of Antonio Funes
Intel has set a new standard for power supplies. The ATX12VO standard stipulates that power supplies should only supply 12 volts. The mainboards are supposed to offer the currently usual voltages of 3.3 and 5 volts by means of voltage converters themselves. This should make the power supplies more compact and efficient, and the main power connector will also be smaller.

A small revolution is imminent for PC power supplies. Because as well our colleagues from PC Games Hardware report, a new standard initiated by Intel only provides 12 volt cables. This standard is called ATC12VO, where the O stands for "only". Because power supplies with this standard only supply 12 volts as voltage. So far, it has been common for power supplies to convert the voltage from the power grid (230 volts in Germany) and to make them available to the PC in the form of three "lines". These are not cables in the sense that they are separate cable strands, but rather the power supply unit converts the current internally to the voltages 3.3 volts, 5 volts and 12 volts, the power cables of the power supplies then carry the corresponding ones depending on the application tensions. The main change lies in the 24-pin power connector that is plugged into the mainboard. Because this connector should also only offer 12 volts and become smaller, namely 10-pin. Since only one converter area is required in the power supply unit, the power supply units could also become smaller or offer more space inside, which makes cooling easier. The conversion of the 12 volt currents into 3.3 and 5 volts will then have to be carried out by the motherboard itself, among other things, it should include power connections for SATA drives, which usually require 5 volts, right next to the SATA ports Give motherboards. Additional voltage converters will therefore have to be used for mainboards.

Future compatibility issues?

It can be problematic if you want to upgrade your PC and a new mainboard requires the ATX12VO standard. Purely from the plug, an adapter can be used to easily convert the 24-pin main connector into a new 10-pin connector. Your power supply will be able to deliver less overall power than before. Example: A be quiet! System Power 9 with a nominal output of 500 watts can deliver more than 500 watts for a short time, because it offers 110 watts for 3.5 and 5 volts as a combined output, for 12 volts there is a maximum of 456 watts – a total of 566 watts. With the new system, the 110 watts of the 3.3 and 5 volt cables are completely eliminated. so that in the absolute maximum case 456 watts can be delivered. Incidentally, this is still more than enough even for a PC with a Core i7 or Ryzen 7 plus an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super – nevertheless, part of the potential performance is definitely lost when you use an ATX power supply with an ATX12VO mainboard wants to operate. It will be exciting to see whether the new standard can replace the old standard at all. Initially, it should only be used with complete PCs.

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