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Intel’s (INTC) Haswell Platform Could Impact Power Management Suppliers

 May 24, 2012 02:33 PM

(By Mani) Chip maker Intel Corp.'s (NASDAQ:INTC) Haswell architecture, successor to Ivy Bridge, should deliver both a halving of power and integrated voltage regulators, a development that could initially disrupt the core notebook PC market.

Intel is targeting a reduction of processor power from 30–35W to an average of 15W with Haswell and it would impact metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) market. MOSFET is a transistor used for amplifying or switching electronic signals..

Power discrete MOSFET's content is proportional to power delivered, when power levels decline, MOSFET's dollar content should decline, as well. The MOSFET power transistor market accounts for roughly 2 percent of total semiconductor sales, or $5.5 billion per year.

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"While details are limited, we've been told that future lower power Intel processors will have integrated voltage regulators that allow for the reduction in external controller complexity and discrete capacitor requirements," RBC Capital Markets analyst Doug Freedman wrote in a note to clients.

While power levels decline, the performance demands are increasing, which could allow for a high performance and average selling price (ASP) mix of business, offsetting the overall reduction in power delivered.

Meanwhile, the demand in number terms declines. The performance and quality will likely increase for controllers, reduce the number of rails, or independently regulated voltage lines to one from five or more rails.

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"Within the PC market, we believe the average MOSFET content in Notebook and Desktop is ~$2bil in 2012 (~$5.30 in content per PC x ~380mil PC units). At risk is just the core PC power segment where content is likely ~$1.50 to $2.50 per system," Freedman noted.

However, power management in server and ultrabook is still critical, and content could decline on desktop and notebook motherboards for power management suppliers. The trends in server and a move to ultrabook could limit the downside to the power management suppliers that are broadly exposed to the Intel portfolio.

The most exposed manufacturers of discrete power MOSFETS and controllers include Fairchild Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, Vishay, Infineon, ON Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.

All these firms could see a change in their business mix and levels with increased potential for share shifts as a result of the change in architecture from Intel.

More details could emerge from the ramp of Haswell platform at Intel's IDF in September, and full details are expected closer to launch of the platform sometime in early 2013.



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