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

#26
Vya Domus
BoboOOZ
They're the market leader...
When you are a market leader everything that's a negative becomes a positive ? Might as well pack and go home and accept everything that's shit because it comes from a market leader.

This is some bizarre Stockholm syndrome type of stuff.
Posted on Reply
#27
BoboOOZ
Vya Domus
When you are a market leader everything that's a negative becomes a positive ? Might as well pack and go home and accept everything that's shit because it comes from a market leader.

This is some bizarre Stockholm syndrome type of stuff.
When you are the market leader, many changes are easier accepted, and you can impose some decisions on the market, while the other players in the market will have to follow.

Also, when you are a market leader, it means that there are more fanboys that will accept without discussion he compromises that you impose.

FWIW, the power draw is not necessarily a negative, it depends on the final performance and the final price. Anyways, it might still be just a rumor, as always, wait&see.
Posted on Reply
#28
W1zzard
Flanker
How the hell do stuff like this end up on TPU lol
We ask our sources in the industry
Posted on Reply
#29
Anymal
Vayra86
Oh man its a Big little connector then? 2 weak plugs and 10 strong ones:oops: Alderpere?
Smart.
Posted on Reply
#30
Vya Domus
BoboOOZ
FWIW, the power draw is not necessarily a negative, it depends on the final performance and the final price.
Or color of the sticker apparently, new connectors are a problem no matter how you spin it.
Posted on Reply
#31
cucker tarlson
BoboOOZ
FWIW, the power draw is not necessarily a negative, it depends on the final performance and the final price.
vega was unfairly hurt by nvidia's power efficiency mindshare
drawing 300w and losing to 1080Ti by a country mile
Posted on Reply
#32
fynxer
cucker tarlson
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.
I guess for existing PSUs they can make a custom cable with two connectors that goes into the modular PSU and then a 12pin into the graphics card.

Would be a much better solution than a 8+8pin to 12pin adapter
Posted on Reply
#33
BoboOOZ
cucker tarlson
vega was unfairly hurt by nvidia's power efficiency mindshare
drawing 300w and losing to 1080Ti by a country mile
And you think that I care?

I'm here to understand and discuss technology, fanboy flame wars are not my cup of tea.
Posted on Reply
#34
lZKoce
Suddenly I felt my PSU is out of standard. Because I know I won't be changing anytime soon. By the time comes to upgrade, there will be a bunch of new connectors sticking out. I guess this is what it feels when your focus is on having the latest as opposed to enjoying what you have :)
Posted on Reply
#35
Flanker
W1zzard
We ask our sources in the industry
Sorry about that.
Posted on Reply
#36
BoboOOZ
lZKoce
Suddenly I felt my PSU is out of standard. Because I know I won't be changing anytime soon. By the time comes to upgrade, there will be a bunch of new connectors sticking out. I guess this is what it feels when your focus is on having the latest as opposed to enjoying what you have :)
Well if you stick with 1080p you of course you don't need to upgrade yet.
Posted on Reply
#37
cucker tarlson
why would you want a single connector instead of two or three
we are outraged
W1zzard
We ask our sources in the industry
I hope this is true

my psu is 6 yo,due upgrade next year
Posted on Reply
#38
Verpal
看来有一些读者尤其是国外的读者不能理解中文的幽默,我更新一下最新的图纸和消息汇总。消息是真的。既然Techpowerup发了图纸,那我也发一下。

You guys can't read Chinese?

以上的内容都是我编的。
Anyone with somewhat reasonable competency in Chinese would know it is literally a joke, nothing more.
fcpowerup are legit, they are reviewing power supply since birth of Jesus Christ, if you don't believe it, at least try to read the write up from igor labs.
Posted on Reply
#39
W1zzard
cucker tarlson
I hope this is true
Why would I lie to you? For a few thousand clicks?
Posted on Reply
#40
Assimilator
Nobody has yet mentioned the elephant in the room, namely that this connector isn't part of the ATX specification. The whole point of that spec is to guarantee that if you buy an "ATX PSU", you know exactly what type of connectors you can expect it to come with. This throws all of that out the window, now you'll have "ATX+12-pin PSU"s. Which consequently means anyone can start adding whatever goddamn connector type they think the industry will support, you end up with a plethora of connectors outside the spec, and choosing (and marketing) a PSU becomes a nightmare.

tl;dr vendors randomly adding arbitrary power connectors is a bad thing for everyone concerned, which is one of the primary reasons the ATX specification exists.

As such, unilaterally introducing a new power connector outside the ATX spec would be an extremely foolish move by NVIDIA. Even if they feel that the current 6- and 8-pin connectors are suboptimal, if they want to replace or augment those connectors then they must do so via the standard. Anything else is Apple levels of hubris that will only end poorly.

This is not even getting into the possibility of Intel revoking ATX certification for Ampere GPUs and any PSUs that decide to include this connector - because Intel would be entirely within its right to do so.

As such, I see the possibility of this connector being introduced with Ampere as low. Much more likely is that NVIDIA is prepping it for inclusion into an upcoming revision of the ATX specification, and obviously that will entail sending it out to PSU manufacturers in order to get their feedback, hence the leaks.
Posted on Reply
#41
cucker tarlson
W1zzard
Why would I lie to you? For a few thousand clicks?
is thousand a lot ?
Assimilator
Nobody has yet mentioned the elephant in the room, namely that this connector isn't part of the ATX specification. The whole point of that spec is to guarantee that if you buy an "ATX PSU", you know exactly what type of connectors you can expect it to come with. This throws all of that out the window, now you'll have "ATX+12-pin PSU"s. Which consequently means anyone can start adding whatever goddamn connector type they think the industry will support, you end up with a plethora of connectors outside the spec, and choosing (and marketing) a PSU becomes a nightmare.

tl;dr vendors randomly adding arbitrary power connectors is a bad thing for everyone concerned, which is one of the primary reasons the ATX specification exists.

As such, unilaterally introducing a new power connector outside the ATX spec would be an extremely foolish move by NVIDIA. Even if they feel that the current 6- and 8-pin connectors are suboptimal, if they want to replace or augment those connectors then they must do so via the standard. Anything else is Apple levels of hubris that will only end poorly.

This is not even getting into the possibility of Intel revoking ATX certification for Ampere GPUs and any PSUs that decide to include this connector - because Intel would be entirely within its right to do so.

As such, I see the possibility of this connector being introduced with Ampere as low. Much more likely is that NVIDIA is prepping it for inclusion into an upcoming revision of the ATX specification, and obviously that will entail sending it out to PSU manufacturers in order to get their feedback, hence the leaks.
atx has revisions.
maybe new one is coming
Posted on Reply
#42
W1zzard
cucker tarlson
is thousand a lot ?
Nope, right now 454 people are reading the news post, which is around 5% our current total traffic.
Working off leaks can be tempting for a smaller site though, I've been there many years ago
Posted on Reply
#43
cucker tarlson
W1zzard
Nope, right now 454 people are reading the news post, which is around 5% our current total traffic.
Working off leaks can be tempting for a smaller site though, I've been there many years ago
then no,not for a thousand.
how surre are you tho ?
Posted on Reply
#44
W1zzard
cucker tarlson
then no,not for a thousand.
how surre are you tho ?
Sure enough to allow my guys to post an article. Nothing stops NVIDIA from cancelling this project, or implementing it only on a specific model, or on Founders Edition, or on Titan, or on Special Pro OC Edition
Posted on Reply
#45
kayjay010101
Verpal
看来有一些读者尤其是国外的读者不能理解中文的幽默,我更新一下最新的图纸和消息汇总。消息是真的。既然Techpowerup发了图纸,那我也发一下。

You guys can't read Chinese?

以上的内容都是我编的。
Anyone with somewhat reasonable competency in Chinese would know it is literally a joke, nothing more.
fcpowerup are legit, they are reviewing power supply since birth of Jesus Christ, if you don't believe it, at least try to read the write up from igor labs.
I see, so the "I made this up" part is a joke, meaning the actual article is real. That makes more sense now. I had only seen someone else translate the last sentence, I can't read Chinese myself. Apologies.
Posted on Reply
#46
cucker tarlson
W1zzard
Sure enough to allow my guys to post an article. Nothing stops NVIDIA from cancelling this project, or implementing it only on a specific model, or on Founders Edition, or on Titan, or on Special Pro OC Edition
or specific cooler model
imo there might be two,a 2000-like with standard 2x8-pin and this new dual sided thing with the 12-pin
Posted on Reply
#47
kapone32
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.
I don't think so EVGA might give their customers some love but not Corsair
Posted on Reply
#48
cucker tarlson
kapone32
I don't think so EVGA might give their customers some love but not Corsair
imo they'll come with the card
Posted on Reply
#49
W1zzard
cucker tarlson
or specific cooler model
imo there might be two,a 2000-like with standard 2x8-pin and this new dual sided thing with the 12-pin
I'm just not convinced that this can offer any selling point. It's not going to be cheaper because production volume for the new plug will be low, so the connector will be a buck or so more expensive, which will turn into $10 retail at least, probably more for marketing, logos and stickers. All for the convenience of plugging in one fewer cable? Unless you're a reviewer, you do that once, after you buy your card.

Also I'm highly skeptical how they plan on cooling 400+ W cards. Good 2080 Tis are like 35 dBA at 350 W, I'm not sure if I would buy a $1000+ card that's not quiet and that heats up my room like crazy, even if it can run 4K 120 Hz
Posted on Reply
#50
cucker tarlson
W1zzard
I'm just not convinced that this can offer any selling point. It's not going to be cheaper because production volume for the new plug will be low, so the connector will be a buck or so more expensive, which will turn into $10 retail at least, probably more for marketing, logos and stickers. All for the convenience of plugging in one fewer cable?

Also I'm highly skeptical how they plan on cooling 400+ W cards. Good 2080 Tis are like 35 dBA at 350 W, I'm not sure if I would buy a $1000+ card that's not quiet and that heats up my room like crazy, even if it can run 4K 120 Hz
prolly just those that need 8+8 or higher
and the new cooler design will be more expensive too
Posted on Reply
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