Intel has developed a version of the ATX power supply that will only deliver 12V in an effort to simplify the design of high end desktop PCs.
Systems based on the ATX12VO specification are set to launch later this year. Instead of providing 3.3V and 5V outputs from the power supply unit (PSU), the lower voltages will be generated from point of load DC-DC converters on the PC motherboard. Solid state disks and optical drives will take power from a new “side-mounted SATA power connector near the SATA data ports.”
As Intel owns Enpirion which makes chip-scale point of load DC-DC converters, this will be another component for Intel to ship to board makers alongside the processor and networking devices. But it also opens up the motherboard market for other chip-scale DC-DC converter makers.
The move has been driven by the new power states in high end PCs, says Intel. These Alternative Sleep Modes (ASM) such as Microsoft’s Modern Standby or the Lucid Sleep from Google Chrome have created new requirements at 0.55A and 1.5A load levels, and the ATX12VO specification has been developed to address these. Intel also says the number of times the PSU toggles on and off is expected to increase, and simplifying the connections to a single power line improves the reliability of the supplies.
The new specification also includes new modular power connector designs for the different uses. The CPU connectors on the motherboard are with a 4pin (2x2) or 8pin (2x4) connector, while the graphics card needs a 6pin or 8pin connector, but use different pin locations and keying and so are not interchangeable.
Prototype systems were seen at the CES show in Las Vegas this month, and the ATX12VO specification is expected to be formally lanuched with production PSUs later this year.
The design guide is at www.intel.co.uk