Update 11/29/20 3:00 pm PT: Nvidia issued a statement to Tom's Hardware, clarifying that it doesn't have any intention of changing the existing 12-pin power connector on the RTX 3070. Nvidia stated that the "tweet used concept art only, which is being replaced." How earlier concept art ended up in a recent promotion is beyond us, but the big takeaway is that Nvidia says its 12-pin connector will soldier on with the RTX 3070 cards.
Nvidia (via Notebookcheck (opens in new tab)) is giving away a GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition as part of a Holiday contest. The latest render of the mid-range Ampere graphics card raises one big question: Has Nvidia decided to kill off the 12-pin PCIe power connector?
Theoretically, the 12-pin PCIe power connector opens up the possibility for a maximum power delivery up to 648W. From the beginning, the connector was already a bit of overkill since no modern graphics card sips that much power. Even AMD's infamous Radeon R9 295X2, rated with a 500W TDP, didn't come close to 648W. Nvidia's choice of a 12-pin connector for the RTX 3070 was probably unnecessary. However, the connector makes sense on more power-hungry models, such as the RTX 3080 or RTX 3090, to reduce cable clutter and simplify the compact board design.
The GeForce RTX 3070 has a 220W TDP and debuted with the 12-pin PCIe power connector. Given the modest TDP, the graphics card could function just fine with a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. It's no surprise that Nvidia itself even included a 12-pin to 8-pin adapter with the Founders Edition. Power supply vendors also provided their own adapters free of charge.
Nvidia's latest tweet (opens in new tab) hints at a potential change in the power connector configuration on the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition. The swap would allow the chipmaker to sell the graphics card without an adapter. This might even slightly increase the profit on a GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition, although we don't know how much the adapter costs to produce.
Despite the tweeted image, the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition product page still shows renders of the graphics card with a 12-pin connector. Shortages of the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 are expected to persist until next year, and the RTX 3070 is sold out everywhere, too. It might be an opportune time for Nvidia to revamp the PCIe power connector. At any rate, we've reached out to Nvidia for comment.
I really hate when this type of warped logic is used. The new connector is not only relevant to cards that use 648W. This connector would benefit any card that requires more than one 8 pin connector, which is about 225W including the PCIE slot. There are many dual 8pin cards and there have been AIB cards going back years that use three 8 pin connectors. Is anyone going to argue they'd rather run 3 8pin cables/connectors to their video card instead of one of these 12pin?
And yet, no AIB is using the 12-pin connector. They are all sticking with 6 and 8 pin connectors, even on their most power hungry cards. It is clearly an attempt to get the AIB's to license the connector and inflate Nvidia's profits at their expense.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking as well. Everyone knows how slow it can be to push a new standard for anything - this could be Nvidia trying to push it on every Ampere card so that by the time next-next-gen cards launch, (hmm, are we still calling Ampere next-gen, or.... 😂), (wherein we could see the 4070 and below need more than 1x8 pin), PSU manufacturers have adopted the 12-pin for the most part.