Intel could be ready to push computers built with the next-generation Alder Lake system processors (and new motherboards that support these chips) also accept upgrades power supplies (PSUs), according to the latest talk from the rumor factory.
This comes a VideoCardz report claiming – be wary of any rumor, as ever – that it is Intel’s desire to open wider support to ATX12VO power supply specifications for at least some Leppäjärvi-S motherboards.
ATX12VO means ATX 12 volts only and represents a much more energy efficient power supply design which operates on a single 12 V rail (unlike multiple rails on traditional PC power supplies). So far, the standard has been introduced to a very limited extent, but there are ATX12VO power supplies and, for example, a sturdy Z490 motherboard from the manufacturer ASRock.
The broad idea is that these power supplies are much cheaper to use because they use much less electricity, especially when the computer is idle – in that scenario, power consumption is roughly halved, as VideoCardz points out.
The more widely available power supplies should also be more affordable in terms of their retail prices, not just operating costs. They’re also a cleaner solution, need less cabling, and have a new 10-pin connector (instead of the hefty 24-pin beast we’re currently plugging into the motherboard from a power source).
While all of this sounds good, there are, of course, barriers to switching to other ATX12VO power supplies, including the fact that power supply manufacturers have a lot of effort and resources to implement them. Motherboard manufacturers are also required to make fairly large changes in their design, as other rails that are drained from a 12 V power supply only (e.g., a 5 V power supply) must be supported directly on the motherboard.
Intel is now trying to drive the ATX12VO with motherboard manufacturers, at least according to sources who have spoken to VideoCardz, but both motherboard vendors and power supply companies are not convinced, and indeed there is “ strong resistance ”, the report says.
The whole effort also seems a little more shaky, given that Intel only has a short timeframe to get these manufacturers to work with it by bringing ATX12VO to Alder Lake systems, as development times for mobiles and power supplies require work to begin four or five months before the 12th generation release.
The document seen by VideoCardz states that in order for all of this to be complete when the Alder Lake processors go on sale, Intel must begin working with motherboard and power supply manufacturers by the end of May 2021; in other words, only a couple of weeks.
If the ATX12VO happens to Alder Lake, as Intel apparently wants, it won’t affect the entire 12th generation hardware ecosystem. The report further states that this is likely to happen only with entry-level motherboards and pre-built computers that want to achieve the best power consumption, and higher-level boards are likely to stay with traditional 24-pin power supplies. It makes sense, of course, that this would be a gradual change in any case.
Timing sounds very tight, but who knows – Intel may be able to get the ATX12VO to happen (at least with some motherboards) Launch of Lake Leppäjärvi. Certainly, from a broader environmental perspective, the goal of being able to make computers more energy-efficient devices is a highly desirable one.
Alder Lake processors are expected to arrive in November, goes to the latest rumor factory (although it was previously believed September was the scheduled launch month).