Skip to main content

FSP Debuts World's First 12VO SFX PSUs for Tiny, Efficient Systems

FSP
(Image credit: FSP)

In the PC world, brand-new technologies are often adopted by full-size desktops first, and only then move on to compact systems. This is what happened to Intel's ATX 12VO (ATX 12 Volts only) standard for power supplies, which came to ATX systems first. But new tech eventually moves to the majority of form-factors, and this week FSP introduced the industry's first SFX 12VO (12 Volts only) power supplies for compact systems and builds.

FSP's STX 12VO PSUs are fully compliant with Intel's ATX 12VO specification and feature a single-rail 12V+12Vsb circuit design. The ATX 12VO standard replaces the traditional 24-pin power cable with a 10-pin one and eliminates 3.3V/5V peripheral rails and cables completely. So FSP's FSP750-27SCB, FSP650-27SCB only have one MB10 pin connector, a 4+4-pin EPS12V connector for CPU, and two auxiliary power connectors for graphics cards (one 8-pin, one 6+2-pin). 

FSP says that it uses high-quality Japanese electrolytic capacitors for its SFX 12VO PSUs, and equips them with multiple protection mechanisms, including overcurrent protection (OCP), overvoltage protection (OVP), short circuit protection (SCP), overpower protection (OPP), and overtemperature protection (OTP).

Due to a major simplification of internal PSU architecture, FSP's STX12VO PSUs are considerably simpler to make than their ATX-compliant SFX counterparts. Unfortunately, we have no idea yet whether this simplification will have any effect on the price of these PSUs--although the first of anything rarely comes cheap, especially in the middle of a global pandemic and related supply shortages. But, since circuitry that converts 12V rail to 3.3V/5V is now located on the motherboard with the 12VO standard, the platform will gain some additional elements that will likely affect pricing. 

FSP has not announced an availability date for its SFX 12VO PSUs, but since the company announced them on its corporate website, expect them to be initially available to FSP's OEM customers. 

That said, expect SFX systems with a 12VO PSU to hit the market in the near-term future. Keep in mind that in California and some other states requirements for PC power consumption in idle mode are getting stricter. And one way to comply with the is to adopt ATX 12VO, so the emergence of SFX 12VO PSUs is likely to get a boost from companies aiming to comply while still delivering powerful PCs. 

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    California be like "Sure, you can gobble down hundreds of kWh per year mining cryptocurrency, but you better not be only 60% efficient at sleep!"
    Reply
  • Blacksad999
    That law only applies to the OEM market, which supplies all of the office computers for companies and such. It doesn't apply to the DIY market in any sense.
    Reply
  • jonnyguru
    But... Igor says there was a united front against ATX12VO.

    Personally, I think ATX12VO is a great idea. Only people that don't understand power delivery on current vs. ATX12VO motherboards think differently.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    California be like "Sure, you can gobble down hundreds of kWh per year mining cryptocurrency, but you better not be only 60% efficient at sleep!"
    Doesn't apply to DIY PC's. Mining rigs are overwhelming DIY systems. Be careful what you wish for. Removal of the DIY exception could be the result.

    There's probably millions of office PC's in California idling at night and over weekends in California. Reducing that power draw makes complete sense.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    California be like "Sure, you can gobble down hundreds of kWh per year mining cryptocurrency, but you better not be only 60% efficient at sleep!"
    The law applies to any sort of "non-active" power state, which also means the computer powered on, sitting there doing nothing. Lots of non-home computers that are on but not doing anything because they need/want said computer available for use at a moment's notice.

    And there are lots of home users who don't put their computer in some lower power state because I dunno, laziness.
    Reply
  • jonnyguru
    Anyhoo....

    The new requirement is only for system builders, but it's not only for California. It's for CA, Vermont, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon and BC Canada.

    The requirement is an 80 PLUS Gold PSU that can do 70%+ efficiency at 2% load (the load where a PC would likely be in standby) and support modern standby mode. To achieve 70% efficiency at 2% load, an ATX12V PSU needs to use a LLC controller with burst mode and have a supervisor IC that can support the timings required to do MSM. This adds cost to your PSU.

    Why ATX12VO makes sense (despite what Igor says):
    * The voltage that your motherboard receives from an ATX12V PSU is regulated again at the board today. So just expecting them to regulate from +12V instead of +5V or +3.3V is not a cost or real estate adder.

    * The PSU doesn't need bust mode to achieve higher efficiency since it's only producing a single output voltage. This means cheaper PWM controllers can be used once again.

    * +3.3V and +5V are removed from the PSU. Making the PSU cheaper.

    * Getting rid of +3.3V and +5V buck converters from the PSU makes it easier to make a smaller PSU. You can increase your +12V and actually put out higher wattage, smaller ATX12VO PSUs than any ATX12V PSU.

    * There are less cables coming from the PSU.

    * The ATX12VO is a HELL of a lot easier to route, hide, work with, than the big bulky 24-pin.

    The downside to ATX12VO:
    * If you need +3.3V or +5V for SATA drives, this power needs to come from the motherboard. This DOES add cost and real estate to the motherboard. Only solution around this is M.2, but those are more expensive and limited in capacities (so far).

    * If you need +5V for an RGB pump head or RGB fans, etc. you'll need a buck device to take the +12V down to +5V. Something like this: https://www.corsair.com/us/en/Categories/Products/Accessories-%7C-Parts/CORSAIR-%2B5V-Load-Balancer/p/CP-8920275
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    jonnyguru said:
    * If you need +3.3V or +5V for SATA drives, this power needs to come from the motherboard. This DOES add cost and real estate to the motherboard. Only solution around this is M.2, but those are more expensive and limited in capacities (so far).
    This will probably only work for more premium SKUs, but what if the PSU manufacturer includes a plug-in module that can make the necessary voltages for SATA?

    I'm already thinking about it being on the motherboard and how much of a pain it'll be to route the cables around since a lot of cases like to hide drives in separate compartments, which conveniently happens to be near where the PSU lives.
    Reply
  • jonnyguru
    hotaru.hino said:
    This will probably only work for more premium SKUs, but what if the PSU manufacturer includes a plug-in module that can make the necessary voltages for SATA?

    Did you read my entire post or only up to that one line?
    Reply