NVIDIA Ampere GPU general header 2

Nvidia has no plans to drop 12-PIN PCI-e power requirement on the RTX 3070 Founders Edition Ampere GPU

When Nvidia released their next-gen Ampere-based RTX 30 series graphics cards, the team also showcased how it approached the thermal design for the GPU’s PCB. The Ampere series was announced on September 1, 2020.

It was confirmed before that NVIDIA’s Founders Edition RTX 30 high-end Ampere GPUs will utilize a new 12-Pin power connector interface, to power up the Graphics card.

Back in August, one official Nvidia video gave us a quick glimpse of the card’s board layout and design, but more interestingly Nvidia also confirmed that their Founders Edition cards would be using a new 12-pin power connector, but an adapter will also be included with the GPU.

The 12-pin power connector was introduced for taking up less space, and drawing as much or more power than dual 8-pin cables.

Corsair Ampere GPUs 12-pin cable-1

Since the beginning, the 12-PIN PCI-e/PEG power connector requirement was kind of overkill since no modern graphics card sips that much power, despite the 12-pin PCIe power connector opening up the possibility for a maximum power delivery of up to roughly 650 Watts.

Last week a teaser or marketing photo was posted on NVIDIA’s official Geforce Twitter account, in which the company was giving away a GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition GPU as part of a Holiday contest.

This left many fans and reviewers wondering whether Nvidia is dropping the 12-pin power connector requirement from the RTX 3070 Founders Edition GPU, because the photo showed the card requiring a single 8-pin cable, as evident from the Tweet.

As you can see from the render posted on this GeForce Twitter account, the picture of the RTX 3070 GPU still shows a SINGLE 8-PIN PEG/PCI-e power connector requirement.

However, that is not the case. Nvidia has issued a statement to Tom’s Hardware, clarifying that it doesn’t have any intention of changing the existing 12-pin power connector on the RTX 3070 Ampere GPU.

Nvidia responded that the “tweet used concept art only, which is being replaced.”

Many Tech sources have claimed that Nvidia’s choice of a 12-pin connector for the RTX 3070 was probably unnecessary. The FE variants of the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 GPUs, also utilize this new 12-pin power connector interface.

Theoretically speaking, the 12-pin cable provides the power of dual 8-pin power connectors, but that is not the case at least with the RTX 3070 Founders Edition SKU.

The reason behind this is that the RTX 3070 FE GPU only requires up to 220 Watts of power, out of which it draws 75 Watts from the Motherboard’s PCIe slot alone. This leaves the RTX 3070 FE card needing only 145 Watts, so there was no need to utilize all 12-pins to distribute this amount of wattage to the card.

Given the modest TDP, the RTX 3070 FE GPU could function just fine with a single 8-pin PCIe power connector as well. Nvidia even included a 12-pin to 8-pin adapter with the Founders Edition GPU, and many PSU/Power supply vendors have also provided their own adapters free of charge.

So the 12-pin power requirement was kind of overkill for this SKU, and more importantly NVIDIA has only populated the 12-pin adapter for the RTX 3070 FE with 6-pins, as shown below.

NVIDIA 12-pin connector

On the close-up of the 12-pin adapter, you can see how only half its pins are populated. This ensures that on the RTX 3080/3090 Ampere GPUs, this adapter will not work, as these cards require power on all pins. But nonetheless, Nvidia is still not abandoning the 12-pin power connector requirement on the RTX 3070 GPU.

This connector requirement actually made more sense on high-end power-hungry models, such as the RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 GPUs, to reduce any cable clutter and to simplify the board design as well, which is compact.

For what it’s worth, despite the photo posted on Twitter, the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition’s official product page still shows renders of the GPU with a 12-pin connector. The company still advertises this graphics card with a 12-pin power connector, as shown below.

NVIDIA RTX3070 with 12-pin

So when it comes to the Twitter account’s render image, it was a marketing error and mistake. Because this is not the first time NVIDIA has confused customers about the power connector requirement for the RTX 3070 Founders Edition model.

Back in September, one topic arose on r/nvidia, in which the user showed us a marketing image with both types of power connectors, 12 and 8-pin, respectively.

nvidia RTX 8-pin vs 12-pin

Anyways, the new 12-pin connector looks like 2 x 6-pin PCIe power connectors mashed together, which offer 8.5A versus 6A. The 12-pin 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.

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 it has one corner angled. It also won’t be possible to use weird combinations like 8-pin + EPS 4 pin, or similar, since NVIDIA made sure people won’t be able to connect their cables the wrong way.

NVIDIA 6-pin 8-pin 12-pin

Image credit: TechPowerUp.

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Metal Messiah

Hello, my name is NICK Richardson. I'm an avid PC and tech fan since the good old days of RIVA TNT2, and 3DFX interactive "Voodoo" gaming cards. I love playing mostly First-person shooters, and I'm a die-hard fan of this FPS genre, since the good 'old Doom and Wolfenstein days. MUSIC has always been my passion/roots, but I started gaming "casually" when I was young on Nvidia's GeForce3 series of cards. I'm by no means an avid or a hardcore gamer though, but I just love stuff related to the PC, Games, and technology in general. I've been involved with many indie Metal bands worldwide, and have helped them promote their albums in record labels. I'm a very broad-minded down to earth guy. MUSIC is my inner expression, and soul. Contact: Email