Image: Intel

Not that they’re any sort of mystery anymore to enthusiasts who have been following the headlines over the last few months, but Intel has officially announced the newest ATX PSU specifications, ATX 3.0 and ATX12VO 2.0, both of which were designed to support the increasing power demands of graphics cards and other next-generation hardware.

PSUs that comply with ATX 3.0 and ATX12VO 2.0 will be essential for desktop users who want to get the best performance out of their next-generation graphics cards, Intel writes. Power and performance improvements are on the way for all desktop segments, from full-size towers to SFF systems, thanks to the new specifications that include a smaller connector, more flexible board designs, better energy efficiency, and more. MSI is being acknowledged for being the first manufacturer to have launched the first ATX12VO-based desktop systems in the form of the Creator P100A and the MPG Trident AS, both of which are powered by, as Intel made sure to note, Core processors.

Image: MSI

“Power supplies based on ATX 3.0 and ATX12VO 2.0 will ensure anyone looking to get the most stable and cost optimized performance possible with highest power efficiency out of their desktop PCs will be able to do so – both now and in the future,” said Stephen Eastman, Intel platform power specialist.

Intel Introduces New ATX PSU Specifications (Intel Newsroom)

What’s New: Intel has published the most significant update to industry power supply specifications since the initial ATX 2.0 specs were introduced in 2003. Updated ATX 3.0 specifications unlock the full power and potential of next-generation hardware and upcoming components built for technologies like PCIe Gen 5.0. Intel has also revised its ATX12VO spec to provide the PC industry with an updated blueprint for designing power supply units (PSUs) and motherboards that reduce power draw at idle, helping customers lower electrical demand.

What It Includes: Key new additions to the ATX 3.0 / ATX12VO 2.0 specifications include:

A new 12VHPWR connector will power most, if not all, future PCIe 5.0 desktop Add-in cards (e.g., graphics cards). This new connector provides up to 600 watts directly to any PCIe 5.0 Add-in/graphics card. It also includes sideband signals that will allow the power supply to communicate the power limit it can provide to any PCIe 5.0 graphic card.

New guidelines reflect the PCIe CEM Gen 5 power excursion limit for PCIe 5.0 add-in cards that was published in November 2021. Updated specifications include new DC output voltage regulation that will be necessary for managing new power excursion requirements.

ATX12VO 2.0 also adds the I_PSU% feature to desktop platforms – delivering an Intel-driven innovation previously available on mobile and server platforms. This feature provides benefits to small form-factor (SFF) systems that can’t employ larger power supplies. It also provides cost efficiencies for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as they are better able to right-size PSU selection to meet system requirements.

Why It Matters: With ATX 3.0 and ATX12VO 2.0 specs, compliant PSUs coming to market will be essential for desktop users that want to get the best possible performance from their next-gen PCIe 5.0 desktop graphics cards. These next-gen cards are going to be bigger and more powerful than before. Users will be able to maximize their system performance by having the proper power supplies in place.

Beyond system performance, the ATX12VO spec is going to be integral to helping the PC industry meet multiple governmental energy regulations. Recently announced regulations for complete systems – such as the California Energy Commission’s Tier 2 appliance efficiency requirements – make it so that OEMs and system integrators (SI) must use extreme low system idle power levels to reduce desktop idle power consumption. The ATX12VO specification is one of Intel’s efforts to improve efficiency across OEM/SI systems and products for our industry partners.

The new specifications will have a positive impact for power and performance improvements across all desktop segments – from full-size towers to SFF systems – including a smaller connector, more flexible board designs and improved energy conversions.

What’s Coming Soon: MSI recently launched the first ATX12VO-based desktop systems – the Creator P100A and the MPG Trident AS – which are powered by 12th Gen Intel Core processors and an ATX12VO compliant PSU.

Additional products based on the new ATX 3.0 and ATX12VO 2.0 specifications are expected to arrive throughout 2022.

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