The 12VHPWR connector, as we know it, seems destined for retirement, making room for the brand-new and innovative 12V-2x6 PCIe 6.0 design. The news of this switch comes straight from a series of documents released by Igor's Lab, originating from PCI-SIG.
Remember the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40 series graphics cards and their 12VHPWR connector? Many users reported power plugs melting, traced back to user error caused by improper connector insertion and excessive cable bending. This new design aims to alleviate such issues.
In with the New
Documents recently unveiled by PCI-SIG introduce a redesigned 12V-2x6 Connector that's in line with the PCIe Base 6.0 and the new ATX 3.1 standard. The connector maintains its 600W power offering, but there's a twist. An extra 75W will be available through the PCIe slot, a departure from the previous specification where the entire 600W limit was available only to the GPU.
Compatibility and Key Features
What makes the 12V-2x6 PCIe 6.0 connector stand out is its compatibility with the current form factor specifications. While it is ideally suited for high-end cards 300W+, designs between 150-300W might require some tweaks.
The new connector offers a minimum current rating of 9.2A per pin with a limit of 30 °C temperature rise over ambient conditions at 12V dc. The connector body will bear a special mark indicating the 9.2 A/pin support. In terms of contact resistance, a single pin might handle more than the rated current, but the total current must not exceed 55A RMS in either direction.
Guidelines and Industry Response
The new 12V-2x6 design has guidelines that aim to ensure wire length consistency and controlled contact resistance.
PSU manufacturers like MSI are already innovating, developing smart methods to ensure correct 12VHPWR connector installation. Meanwhile, the mainstream GeForce RTX 40 lineup has veered away from the 12VHPWR connector, choosing the standard 8-pin connectors instead. However, the arrival of the 12V-2x6 design might change this, as it includes designs suitable for 150-300W cards.
The Future of Connectors
The maximum operating temperature is around 105C for 168 hours. It still needs to be determined whether PSUs need to be redesigned or simply need a new cable plugged into the 12VHPWR plug.
MSI is already ahead of the curve, producing MAG GL PCIe 5.0 PSUs that are compatible with the PCI-SIG 12V-2x6 specifications. MSI was also the first to introduce 12VHPWR designs last year.
We won't see the connector just yet as PCI-SIG does not finalize the specifications. But going by the current information, it seems like we can look forward to saying goodbye to 12VHPWR on next-gen cards due to be released in 2025.