PCIe 5 will soon be coming to the fore. It will bring with it a new power connector dedicated to graphics cards. More dense, it will provide up to 600 W via its 16 pins.
The next generations of processors Intel – with Alder Lake – and AMD – with Zen 4 – will bring with them the support of the PCIe 5 standard. In addition to a speed per line doubled compared to the PCIe 4 currently in use, the PCIe 5 standard will also be l opportunity to review the power connector of graphics cards.
Named 12VHPWR, this connector has 16 pins divided into two groups. The first 12 are classic in appearance, divided into two rows of six and are dedicated to powering the graphics card. The other four are dedicated to communication with the power supply and are placed below the 12 others.
The footprint of this new connector is substantially identical to that of the current eight-pin PCIe connector. The pins are on the other hand more compact (3 mm against 4.2 mm), which allows to place more. On the other hand, the newcomer is able to transmit much more power, thus allowing up to 600 W through a single connector. That’s huge: the eight-pin connectors allow, for example, a maximum of 150 W, which is why most high-end graphics cards have two or even three.
Using such a power connector will give GPU manufacturers more leeway. However, do not expect AMD and Nvidia to roll out consumer graphics cards over 600W overnight. The calorific constraints of such models would make their cooling very complex. In any case, only one power cord will now be necessary for graphics cards (compared to 1 to 3 currently), which will already be more practical for fans of “cable management“.
Moreover, one cannot try to deny the feature of this new connector’s resemblance to that used by Nvidia on its GeForce RTX 30. More compact, the latter also has 12 power pins (without communication pins) but is limit however to a maximum power of 300 W. The two connectors will not be compatible.