RTX 4080 Super teardown sheds light on power connector controversy — PCB shows traces for two 8-pin connectors along with the 16-pin connector

Palit GeForce RTX 4080 Super GamingPro OC
Palit GeForce RTX 4080 Super GamingPro OC (Image credit: 自作とゲームと趣味の日々/X)

Unsurprisingly, the GeForce RTX 4080 Super, one of the best graphics cards, launched with a 16-pin power connector (12VHPWR). According to a photograph from a Japanese reviewer, at least one vendor had seemingly contemplated using standard 8-pin PCIe power connectors instead.

A teardown of the Palit GeForce RTX 4080 Super GamingPro OC revealed spacing on the PCB for two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Curiously, the empty area is right next to the 12VHPWR power connector, almost as if using the connector was a decision after the original design. Although PCI-SIG has improved the design of the 12VHPWR power connector for enhanced safety, there is still a bit of fear surrounding the revised 12V-2x6 power connector, especially after the original one was the star of the meltdown fiasco on the flagship GeForce RTX 4090.

Just like the recently launched GeForce RTX 4070 Super, it's plausible that the usage of the 12VHPWR power connector is a requirement for the GeForce RTX 4080 Super. However, vendors like Maxsun defy the requisite and use two 8-pin PCIe power connectors on the brand's GeForce RTX 4070 Super iCraft. In Palit's case, it appears that the manufacturer aligned with Nvidia's requirements. Curiously, if Palit had gone down the other road, the GeForce RTX 4080 Super GamingPro OC would have been the only custom GeForce RTX 4080 Super to feature that design. The power connectors were also designed to be placed at the rear of the graphics card, a design typical for professional products.

The GeForce RTX 4080 Super has a TGP (total graphics power) of 320W. However, according to Nvidia, the Ada Lovelace graphics card's average power consumption during gaming is around 246W. A pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors and the PCIe expansion slot (375W) suffice to cover the TGP. The included 16-pin power adapter with the GeForce RTX 4080 Super GamingPro OC has two 8-pin PCIe connectors on the other end. Unless you own an ATX 3.0 power supply, you'll likely have to run two 8-pin PCIe power cables to the GeForce RTX 4080 Super, which defeats the purpose of minimizing cable clutter.

Given the similarities between the regular GeForce RTX 4080 and GeForce RTX 4080 Super, many of Nvidia's AIB partners may recycle the former PCBs for the new Super variant. Palit likely did the same for the GeForce RTX 4080 Super GamingPro OC, so the PCB is potentially the one the company uses for the GeForce RTX 4080 GamingPro OC. The GeForce RTX 4080 GamingPro OC also utilizes the 12VHPWR power connector, so the decision to use 8-pin PCIe power connectors dates back to the GeForce RTX 4080 launch.

It's unlikely that Palit will openly tell us what's up with the design or why the company ultimately decided to modify the original floor plan. You don't typically leave space for something you don't plan to use. Nvidia has enthusiastically pushed the 12VHPWR power connector on its Ada Lovelace-based graphics cards. That alone is sufficient to give us a clue as to Palit's change of mind.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

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.

  • Eximo
    Would need to ohm out the traces to be sure, but could these actually be a pair of EPS connectors? My understanding is that those are more commonly used in professional environments.

    That would make more sense since each of those would be rated for 336W.
    Reply
  • why_wolf
    Maybe they thought about selling one with both ports on board? Though I see the obvious danger of people plugging into all 3 ports at once.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Although PCI-SIG has improved the design of the 12VHPWR power connector for enhanced safety, there is still a bit of fear surrounding the revised 12V-2x6 power connector, especially after the original one was the star of the meltdown fiasco on the flagship GeForce RTX 4090.

    Which is completely justified.

    https://www.tomshardware.com/pc-components/gpus/faulty-12v2x6-connector-found-with-rtx-4080-super-card-it-could-be-a-one-off-problem-but-caution-is-advisable
    Reply
  • ilukey77
    stick with tried and true methods .. saves on possible RMA's ..

    Ill be thinking hard on my next GPU purchase if AMD stick with old reliable or this new 12V-2x6 plug
    Reply
  • yeyibi
    Any GPU that expensive should have ultimate reliability, but with nvidia is quite the opposite.
    Reply
  • purpleduggy
    nvidia likes the number 16 and melting
    Reply
  • sdmf1974
    I'm sure they will have the connector issue all sorted out by the time I'm able to afford an upgrade on my rtx3080 lol
    Reply
  • 35below0
    sdmf1974 said:
    I'm sure they will have the connector issue all sorted out by the time I'm able to afford an upgrade on my rtx3080 lol
    Well fortunately the 3080 is not in need of an upgrade, right? I mean, it's a pretty good card that the 40xx series has little to offer as an improvement. In terms of performance yes, maybe, but value for money not so much.
    So, yeah you're right. :geek:
    Reply
  • yeyibi
    sdmf1974 said:
    I'm sure they will have the connector issue all sorted out by the time I'm able to afford an upgrade on my rtx3080 lol
    Is not just a connector issue, but also PCB that break by their own weight
    Reply