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You can also try a combination of a buck regulator and a linear regulator. If you have 12V and want 5V, you can use a buck regulator to get down to about 6V and an LDO linear to get down to 5V. This will give you about 83% efficiency.It's all tradeoffs. A buck regulator gives you more efficiency at the cost of more noise, a linear regulator gives you less noise but less efficiency (=more heat). Combining the two costs more parts and board area.