Nvidia Ampere will use a 12-pin PCIe power connector

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It has been a long time since we needed a new graphics card power connector. AMD and Nvidia have generally stuck with 6-pin and 8-pin connector pairs in various configurations. This year, Nvidia introduced a change, with a new 12 pin connector for Ampere.

First of all, the good news: you won’t have to rush to buy new connectors. According to Nvidia, the 12-pin will be compatible with the 8-pin connectors. It is quite common. Two Molex connectors can be connected to create a single 6-pin PCIe at the time, and two 6-pin cables can be combined in a converter to create a single 8-pin. We will probably see something similar here.

(Funny, it suggests that an old high-power power supply with eight 4-pin Molex connectors might be able to drive a 12-pin PCIe card. If someone has a proper power supply and likes to risk new graphics cards? , I’d be curious if that worked.)

According to Nvidia, the new connector is noticeably smaller than the original, and that appears to be true based on the diagrams below:

Here is a standard pair of 8 pin connectors. Typically, at least the top-end GPUs in the stack have a pair of 8’s; low-end cards typically combine an 8-pin to a 6-pin.

Nvidia claims to have significantly reduced the total space required with the new 12-pin connector, while delivering more power than the old 8-pin standard. Moving the connector to this new position also allows more efficient cooling of the board.

Nvidia shows how it designs cooling solutions for its GPUs in the video above. There is some implication here that Ampere may be a high wattage design. “When we come up with a new architecture, we have big dreams of performance,” says Andrew Bell, vice president of the product design team at Nvidia. “But one of the things we would like to do is generate more performance by putting more power into the GPU.”

Nvidia optimized Ampere’s PCB and redesigned the cooling solution to improve overall performance. This is standard procedure for newer generations of GPUs – AMD and Nvidia always like to show off their improved cooler designs – but both companies have had to make some real improvements as TDP GPUs have climbed. The RTX 3000 series would be a pretty beefy family, so we’re curious to see GPUs and their performance put to the test. AMD’s own RDNA2 family will add ray tracing this year, so we’ll see if that leaves Team Red with more heat issues, or if the company has found enough improvements in its second-gen 7nm GPU to make up for it. The problems.

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Alan A. Seibert