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

#76
TheUn4seen
So, still 24 pins, only now divided into four connectors, but with the added benefit of requirement for a new PSU and no backwards compatibility. How very efficient. Is it me or is it just PSU manufacturers scraping for ideas because people don't have to buy a new PSU often enough?
Posted on Reply
#77
lexluthermiester
IceShroomDid 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.
That's still a less complicated arrangement than standard ATX.
Posted on Reply
#78
The red spirit
lexluthermiesterThat's still a less complicated arrangement than standard ATX.
Not sure how, if they can split it into 20+4 pin connector already they could split it into 3 parts but for no other reason than placebo cable management improvement. No need to switch whole standard for that and put old components in trash for that.
Posted on Reply
#79
londiste
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
It is the connector and cable that is evil. I do not remember exactly what that 6-pin powered but even if that is needed, 10pin + 6pin cable is much better to work with than 24-pin. SATA outputs may not even be necessary today.
You are right about the PCB space but that does not seem too excessive either.

Edit:
10-pin connector can carry 216-288W. Same numbers for the additional 6-pin. In most cases, only 10-pin should be OK.
This is for the board (and USB/SATA etc), the 4/8-pin CPU power connector is still there.
Posted on Reply
#80
Operandi
The red spirit4 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.
Wow, that Elitegroup board is weird... But yeah, they put the VRM on the otherside of the socket where the DIMMs would normally be and put them above the CPU socket, thats going to be garbage for HS/F clearance. There really is no easy solution to any of this without ditching the insanely old ATX form factor that is being forced to be used in ways for which it was never designed.
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#81
Unregistered
ATX was designed for low-power parts (late 90s CPUs/GPUs). Pentium II & 3Dfx Voodoo era.

I would expect them to ditch the whole standard and design something totally new, since 150W CPUs and 350W GPUs didn't exist back then... it's a shame they ditched BTX.
Posted on Edit | Reply
#82
IceShroom
lexluthermiesterThat's still a less complicated arrangement than standard ATX.
1 cable is less complicated than 3 individual cable.
londisteIt is the connector and cable that is evil. I do not remember exactly what that 6-pin powered but even if that is needed, 10pin + 6pin cable is much better to work with than 24-pin. SATA outputs may not even be necessary today.
You are right about the PCB space but that does not seem too excessive either.

Edit:
10-pin connector can carry 216-288W. Same numbers for the additional 6-pin. In most cases, only 10-pin should be OK.
This is for the board (and USB/SATA etc), the 4/8-pin CPU power connector is still there.
That 6-pin gives power for SATA power connector. Without it you can't ran any U.2/SATA SSD or HDD. So if you want to use a 2TB SATA SSD with your pc, you have to route a 6-pin cable from PSU to your motherboard and then from motherboard to SSD just to power it.
Posted on Reply
#83
Operandi
IceShroom1 cable is less complicated than 3 individual cable.
Its easier to mange 3 slim cables than it is to manage one huge bulky cable. Also its safe to assume to those SATA power connectors actually do something (and are probably optional) unlike 90% of the conductors that are in the 24pin that are legacy junk that does nothing.
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#85
londiste
IceShroomThat 6-pin gives power for SATA power connector. Without it you can't ran any U.2/SATA SSD or HDD. So if you want to use a 2TB SATA SSD with your pc, you have to route a 6-pin cable from PSU to your motherboard and then from motherboard to SSD just to power it.
Nope. those two smaller 4-pin connectors are for SATA power output. There is a 6-pin for more SATA drives but that is not the one on the picture. The 6-pin on the picture is optional secondary motherboard power connector.
jermandoAnd what if you want to have multiple HDDs? How many SATA HDDs can you power with the new connector?
4-pin is intended to power 2 devices, 6-pin is intended to power 4 devices.
Posted on Reply
#86
IceShroom
OperandiIts easier to mange 3 slim cables than it is to manage one huge bulky cable. Also its safe to assume to those SATA power connectors actually do something (and are probably optional) unlike 90% of the conductors that are in the 24pin that are legacy junk that does nothing.
SATA connector is optional when you don't use any SATA SSD/HDD, which most people is not. My SSD+HDD+ODD are SATA. Have not seen any high capacity HDD with M.2 connector.


Here is one thing though, the 24-Pin ATX connector needs to be replaced. It has very low number of 12V Pin, which is not ehough for GPU+SSD+RGB. But the new solution is same the old solution. Instead of SATA power from PSU > MB > SATA Drive, the new specification should have SATA power directly from the PSU. And new SSD should have 12V power rail instead of 5V, just like many Enterprise SSD. It would have realy reduced the clutter, but we get this stupid solution.
londisteNope. those two smaller 4-pin connectors are for SATA power output. There is a 6-pin for more SATA drives but that is not the one on the picture. The 6-pin on the picture is optional secondary motherboard power connector.
So now new board will comsume more power that we need optional 6-pin on every motherboard, even on cheap ones. Oh boy.
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#87
Operandi
IceShroomSATA connector is optional when you don't use any SATA SSD/HDD, which most people is not. My SSD+HDD+ODD are SATA. Have not seen any high capacity HDD with M.2 connector.


Here is one thing though, the 24-Pin ATX connector needs to be replaced. It has very low number of 12V Pin, which is not ehough for GPU+SSD+RGB. But the new solution is same the old solution. Instead of SATA power from PSU > MB > SATA Drive, the new specification should have SATA power directly from the PSU. And new SSD should have 12V power rail instead of 5V, just like many Enterprise SSD. It would have realy reduced the clutter, but we get this stupid solution.
Yeah, I use HDDs too, I was just making the point that if its optional say for a iTX or mATX system where all you have is nVME.

I haven't read up on everything that is part of this "standard" but I wonder if those SATA power connectors are just a stop-gap solution till all storage is 12v only like you said. Also, idk why you need separate SATA power connectors as part of the spec anyway. If the board is doing voltage conversion from 12v for the CPU, GPU and chipset it can do the same for SATA.

What would be idea is one cable that does data and power. If you can push 100+ watts through a USB cable an maintain crazy bandwidth without issue then you should be able to do the same for a 5 watt hard drive.
Posted on Reply
#88
defaultluser
This spec is DOA: the big vendors already do their own custom PSU connectors on motherboards.

Just look at the proprietary mess that Dell motherboards are! What reason could they possibly have to standardize on a new connector that does exactly the same thing (at potentially higher cost?) Dell is only a single step away from copying the cheapest version of this standard on all their motherboards (and thus, meet any new power regs)

The smaller OEMs will be the only ones who care, as self-builders will ditch this just like BTX
Posted on Reply
#89
londiste
IceShroomSo now new board will comsume more power that we need optional 6-pin on every motherboard, even on cheap ones. Oh boy.
What makes you say that? 24-pin connector carries two 12V lanes while the ATX12VO 10-pin carries three. The power range in the spec is with 6-8A per pin. Even a bunch of SATA devices would not really make up for that difference. 5V might be a bigger problem but USB power is a whole different topic.
OperandiI haven't read up on everything that is part of this "standard" but I wonder if those SATA power connectors are just a stop-gap solution till all storage is 12v only like you said. Also, idk why you need separate SATA power connectors as part of the spec anyway. If the board is doing voltage conversion from 12v for the CPU, GPU and chipset it can do the same for SATA.
SATA power connectors are a stop-gap measure till SATA storage is 12V only. Separate SATA power connectors are 12V-only so once storage is 12V only they can be used for that.
Not all storage is likely to move to 12V though. M.2 will probably remain 3.3V.
defaultluserJust look at the proprietary mess that Dell motherboards are! What reason could they possibly have to standardize on a new connector that does exactly the same thing (at potentially higher cost?)
Your first sentence is a pretty good reason for trying.
Posted on Reply
#90
IceShroom
OperandiYeah, I use HDDs too, I was just making the point that if its optional say for a iTX or mATX system where all you have is nVME.

I haven't read up on everything that is part of this "standard" but I wonder if those SATA power connectors are just a stop-gap solution till all storage is 12v only like you said. Also, idk why you need separate SATA power connectors as part of the spec anyway. If the board is doing voltage conversion from 12v for the CPU, GPU and chipset it can do the same for SATA.

What would be idea is one cable that does data and power. If you can push 100+ watts through a USB cable an maintain crazy bandwidth without issue then you should be able to do the same for a 5 watt hard drive.
Well this new solution required you to connect nearly same amout of cable as the current one. This is not progress. And motherboard surface space is very expensive, especially on mini-ITX and micorATX board. M.2 works on 3.3V, so we already needs 12V to 3.3V converter on board. The more space used for voltage convertion will reduce board space for othe component like PCI-e redriver, more USB and better controller, TB redriver IC. Many ITX boards are already compromised without need of 3.3V and 5V converter.
As only SATA needs 5V, the SATA power portion of new standard should had 5V circuit on the PSU, instead on motherboard. And most people only run 2-4 SSD on sata, that rail on PSU would not need to be that big, only 6-8A on the 5V rail would have been better.
Posted on Reply
#91
1d10t
londisteIt is the connector and cable that is evil. I do not remember exactly what that 6-pin powered but even if that is needed, 10pin + 6pin cable is much better to work with than 24-pin. SATA outputs may not even be necessary today.
You are right about the PCB space but that does not seem too excessive either.

Edit:
10-pin connector can carry 216-288W. Same numbers for the additional 6-pin. In most cases, only 10-pin should be OK.
This is for the board (and USB/SATA etc), the 4/8-pin CPU power connector is still there.
Couple things I want to point out :
- this new "12v0" are targeting only at idle to low power loads, typical and full load practically the same. Why not make a better CPU with lower power consumption across all spectrum with more advanced process node ie. 7nm or 5nm? *Whoops.
- motherboard need to do a "DC to DC converter", so you need PWM controller for split power plane, some FET, lot of inductor and bunch capacitor as I mentioned earlier.Is there a guarantee that motherboard maker will opt quality component for ripple and noise suppression? And since this is on motherboard, I wouldn't surprise if it was controlled through BIOS. Reminds me again, need hefty amount of space, produce a lot of heat and rely on motherboard manufacturer for "stability".
- Protections. In strange event if there is a malfunction, short circuit of some peripheral, can motherboard isolate it? As it is just a simple buck converter, I believe there is no protection whatsoever.
- as for SATA connector, I reckon many out there still using old mechanical drive, RGB controller, watercooling pump and expansion card.
Posted on Reply
#92
IceShroom
londisteWhat makes you say that? 24-pin connector carries two 12V lanes while the ATX12VO 10-pin carries three. The power range in the spec is with 6-8A per pin. Even a bunch of SATA devices would not really make up for that difference. 5V might be a bigger problem but USB power is a whole different topic.
It is on the specification.

Here is link : www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/guides/single-rail-power-supply-platform-atx12vo-design-guide.pdf
Posted on Reply
#93
londiste
1d10tCouple things I want to point out :
- this new "12v0" are targeting only at idle to low power loads, typical and full load practically the same. Why not make a better CPU with lower power consumption across all spectrum with more advanced process node ie. 7nm or 5nm? *Whoops.
- motherboard need to do a "DC to DC converter", so you need PWM controller for split power plane, some FET, lot of inductor and bunch capacitor as I mentioned earlier.Is there a guarantee that motherboard maker will opt quality component for ripple and noise suppression? And since this is on motherboard, I wouldn't surprise if it was controlled through BIOS. Reminds me again, need hefty amount of space, produce a lot of heat and rely on motherboard manufacturer for "stability".
- Protections. In strange event if there is a malfunction, short circuit of some peripheral, can motherboard isolate it? As it is just a simple buck converter, I believe there is no protection whatsoever.
- as for SATA connector, I reckon many out there still using old mechanical drive, RGB controller, watercooling pump and expansion card.
- Low power loads are the main target. There are efficiency gains for load but they are a relatively smaller share. This is basically about overhead from having 3.3V and 5V plus a couple other legacy bits.
- They are making more power efficient CPUs. Alder Lake actually might be a pretty big thing in that area.
- The amount of power in the motherboard that needs to go through DC-to-DC is not that large. Modern PSUs are specced for something like 100-150W of 3.3V and 5V. There are efficiency gains from doing this on the motherboard compared to 3.3V/5V transferred over wires from PSU to motherboard, at least for stuff closer to motherboard that uses it (or stuff that currently gets transferred through mb anyway). SATA is an exception to that.
The quality of DC-to-DC from motherboard manufacturers is a concern but should not be too bad for reviewers to find.

I get it, you trust motherboard manufacturers as far as you can throw them. I am a bit more optimistic about things not blowing up and manufacturers not doing completely idiotic things.
IceShroomIt is on the specification.
Here is link : www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/guides/single-rail-power-supply-platform-atx12vo-design-guide.pdf
Well, yes.
12V, 3 rails, 6-8A per pin = 216-288W.
At the same time, 24-pin ATX connector has two 12V rails - 12V, 2 rails, 6-8A per pin = 144-192W
My point was that it might not consume all that much more power that would require that additional 6-pin connector. Compared to 24-pin, that 10-pin is intended to provide additional 72-96W of 12V. Converted to 3.3V or 5V that is enough for majority of use cases.
Posted on Reply
#94
defaultluser
londisteWhat makes you say that? 24-pin connector carries two 12V lanes while the ATX12VO 10-pin carries three. The power range in the spec is with 6-8A per pin. Even a bunch of SATA devices would not really make up for that difference. 5V might be a bigger problem but USB power is a whole different topic.

SATA power connectors are a stop-gap measure till SATA storage is 12V only. Separate SATA power connectors are 12V-only so once storage is 12V only they can be used for that.
Not all storage is likely to move to 12V though. M.2 will probably remain 3.3V.

Your first sentence is a pretty good reason for trying.
And, what makes you think Dell wants to standardize anything?

They have high-enough volume to get their own slightly-customized PSU connectors in-bulk (and using the same psu on multiple different models also helps with additional volume).

When they can charge you an arm and a leg for a replacement, why would they ever standardize? This spec is DOA, like I already stated, as they just have to tweak their motherboards slightly to move sata power onboard (when you have 6 and 8-pin power connectors already. you can guess how many of those are 12v: 2x12v on 6-pin, and 3x12v for 8-pin!)

www.dell.com/community/Optiplex-Desktops/Optiplex-proprietary-8-pin-and-6-pin-ATX-pinout-here/td-p/7779028

HP has been pulling the exact same trick for the past few years:

h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Desktop-Hardware-and-Upgrade-Questions/Ugrading-Power-Supply-atx-connector-issue/td-p/6813600

You have yet to show me any evidence of a major OEM like these announcing support fro the standard, so it's DOA. If this was introduced 5 years ago, then it might have made headway, but OEMS have already been doing this themselves ( so why level the cost of everyone else entering the playfield, at this point?)
Posted on Reply
#95
londiste
londisteThe amount of power in the motherboard that needs to go through DC-to-DC is not that large. Modern PSUs are specced for something like 100-150W of 3.3V and 5V.
Wanted to check for some specific examples:
- Corsair SF600 has 20A for both 3.3V and 5V, 120W total.
- Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium 650W has 20A for both 3.3V and 5V, 100W total.
Posted on Reply
#96
voltage
Final_FighterThis is really bad timing for this. chip shortages, and supply line issues. sounds like its only going to drive cost up more. could intel pick a worse time for this?
right, they chose the timing, as if they planned it.
Posted on Reply
#97
The red spirit
OperandiWow, that Elitegroup board is weird... But yeah, they put the VRM on the otherside of the socket where the DIMMs would normally be and put them above the CPU socket, thats going to be garbage for HS/F clearance. There really is no easy solution to any of this without ditching the insanely old ATX form factor that is being forced to be used in ways for which it was never designed.
Nothing particularly weird about it, it's just old socket 754 board from early 2004. Some boards came with same memory location and it wasn't ECS specific thing, Asus, MSI and DFI have certainly made some boards like that either with socket 754 or with socket 939. Back then you could buy a board with both EPS and 20 pin connector where now VRMs are and with SATA ports that are super close to CPU socket. Those were wacky times. That particular ECS board had rather decent layout and wouldn't have caused any problems back then and it wouldn't cause problems today as it had no VRM heatsinks and memory back then was often just bare green PCB. I would love to see a modern board designed with same layout as that ECS.
Posted on Reply
#98
MxPhenom 216
ASIC Engineer
lexluthermiesterActually, not really. This is an excellent time for this push. 12V PSU's are much simpler and easier to make than a standard PSU's and they are proving to be more efficient. Adding 5V and 3.3V circuitry to motherboards is an inexpensive and relatively easy task. Intel is on point with this push and I think it would be very positive the industry all around.

Intel isn't pushing this for their advantage, they're pushing this because it's a good thing for everyone. Whether you like Intel or not, this is something everyone should get behind.
^^100%
lexluthermiesterEither the conversion happens in the PSU or the mobo. Motherboards have always been a better place to do voltage conversion as there's more room for components and cooling potential.
Signal integrity will be better across a shorter distance on a motherboard after voltage being stepped down, than across relatively longer distance cable from the PSU as well.
Posted on Reply
#99
RealKGB
1d10t- as for SATA connector, I reckon many out there still using old mechanical drive, RGB controller, watercooling pump and expansion card.
Yep. I use 8 SATA power connectors (4 HDD, 2 SSD, 1 LG WH16NS40, 1 PCIe riser) and 3 Molex power connectors (1 optical drive, 1 Zip drive, 1 floppy drive via Molex -> floppy). I'm hoping that Molex cables will be made for this connector, and that there will be motherboards with more than just 2 of those SATA/Molex power connectors, because 4 is just not enough. Once I upgrade my motherboard I'll be using 10 SATA power cables (5 HDD, 2 SSD, 1 PCIe riser, 1 fan, 1 LG WH16NS40) and 5 Molex power cables (1x FireWire card, 1x optical drive, 1x Zip drive, 1x 1 Molex to 2 SATA (for fan and PCIe riser), and 1x floppy drive) which would require 8 4-pin motherboard power connectors. And yes, I do need both 12v and 5v for the fan. I'm taking 12v for fan power and then 5v for the RGB LEDs that I'm putting on it.
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#100
lexluthermiester
MxPhenom 216Signal integrity will be better across a shorter distance on a motherboard after voltage being stepped down, than across relatively longer distance cable from the PSU as well.
That's a good point.
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