As graphics cards get more power hungry, the need to develop a new power connector arises. Igor's Lab has shared the schematics for a high-power PCIe power connector tailored for PCIe 5.0. The power connector could debut with the next generation of AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
The 12VHPWR power connector consists of 16 pins in total, four more than Nvidia's 12-pin PCIe power connector. It would appear that the chipmaker was on to something or somehow anticipated the direction in which PCIe power connectors were going. With the 12VHPWR power connector, there are 12 power contacts with four smaller signal contacts at the bottom of the connector. For the moment, it's unknown what's the purpose for the signal contacts.
The 12VHPWR power connector is reportedly built for PCIe 5.0 graphics cards and isn't backwards compatible with previous generations graphics cards. This new connector aims to eliminate the usage of multiple PCIe power connectors and decrease cable clutter in the process. Instead of endowing graphics cards with up to three 8-pin PCIe power connectors, manufacturers can just implement a single 12VHPWR power connector.
According to the technical drawings, the 12VHPWR power connector doesn't adhere to the MicroFit Molex standard. The power pins are 3mm apart whereas the pitch on the existing 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe connectors is 4.2mm. It's 18.85mm long so it isn't exactly a small connector. However, it certainly takes up less space than three 8-pin PCIe power connectors. By comparison, the 12VHPWR power connector is only slightly shorter than 12-pin PCIe power connector from Nvidia, which measures 19mm in length.
Each power contact is rated for 9.2A, delivering up to 55.2A of continuous power via a 12V rail. Theoretically, the 12VHPWR power connector is good for up to 662.4W. However, it officially supports up to 600W. Amphenol ICC (via Olrak) has already listed the 12VHPWR power connector, which the brand has dubbed as the "Minitek Pwr CEM-5 PCIe Connector System." The company specified 9.5A per power contact, which is slightly higher than Igor's information.
Amphenol ICC confirmed that the connector is designed for 600W graphics cards. It didn't specify whether it's for gaming or data center graphics cards. However, the company did list AI and cloud, gaming consoles, graphic interface, networking, server and storage as potential target markets for the connector.
With Ampere, Nvidia pushed the 12-pin PCIe power connector, but it never caught on. Only the Founders Edition utilized that connector. The chipmaker's partners still preferred the standard 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors for their custom Ampere offerings. The introduction of the 12VHPWR power connectors will be troublesome for power supply manufacturers. They'll either have to design new products that comes with the 12VHPWR power connector or provide existing owners with an adapter.
It's a shame that graphics card seem to be going in the other direction instead of becoming more power efficient. The GeForce RTX 3090 already took us to the 350W threshold with some custom models hitting the 450W mark. The existence of the 12VHPWR power connectors insinuates that future graphics cards may be even more power-consuming. Let's just hope that the 600W from the connector is just over-provision, and vendors actually won't have to use its maximum capacity on a consumer graphics card.
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Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.
If the graphic cards of the future receive their entire power draw from the motherboard, wont that shorten the motherboard's life?Reply
Not if built to a good standard. This is no big surprise considering the new ATX12VO standard which is likely to push motherboard prices up.bharatwd said:If the graphic cards of the future receive their entire power draw from the motherboard, wont that shorten the motherboard's life?
I only see a 12-pin.Reply
The four little pins should include at least a +-Vsense pair to monitor cable and connector voltage drop and shut down the PSU if it becomes too large, indicating a cable or connector fault. The second pair could be any of a number of things from dumb detect pins to I2C or similar for the PSU and GPU to negotiate power limits, no idea how fancy they are going this time around.Reply
4 more at the bottommamasan2000 said:I only see a 12-pin.
More power grabbing GPU and a bigger PSU = a fat electric bill.Reply
i guess it is needed but i can't imagine 600w for a gpu. that's a lot of cooling needed and i guess they'll need to update mobo's to accommodate the 5 slot wide cooling that will be needed lol.Reply
We've been almost there before: RX 295X2, 500W stock using a dual-slot HSF. The real challenge will be wicking all of that heat away from a single GPU package instead of two. Liquid cooling may be the only option at that sort of power density.Math Geek said:i guess it is needed but i can't imagine 600w for a gpu. that's a lot of cooling needed and i guess they'll need to update mobo's to accommodate the 5 slot wide cooling that will be needed lol.
Simple solution - Don't buy power hungry parts.Dr3ams said:More power grabbing GPU and a bigger PSU = a fat electric bill.
USAFRet said:Simple solution - Don't buy power hungry parts.
pretty much my thought as well. but it seems like an average mid range card is headed that way. so may not be much of an option in the future to avoid the power hungry parts. my 1650 super averages about 100w in game but that is hardly even a mid range card these days which takes a lot more.