Low Power Design Techniques

Michael Keating et al. [1] lists several low power techniques to tackle the dynamic and static power consumption in modern SoC designs. Dynamic power control techniques include clock gating, multi voltage, variable frequency, and efficient circuits. Leakage power control techniques include power gating, multi Vt cells. Common methods supported by EDA tools include clock gating, gate sizing, low power placement, register clustering, low power CTS, multi Vt optimization.

Some of the low power techniques in use today are listed in below table.

Different Low Power Techniques [3]


Trade-offs associated with the various power management techniques [2]

Above table summarizes trade-offs associated with different power management techniques. Power gating and DVFS demand large methodology change whereas multi vt and clock gating affect least. Unless large leakage optimization is not necessary it is always beneficial to go with either multi vt or clock gating techniques. Based on the design complexity and requirements combination of any low power techniques can be adopted. Multi vt optimization along with the power gating is found to be efficient in some of the complex designs. Advanced improvements in the implementation (i.e. fabrication) technology has allowed substrate biasing techniques to be used heavily as it does not pose any architectural and design verification challenges and also provides high leakage reduction.


[1] Michael Keating, David Flynn, Robert Aitken, Alan Gibsons and Kaijian Shi, “Low Power Methodology Manual for System on Chip Design”, Springer Publications, NewYork, 2007, www.lpmm-book.org, 4/9/2007

[2] Creating Low-Power Digital Integrated Circuits – The Implementation Phase, Cadence, 2007

[3]Godwin Maben, "Low Power Techniques in Use Today"


  1. Mike Keating gave a great Vision Presentation on the future of low power at SNUG two weeks ago. I also posted about this on my blog just the other day. The presentation covers a lot of the techniques you mention and also talks about some far out future stuff. Worth checking out.

  2. sure ... i will do that .... as we are going towards 45nm low power management is a burning issue.... its pretty interesting !!

  3. hello Mr Murli
    i m a research scholar i m interested in this low power design in vlsi so i wnna to ask from where i should start my work.

  4. If you're looking for experts in ASIC design, I would get in contact with Swindon Silicon Systems who provide volume supply for analogue and mixed analogue/digital applications.


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