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New PSU Standard Adds 600W Connector for Next-Gen GPUs (Updated)

Cooler Master
(Image credit: Cooler Master)

The next generation of best graphics cards could be able to gulp up to 600 watts of power directly from the PSU. Just weeks ago Intel introduced its biggest update to its ATX specification since 2003, and this week the company rolled out version 2.0 of its ATX12VO standard that was launched back in April 2020.

The new ATX12VO spec adds a 12VHPWR connector, one of the key features of the ATX 3.0 standard. The new ATX12VO standard largely relies on the ATX 3.0 specification introduced a few weeks ago, but not all features of the latter will necessarily be a part of the former and vice versa. 

The new 12+4-pin 12VHPWR connector can supply 150W, 300W, 450W, or 600W of power to an add-on card, like a GPU, using 12 rails. It also has four pins to communicate the power limit a PSU can stream to any PCIe 5.0-compliant add-in-board (AIBs). Keeping in mind that such cards — which are getting physically bigger and more power hungry, as we can observe with GPUs — are the future of computing, adding a 12VHPWR connector to PSUs is crucially important. 

The addition of 12VHPWR plug support to ATX12VO power supplies should not be too complicated as they are designed to deliver 12 Volts to clients (e.g, motherboards, AIBs) and eliminate all other types of conversion inside the PSU to reduce their complexity and power consumption. However, this will surely make these PSUs a little more expensive since they need to integrate circuitry responsible for communications with add-in-boards. 

But the addition of 12VHPWR is not the only innovation in the ATX12VO 2.0 spec. The new standard also adds support for the I_PSU% feature to desktop platforms, which was previously it was only available for mobile and server systems. We followed up with Intel, and the company shared the following details:

"A newly defined telemetry pin in the ATX12VO connector allows the PSU to report the percentage of total power being used by the system:"

  • By making the telemetry based on percentage of PSU rating, the I_PSU% signal will be supported and work with any and all PSU wattages with a single circuit design.
  • System can then protect itself from the PSU shutting down & CPU will be notified when to slow down to protect the system and PSU going past its limits.
  • Benefit to SFF systems that cannot put in very large PSUs based on Theoretical Max of all system components.
    • Potential BOM optimization as well – right sizing the PSU vs. building in extra PSU size.

"Power supplies based on the ATX 3.0 and ATX12VO 2.0 standards will ensure anyone looking to get the most stable and cost optimized performance possible with highest power efficiency out of their desktop PCs will be able to do so – both now and in the future," said Stephen Eastman, Intel platform power specialist.

Anton Shilov
Anton Shilov

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • escksu
    Lol, this is called creating a connector that is not needed and fixing a problem which doesnt exist.

    What is the fix thats really needed? Revamp the bulky ATX connector. Its time for mainboards to ditch the bulky connector. Just change it to use PCIE 6pin connector. Regulators on the mainboard will change it to the correct voltage required by respective components
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    escksu said:
    What is the fix thats really needed? Revamp the bulky ATX connector. Its time for mainboards to ditch the bulky connector. Just change it to use PCIE 6pin connector. Regulators on the mainboard will change it to the correct voltage required by respective components
    You do realize this is what the 12VO spec is doing right? Well sans the PCIe 6-pin connector part.

    Also I believe the article is talking about the new PCIe auxillary power connector.
    Reply
  • Pytheus
    Fairly soon, we'll have to run an independent supply from our breaker box just for the the PC alone.
    Reply
  • sivaseemakurthi
    Power distributors to lay dedicated powerline to customers using RTX 7090ti to prevent voltage drops
    Reply
  • escksu
    hotaru.hino said:
    You do realize this is what the 12VO spec is doing right? Well sans the PCIe 6-pin connector part.

    Also I believe the article is talking about the new PCIe auxillary power connector.

    Yes, I am aware of the 12VO, but the main issue is that 12VO and ATX are 2 separate standards. Due to this, most boards will still be using ATX instead of 12VO, even in the foreseeable future. It doesn't make much sense for manufacturers to make boards for both standards.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    We could go back to making GPUs more power efficient. Or... we could bake high power consumption into a new spec!
    Reply
  • jacob249358
    making a GPU that is twice the performance at twice the tdp is not an advancement. We are reaching the point where people will consider a different GPU because of their electrical bill.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    escksu said:
    Lol, this is called creating a connector that is not needed and fixing a problem which doesnt exist.

    What is the fix thats really needed? Revamp the bulky ATX connector. Its time for mainboards to ditch the bulky connector. Just change it to use PCIE 6pin connector. Regulators on the mainboard will change it to the correct voltage required by respective components
    I agree with you. The connector that really needs to be replaced is left as is. This 20/24 pin standard have been around for decades…

    Anyway, this new 600W standard essentially means that there is no future for PSUs that are rated for less than 1KW. Not that we won’t find sub 1KW PSUs, but they maybe relegated to mid or lower end PSUs.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Pytheus said:
    Fairly soon, we'll have to run an independent supply from our breaker box just for the the PC alone.
    Only if you're shopping in the halo department, and no one is requiring you to do that.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    randomizer said:
    We could go back to making GPUs more power efficient. Or... we could bake high power consumption into a new spec!
    The just announced GH100 has a 300W higher TDP than the GA100 yet is significantly more efficient than the GA100. There is a performance aspect to efficiency. Higher power usage does not automatically mean worse efficiency. What you're seeking is lower power usage not efficiency.
    Reply