Nvidia may have edged out PCIe 5.0 power connector as brand new power supplies reveal

Asus recently announced its ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II power supply and it comes with a 12 pin PCIe power cable that is PCIe 5.0 compatible. And wouldn’t you know, this connector is terribly familiar. It first appeared on Nvidia RTX 30-series Founders Edition cards connected to a pair of standard 8-pin PCIe power cables through an adapter. Many thought it was a proprietary Nvidia connector, but it turns out that Nvidia may have had a head start, as Asus claims the Thor Platinum II is PCIe 5.0 ready.

The power requirements of high-end graphics cards continue to increase. Cards with triple 8-pin PCIe connectors are common. Three 150W 8-pin PCIe slots can deliver a total of 450W, and when combined with the 75W available from the PCIe slot, a high-end card has at least 525W in use, but even 525 W may not be enough for future graphics cards.

Asus ROG Thor 1000w Platinum II power supply

(Image credit: Asus)

Based on information from Igor’s laboratory, and previously reported on PC Gamer, the governing body PCI SIG has defined a new high power connector or 12VHPWR as part of the new PCIe 5.0 standard. This is good news as graphics cards have evolved beyond the rather old six- and eight-pin standards. Power supplies must evolve to cope with the increased demands of GPUs of 500W or more. Having a single power cable will also help with cable management – no one likes all those power cables that spoil the look of their build.

Note that the image below shows four signal pins located below the 12 main pins. These are not present on the Asus connector indicating that they can be optional.

Minitek PCIe 12 pin power connector

(Image credit: Amphenol ICC)

According to Amphenol ICC (Going through Tom’s gear), the new connector is designed to supply at least 600W. While a single connector is significantly more user-friendly, that certainly doesn’t bode well for GPU efficiency in the future. Are we coming to the point where power supplies under 1000W will no longer be enough for a decent gaming rig? The power requirements of a next-gen gaming rig might seem pretty frightening.

The Asus ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II will be joined by more powerful models towards the end of the year. They certainly look like high-end power supplies and are probably the first of many new models of PCIe 5.0 power supplies designed to support next-gen gaming platforms.

Alan A. Seibert