It appears that the previous power supply requirement rumors regarding Ampere GPUs were indeed true. There was some chatter before on the web that NVIDIA’s upcoming RTX 30 series Ampere gaming GPUs may utilize a new 12-Pin power connector interface. TweakTown’s industry sources have also confirmed that only the reference Founders Edition RTX 30 GPUs may use this new 12-PIN PCI-E power interface.
Now, one major PSU manufacturer SEASONIC has posted pictures of this rumored 12-pin PCIe Molex power connector adapter. A power supply connector has been shown over at the Chinese media portal Bilibili, and it appears to be a dual 8-pin to single 12-pin power cable with a length of 75cm/750mm. This leak comes via HXL @9550pro, and the picture shows a box that contains the NVIDIA 12-pin PCIe Molex Micro-Fit 3.0 connector.
We expect Nvidia to bundle its own adapter with the Founders Edition cards. The packaging of the cable reads, ‘NVIDIA 12-pin PCIe Molex Micro-Fit 3.0 connector’. Seasonic claims it is currently being used for internal testing. Most importantly, Seasonic has posted a power supply rating of 850W or beyond for use with the 12-pin connector cable, which means the Ampere Founders Edition GPUs are going to draw a lot of power.
The high-end/flagship NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards might only feature a single 12-pin connector assuming it is drawing power from 2x 8-pin PCI connectors which will put the maximum power draw around 300W (which is 150 Watt per 8-pin connector). The PCIe slot itself delivers 75W of power to the graphics card. It is also important to note that this cable will only work with Seasonic power supplies, and not other PSU models from different OEMs.
But we are not sure how Seasonic and other PSU makers will supply these adapters. Sure, new PSU models will come bundled with this Adapter, but users already running existing PSUs might need to purchase these separately, unless of course Nvidia ships these cables with the Founders Edition graphics cards.
— HXL (@9550pro) August 23, 2020
Like mentioned before, the 12-pin connector is actively being used by NVIDIA for internal testing and it is unlikely that GPU vendors/makers are going to ship these adapters by their own. This is because the specifications for the 12-pin adapters are different, and they have to properly match the PSU’s specifications of each OEM/manufacturer differently, hence they can only be provided by a specific PSU vendor, be it Seasonic, BE Quiet, Antec, Corsair, Cooler Master, FSP, EVGA, just to name a few.
We have already seen power consumption figures exceeding 300 Watts on some of the Ampere cards before. AIB partners will likely have their own custom GeForce RTX 30 GPUs powered by multiple 6/8-pin PCIe power connectors, while the Founders Edition cards will have this new 12-pin PCIe power connector interface. The 12V 12-pin connector looks similar to the Molex Micro-Fit series of power connectors which are 19mm wide and have a 3mm pitch. This is the same width as two 6-pin power connectors that current PSUs offer but has a current capacity of 8.5A, as compared to 6A capacity of the mini-Fit 5556 connectors. You would assume that the mini-fit would deliver 600 Watts of power but that’s not always the case since the actual power delivered to the GPU is around 400W at 6 Amps.
The 20AWG specifications for the pins appear to be a primary bottleneck with traditional connectors. This new design change may be specific to the NVIDIA’s reference ‘Founders Edition’ Ampere SKUs, while AIBs can still ship their custom designs with traditional mini-fit power connectors. If you are currently rocking a high quality Tier PSU, then there should no problem using two 6-PIN PCI/PEG connectors. Most of the high-end reputed PSUs come with multiple 6 and 8-PIN PCI-e connectors.
The new 12-pin connector looks like 2 x 6-pin PCIe power connectors mashed together, which offer 8.5A current versus 6A. This 12-pin interface might already be in use in some of today’s applications. Molex makes interface for anything, and not just limited to power supplies. It is just that this interface might be used in some power supplies for the first time. Molex does have a similar connector with the same width as the 6+2 pin but with more pins. It’s called ‘Micro-Fit 3.0 Receptacle Housing, Dual Row with 12 Circuits’. More details can be found here.
The 12-pin connector appears to be real. 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.
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. 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.
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. It will be interesting to see how power supply manufacturers respond to this. Maybe they’ll sell ’12-pin modular’ cables for selected power supplies as an add-on? Intel already published the 12VXO power supply specification standard on May 2020 and I think one manufacturer showcased one 12v unit at the CES2020 event before. Nvidia is hosting a Geforce Special Event on September 1st, and we expect the company to announce the next-gen Ampere Gaming GPUs.
Stay tuned for more!