In a recent press release from Gigabyte, the company announced a brand new power supply, called the UD1000GM that is optimized specifically for next-generation PCIe 5.0 graphics cards coming in the future. The critical feature for supporting these new GPUs is the inclusion of a new 16-pin power connection on the UD1000M, which Gigabyte appears to say will be equipped on all of these future GPUs.
We reported on the existence of the 16-pin power connector late last year. The new connector is aimed at being a full replacement for traditional 8-pin and 6-pin power connectors to power next-generation PCIe 5.0 GPUs and to reduce cable clutter at the same time. Despite the new connector having 16 pins, the connector's overall size is greatly reduced, making its form factor similar to that of a traditional 8-pin.
However, the 16-pin's power output has been greatly improved with a whopping 600W of power capability just from one connector. For reference, a normal flagship graphics card today features three 8-pin power connectors which can only handle up to 450W combined (150W per connector). This will give the 16-pin more than enough headroom to power future GPUs if power consumption trends remains similar to the RTX 30 series and RX 6000 series flagships.
The 16-pin connector favors a strict compatibility with PCIe 5.0 GPUs, meaning we will probably never see this connector on a GPU packing PCIe Gen 4. Gigabyte wording seems to say the same thing as well in its press release of the UD1000GM. Noting that older and more traditional power supplies will need a triple 8-pin to 16-pin adapter to support PCIe 5.0 graphics cards as a whole.
This could potentially mean that a 16-pin connector could be a requirement for any graphics card wanting to use the PCIe 5.0 specification. If true, then users who want to upgrade to these future GPUs will need to either upgrade their PSU or buy one of these adapters Gigabyte mentions.
But, this idea could also be false. At this time, we don't know for sure if the 16-pin is a definite requirement to support PCIe Gen 5. But it seems likely that this will be the case.
Thankfully power supplies like the UD1000GM are already coming out with this new 16-pin power connector built-in. A month ago Asus has also announced a new PSU line-up that will feature the 16-pin connector as well, called the ROG Loki. With power supplies already adopting the new standard today, we should see plenty of flagship units ready in time for the arrival of next generation of GPUs -- like the RTX 40 series.