December 14, 2010

Cree’s New 650V Silicon Carbide Schottky Diodes Improve Advanced High-Efficiency Data Center Power Supply Designs

DURHAM, N.C. -- Targeting the latest data center power supply requirements, Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a market leader in silicon carbide power devices, announces its new line of Z-Rec™ 650V Junction Barrier Schottky (JBS) diodes. The new JBS diodes provide blocking voltage to 650V to accommodate recent changes in data center power architecture that industry consultants estimate will result in energy efficiency gains of up to 5 percent. Because data centers account for nearly 10 percent of the world’s annual consumption of electrical power, any efficiency gain represents a significant opportunity to reduce overall power consumption.

Conventional switch-mode power supplies typically have an input voltage range of 90V – 264V, supporting various AC input sources worldwide. In existing data center power architectures, 3-phase/480V power is supplied from the local utility. This 3 phase/480V power is converted to 3 phase/208V by means of a power transformer and then further conditioned to provide input power to the server power supply. This conversion step reduces overall efficiency due to transformer losses.

Recent trends in data center power architecture call for the elimination of the 480V to 208V conversion to boost overall data center efficiency. Instead of providing 120V AC from the 3 phase/208V line to neutral, server power supplies will now be expected to accept a broader universal line voltage range of 90V – 305V (277V plus a 10 percent guard band) directly from the 3 phase/480V line to neutral. This architecture eliminates the need for the step-down power transformer, along with the related energy losses and expense.

Optimal operation of server power supplies with a higher input voltage range of 90V – 305V requires power components such as Schottky diodes that have an extended maximum blocking voltage of 650V. Cree’s new 650V-rated devices provide an ideal solution for designers of state of the art power supplies for data center servers and communications equipment. Cree’s new Z-Rec silicon carbide diodes not only feature the 650V blocking voltage needed for these advanced power supplies, but they also further reduce energy losses, as compared to silicon devices, by eliminating reverse recovery losses.

“Silicon carbide technology is critical to developing the next generation of advanced, energy-efficient data center power system designs because it virtually eliminates diode switching losses,” explained Cengiz Balkas, Cree Vice President and General Manager, Power and RF. “Conventional silicon devices’ switching losses are known to be big contributors to energy inefficiency, so replacing them with SiC devices can boost the efficiency of the power factor correction stage of the power supply by up to 2 percent, resulting in even greater overall efficiency improvement than with architectural changes alone.”

The initial products in the 650V Z-Rec Schottky diode family, the C3DXX065A Series, include 4, 6, 8, and 10 amp versions in TO-220-2 packages. All devices are rated for operation from -55°C to +175°C.

The C3DXX065A Series devices are fully qualified and released for production use. For samples and more information about Cree’s 650V Z-Rec devices or any of Cree’s other 600V, 1200V and 1700V diodes, visit www.cree.com/power.

About Cree
Cree is a market-leading innovator of semiconductor solutions for wireless and power applications, lighting-class LEDs, and LED lighting solutions. Cree’s product families include power-switching devices and radio-frequency/wireless devices, blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs, lighting-class power LEDs, and LED fixtures and bulbs. Cree solutions are driving improvements in applications such as variable-speed motors, wireless communications, general illumination, backlighting and electronic signs and signals. For additional product and company information, please refer to www.cree.com

This press release contains forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Actual results may differ materially due to a number of factors, including the risk we may encounter delays or other difficulties in ramping up production of our new products; customer acceptance of the new products; the rapid development of new technology and competing products that may impair demand or render Cree’s products obsolete; and other factors discussed in Cree’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 28, 2009, and subsequent filings.