Intel releases ATX 3.0 power supply specification

Intel has published the final ATX 3.0 power supply specification, and it’s the biggest PSU specification change in nearly 20 years. PC hardware has changed a lot since then, particularly the power requirements of GPUs. ATX 3.0 PSUs will hit the market throughout 2022.

The new standard formally introduces PCIe 5.0 graphics card support with a new 12-pin 12VHPWR connector that can deliver up to 600W. We’ve seen Nvidia release Founders Edition cards with 12-pin connectors, but they’re not the same as an official PCIe 5.0 connector that includes four additional sideband signals. The new connector is slated to debut with Nvidia RTX-40 and AMD RDNA 3 cards.

The fact that cards can take up to 600W from a single connector doesn’t bode well for future GPU power requirements. Adds weight to some silly energy consumption rumors circling the internet. Some boards may require two connectors!

If nothing else, it will appeal to fans of clean builds. Getting rid of multiple 8-pin power connectors in favor of a single 12-pin connector is sure to make managing your cables easier.

These extra signal pins mean it’s unclear whether next-gen GPUs can get the full 600W from current power supplies via 8-pin to 12-pin adapters. Three 8-pin connectors will provide 450W plus another 75W from the slot for a total of 525W. With that in mind, it’s wise to hold off on purchasing a high-end PSU for now. What’s the alternative? An 8-pin four-pin adapter to a 12-pin one? That’s a bit of an exaggeration.

We previously wrote about Gigabyte UD1000GM power supply. It includes a 12-pin connector with the extra four signal pins, but we noticed that it only supports ATX 2.31. We can expect clarification on 8-pin to 12-pin support as we get closer to the release of PCIe 5.0 cards.

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

In addition to PCIe 5.0 support, there is the new ATX12VO 2.0 specification which introduces a few other features intended to provide better reliability. It brings some welcome changes to the low load efficiency, which is a weakness of even today’s most efficient PSUs. Low load efficiency improvements are designed to help the PC industry meet increasingly stringent government energy regulations. Efficiency above 60% is required for 10W or 2% of maximum capacity, while above 70% is recommended.

ATX 3.0 PSUs will feature a second Cybernetics certification standard alongside existing 80 Plus ratings. Cyber ​​certifications are not just about efficiency. There is also a noise level certification and a related chassis sound insulation certification that will definitely help users who want a quiet build.

MSI has already released its Creator P100A and MPG Trident AS ATX12VO systems. Both come with an ATX12VO 2.0 compatible power supply.

Considering these new changes, buying a high-end power supply doesn’t make sense now unless you don’t plan on upgrading for some time. If you want to upgrade to a zen 4 or 13th Generation system with a RTX-40 or RDNA 3 GPU, delaying it for now would be a good decision.

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