Recent years have seen major changes in the frequency synthesis art. Ultra-low-noise discrete VCOs, the heart of low noise synthesizers for decades, now find themselves challenged by integrated VCOs. The best discrete VCOs still enjoy 20-30 dB phase-noise superiority, but IC companies are conducting an asymmetric battle to dominate the market with full integration based not on the best VCO noise, but on architectural innovations that often render free-running VCO noise less important.
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