The PCI Express x16 connection is seldom sufficient to power graphics cards on its own, so one or more 8- and 6-pin PCI Express connections are standard attachments. With the Geforce RTX 3000 cards in the Founders Edition version, Nvidia invested in its own connector with 12 contact pins, a solution that did not gain a foothold with third-party manufacturers.
It was recently reported that the PCI Express 5.0 standard may introduce a new power connector that steps up a few more pins, to land on 16. According to rumors, this is used for the Geforce RTX 3090 Ti which can sip upwards of 450 watts according to specification. However, this early information lacked further details, something Igor Wallossek from Igor’s Lab is now changing.
Wallossek states that these are not rumors for no reason, even though it is currently not possible to determine which connection Nvidia chooses to equip the Geforce RTX 3090 Ti with. According to sources from the power supply industry, the organization PCI-SIG has nailed a connection called the “High Power Connector” – the PCI Express 12VHPWR connection. With this, even the thirstiest graphics cards avoid three 8-pin PCI Express, as the new connection stands up to 600 watts under full load, with a 10 percent margin included in the design.
Like Nvidia’s 12-pin solution, it is a connector where each pin and the distances between them are a little smaller than with the classic connections. According to the drawing Wallossek found, the width of the female connector measures 18.85 millimeters, which is in the same district as the currently common variant with 8 pins. Only twelve of the newcomer’s pins are used for power, while the remaining four are for some type of signal. For those who are curious about the construction, Wallossek provides several drawings, complete with more dimensions and details.
A transition to a connection dimensioned to operate virtually all graphics cards should result in a simplified manufacturing process for graphics cards. Furthermore, the connection is described in accordance with the rumor as something that will probably become part of the PCI Express 5.0 standard, but also that Nvidia is likely to take the lead in this. It remains to be seen how quickly the new connection will take hold. Wallossek explains that graphics card manufacturers have expressed relief over the refreshed connection and that it does not come a day early, so the starting distance may be short.
Do you find graphics cards with two or three power connectors rubbing your eyes, or are you skeptical of a new connection? Tell us in the comments thread!