Nvidia’s 12-pin power connector will work with next-gen PCIe 5.0 compliant power supplies

When Nvidia introduced its proprietary 12-pin power connector with its GeForce RTX 30-series Founders Edition graphics cards last year, many considered it overkill. But the decision could indeed be quite wise as this connector and cable are compatible with the standard 12+4 pin (12VHPWR) power connection, so existing GeForce Founders Edition graphics cards will work just fine with the GPUs. next generation power supply.

Nvidia’s 12-pin power connector (formerly known as Molex MicroFit 3.0 dual-row, 12-circuit) is designed to supply up to 600W to a graphics card using the 12V rail of a power supply block. power and apparently the same amount of power is configured to be supplied by a 12+4 pin PCIe 5.0 auxiliary power connector (also known as 12VHPWR).

While the 12VHPWR has 16 connectors in total, four use a separate set of contacts which currently carry sideband signals which validate that the board is properly connected and determine the maximum initial power the board can get from the particular PSU through the cable. particular, according to a document obtained by Igor’s Lab (via VideoCardz). There is one contact (out of four sideband contacts) reserved for future use, so it does nothing today. It is unclear whether sideband contacts are mandatory or optional. Meanwhile, the power and ground connectors of the 12VHPWR and Nvidia’s 12-pin power cable are the same.

(Image credit: Igor’s Lab)

There is another wrinkle however. Formally, each contact of Nvidia’s 12-pin power connector is rated at 9A, while each contact of a 12VHPWR socket is rated for up to 9.5A, although the maximum power rating of each connector be the same. Also, the dimensions of a 12VHPWR and Nvidia’s 12-pin power connector are generally the same, essentially implying that the latter is a subset of the former with no sideband signals.

There aren’t many power supplies with a 12+4 pin PCIe auxiliary power connector in the wild today, but Asus has already introduced two: ATX-compatible Thor power supplies and power supplies. SFX/SFX-L compatible Loki power supply. While the smaller Loki power supplies do indeed have four sideband pins, the larger Thor power supplies continue to use conventional 8-pin auxiliary PCIe power connectors and are still badged as PCIe 5.0-ready. Needless to say, when HardwareLuxx tried to connect an Nvidia GeForce RTX Founders Edition graphics card to the ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II, it worked perfectly.

(Image credit: Asus)

We’re not sure if the sideband pins of a 12VHPWR power jack are required or not, but since the ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II doesn’t have them, we’re guessing they aren’t. To that end, we can expect Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series Founders Edition graphics cards with Nvidia’s 12-pin power connectors to work just fine with PCIe 5.0-capable power supplies that don’t have these. 12VHPWR sideband contacts. We can’t be 100% sure which PSUs have implemented these sideband contacts, but if they aren’t required, you should be fine too.

(Image credit: HardwareLuxx)

Of course, we’ll have to test Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series Founders Edition graphics cards with at least some power supplies that are either PCIe 5.0 or equipped with a 12VHPWR power jack to be absolutely sure of their compatibility. But for now, it looks like owners of Nvidia’s latest FE cards can safely upgrade their PSUs and prepare for the next generation of the best graphics cards while using current cards in the meantime. .

Alan A. Seibert