With NVIDIA expected to announced its next-gen GeForce series of graphics cards at the start of the month, we’re naturally hearing one rumor after another about what it may bring. To NVIDIA’s credit, the company does pretty well overall to keep most things hush-hush, though there are some details that escape that we’re sure the company could do without becoming public ahead-of-time.
Over the weekend, it was revealed that at least the top-end next-gen GeForce cards will utilize a single twelve-pin power connect, in lieu of dual 8-pin. On a surface level, that move seems a bit pointless, considering no current power supply has such a connector natively. Well, now that we’ve seen a glimpse of this new cute 12-pin connector, it now has us wondering about the future:
As you can see, this new 12-pin connector is smaller (overall) than a single 8-pin connector, but it’d be the only one you plug in. In time, a PSU could offer this connector out-of-the-box, but for now, everyone is going to have to take advantage of a cable that will turn dual 8-pin connectors on a power supply into a single 12-pin used to plug into this card.
At first, we thought the move to a different cable was potentially superfluous, but now that we realize the end result is actually smaller than our typical connectors, it’s suddenly become intriguing. A single cable means even easier installation, and not to mention a cleaner end-result. This of course all assumes that there are no hidden caveats we’re overlooking.
Just by looking at the connector, the pins look roughly the same size as existing PCIe power connectors, meaning current carrying capabilities should remain unchanged (or improved), but the insulative shroud around each pin is much smaller, resulting in the smaller footprint. What’s worth mentioning though is the difference between the 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The 8-pin has two extra ground pins, and was introduced to make sure that PSUs could provide the full 150 watts needed, rather than the regular 75 Watts of a 6-pin. The extra pins are not strictly needed though, and are more of a safety feature than anything.
With this new 12-pin connector, it’s physically similar to two pairs of 6-pins with the extra ground pins removed, meaning a 300 Watt connector; however, it’s reported that this new connector is capable of much more (450-600 watts), as it’s part of the Molex Micro-Fit range. The pins are slightly larger which would handle a higher current, but the wire gauge used by most PSUs would still limit the max current to below this specification. In any case, we’ll see the exact specification closer to the release date.
Ultimately, it seems like this cable change could ultimately be made to increase the overall power output to the card. Today’s GPUs might fare fine on current power options, but future cards will clearly become a little more power-hungry, requiring more breathing room.
If nothing else, this move has us most intrigued simply due to the fact that we almost never see different power connectors on our graphics cards. For as long as many of us can remember, we’ve always plugged in a 6- or 8-pin cable. The smaller size of the new connector is a major bonus too. Now it’s starting to look like some of our test PCs might need some PSU augmentation.
What do you think of this new connector?