Image: Intel

PSU manufacturers are reportedly in little rush to adopt Intel’s new ATX12VO power supply standard, which utilizes a single rail design to reduce desktop PC idle power. The news comes from ZDNet Korea, who spoke to at least one industry official confirming the lack of interest due to increased component prices. Another insider claims that Intel might be desperate enough to enforce the ATX12VO standard by making the specification mandatory for its upcoming lineup of 12th Gen Core “Alder Lake-S” 600 Series motherboards.

“In order to increase power efficiency, internal components are added and the structure of various cable terminals is changed, so the initial product price is inevitably increased,” one manufacturer explained.

“There is a possibility that Intel will enforce the ATX12VO standard on the motherboard for the core processor (Alder Lake) that will be released in the second half of this year, but it is unlikely to be realized,” another manufacturer stated.

Intel initially detailed its new ATX12VO power supply standard in a press release published nearly a year ago on April 2020, which clarified that the standard was in development for two years and designed to satisfy new energy requirements set by the EPA, California Energy Commission, and other regulating bodies. It also confirmed that ASRock had launched the industry’s first ATX12VO motherboard: the Z490 Phantom Gaming 4SR.

“A single rail power supply design is one answer to help OEMs reduce desktop PC idle power and meet the new government regulations,” Intel wrote. “For years there have been custom single rail power supply designs. But until Intel created the ATX12VO design and publicly shared it, there was no industry standard to help PC-makers reduce the energy desktop systems use when idling.”

“Currently, power supplies change the AC current at the plug to the DC current your computer needs. That conversion can cause the greatest loss of power when a computer is idling and at its most inefficient. Most power supply units have 12-, 3.3- and 5-volt rails, or circuitry that creates the voltage. The ATX12VO standard takes out the 3.3- and 5-volt rails and moves the creation of these voltages to the motherboard where they can be more energy-efficient.”

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10 Comments

  1. Interesting and I thought the increase of cost would be passed to motherboard makers for needing to distribute all of the power through the motherboard.
  2. In the in 1970’s the auto industry were against catalyctic converters calling them unobtainable, disastrously expensive and environmentally unnecessary.

    Some things just dont change.

  3. Yeah pretty sure this is just resistance to change.

    I don’t know if the new standard is better or worse (I suspect better), but the fact that they would have to fork production, and face an uncertain market right as people are having a hard time getting the parts to upgrade… yeah I wouldn’t want to do it right now either.

    it would take major manufacturers (HP, Dell, etc) getting on board for this to get any traction, and I don’t know if Intel has what it takes to strong arm them into compliance right now. If they lock 12th Gen to this, they may just decide to skip over and lean more on older inventory and AMD. I can still buy new 8th Gen products now if I wanted to get a cheap computer…

    1. OEMs have been using their own exclusively 12V power supplies (and custom motherboards with power planes) for years. Fujitsu, Lenovo, Dell and others all have models that ship with power supplies which lack the other rails, with lower voltage conversion for things like SATA power being done on the board.

      (Dig up a picture of the PSU from a recent Dell XPS desktop, like a model 8940 for example, and it will have only 12V outputs)

      https://www.dell.com/support/manuals/en-us/xps-8940-desktop/xps-8940-setup-and-specifications/power-ratings?guid=guid-62a71595-e1bb-408f-86e0-f3e450812e4b&lang=en-us

      The difference is that these are all essentially proprietary implementations, where 12VO would seek to standardize it between motherboard makers and power supply manufacturers.

      As you touched on, I think the requirement to split off yet another production series is probably responsible for much of the hesitation, especially since the momentum from retail motherboard vendors has been slow so far.

      With Alder Lake-S being essentially a fresh slate platform, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Intel make a push to 12VO, but hopefully if so it goes over better than previous endeavors such as BTX.

  4. Interesting and I thought the increase of cost would be passed to motherboard makers for needing to distribute all of the power through the motherboard.

    Probably still will, it’s just this story is focusing on the PSU side of things. But it’s kind of the chicken and egg problem, isn’t it? Power supply manufacturers are not going to make the new product without the motherboards on the market utilizing the new standard.

    Yeah pretty sure this is just resistance to change.

    I don’t know if the new standard is better or worse (I suspect better), but the fact that they would have to fork production, and face an uncertain market right as people are having a hard time getting the parts to upgrade… yeah I wouldn’t want to do it right now either.

    it would take major manufacturers (HP, Dell, etc) getting on board for this to get any traction, and I don’t know if Intel has what it takes to strong arm them into compliance right now. If they lock 12th Gen to this, they may just decide to skip over and lean more on older inventory and AMD. I can still buy new 8th Gen products now if I wanted to get a cheap computer…

    Well no one else seems to be doing anything to try and meet the new regulation requirements. With ATX being the de facto industry standard for 25 years, which was also developed by Intel, one would think that they would be the ones to move things forward and bring everyone else on board.

  5. Remember when Nvidia had their own chipsets for motherboards. Those were the days… Considering market cap Nvidia is the strongest one to sway form factor.
  6. It will initially be much more expensive for the OEMs, which will be passed along. However, once the development and associated costs are recouped it should come out slightly cheaper than the current ATX12v/EPS form factor. The question really is how much and how long to recoup the investment. Plus, there is the additional carrying costs of legacy designs which won’t disappear overnight.
  7. It will initially be much more expensive for the OEMs, which will be passed along. However, once the development and associated costs are recouped it should come out slightly cheaper than the current ATX12v/EPS form factor. The question really is how much and how long to recoup the investment. Plus, there is the additional carrying costs of legacy designs which won’t disappear overnight.

    I suppose if Intel wants this embraced they will need to partner with the resellers to help alleviate the development costs either by providing development resources, or with a cash infusion. This will release the cost variable from the manufacturer and perhaps alleviate the worry about retooling.

  8. I suppose if Intel wants this embraced they will need to partner with the resellers to help alleviate the development costs either by providing development resources, or with a cash infusion. This will release the cost variable from the manufacturer and perhaps alleviate the worry about retooling.

    Didn’t work with BTX. The market needs to be swayed, not payed.

  9. Not surprised. If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it. Besides MBs are already very expensive and complex, adding to that is not a good idea IMO.
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