Why is this important: Modern GPUs have pushed the venerable 8-pin Molex connector to its limits. Nvidia denounced it with this generation Founders Edition cards, which feature a proprietary 12-pin connector; IBAs choose between overloading hungry boards with three connectors or starving them with two.
A new power connector, called 12VHPWR, solves this problem by providing as much power as four 8-pin Molex connectors – 600W. It is part of the PCIe 5.0 standard and could start appearing on GPUs next year.
Some manufacturers have already listed their 12VHPWR plugs and cables, hence the photos. But the credit for most of the details goes to Igor’s lab, which discovered the connector with power supply manufacturers and AIBs. The latter was relieved to switch from the old 8-pin.
As the name suggests, the 12VHPWR connector has 12 power pins / plugs. They are 3mm wide, instead of 4.2mm like Molex. It also has four tiny contact pins / plugs on the underside for carrying sideband signals and a latch on the top to secure the pins into the plugs.
Each of the 12 power channels can carry at least 9.2 A at 12 V. When all 12 channels are active, it can carry a total of 55.22 A or 662.4 W. But it cannot be combined with GPUs that consume more than 600W because it requires around 10% redundancy.
Impressively, with a width of 19mm, it is only a fraction larger than a single 8-pin connector. However, it does require beefier cables, made from more premium materials.
At this time, no GPU requires the full 600W. The first GPU that is rumored to use the 12VHPWR connector is the RTX 3090 Ti (unconfirmed), which could consume 450W.
But the connector could get used to the maximum sooner than expected. The next generation of data center GPUs from AMD and Nvidia are believed to use power-hungry chip designs and are twice the size of their current offerings, which already consume 250-300 W.
Generic credit: Vagelis Lnz
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