ATX Power Supplies Conversion

ATX Power Supplies Conversion

Advanced Technology eXtended (ATX) refers to a computer specification first introduced by the Intel Corporation in 1995, detailing the interconnections between a computer’s power supply unit (or PSU), computer case or chassis, and motherboard or processor.

The ATX form factor takes into account the physical specifications of the machine (length, width and height), the power supply unit, the mounting point on the computer case, the type of pin connector and the input output panel, and details the conversion between electrical mains and the power supply as well as the organization of the components.

Since its introduction in 1995, ATX has gone through a number of different iterations and upgrades which have increased efficiency, effectiveness and safety of computer processor and power supplies connectivity, while also reducing cost. The most current version, ATX 12V 2.3 was introduced in March 2007, and remains the industry standard for personal computers.

ATX use and components

ATX can basically be understood as description specifying the way components are organized for the conversion of power from the electrical mains into current which drives the processing core of a computer. Different components include power supplies units themselves, cooling fans, switches and fuses, cables and pin-out connectors.

Depending on the physical dimensions of your computer, the processor type and the input/output panel, ATX specifies the way these are interconnected for maximum efficiency and usefulness.

If you are experiencing problems or failure of the power supplies unit on your computer, it is possible to purchase replacement components as long as the specifications of the computer are known.

Online retailers as well as local computer hardware stores typically offer a range of these components that are compatible under the ATX form factor specification. One of the most important things you need to determine is the type of pin-out connectors used for your computer, as a number of different configurations exist.

These connectors and the PSU facilitate the conversion of conventional current from the electrical mains to the appropriate voltage for your processor. Connectors may include:

  • The 20 pin ATX connector, which represents one of the most commonly used configurations—examine your motherboard to see whether the processor has a 20 pin connector slot—if so, this is the appropriate configuration for your PSU.
  • The 24 pin ATX connector, which is very similar to the 20 pin connectors discussed above, although which is most commonly available for use with a 430 watt or 500 watt power supply.
  • The Molex ATX connector, which is commonly used for power supplies for a computer’s hard drives and CD/DVD ROM drives.
  • The P4 ATX connector, which is a 4 pin type connector most typically used for motherboards with an Intel Pentium 4 processor. These processors require a specific 4 pin connector for conversion between electrical mains and the power supply unit.

Safety for replacing ATX power supplies

Always remember to first disconnect your power supply unit from the electrical mains before attempting to replace any of the components. Additionally, be aware that PSUs may carry a small residual charge even after being unplugged, which can cause quite a shock if you come in contact