Intel updates ATX power for PCIe 5.0

Intel updates ATX power for PCIe 5.0

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Intel has updated the specification of ATX power supplies to handle the power requirements of PCI Express 5.0

ATX 3.0 is the first update of power supplies for desktop PCs in two decades, since ATX 2.0 in 2003.

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 reduce 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,” said Stephen Eastman, Intel platform power specialist.

The ATX 3.0 specification includes a new 12VHPWR connector to power most, if not all, future PCIe 5.0 desktop add-in cards such as graphics cards. This connector provides up to 600 watts directly to any PCIe 5.0 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.

The 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. This was previously available on mobile and server platforms and helps small form-factor (SFF) systems such as NUCs that can’t employ larger power supplies. It also provides cost efficiencies for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use the optimum size of PSUs.

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.

MSI recently launched the first ATX12VO-based desktop systems – the Creator P100A and the MPG Trident AS using the 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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