New Power Connector Promises Safer Graphics Cards

Graphics cards: New power connector will be safer

The PCI SIG group of companies is addressing issues surrounding the 12VHPWR power plug that has caused the GeForce RTX 4090 to overheat and die. They are now testing a modified version called 12V-2×6, and the specification for this connector is currently in the review zone of the PCI SIG. The goal of the new version is to significantly increase safety and prevent defects or fires. In addition, there are now specifications for cards with maximum power consumption of 150 and 300 watts, whereas previously there was only a specification for 600 watts.

The biggest change to the 12V-2×6 connector is the four dedicated sense pins, which have been moved back 1.25mm. These pins only make contact when the plug is correctly seated, ensuring that the power supply delivers power and the graphics card remains operational. The connector now also snaps in less noisily, making it difficult to notice if it is not seated correctly. By reducing contact, the resistance increases and can lead to higher temperatures. To address this, the PCI SIG is expanding the framework specifications in the draft, including the maximum permitted temperature at the connector.

Despite the changes, the maximum current for the six power pins remains at 55 amperes, resulting in 600 watts as usual. However, manufacturers are encouraged to make the individual power pins stronger to exceed the previous maximum of 9.2 amperes per pin. This is necessary to handle loads on one side of the connector, such as pressure from the side panel of the housing, as contact resistance is not uniform in these cases.

Both the 12VHPWR and 12V-2×6 plug types are compatible with each other, so users don’t need to worry if they already own or plan to buy a new power supply or GeForce RTX 4000 graphics card. In fact, Nvidia itself is using a power connector with shortened sense pins in the Founders Edition of the GeForce RTX 4070. These innovations and improvements aim to enhance user safety and prevent potential issues with power connectors and graphics cards.

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