Embedded Computing Boards is much more than industrial PCs. In fact there are unique and differentiating technologies such as PoP, which stands for Package on Package technology that can be offered by only a few embedded board companies. One such company that possesses this capability is Mistral Solutions. Recently I had the opportunity to talk to their Associate Vice-President of Hardware, S. Vijay Bharat, who was a wealth of information on PoP technology. Here is a summary of what I learned.
Over the past decade the embedded world has undergone tremendous change. With the advent of mobile phones, and other smart lifestyle gadget like wearables, health wellness devices, users are demanding smaller and thinner gadgets. This is where PoP can provide a competitive advantage.
Package on package (PoP)
PoP is a stacked packaging method to have two ball grid array (BGA) packages mounted one above the other with a standard interface to route signals between them. The most commonly components used for stacking are the processor and memory.
Stacking memory is one way to achieve the dual goals for enhanced functionality and greater packaging density of a product. It is fast becoming a promising solution in the wearable market, offering high integration that leads to product miniaturization.
Advantages of PoP.
Applications areas for PoP
Wearable applications can benefit from the combination of this stacked package, offering small footprint and minimal PCB space. Other portable electronic products such as
[Image source: http://corelis.com/]
The ARM advantage
PoP technology is most popularly being used with ARM chipsets. Texas Instruments and Freescale two of the silicon vendors that adopted this technology. ARM chipsets are well suited because of low power and are small footprint. According to S. Vijay Bharat “The low power ARM devices ensures less thermal radiation to the memory; when it is placed over the processor in the PoP technology. Other competing compute architectures are high in power and high in thermal radiation which increase the possibility of the memory to stall during operation.”
It is interesting to see that companies like Mistral Solutions are championing technology that will help enable the fast grow wearables market providing solutions that are both high performance, highly integrated and miniaturized! Wearable is all about being small and lightweight, creating complex embedded boards in uniquely small form factors is a unique and differentiating technology. Mistral Solutions is an example of an ARM ecosystem partner creating value by focusing on differentiating tech.
Good Article. PoP is indeed a great technology.
However it always depends on the application, like you wrote 'thermal radiation to the memory' or better ‘trough’, this can be really a issue sometimes, even with 'only' a 4 core ARM Processor. Under normal usage this is ok, but if you use the GPU and all 4 Cores at maximum you limit your maximum upper operation temperature.