Back in March of 2022 Intel released information on a new ATX 3.0 PSU standard for computer power supplies – one that would move us into the modern generation of power hungry hardware and graphics/AI processors. This standard (ATX Version 3.0 Multi Rail Desktop Platform Power Supply) is the first major change in PSU specifications since ATX 2.0 was introduced back in 2003.
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.
“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.”–Stephen Eastman, Intel platform power specialist
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.
So why the change to ATX 3.0?
Technology, computers, AI, graphics cards, and hardware in general has changed A LOT since ATX 2.0 came out. With the release of Nvidia’s RTX 4000 series this really came to light – the old power supplies were holding back where the technology was headed. So Intel pioneered the 3.0 specification to address this.
High-end graphics cards can now be fed the power they need to deliver cutting-edge performance and state of the art processing capabilities. The biggest change with ATX 3.0 is the PCIe 5.0 12VHPWR connector, which is a 12+4-pin power connector that can deliver up to 600W of juice to a graphics card. This connector is exactly what the GPU industry was calling for to advance cards to the next level. Nvidia was already telling people upgrading to the 4000 series to go big on the PSUs (recommending at least 850W but more like 1000W or greater) but the challenge of getting that power to the card was still there.
The 12VHPWR addresses that directly.
Should You Upgrade To An ATX 3.0 PSU?
Only if you need to. ATX 2.0 is still the most common PSU standard out there and will be for quite some time as motherboard and GPU manufacturers transition. If all things are equal though, it would make sense to adopt ATX 3.0 on your next PSU change to future proof your build. Originally there weren’t a whole lot of options to go with to get an ATX 3.0 power supply but now they’re everywhere. Some of the most popular ones include:
CORSAIR RMx Shift Series
Thermaltake Toughpower GF3
Rosewill CMG1200G5 PCIE 5.0
GAMEMAX 1300W ATX 3.0 & PCIE 5.0
MSI MPG Series
Seasonic VERTEX GX
So in conclusion, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to upgrade to an ATX 3.0 PSU if everything is working well for you. If you decide to up your GPU to an RTX 4000 series that might be enough of a reason to go with the new standard. Or, of course, if you’re building a new PC and want it to last that would be another reason.
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