Monday, May 17th 2021

Intel Encourages Adoption of ATX12VO Standard on Alder Lake-S Motherboards

The ATX12VO power standard is a new specification for desktop power supplies which boasts greatly increased efficiency over regular desktop power supplies. The new standard requires a compatible motherboard with a 10-pin power connector along with a compatible power supply which only features 12 V rails. The standard requires that any voltage conversion above or below 12 V must be performed directly on the motherboard which increases the complexity and cost for motherboard manufacturers. Intel is interested in promoting the standard with their upcoming 600-series motherboards for Alder Lake-S however most enthusiast boards are unlikely to feature the standard. The standard may find higher adoption with entry-level motherboards for system integrators and pre-built suppliers who need to meet strict government power efficiency regulations.
Sources: VideoCardz, Hardware LUXX
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124 Comments on Intel Encourages Adoption of ATX12VO Standard on Alder Lake-S Motherboards

#51
Zubasa
The red spiritWell, my system spends quite a bit of time with 5-6% of PSU load and my power meter, shows really low power factor then. Closer to 60s. Anyway there's one thing, Linus wouldn't have seen any big gains if new standard wasn't more efficient and yet at idle he saw 50% improvement. He certainly doesn't use some cheapo 80+ unit which is worth 40 dollar and power supply industry is honestly one of the slowest in terms of actually changing anything. So I'm not sure why that you posted here seemingly contradicts other sources and I doubt that current power supplies really all that good, but if they are then your linked test still shows that such efficiency will be seen only with very expensive power supplies, that most people won't buy and wouldn't really know about any of their efficiency improvements on very low loads. If new standard can make that much cheaper, then it makes sense to implement it. Motherboards already have VRMs, so for them increased cost will be much smaller than adding more stuff to PSU. In terms of affordability of power supplies, I would dare to say that even 80+ gold models are somewhat unaffordable for lots of computer builders and most of them will end up with 80+ bronze units. Anything higher than gold is straight up too expensive or availability of such units is poor. And I remember that some site did some calculation and found out that there's no financial incentive to get anything more than 80+ bronze rated power supply, because what you spend on it will never pay off in lower electricity expenses. If new standard could mean way more efficient PSUs for 50 dollars than today's 150 dollar units, new standard does make sense.
The ATX 12VO spec only changes how the 5V and 3,3V rails works, and these rails together often accounts for less than 10% of the system power draw.
The bulk of the power draw is from the 12V rail and there is no change to that apart from the connectors.

Most of those 650W PSU costs around $100 or less.
Anyway this is a cheap $45 400W unit, and the efficiency is no where near as bad as suggested.
www.techpowerup.com/review/kolink-classic-power-400-w/5.html


For PC PSUs it is the usually expensive high power units that have lower efficiency at idle.
www.techpowerup.com/review/be-quiet-dark-power-pro-1500-w/5.html

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#52
1d10t
Kinda reminds me of Ampere "native" 12 pin power connector, and how's that turn out?
I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but this is another unnecessary idiotic step that Intel shouldn't bother. Power supply now is very efficient, with DC to DC converter, full bridge rectifier and even very good power filtering on each rail. I would like to see if all of that is left to motherboard manufacturer. Currently, there are many types of power delivery motherboards, whether it's single phase inductor or double phase double inductor, with single or double tunnel controlling. Many motherboards look decent but don't provide same efficiency, let alone adequate cooling. Not to mention how do you provide arbitrary "Standard" on every motherboard? Will the price not go up because of that certification? Kinda amuse Intel to take a winding road just to make the Elder lake look good.
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#53
The red spirit
ZubasaThe ATX 12VO spec only changes how the 5V and 3,3V rails works, and these rails together often accounts for less than 10% of the system power draw.
The bulk of the power draw is from the 12V rail and there is no change to that apart from the connectors.

Most of those 650W PSU costs around $100 or less.
Anyway this is a cheap $45 400W unit, and the efficiency is not where near as bad as suggested.
www.techpowerup.com/review/kolink-classic-power-400-w/5.html


For PC PSUs it is the usually expensive high power units that have lower efficiency at idle.
www.techpowerup.com/review/be-quiet-dark-power-pro-1500-w/5.html

I'm aware that new standard removes two rails and that they have been of low relevancy for a long time, but still some SSDs use them and they are less efficient. 12V rail is the only rail that is usually always loaded the most, so it has the least benefits of new standard.

Well, cheap units have been decent for a long time, but still I wonder why Linus saw massive gains in efficiency just from PSU change.
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#54
Rais
lexluthermiesterEffectively. But in doing so, there is a cost savings on the PSU side and better power management on the motherboard side.
The component you remove from the PSU are added to the mainboard, with the need to reengineer both. I think we can exclude cost savings.
Better power management, why?
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#55
londiste
TheinsanegamerNThe 10 pin standard still has the 4/8 pin CPU connector. The motherboard picture has it listed as an "auxillary" plug. And if you have multiple component plugs, why on earth are we moving from the 24 pin plug?
As an SFF inclined person - that 24-pin monstrosity should die in a fire :)
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#56
Zubasa
The red spiritWell, cheap units have been decent for a long time, but still I wonder why Linus saw massive gains in efficiency just from PSU change.
Linus is not using a load tester, so the only way he attempt to test this is by swaping the Mobo along with the PSU.
Motherboard idle power consumption can vary wildly especially on Intel motherboards, because different units enforce different Power Limits and some just choose to ignore it completely.
Asrock mobos tend to follow the Intel spec as Auto, while other makers often run the CPU at full boost with MCE as Auto.

Also something that people often overlook for idle power consumption is things like RGB LEDs actually adds up, turning off all of my RGB actually drops my idle power by up to 20W.
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#57
Chomiq
Everyone should calm down and remember that this is aimed primairly at OEM's and system vendors. Most often they're already using custom designs and with low loads when using iGPU this will allow them to increase efficiency.


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#58
Crackong
Only place the 12VO is applicable are Pre-builts like DELL or HP
They are already doing 12V only PSUs for years.

Don't see the point here for DIY PCs
If doing DC - DC after AC - DC 12V is really that efficient and simple, just slap the same components into the PSU and reuse everything else.
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#59
Zubasa
CrackongIf doing DC - DC after AC - DC 12V is really that efficient and simple, just slap the same components into the PSU and reuse everything else.
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#60
The red spirit
ZubasaLinus is not using a load tester, so the only way he attempt to test this is by swaping the Mobo along with the PSU.
Motherboard idle power consumption can vary wildly especially on Intel motherboards, because different units enforce different Power Limits and some just choose to ignore it completely.
Asrock mobos tend to follow the Intel spec as Auto, while other makers often run the CPU at full boost with MCE as Auto.

Also something that people often overlook for idle power consumption is things like RGB LEDs actually adds up, turning off all of my RGB actually drops my idle power by up to 20W.
Sure his methodology wasn't great and he didn't specify parts used, but his idle power consumption shouldn't be affected by different PL values and MCE. Also it looks like very doable power consumption too. 60 watts at idle with power hungry card and likely 9900K seem to be correct, however once he switched to ATX12V0 PSU his idle power consumption went to 30 watts. I'm telling you this isn't possible to achieve that i5 10400F stock as just idling graphics card consumes quite a bit of power. Only when I switched GPU to RX 560 no 6 pin edition, my idle power usage was close to 30 watts. With RX 580 my idle power consumption is at 37-40 watts. 9900K likely eats more power at idle than my i5 10400F and whatever high end nVidia card also eats more at idle than RX 580. He also had RGB RAM so all that RGB could have pushed idle wattage to 60s. I don't really see anything odd about his gains. At full boost 9900K would consume way more than 60-80 watts, even during idle.
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#61
Unregistered
RaisThat's ankward. You strip away DC-DC from PSU to make them more efficient, and this is obvious, but then you need to make that conversion somewhere else with unknown efficiency or quality.

Nowadays less and less components uses 5V and 3,3V, and power requirement for those are really low, and i get that transition to 12V has started more than 10 years ago, but still i'm not confident of having increasing power on motherboards. If it is a matter of efficiency, we need now to measure a mobo efficiency too.
Yeah, I'd rather rely on PSU for efficiency.

Mid-range motherboards will never have good efficiency. Only high-end ones.
ZoneDymocan we finally get back to these majestic beings:

Nah, copper is costly these days.

Also, let's keep in mind that people change motherboards way more often than PSUs.

You can keep a good PSU (like Corsair RM850x) for 10 years.

Chances are you're not going to keep the same motherboard for 10 years (especially if we're talking about Intel).

So the consumer in the end will have to pay more for upgrades... and if you care about efficiency, you're going to pay even more for high-end mobos, because I don't think mid-range ones (let alone low-end ones) will offer the same quality in DC-DC parts.
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#62
Zubasa
The red spiritSure his methodology wasn't great and he didn't specify parts used, but his idle power consumption shouldn't be affected by different PL values and MCE. Also it looks like very doable power consumption too. 60 watts at idle with power hungry card and likely 9900K seem to be correct, however once he switched to ATX12V0 PSU his idle power consumption went to 30 watts. I'm telling you this isn't possible to achieve that i5 10400F stock as just idling graphics card consumes quite a bit of power. Only when I switched GPU to RX 560 no 6 pin edition, my idle power usage was close to 30 watts. With RX 580 my idle power consumption is at 37-40 watts. 9900K likely eats more power at idle than my i5 10400F and whatever high end nVidia card also eats more at idle than RX 580. He also had RGB RAM so all that RGB could have pushed idle wattage to 60s. I don't really see anything odd about his gains. At full boost 9900K would consume way more than 60-80 watts, even during idle.
A system with a 9900K @5.1Ghz and a 1080 ti pulls around 53W idle.
The card Linus used in his video was a Titan X, very similar to a 1080 Ti. The card pulls around 10Ws at idle. FYI an RX580 draw around 9W idle.
So, Linus' idle power consumption on his standard ATX system is actually quite inline with a 9900k on a "non-stock" behavior.
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#63
The red spirit
ZubasaA system with a 9900K @5.1Ghz and a 1080 ti pulls around 53W idle.
The card Linus used in his video was a Titan X, very similar to a 1080 Ti. The card pulls around 10Ws at idle. FYI an RX580 draw around 9W idle.
So, Linus' idle power consumption on his standard ATX system is actually quite inline with a 9900k on a "non-stock" behavior.
Well that's really surprising if it's true. When I lock i5 at 3.6GHz whole computer consumes 48 watts at idle. That's with C states and other econo stuff off. The lowest idle I have ever got this system was 35.8 watts for fraction of second. That's with nothing opened, all econo features on, not moving a mouse and waiting for the lowest wattage. With undervolted RX 580 I could achieve better results.

Well, if i9 is really all that conservative with power at idle, then I guess Linus's results could be skewed a lot by different motherboard. However, there's one thing. His rig still consumed less power with ATX12v0 PSU and that wattage was below anything you could achieve on stock part with normal power supply. So new standard definitely helps, just not as much as I thought it would.

An we have to remember that TPU reviewer likely adjusted voltage manually and stock 9900K can only boost to all core clock of 4.7GHz. With MCE Linus could have had closer to 5GHz or 5.1GHz speed with much higher voltages. Meaning that normal power supplies are even closer to ATX12v0 than I thought.

I'm really curious about this stuff, and it's a damn shame that Linus did such a shoddy introduction and didn't control variables better. He also got his hands on rare and likely impossible to buy product too. And now there's no accurate data about it. What a shame.
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#64
Zubasa
The red spiritWell that's really surprising if it's true. When I lock i5 at 3.6GHz whole computer consumes 48 watts at idle. That's with C states and other econo stuff off. The lowest idle I have ever got this system was 35.8 watts for fraction of second. That's with nothing opened, all econo features on, not moving a mouse and waiting for the lowest wattage. With undervolted RX 580 I could achieve better results.

Well, if i9 is really all that conservative with power at idle, then I guess Linus's results could be skewed a lot by different motherboard. However, there's one thing. His rig still consumed less power with ATX12v0 PSU and that wattage was below anything you could achieve on stock part with normal power supply. So new standard definitely helps, just not as much as I thought it would.

An we have to remember that TPU reviewer likely adjusted voltage manually and stock 9900K can only boost to all core clock of 4.7GHz. With MCE Linus could have had closer to 5GHz or 5.1GHz speed with much higher voltages. Meaning that normal power supplies are even closer to ATX12v0 than I thought.

I'm really curious about this stuff, and it's a damn shame that Linus did such a shoddy introduction and didn't control variables better. He also got his hands on rare and likely impossible to buy product too. And now there's no accurate data about it. What a shame.
In theory a more accurate way to test how efficient the DC conversion on that 12VO Mobo is just hook a load tester onto it.
Those SATA power out are fed by the 6-pin 12V connector next to them, so you measure the difference in the input and output wattage you can get an idea of how efficient that is.
Compare that to a standard ATX PSU and you can get a better idea. (Not sure if that only feeds the SATA power or the whole motherboard though)
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#65
Frank_100
Seems to me it is just more green new deal non-sense designed to push work off the desktop and into the cloud where it can be data mined and sold to the highest bidder.

...but maybe I'm just a pessimist.
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#66
Tane
Intel to make a decent processor, instead of dealing with nonsense.
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#67
The red spirit
TaneIntel to make a decent processor, instead of dealing with nonsense.
I wouldn't call it a nonsense. If it's engineered well and actually works, it could very well replace ATX PSUs and we could gains some extra efficiency. And Intel chips are decent, just not the best performing ones. Comet Lake was still fine and delivered a lot of value with locked chips (10400F and 10700F). Rocket Lake is just a sorry disaster, but either way it was planned and everybody knew that it would be a stop gap until Alder Lake. Alder Lake is expected to be a major release:

It will get new socket, likely DDR5, new architecture, likely node shrink and maybe big.LITTLE rip off technology. Once you look at everything, Intel will likely push power efficiency as a major feature. A new PSU standard (if it does what it claims to do) would be a nice addition. If Alder Lake doesn't suck and they put big and little cores on same chip, it can truly redefine desktops as we know. If it fails, then we will have some sort of bullshit like AMD FX with loads of Windows scheduler problems that weren't completely patched out until next major Windows release. I personally would like to see 8 big cores, 16 small cores and those 8 big cores hyperthreaded. If they can make it on new process node and not without some big sacrifices and at decent clock speed and turbo speed and still within reasonable TDP (let's say PL1 - 80 watts and PL2 - 150 watts, Tau 58 seconds), then it would be really interesting release. If they still can't get anything smaller than 14nm, then it will be yet another backported abortion. But if they can, that's going to be good. Meanwhile, AMD will be stuck with all even cores, but high core count. Alder Lake could be very interesting for multithreaded loads, but I wouldn't expect it to be much better at single threaded loads.

I see no reason to be so grim about them. They are very well aware that Rocket Lake is a stop gap and they are trying to remain respectable brands and reduce losses until they have something good. Creating a new architecture takes time and some planning for future. Rocket Lake likely was already engineered and functional some years prior.
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#68
1d10t
londisteAs an SFF inclined person - that 24-pin monstrosity should die in a fire :)


Well of course, divide them into four, added some Crapxon polymer, Nikos D-PAK and Isat 200μH inductor is waaayyyy better than 24 pin motherboard :p
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#69
Operandi
As others have stated this isn't "reinventing the wheel" or just moving the complexity from one component to another, its moving forward and there are real benefits to getting rid of the minor rails on the PSU.

Motherboards already have tons of voltage conversion components on them; yeah they'll need a few more components for this to work but doing it in the PSU only creates a bunch of redundant componentry and complexity. If its done on the motherboard it will be simpler in terms of total design vs. having voltage conversion capability in two places needlessly. Then there is the efficiency and PF gains; efficiency and PF are bad at low loads on low / midrange PSUs because they don't have the high-end voltage conversion components that already exist on a motherboard to keep idle power consumption in check. Also the 24 pin connector is such a stupid bulky out dated design full of useless cables it really is time for it go.
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#70
The red spirit
OperandiAlso the 24 pin connector is such a stupid bulky out dated design full of useless cables it really is time for it go.
Eh, it's not great, but at least it isn't as bad as MOLEX. MOLEX is the only connector of power supply that can take 1-2 minutes to plug in, because 4 pins never align properly and sometimes you end up forcing it to go in and it magically does. imo MOLEX is much worse and if you want to plug in several fans with it and hide cables behind the side panel it has high chances of not fitting there. And then after MOLEX, second worst connector is 8 pin EPS. Connector itself isn't bad, but its placement is. It always has to go in top left corner, exactly where isn't much room for hands and if you want to unplug it, then there are high chances of hitting a cooler or a VRM heatsink with your hand and leaving some blood. 24 pin connector sure is clunky frustrating it doesn't fit well under side panel, but at least it's not as badly placed or designed as MOLEX or 8 pin EPS.
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#71
Operandi
The red spiritEh, it's not great, but at least it isn't as bad as MOLEX. MOLEX is the only connector of power supply that can take 1-2 minutes to plug in, because 4 pins never align properly and sometimes you end up forcing it to go in and it magically does. imo MOLEX is much worse and if you want to plug in several fans with it and hide cables behind the side panel it has high chances of not fitting there. And then after MOLEX, second worst connector is 8 pin EPS. Connector itself isn't bad, but its placement is. It always has to go in top left corner, exactly where isn't much room for hands and if you want to unplug it, then there are high chances of hitting a cooler or a VRM heatsink with your hand and leaving some blood. 24 pin connector sure is clunky frustrating it doesn't fit well under side panel, but at least it's not as badly placed or designed as MOLEX or 8 pin EPS.
What still uses 4 pin molex natively? As to EPS12v thats where it is because it has to be where the VRM is, blame the ancient ATX spec for that that. Its 10 years past its expiration date and is only used because nobody wants to change.
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#72
IceShroom
1d10t

Well of course, divide them into four, added some Crapxon polymer, Nikos D-PAK and Isat 200μH inductor is waaayyyy better than 24 pin motherboard :p
Looks like, new 'compact' 10 pin ATX connector has more clutter than old 24 pin ATX connector. This is nowday minimalistic design.
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#73
The red spirit
OperandiWhat still uses 4 pin molex natively? As to EPS12v thats where it is because it has to be where the VRM is, blame the ancient ATX spec for that that. Its 10 years past its expiration date and is only used because nobody wants to change.
4 pin molex is used rarely nowadays, but some fans come with it and some cases with fan controllers are molex only (Fractal Design R4). I also had USB 3.0 controller that needed MOLEX to work. Hell the most shocking thing is that I bought SATA to IDE adapter that needs floppy power connector to work. In the past cold cathodes, HDDs, ODDs, various other stuff are MOLEX only. MOLEX certainly has its uses, just that plug design is so awful.

BTW some old board, which had EPS connector, but 4 pin one actually managed to put it in different places other than that damned corner. Here are some examples:




You see, they could even put it where 24pin is now, I see no reason for EPS to bee in that cursed place. It's really not a rocket science to switch RAM position and rotate CPU socket. Really simple stuff, but it seems that nobody cares.
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#74
lexluthermiester
IceShroomLooks like, new 'compact' 10 pin ATX connector has more clutter than old 24 pin ATX connector. This is nowday minimalistic design.
Please explain your logic. The new connectors look much more compact and tidy to me..
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#75
IceShroom
lexluthermiesterPlease explain your logic. The new connectors look much more compact and tidy to me..
Did you see the other 6+4+4 Pin connector beside the 10-Pin connector. Now you have to route 3(+1) cable for just to use MB+SATA Drive instead of 1 24-pin cable.
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