The venerable ATX standard was developed in 1995 by Intel. It uses a power supply with many output voltages to motherboard. Ever since the original ATX PSU standard, the improvements have been gradual and never disruptive.

Intel has been feeling some years that it is time to update the way PC motherboards. 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?


In the ATX12VO standard, the -12 V, 5 V, 5 VSB (standby) and 3.3 V rails are deleted. The 24-pin connector is replaced with a 10-pin one that carries three 12 V lines in addition to the new 12 VSB standby voltage rail. Essentially the mainboard would take over some of the PSU’s functions for powering those PA parts that need 5 V and 3.3 V rails. ATX12VO is a suggested standard that manufacturers and OEMs are free to adopt or ignore at their leisure.

Using 12V voltage only is not a new idea. It has been used on some industrial motherboards for a quite long time. Also Google started using 12V-only power supplies on their data centers some years ago. Lately to meet ever more stringent efficiency requirements, OEMs have been creating their own proprietary 12 V-only solutions.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Motherboard manufacturers unite against Intel’s efficient PSU plans
    By Katie Wickens 1 day ago

    Skepticism rises, and makers push back around the proposed ATX12V0 power standard.

    In preparation for Intel’s Alder Lake launch later this year, the company has been trying to convince manufacturers to move over to its more energy efficient ATX12V0 power standard, ready for these 12th generation, monster CPUs. But since this would involve big, and potentially awkward changes for manufacturers of both motherboards and PSUs, Intel has been met with a “united front of rejection” from both sides.

    The proposed power standard would deliver just a single rail of 12V direct current through a 10-pin connector—as opposed to the current 24-pin,

    There’s a real reluctance, then, to move away from the now 25-year-old current standard. Not only are manufacturers unhappy, but they cite users who may have recently purchased high-performance PSUs that could easily be repurposed in future PC builds, would also be unlikely to be accepting of the changes.

    Buy a whole new, probably more expensive PSU, as well as a new mobo just for Intel Alder Lake? No thanks.

    Considering the first round of Alder Lake S CPUs are set for a late October/early November launch with K and KF models, along with the Z690 motherboard chipset, it doesn’t look like the power standard will gain much traction before then.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel’s ATX v3.0 PSU Standard Has More Power for GPUs
    By Aris Mpitziopoulos published 8 days ago

    There is a new PSU standard from Intel, leading to huge changes in the IT market!

    On February 1st, 2022, the ATX12V v3.0 spec became final, bringing considerable changes to power supplies. From now on, any PSU with more than 450W should include one of the new 12+4 pin connectors for Add-In Cards (like GPUs), and have various changes that allow it to deliver up to 200% of its max-rated capacity for short periods!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *