Vrm stands for Voltage Regulator Module.”What are VRMs on a motherboard” is a good question to answer when we talk about VRMs. But, let’s not get started by talking about what they are… Let’s talk about why you need them. So, what are VRMs? Well, they are a group of IC chips that are used to control the power delivery to the components in your computer, and, in turn, are responsible for regulating the voltage and current that pass through the PC board.
Voltage Regulation: The Basics
Let’s start with the basics here. First, a motherboard is the physical hardware foundation of your computer. Next, a voltage regulator module is a part of the motherboard. They regulate the voltage to the motherboard’s microprocessor, which is the heart of the computer. The voltages that the voltage regulators regulate are the same voltages that power other electronics, such as radios, TVs, and even your smartphone.
There are two types of voltage regulators. The first type uses a transistor to regulate the current flow between the power supply and the load. These regulators generally aren’t fast and they typically cost more than 50 percent more than linear regulators. The second type of regulator, the buck-boost type, use a transistor that is connected in a switch configuration with a diode in the middle. These regulators typically provide the same amount of current as linear regulators and are a lot faster. Linear regulators are much cheaper than buck-boost regulators.
Voltage Regulation (VR) is the process of regulating the amount of power voltage provided to each component in a computer system. While there are several ways to achieve VR, many motherboard designs rely upon PWM (pulse-width modulation), which is a form of active voltage regulation. VR allows a CPU to run at a set frequency (such as 2.5 GHz), while a PWM chip keeps the CPU’s voltage constant, within a certain tolerance.
What is VRMs (Voltage Regulator module on a motherboard)?
A voltage regulator module (VRM) is a component that regulates and stabilizes the voltage applied to various components of the computer’s motherboard. Without a VRM, the voltage applied to the system components would vary in intensity, causing overheating of one or more components and ultimately destroying the computer. A well-designed VRM maintains the voltage applied to the motherboard at the correct level while providing consistent current flow.
How Does it Work?
VRM – Voltage Regulation Module on a Motherboard
VRMs are found in most motherboards nowadays. They are used to provide precise control over the power supply voltage in order to regulate it according to the needs of the motherboard. The VRM is usually placed on the southbridge (integrated circuit) of the motherboard.
Voltage regulation modules come in three varieties: single +12V, single +5V, and dual +12V/ +5V.
The single +12V variant, often called “single +12V VRM”, is used to regulate the power to the main CPU of the motherboard, while the single +5V variant, “single +5V VRM”, is used to regulate the power to the integrated graphics card (usually the integrated graphics card uses +3.3V). Finally, the dual +12V/ +5V variant, “dual +12V/ +5V VRM”, is used to regulate the power to the other components on the motherboard, such as the northbridge, southbridge, and PCI Express ports.
The single +12V variant is the most common type found on mainstream motherboards. These VRMs are often made by companies like ASRock, MSI, Gigabyte, and so on.
The single +5V variant is usually made by companies such as Biostar, AOpen, and so on. These VRMs are usually used on low-end motherboards.
The dual +12V/ +5V variant is used on high-end motherboards. These VRMs are usually made by companies like ASUS, Gigabyte, and so on.
VRMs come in three types of power conversion efficiency.
The first type is “active“, in which the VRM generates its own output voltage, without using any of the input voltage from the power supply.
The second type is “passive“, in which the VRM uses the input voltage from the power supply to generate the output voltage.
The third type is “hybrid“, in which the VRM uses the input voltage from the power supply to charge a capacitor, and then uses the stored energy to regulate the output voltage.
VRMs are mostly made by companies such as ASRock, Gigabyte, and so on.
The “Hybrid” type of VRM is the most commonly found type on modern motherboards, as it usually has the most effective power conversion efficiency.
Voltage Regulator Module (VRM) is responsible for generating a stable voltage from a power source and supplying it to the rest of the system components in the computer, such as the CPU, RAM, GPU, and so on.
In order to make sure that a certain piece of hardware can operate at its full potential, it is essential to have a voltage regulator on each component.
VRMs can be built into the motherboard or into separate modules, which can either be placed on the board or placed elsewhere in the case.
What are VRMs and how do they work with CPUs and GPUs?
Voltage regulator modules (VRMs) are one of the key components of a computer. They control the voltage output of each of the CPU’s cores and each GPU core. The voltages that VRMs provide have been getting ever lower as new generations of processors are released, from 2.6V in the last few years. As power supplies drop in voltage and heat rises, VRMs have become essential to keep systems running in extreme conditions.
For more details, you can visit Design concepts and guidelines for VRMs from a power stage perspective
Where are the VRMs Located?
We can locate the VRMs of an Intel Haswell processor in the Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (PIGC), which is the first chip after the CPU on the motherboard. In the PIGC we can see a four-layer stack with each layer containing one VRM. The top layer, the reference voltage layer, supplies the reference voltages to the VRMs.