26 September 2007

Limits of Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS)

Dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS) is very popular low power
technique. But larger voltage ranges does not improve power
efficiency. Authors in [1] showed that for sub threshold supply
voltages, leakage energy becomes dominant, making "just in time
completion" energy inefficient. They also showed that extending
voltage range below half Vdd will improve the energy efficiency for
most processor designs while extending this range to sub threshold
operations is beneficial only for specific applications. One of the
important points to be noted from their study is DVFS in sub threshold
voltage range is never energy efficient.

We know that supply voltage can be reduced if frequency of operation
is reduced. If reduction in supply voltage is quadratic then
approximately cubic reduction of power consumption can be achieved.
However, it should be noted that frequency reduction slows the

The above mentioned relation between energy and voltage is not always
true. The authors in [1] showed that quadratic relationship between
energy and Vdd deviates as Vdd is scaled down into the sub threshold
voltage level. Sub threshold leakage power increases exponentially
with the supply voltage. Since in sub threshold operation the on
current takes the form of sub threshold current delay increases
exponentially with voltage scaling. At very low voltages dynamic power
reduces quadratically. But the leakage energy increases with supply
voltage reduction since leakage energy is linear with the circuit
delay. Hence dynamic and leakage power becomes comparable in
sub threshold voltage region.

Related Articles

Multiple Voltage ASIC/SoC Designs: Classification

Multiple Voltage Design Challenges

Multiple Voltage Designs: Timing Issues

[1]Bo Zhai, David Blaauw, Dennis Sylvester, Krisztian Flaunter,
"Theoretical and Practical Limits of Dynamic Voltage Scaling", DAC
2004, June 7-11, 2004, San Diago, California, USA.


  1. "If you want something you never had.
    do something you have never done.

    Dont go the way life takes you.
    Take the life the way you go.

    Remember you are born to live and not living because you are born".

    Your contribution to the VLSI society is really good and i have to salute for your effort.



  2. thanks mani....
    enjoy blogging....!


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