Skip to main content

Expect To See Nvidia's 12-Pin Power Plug On Future PCIe 5.0 GPUs

PCIe 5.0 Power Cable
PCIe 5.0 Power Cable (Image credit: Asus)

It would appear that Nvidia's 12-pin PCIe power connector may be here to stay after all. According to Asus' marketing for the latest ROG Thor II power supplies, the Nvidia 12-pin connector complies with the PCIe 5.0 specification.

During the brand's Z690 motherboard livestream, Asus highlighted the importance of power supplies as graphics cards are constantly drawing more and more power. Using the GeForce RTX 3090 as an example, Asus claimed that the Ampere-based flagship peaks up to 900W during gameplay, thus requiring power supplies with higher wattage. More importantly, Asus declared in the livestream that Nvidia's 12-pin connector is PCIe 5.0 ready and that the new ROG Thor II units will ship with "Gen 5 12-pin connectors." The company even confirmed to eTeknix that Nvidia's 12-pin cable is a Gen 5 PCIe cable.

Word of the PCIe 5.0 power connector (aka 12VHPWR) hit the streets a little over three weeks ago. In fact, connector manufacturers, such as Amphenol ICC, are already commercializing the 12VHPWR connector. The technical diagrams show the 12VHPWR connector with 16 pins, where 12 of those are the power pins, and the other four are contact pins. If we were to strip the four additional pins, we essentially have Nvidia's 12-pin connector. If Asus' marketing is accurate, the four extra pins are optional, and they may be since they're ultimately just sense wires. It would also mean that Nvidia's Ampere graphics cards, specifically the Founders Edition, were ahead of their time.

"Each ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II PSU is bundled with a 12-pin PCIe cable that can pipe up to 600W of power to PCIe Gen 5.0 graphics cards. Get Ready for the future of power delivery", states Asus on the ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II product page.

eTeknix already has one of Asus' ROG Thor II power supplies for review. The news outlet confirmed that the PCIe 5.0 cable is substantially thinner than a 6-pin PCIe power connector. The width is roughly the same, but the height is around half of a conventional PCIe connector. In addition, the PCIe 5.0 cable splits into two 8-pin power connectors that go into the power supply. The fact that Asus is including the PCIe 5.0 power cable with its ROG Thor II power supplies lends credence to the existence of the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, which is rumored to use the PCIe 5.0 power connector.

The Nvidia 12-pin connector's 12V pins are rated for 9A, so it delivers a theoretical output of 648W. The 12VHPWR connector, on the other hand, has a slightly higher rating at 9.2A, amounting to 662W. It doesn't matter which connector offers more power since both meet the PCIe 5.0 specification of 600W.

Nowadays, the more power-hungry graphics cards come with three 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Along with the 75W from the PCIe slot, a graphics card with triple 8-pin connectors tops out at 525W. Obviously, the PCIe 5.0 power connector will give Nvidia and AMD complete freedom to exceed the 600W threshold. However, if we look at the bigger picture, it doesn't seem like a good thing at all since we're just setting the stage for chipmakers to produce more power-consuming graphics cards instead of more efficient ones. Nevertheless, the PCIe 5.0 power connector will likely be a thing for data center graphics cards, and it may be to a certain extent on mainstream graphics cards.

A single PCIe 5.0 power connector will allow companies to build graphics cards up to 675W, whereas twin connectors can provide up to 1,275W. Imagine having a third connector on there to push the limit to 1,875W. Suddenly, a 1,500W power supply doesn't seem like overkill. But, of course, we'll keep our fingers crossed that we never get to that point.

  • peachpuff
    So what's the purpose of those 4 additional pins? Wouldn't want to be in a situation where the 4 pins are needed.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    i mean keep pumping more power and eventually gpu's are gonna require watercooling juts to perform properly.
    Reply
  • King_V
    While I don't like the idea of encouraging more and more GPU power consumption, I have no problem with this if it makes things smaller/less bulky.

    I wonder if they can make it a split connector, and have lower powered GPU use only 6 pins, or maybe even break it into thirds? Sort of the way EPS is a split 8-pin, but a motherboard might only require 4 pins.


    900W peaks on the RTX 3090? Holy crap, Nvidia, what the hell are you doing??!?
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    I said this on the previous article about this: with the move to a MCM GPU model AND the bandwidth afforded by PCIe 5.0, having a "monster" 1000w+ GPU just means that previous factors which prevented that have now been removed, and density can increase which can decrease net power consumption. Think about specialized systems involving liquid or immersion cooling as well, yes it may consume 4000w or more, but that doesn't mean it's wasteful or inefficient, it's replacing multiple systems with multiple CPUs and other hardware with a single system with single set of hardware.
    Reply
  • great Unknown
    Going to need to take into consideration how this affects room temperature - the heat has to go somewhere. More AC in Summer, maybe no heat at all in Winter.
    Reply
  • jonnyguru
    The connector shown in the article "courtesy of Asus" is not the PCIe 5.0 CEM connector. It's just a standard, 450W connector used on Nvidia FE cards.

    The one you posted a month ago is the correct one.
    Reply
  • escksu
    peachpuff said:
    So what's the purpose of those 4 additional pins? Wouldn't want to be in a situation where the 4 pins are needed.

    Its just 6x +12V and 6x ground. Thats all. This makes alot more sense that that crap PCIE 5.0 power connector.
    Reply
  • litcube
    "Using the GeForce RTX 3090 as an example, Asus claimed that the Ampere-based flagship peaks up to 900W during gameplay"

    Uh, no.
    Reply
  • escksu
    peachpuff said:
    So what's the purpose of those 4 additional pins? Wouldn't want to be in a situation where the 4 pins are needed.

    ITs just to hndle additional current. For a 500W, you will need 2 x 8pin. Technically each 8 pin is 3 x +12v and 5 x ground (1 ground used for sense). So, you can have 6 x +12v and 6 x ground to do the same job and do away with the useless sense.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    peachpuff said:
    So what's the purpose of those 4 additional pins? Wouldn't want to be in a situation where the 4 pins are needed.
    If you are talking about the four extra little pins on the PCIe 5.0 AUX connectors with 12 large + 4 small pins, the small pins are likely there for remote voltage sense so the PSU can shut down if it detects excessive voltage drop indicating a bad connection or damaged cable so the PSU can shut down before something melts down or catches on fire. There is no shortage of charred GPU power connectors and PSU cables from bad crimps or loose fit, especially on AUX cables with dual 6(+2) ends.
    Reply