs.
An APL5930 is used as a linear regulator, which controls the 0.95v input rail voltage. There also seems to be a Variable Gate Drive circuit that is specific to CHiL/IR PWMs. The IR3567B has a variable gate drive circuit option, which enables the PWM to control the MOSFET gate voltage. The second image shows an International Rectifier CHL8510 driver, and a Fairchild Semiconductor FDMC8200, which are both dual N-Channel MOSFETs for a VRM.
Since most everything is in the GPU these days, there are only a few components left on the PCB, and the BIOS is one of them.
This is the BIOS switch. If you happen to come across another BIOS for the card, you can switch to select it. If your BIOS flashing fails, you can always switch to the backup BIOS.
These are the two BIOS chips; they are opposite each other on either side of the PCB.
Elpida W2032BBBG-6A-F is the memory used on this GPU; a total of 16 of these chips make up the 4GB of GDDR5 memory.
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