Not all RTX 40-series Super GPUs use the new 12V-2x6 connector — new images of 16-pin "H++" power connector emerge

Asus RTX 4080 Super Graphics Cards
(Image credit: Asus)

Алексей on X (formally Twitter) published two images of the PCIe 5.0 16-pin power connector in both flavors, 12VHPWR and 12V-2x6. The new images reveal that both connectors feature different identification marks directly on the connector itself, giving owners of the best graphics cards a clear way to identify which variant of the highly controversial 16-pin connector they have. The 12VHPWR features the H+ identification while the 12V-2x6 features the H++ identification.

None of this is new information, but the X poster also revealed that not all of Nvidia's new RTX 40-series Super graphics cards are sporting the revised 12V-2x6 connector. Some AIC (Add-in-Card) partners are still using the original 12VHPWR on their RTX 4070 Super, 4070 Ti Super, and 4080 Super graphics cards. The images Алексей showed off (including the one with the 12VHPWR connector) are from RTX 40-series Super graphics cards.

See more

This news will inevitably cause a stir among the PC gaming community. The 12VHPWR connector was responsible for killing most (if not all) of the RTX 4090s last year. The connector has proven to be extremely sensitive to any unusual environmental stress, including aggressive cable bending, improper cable insertions, and even sensitivity to lackluster build quality in certain cables. This is especially true of Nvidia's 16-pin adapters which have been found to not be of the best quality.

The 12V-2x6 connector is the successor to the 12VHPWR power connector and was quickly rolled out after the RTX 4090 meltdown catastrophe started in 2023. The new connector received several modifications to boost its durability and a minor power boost from 600W to 675W. The biggest change of the revised connector is its 16 connecting pins which have been trimmed down and been made more conductive compared to its predecessor. Hardware Busters found that these two changes alone significantly improved the 12V-2x6's thermal operation, which should make the connector virtually immune to any sort of melting.

The good news is that the melting failures have only been seen on RTX 4090, so it's unlikely that any of Nvidia's new RTX 40 Super GPUs will have melting issues, whether or not they have the new 12V-2x6 power connector. Nvidia's non-4090 series GPUs simply don't have the power budget to get the 12VHPWR to a high enough temperature to cause the connector to melt, at least based on the lack of reports of melting 4080 and lower tier parts.

But for those of you who do have an RTX 4090, at least now you can fully verify which connector your card has by the identification signature. Again, the 12VHPWR is marked as H+ while the 12V-2x6 is marked as H++. You'll probably have to take the graphics card cooler off to check it, but at least it's possible to see what you have. Nvidia has been using the 12V-2x6 plug in the RTX 4090 since 2023, but there is no guarantee that all later manufactured 4090's use the updated connector.

We aren't sure why some of Nvidia's partner's cards are still using the older 12VHPWR standard. It could be due to excess supply or due to some design limitation. Either way, at least it's mostly a nonissue now. Any RTX GPU tiered below the RTX 4090 (and 4090 D) that uses the older 12VHPWR connector should be safe to use. Just... make sure the connector is fully inserted and that you hear the 'click' that secures the cable in place.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • Gururu
    Remind me again why they aren't using the standard 2x 8 pin configuration?
    Reply
  • bolweval
    Gururu said:
    Remind me again why they aren't using the standard 2x 8 pin configuration?
    I wouldn't mind the new connector if it was trouble free, less cable clutter is a good thing, makes for a cleaner build IMO..
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    Nice now they copy intel with the 14+++ 10+++ and 7+++ your connector have ++++++ are better lol

    Just go back to the other connector works fine...
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    Gururu said:
    Remind me again why they aren't using the standard 2x 8 pin configuration?
    Nvidia regulations. Nvidia won't let them.

    The only exception is with the mid-range 40 series cards like the 4070 and lower.
    Reply
  • Notton
    Yeah, basically nvidia wanted a smaller PCB and cleaner look. AIBs don't get a choice.

    Although, let's not forget PCI-SIG approved this connector.
    Personally, I like Asus' slot connector for a clean look... too bad it's proprietary.
    Reply
  • CorrOzi0n_s0cZ
    There is a discrepancy in this article regarding the claim that only RTX 4090's were caught in the crossfire of the 12VHPWR connector melting issues, when there were actually quite a few 4080's documented that also suffered this same fate.

    What's most astounding to me about this whole fiasco is that everyone seems to forget that the 12VHPWR standard was the result of combined efforts from NVIDIA / Intel / AMD and PCI-SIG, of which the latter also had to certify the standard as a safe and worthy alternative to the standard 8 pin connectors everyone knows and has loved for so long before the 12VHPWR standard was ever released to the public. However, while Intel hasn't bothered getting into the middle of the whole drama surrounding the new connector I find it comical that AMD tried to use the reported cases of the connector melting as marketing material to push RDNA3 sales when they were involved in the design of the connector which is a really slimy move on their part.

    From my personal account, as a launch day RTX 4090 owner using a 2x8 pin direct to PSU to 12VHPWR connector I've had no issues myself in 12V voltage dropping over time or any melting on the connector leads to speak of after checking just last month when upgrading other components in my build, take from that what you will.
    Reply
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    Terrible electrical engineering on nvidia’s part.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    CorrOzi0n_s0cZ said:
    There is a discrepancy in this article regarding the claim that only RTX 4090's were caught in the crossfire of the 12VHPWR connector melting issues, when there were actually quite a few 4080's documented that also suffered this same fate.

    What's most astounding to me about this whole fiasco is that everyone seems to forget that the 12VHPWR standard was the result of combined efforts from NVIDIA / Intel / AMD and PCI-SIG, of which the latter also had to certify the standard as a safe and worthy alternative to the standard 8 pin connectors everyone knows and has loved for so long before the 12VHPWR standard was ever released to the public. However, while Intel hasn't bothered getting into the middle of the whole drama surrounding the new connector I find it comical that AMD tried to use the reported cases of the connector melting as marketing material to push RDNA3 sales when they were involved in the design of the connector which is a really slimy move on their part.

    From my personal account, as a launch day RTX 4090 owner using a 2x8 pin direct to PSU to 12VHPWR connector I've had no issues myself in 12V voltage dropping over time or any melting on the connector leads to speak of after checking just last month when upgrading other components in my build, take from that what you will.
    Can you link me the RTX 4080 melting issues? That would be awesome!

    I'm actually the one who wrote the article. But, we havent gotten around to updating my profile on the Forums yet to disclose it.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    Admin said:
    The new connector received several modifications to boost its durability and a minor power boost from 600W to 675W. The biggest change of the revised connector is its 16 connecting pins which have been trimmed down and been made more conductive compared to its predecessor. Hardware Busters found that these two changes alone significantly improved the 12V-2x6's thermal operation, which should make the connector virtually immune to any sort of melting.
    The power limit didn't change going from 12VHPWR to 12V-2x6. They're both up to 55A/600W.

    Also, there aren't any specific changes to the power pin conductor material or structure with the new connector. The linked article is based on a HW Busters video where Arris discusses a new cable plug connector (not board header) that's supposedly more conductive. However, whatever changes made for the cable plug he's looking at wouldn't be inherent to the spec change, because the new spec did not include any changes to the cable plug connector. From Arris' related article:

    'The “Cable Plus " side of the connector has not changed and is compatible with the new PCB header connector definition.'
    https://hwbusters.com/psus/atx-v3-1-pcie-cem-5-1-are-official/
    Reply
  • Order 66
    I know that AIBs are at Nvidia's mercy, but I think that there should have been orders of magnitudes more testing before the original 12VHPWR was certified to be safe.
    Reply