Just under a year since the specification was first announced, the ATX 3.0 era for power supplies is now underway. The updated version of the Intel-maintained specification introduced several notable changes to PC power supply designs, most notably the introduction of the 600 Watt-capable 12VHPWR connector and associated cabling. Altogether, ATX 3.0 is designed to lay the groundwork for future video cards (and other high-powered accelerators) by providing for a single-cable power connection that can better accommodate the high total and rapid shifts in power consumption a video card can undergo.
The biggest change since the addition of the 12V 6-pin “PCIe” power connector in the late 00s, the ATX 3.0 era has come with some new opportunities, both for computing products and for computing problems. The use of adapters has, in short, not gone well for front-runner NVIDIA, with a small but serious number of incidents of 12VHPWR adapters melting down. Meanwhile on the power supply side of matters, this has been a not-unwelcome boon; not only are native ATX 3.0 power supplies the preferred way to go from a design standpoint, but the adapter problems have helped to underscore this advantage. So for the power supply vendors who are among the first to get their ATX 3.0 designs out the door, there’s no shortage of demand for their latest and greatest wares, as well as a fresh opportunity to innovate and set themselves apart from the competition.
In today’s review, we are taking a look at our first ATX 3.0 power supply – and indeed, among the world’s first: the MSI MEG Ai1300P PCIE5. A beefy, 1300W PSU that is designed to be fully compliant with the ATX 3.0 specification, the Ai1300P is a look at what’s to come for the future of high-end PC PSUs, as the market slowly-but-inevitably incorporates ATX 3.0 compliance in order to feed ever more power-hungry video cards and other PCIe devices.