PC Voltage Regulators

In terms of a personal computer, a voltage regulator is a small circuit or device which regulates the voltage that is fed to the machine’s microprocessor. The output of the power supply of most personal computers will generate power in the amount of 5 volts. However, the greater multitude of most microprocessors will require a voltage to operate below the level of only 3.5 volts.

The voltage regulator is then tasked with the objective of reducing the 5 volt output of the power supply to that of the lower voltage which is required by the microprocessor. Usually, the voltage regulators are surrounded by a buffer of heat sinks because they actually do generate significant amounts of heat.

Pentium microprocessors with the MMX feature will require two seperate voltage regulators. One voltage regulator will be for the internal (or core) voltage; the other voltage regulator will be dedicated to the the I/O drivers at 3.3 volts. MMX is also called Multimedia Extensions, which is a set of 57 multimedia instructions built into Intel microprocessors and similiar microprocessors. These microprocessors can utilize many different common multimedia operations. Some of these operations include digital signal processing (DSP), which are usually conducted by separate sound or video cards. An I/O adapter is an adapter that converts between both of the timing and protocol requirements of an intelligent device’s memory bus, including those of an I/O network or bus.

Now, some voltage regulators, especially those promoted as a voltage regulator module (or VRM) are voltage identification (or VID) programmable. This designation refers to the ability of the microprocessor to program the voltage regulator so that it will provide the needed voltage level during booting.