Intel ATX12VO, 12V Exclusive!

Source: Hackaday Intel ATX12VO, 12V Exclusive!

Take A Load Of The PSU, You Put The Load Right On The Motherboard

Intel’s ATX12VO is an initiative to change PSUs to provide one single 12V rail, with any other needed voltages generated using step-down converters on the motherboard.  While this may seem odd, it is worth recalling that the good ol’ ATX standard was developed by Intel back in 1995, so they do have a right to go nosing around PSU development.   We’ve also seen the removal of the -5V rail from the ATX 2.0 spec as well as the -12V rail becoming optional, so the tradition of simplifying power delivery does have precedent.

There are systems such as Dell’s G5 5000 which already make use of their own 12V only.  Those who have dealt with the internal power supply of a Dell machine may now start to see the benefit of a standard applied across pre-built models, perhaps not for DIY machines though.  The drawback is that ATX12VO would make PSU design somewhat easier and increase power efficiency as well, but it also pushes the onus of providing any other voltages onto the motherboard.  This means more expensive motherboards as well as yet another point of failure.  As a PSU is both less expensive and longer living than your average motherboard; which makes this idea less attractive for those that build systems on their own as opposed to buying boutique.

Hackaday takes a look at this proposal, the reasons behind it and the history of the ATX spec in this post, if you’d like to learn more about Intel’s plans for the PSU.

Starting in 2019, Intel has been promoting the ATX12VO (12 V only) standard for new systems, but what is this new standard about, and will switching everything to 12 V really be worth any power savings?

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.


  1. Sean Palmer

    the Hackaday link appears to be missing

  2. collie man

    I think I understand but I’m not sure I got it. Are we saying that there will be only one cable from the PSU to the MOBO, and any other power needs, be it drives, GPUs cooling active cooling or fans will be connected from a cable connected to a port on the MOBO? If that’s what we are talking about that means that 500-1000wats or higher would be flowing though the motherboards pcb? That’s scary…. I’m sure the magic faries behind the sceen know what they are doing, and I (mostly) trust them, but it still sounds scary. And it makes things trickier for cable management on the case designers and system builders, DIY or boutique, but Im sure it’s just new and scary and not as bad as it feels….

    Or am I misunderstanding?

    • Hawler

      It’s not pushing all power through the mother board (though there is more going through the Motherboard than before). The PSU will still have lots of cables coming off of it, they will just all be 12V. 6/8 pin connectors for GPUs etc are already 12V and won’t change, same with the CPU 4 pin and 8 pin. moles and SATA power will change, they will now be powered from the motherboard where the step down to 3.3 or 5V will occur.

    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      Think of the Seasonic CONNECT, there is a main motherboard connector and extra 12V like now, and since your GPU lives off of 12V as well the PCIe connectors would still be there. If you can crack open a newer Dell desktop you will see what is going on with fans and SATA drives.

      • collie man

        Ok, that makes more sense.

        I have bad flashbacks of the Tandy 1000 Hard Drives, where there was only 1 8 pin cable from the power supply to the mobo, and the drives were (somehow) feed power over the (P)ATA cable…… and they ALWAYS failed, and you could only get replacement drives from RadioShack in store special order, bad memories from just before/the whole reason I did my first full build (286 with 512k ram, LIKE A BOSS) . But that was a very long time ago wasn’t it


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