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If you are learning about motherboards or are wondering how to replace or use one, you have probably come across the phrase or term VRM. You might want to learn more about it so you can see how it affects the motherboard and how the motherboard receives power.
By the end of this guide, you will have all the information you need about the VRM. We will also discuss a little bit about how the VRM affects the overall CPU performance.
What is a VRM?
VRM stands for Voltage Regulator Module. It greatly affects your CPU or GPU performance which is why it’s crucial to make sure that your VRM is always working properly. The electrical components that are inside the CPU need to always receive strong power and consistent voltage or they will not work properly.
If your VRM is not working efficiently, you will find that you have a low performance. Your processor will also not be able to function well. This can cause your PC to suddenly shut down.
How Exactly Does the VRM Work?
A properly working VRM will convert the 12-volt power from the computer’s supply down to a usable voltage. For typical processers, you can expect the voltage to be brought down between 1.1V to 1.3V.
Without the VRM, the electronics in your processor can short because the voltage coming in is too high and it will overpower the components of the PC.
The VRM also ensures that the voltage is delivered at the appropriate rate. This is important when powering a processor because you want to make sure there is not too much or too little power being delivered at one time. VRMs can be considered as a type of converter but they are a little more complicated — they basically step down the voltage.
Components of the VRM
In order to step down the voltage correctly, the VRM has three major components that allow it to do its job. They are:
- Inductors (chokes)
There is also an overall controller which is called the integrated circuit (IC). You might also hear some people call it the PWM controller.
MOSFETs are a type of transistor. They are used for analog and digital circuits. MOSFETs have four terminals with the main body connected to the source terminal of the VRM. There are also two main modes from the MOSFETs. One is depletion mode, and the other is enhancement mode.
Depletion mode happens when there is no voltage across the gate terminal. It can also decrease the conductivity if it senses positive or negative channels across the space. Enhance mode allows the device to not conduct when there is no voltage across the terminal. This enhances the conductivity.
MOSFETs control the current flow and the voltage between all the drain terminals and the sources. It works as a simple switch, even though it may sound complicated. MOSFET connects to the inductor. These two components work together to store power as part of the magnetic field.
The inductor is in charge of making sure the voltage never increases to 12 V. The inductor has a magnetic field that sends voltage. When it senses a collapse, it can generate certain currents that allow the VRM to stabilize the voltage so that the processor does not shut down.
There are also two switches on the inductor. The high-side switch and the low-side switch. Both serve very important roles. The circuit can open the high-side switch and close the low-side switch. This allows the current to flow through the circuit and switches effortlessly.
This also takes the current away from the flyback diode. Diodes help to make sure there are no sudden voltage spikes. Since it acts more like a wire, the switches take some of the currents away from the diode to make sure the efficiency of the circuit is increased.
The last major part of the VRM is the capacitors. They receive the current from the inductor in the form of an electric field. It supplies the current to the CPU. Capacitors are there to make sure there are spikes in voltage.
They also regulate the power that is being supplied to the CPU. They can also store amounts of power that can be used later.
What are Multi-Phase VRMs?
Most modern computers have more than a single-phrase VRM. Your PC probably uses a multi-phase VRM. Multiple phase VRMs are more useful because they can spread the power over a larger area.
Spreading the power out can reduce stress on the computer. It can also ensure that your device does not overheat or overrun the fan. Each phase of the multiple-phase VRM can supply a certain fraction of power. They will take turns giving power to the CPU so that one does not run out of power or get exhausted.
Although the power is switched between phases, the total amount of power being sent around the PC stays the same, ensuring that your computer always has the power it needs to operate efficiently.
Why is the VRM Important?
VRMs are important because they allow you to know how much wattage is being sent out and how much wattage the parts of your device need. If your PC has best power supply to give your device enough wattage and voltage, you will not need a VRM.
Most of the time though, your PC needs a VRM to make sure the power is more stable and efficient. VRMs also need to have a fan on their motherboard. This is part of the way it ensures your PC never overheats.
As you can see, the VRM is important for many different reasons:
- Converts AC to DC
- Regulates voltage
- Provides reliable and smooth currents of power
- Helps you overclock your PV when needed
- Ensures your PC does not shut down or overheat
- Helps the overall power supply.
How Does My VRM Improve Performance?
The main goal of the VRM is always to provide reliable power so that your device like ATX motherboard can always be efficient and have clean power. If you plan to overclock your PC, the VRM is even more important.
If you regularly overclock your device, always make sure you are getting the best VRM made from reliable parts. If you are using a VRM made with cheap parts, you will find that you cannot have enough voltage under the load you need. This will cause your device to randomly shutdown which can be annoying. It can also cause you to lose important things you might be working on.
When trying to find a VRM for overclocking, you need to make sure all parts are reliable, but mainly the capacitors and chokes. Make sure all the capacitors you have are leak-resistant capacitors.
The higher you overclock, the better the chokes you need as well. It can be hard to know which ones to buy if you are new to VRM and overclocking. Always check reviews for anything before you buy it as you want to ensure other over clockers have used it and are happy with it.
Here are some popular names to look for when searching for capacitors and chokes:
- Solid capacitors
- Dark capacitors
- Japanese capacitors
- Premium alloy chokes
- Super Ferrite Chokes (SFCs)
If you are new to testing motherboards and VRM, you hopefully now have a deeper understanding of the VRM and how it improves the performance of your PC. If your VRM is reliable and operating efficiently, you will always have stable and clean voltage going into your device.
This ensures your device is protected from shutdowns and other problems concerning power supply. The VRM is also important when it comes to overclocking. The right VRM will allow you to overclock and not ruin your power supply.