Intel to Help Improving Power Supply Units' Efficiency

PSUs to Waste 25% Less Energy

by Anton Shilov
02/27/2004 | 12:21 PM

Intel Corp. along with four major makers of power supplies units for PCs have agreed to follow Intel’s new guidelines for making PSUs in order to cut down power consumption of PCs.


It is not a secret that personal computers as well as components for PCs do not require a lot of power all the time. Even modern processors that can devour up to 100W of power under heavy load, consume a lot less under typical loads by widely available software. However, as the upper limit of PC components’ electricity consumption rises, so does the power rating of PSUs. All those multi-hundred-watts power supply units continue to carry electricity from outlets even when PCs do not require so much power. That extra power is called waste and can apparently account for up to 25% of total personal computer power consumption.

Intel’s new initiative is reflected in the most recent version of the ATX12V Power Supply Design Guide. The world’s largest chipmaker advices PSU manufacturers to increase efficiency of their products in order to reduce waste and power consumption of modern and future personal computers.

 The power supply required minimum is 70% efficient under “Full” load, 70% under “typical” load, and 60% in a “light” load or idle condition. Recommended minimum efficiency figures are 75%, 80% and 68% for “Full”, “Typical” and “Light” conditions respectively.

“Our back-of-the envelope calculations are that inefficiencies in the power supply could account for almost 25% of total system power,” said Todd Brady, a product ecology program manager in Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group in an interview to

Reduced consumption of power may translate into electricity payments savings along with environmental benefits. However, the increasing power consumption of personal computers’ hardware may not allow to decrease the consumption of future computers compared to today’s, but the measures Intel advices to take could allow power consumption of PCs to stay in line with what we have now.

Additionally, the 2x10 main ATX power connector has been replaced by a 2x12 connector in ATX12V Power Supply Design. This was made to support 75W PCI Express requirements. Pinout assignments are based on the SSI recommendation.

With the added 12V, 5V, and 3.3V pins the need for an Aux Power connector is no longer needed and the guidance for this connector has been removed.

Revamped PSUs will cost about $5 or $6 more compared to ordinary devices. Delta Electronics, Enhance Electronics, Sparkle Power and Celetron USA have already agreed to make more efficient power supplies.