Thursday, July 16th 2020

The Curious Case of the 12-pin Power Connector: It's Real and Coming with NVIDIA Ampere GPUs

Over the past few days, we've heard chatter about a new 12-pin PCIe power connector for graphics cards being introduced, particularly from Chinese language publication FCPowerUp, including a picture of the connector itself. Igor's Lab also did an in-depth technical breakdown of the connector. TechPowerUp has some new information on this from a well placed industry source. The connector is real, and will be introduced with NVIDIA's next-generation "Ampere" graphics cards. The connector appears to be NVIDIA's brain-child, and not that of any other IP- or trading group, such as the PCI-SIG, Molex or Intel. The connector was designed in response to two market realities - that high-end graphics cards inevitably need two power connectors; and it would be neater for consumers to have a single cable than having to wrestle with two; and that lower-end (<225 W) graphics cards can make do with one 8-pin or 6-pin connector.

The new NVIDIA 12-pin connector has six 12 V and six ground pins. Its designers specify higher quality contacts both on the male and female ends, which can handle higher current than the pins on 8-pin/6-pin PCIe power connectors. Depending on the PSU vendor, the 12-pin connector can even split in the middle into two 6-pin, and could be marketed as "6+6 pin." The point of contact between the two 6-pin halves are kept leveled so they align seamlessly.
As for the power delivery, we have learned that the designers will also specify the cable gauge, and with the right combination of wire gauge and pins, the connector should be capable of delivering 600 Watts of power (so it's not 2*75 W = 150 W), and not a scaling of 6-pin. Igor's Lab published an investigative report yesterday with some numbers on cable gauge that helps explain how the connector could deliver a lot more power than a combination of two common 6-pin PCIe connectors.

Looking at the keying, we can see that it will not be possible to connect two classic six-pins to it. For example pin 1 is square on the PCIe 6-pin, but on NVIDIA's 12-pin is has one corner angled. It also won't be possible to use weird combinations like 8-pin + EPS 4 pin, or similar—NVIDIA made sure people won't be able to connect their cables the wrong way.

On topic of the connector's proliferation, in addition to PSU manufacturers launching new generations of products with 12-pin connectors, most prominent manufacturers are expected to release aftermarket modular cables that can plug in to their existing PSUs. Graphics card vendors will include ketchup-and-mustard adapters that convert 2x 8-pin to 1x 12-pin; while most case/power manufacturers will release fancy aftermarket adapters with better aesthetics.

Update 08:37 UTC: I made an image in Photoshop to show the new connector layout, keying and voltage lines in a single, easy to understand graphic.
Sources: FCPowerUp (photo), Igor's Lab
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178 Comments on The Curious Case of the 12-pin Power Connector: It's Real and Coming with NVIDIA Ampere GPUs

#1
londiste
It is not quite 2x6-pin connector, keying is different.
Considering the sense pins and usually one reserved pin, would it have 6 +12V pins?
Posted on Reply
#2
Vayra86
londiste
It is not quite 2x6-pin connector, keying is different.
Oh man its a Big little connector then? 2 weak plugs and 10 strong ones:oops: Alderpere?
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#3
cucker tarlson
well,not the worst of ideas to have even the 3x8-pin cards like lightning run off a single connector instead of this mess

Posted on Reply
#4
W1zzard
londiste
keying is different
Indeed .. for example pin 12 isn't square, let me check with my sources

Posted on Reply
#5
kayjay010101
Wait, so it's real now again? But the FCPowerUp article was made up! If you actually read the original article, the last sentence: 以上的内容都是我编的。translates to "I fabricated all the content above". This is very confusing. How could FCPowerUp make up something the same day that other sources claim that exact, made up stuff, is actually true? Is it just a crazy coincidence? What's happening?
Posted on Reply
#6
cucker tarlson
kayjay010101
Wait, so it's real now again? But the FCPowerUp article was made up! If you actually read the original article, the last sentence: 以上的内容都是我编的。translates to "I fabricated all the content above". This is very confusing. How could FCPowerUp make up something the same day that other sources claim that exact, made up stuff, is actually true? Is it just a crazy coincidence? What's happening?
made he means he sketched a picture himself
Posted on Reply
#7
kayjay010101
cucker tarlson
made he means he sketched a picture himself
The single picture wouldn't be "all the content" though?
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#9
Vya Domus
The connector was designed in response to two market realities - that high-end graphics cards inevitably need two power connectors; and it would be neater for consumers to have a single cable than having to wrestle with two; and that lower-end (<225 W) graphics cards can make do with one 8-pin or 6-pin connector.
You know what's really neat, God knows how many customers not having to buy new PSUs and using a million adapters. I can't believe how they spun it around into something beneficial, the connectors we have now work fine.
Posted on Reply
#10
BoboOOZ
Well, graphic cards power consumption is only going up, so they might as well ensure that power delivery is flawless. Otherwise, many users might complain about their card's buggy drivers crashing.

Still, I wouldn't like to change my PSU just yet.
Posted on Reply
#11
fynxer
Question is will these aftermarket 12pin cables be free for existing high end GOLD/Platinum/Titanium PSU owners from big PSU manufacturers like Corsair, EVGA, SeaSonic among others.

As reference when a new cpu mounting standard are introduced from Intel/AMD usually cpu cooler manufacturers like Noctua and others send out free adapter kits to existing cpu cooler owners.

If we must rely on a included 8+8pin to 12pin cable adapter from the gfx card manufacturer the cable clutter will be even worse than before.

Also these 8+8pin to 12pin cabel adapters included with the gfx cards will probably all have different looks and be of various quality.
Posted on Reply
#12
dj-electric
This reeks of lobbyism from you-know-who in the connector market.
Dont @ me.

At least getting 600W+ from one connector will be a thing.
Posted on Reply
#13
cucker tarlson
fynxer
Question is will these aftermarket cables be free for existing high end PSU owners from big PSU manufacturers like Corsair, EVGA, SeaSonic among others.
you need a connector on the psu not just the cable
all modern psus have 8-pin connectors for PEG,not 6 -pin
it's a nice thing for sure,but if it gets released there will be normal 2x8-pin versions for sure.
dj-electric
This reeks of lobbyism from you-know-who in the connector market.
Dont @ me.

At least getting 600W+ from one connector will be a thing.
lol,connector market.
why wouldn't this be psu makers lobbying nvidia to use that connector to make ppl replace current psus ?
Posted on Reply
#14
Emu
For 600W you are going to want 4x 8pin PCIe power to the 12 pin Nvidia connector. You could probably get away with less but you would have no guarantees that you won't melt your cables and/or connectors. I think the last thing Nvidia or any of it's partners want is for more video cards to catch on fire (well, cause fires)...
Posted on Reply
#15
Vya Domus
BoboOOZ
Well, graphic cards power consumption is only going up, so they might as well ensure that power delivery is flawless.
Funny how when AMD has a power hungry GPU every one thinks power consumption is everything but when Nvidia hints at an upcoming power hungry atrocity everyone's cool with it.
Posted on Reply
#16
cucker tarlson
Vya Domus
Funny how when AMD has a power hungry GPU every one thinks power consumption is everything but when Nvidia hints at an upcoming power hungry atrocity everyone's cool with it.
really ? or it just when amd has a power hungry card that loses to the power efficient card ? and is massively late to add to that.
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#17
CandymanGR
GPU's should go the way of efficiency. 600W power requierements for gpus ? Should have been the opposite.
Plus this connector is too heavy and it will sag the cards down.

Genious!
Posted on Reply
#18
BoboOOZ
Vya Domus
Funny how when AMD has a power hungry GPU every one thinks power consumption is everything but when Nvidia hints at an upcoming power hungry atrocity everyone's cool with it.
They're the market leader...
Things might change in the future, I heard AMD had finally changed all the graphics marketing team. That was long due.
Posted on Reply
#19
kayjay010101
CandymanGR
GPU's should go the way of efficiency. 600W power requierements for gpus ? Should have been the opposite.
Plus this connector is too heavy and it will sag the cards down.

Genious!
Nobody said 600W power requirement for GPUs. All this said is the new connector is capable of delivering upto 600W. We won't see any 600W monsters any time soon

How do you know the connector is heavier than what's already out there? The dual 8pin connector that's currently on the 2080 Ti's should weigh more. It's just plastic and the same wires, it's just a different connector.
Posted on Reply
#20
londiste
Why does this connector necessarily mean anything about power consumption? 2x6-pin or 6+8-pin has been the norm for high-end cards (and lately midrange cards) for a long while. This 12-pin thing is likely going to end up equal to 6+8-pin solution, just in a single cable.

Current throughput relies on different things, what is currently known does not seem to give us a complete picture of what the connector will end up being. Capable of up to 600W is a strange thing to claim with so many unknowns.

The connector pinouts are not quite accurate.
While technically most PSUs provide +12V on pin 2 for 6-pin connector, that is not the spec and pin 5 accordingly is sense. 6-pin connector officially has 2 +12V pins.
Similarly, 8-pin connector includes 2 sense pins 4 and 6 and has 3 +12V pins.
I bet 12-pin connector will end up with 5 +12V pins.
Posted on Reply
#21
cucker tarlson
this may be a fancy connector on top of that fancy dual sided cooler methinks
Posted on Reply
#22
CandymanGR
Scarlet Witch
kayjay010101
Nobody said 600W power requirement for GPUs. All this said is the new connector is capable of delivering upto 600W. We won't see any 600W monsters any time soon
You create something that you will need soon. You dont create something that you "might" need. Thats how technology works. If it wasnt needed, it wouldn't have been made.
kayjay010101
How do you know the connector is heavier than what's already out there? The dual 8pin connector that's currently on the 2080 Ti's should weigh more. It's just plastic and the same wires, it's just a different connector.
The dual connector splits the weight of itself AND of the plug in half. And it allready saggs the card. I use math and logic, but i doubt anyone else here can. Right?
Posted on Reply
#23
cucker tarlson
CandymanGR
Scarlet Witch


You create something that you will need soon. You dont create something that you "might" need. Thats how technology works. If it wasnt needed, it wouldn't have been made.



The dual connector splits the weight of itself AND of the plug in half. And it allready saggs the card. I use math and logic, but i doubt anyone else here can. Right?
yes but the total weight of the thing you attatch to the gpu is the same whether you split or not
and it's the cooler that sags the card not the connector unless you're wiring your cables wrong
Posted on Reply
#24
Flanker
kayjay010101
Wait, so it's real now again? But the FCPowerUp article was made up! If you actually read the original article, the last sentence: 以上的内容都是我编的。translates to "I fabricated all the content above". This is very confusing. How could FCPowerUp make up something the same day that other sources claim that exact, made up stuff, is actually true? Is it just a crazy coincidence? What's happening?
Nah you're right, it's a troll post on his blog
cucker tarlson
made he means he sketched a picture himself
Nope, it means exactly "I made all this shit up"

How the hell do stuff like this end up on TPU lol
Oops turned out to be correct
Posted on Reply
#25
cucker tarlson
Flanker
Nah you're right, it's a troll post on his blog

Nope, it means exactly "I made all this shit up"

How the hell do stuff like this end up on TPU lol
tbh it's a shame
I don't understand the outrage
a single connector woul be nice
Posted on Reply
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