Pure 12V ‘ATX12VO’ – The New Standard in PSU Design?

/ 2 years ago
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At CES 2020 earlier this year, there was a product at the FSP booth that largely slipped under the radar. Admittedly, it wasn’t exactly flashy and unless you really understood power supplies, it would’ve probably just seemed confusing. It seems, however, that this ‘ATX12VO’ was just a precursor to what may represent some massive changes to the future of PSU designs.

In a report via TechPowerUp, the model was just one of the first that is looking to transition away from the currently standard 24-pin motherboard connection into a ‘pure 12v’ 10-pin design.

I should note, incidentally, that the image above isn’t it. I just wanted to make sure you knew what a power supply looked like.

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Intel Backs New ‘Pure 12V’ PSU Design

Believed to be receiving a lot of backing and support from Intel, the main concept of the new design is that the PSU will only output power on the 12V or 12Vsb rails. In other words, they’re looking to do away entirely with the specific 5v, 5Vsb, and 3.3v rails.

Now, as crazy as it sounds, there is a logic to this decision. Put simply, very few components in modern PC’s actually require this type of power being outputted. Even when it is (such as if you have a mechanical HDD) it’s generally not on a level that really requires a dedicated supply. Well, not unless you have several of them, and by several I mean around half a dozen.

Intel Offices

How Will This Work?

The concept boils down to the VRM on motherboards essentially ‘filtering’ down the power for devices that don’t need 12V. In other words, while the motherboard isn’t a power supply, it will act as a proxy that will directly connect to the devices and provide them with what they need.

So, why is Intel so keen on pushing this technology? Well, largely on the basis that they’ll be able to swap their 24-pin motherboard designs down to just 10. A move which, in fairness, would make more than a little sense from both a design factor and, as we noted above, simply because PC’s have changed in the last 10 years. It does, however, get a little bizarre when you think that PSU’s might no longer come with SATA cables (since they would now under this design connect directly from the motherboard) but could still feature 12V Molex adaptors!

There are still, of course, more than a few kinks to work out. Not only making this technology feasible but also getting motherboard partners on board with the concept. If the report is accurate, however, then we may well see this make its debut before the end of the year. Who knows, it may be part of the Rocket Lake-S launch.

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

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