The dual problem of performance and power usage has always plagued the electronic systems industry especially in the advent of Moore's law that doubles performance every 18 months and the high density required to accommodate miniaturization. Power consumption and efficiency has become a critical decision factor at both the system designer and the end user customer levels especially in high speed high performance system.
Losses in signal integrity in printed circuit board have a significant impact on the speed and distance over which signals can be transmitted between boards in a high performance computing system. Designers already work under tight power constraints due to microprocessors and other ICs. To achieve high speed sometime the only other alternative to the limited bandwidth of electrical interconnects is the use of optical PCB interconnects or ribbon fiber. This results in even more power consumption since additional electronics are required to convert electrical signals to optical signals and back (E-O-E) for each channel.
In addition, the power efficiency of such systems is becoming a significant factor in environmentally conscious customers when making purchase and deployment decisions. With the continued demand for more computing power, datacenters host more systems to keep up with the demand and they are power guzzlers requiring cooling and ultimately an enormous power bill. Any technology that can reduce signal losses as well as reduce system power consumption is of great interest to system designer, potentially allowing them to signal at higher rates, or increase the reach of inter-board cabling and thus the scalability of systems.
The success of Banpil's interconnect technology will have large impact on the printed circuit boards used in high performance computers on the power dimension. Banpil estimates that its flex technology can reduce power consumption by more than 70 in most systems in which it will be used.
The use of flexible printed circuits has become quite widespread because of their low cost, ease of assembly in interconnection systems, and the low volumes that they occupy. Flexible circuits are most commonly used in board-to-board, board-to-chip, and chip-to-chip connections in packages having limited space and stacked rigid boards, thus requiring three-dimensional connections. Flexible circuits are largely used in PCs, servers, and PC peripherals like disk drives, CD/DVD drives, monitors/displays, and printers. FPCs are also found in portable electronic products such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDA) and information appliances. For example, the FPC board can be used as a connection between a liquid crystal display (LCD), a floppy disk driver, a hard disk driver or a compact disc memory driver (CD/DVD-ROM) to a motherboard on a laptop computer system.
As applications develop into second, third and higher generations, the demands for high bandwidth to run new, bigger and faster applications some of which are integrated across multiple technology platforms that need to transfer large amounts of data becomes critical. Example next generation applications that require high-speed flex solutions like Banpil's FPC interconnect include real-time gaming on high performance consoles over the Internet, wireless phones and handheld devices capable of on-demand video and broadband Internet nearly matching wire-line connections, and High Definition TVs (HDTV) that are slim and compact. The need for greater speeds of data transfer in supercomputers manufactured by companies such as Cray and other computer systems that process large amounts of information in high performance computing as well as communication equipment that enable the next generation Internet from companies like Cisco will all need high-speed flex interconnects.