The saga of the 12VHPWR connector, an updated 12+4 power rail for PCIe 5.0 graphics card designs, continues. As you recall, the PCI-SIG has been working on an optimized version of the connection called 12V-6×6 (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) which fixes some of the apparent problems with incomplete and potentially unsafe connections. While the specs are far, far from finalized, some users think they’ve spotted the updated connectors on Nvidia RTX 4070 cards out in the wild, and now you can add the RTX 4090 to the list.
A Reddit user using “prackprackprack” closely inspecting their new RTX 4090 Founder’s Edition (the first-party version of the GPU manufactured and sold directly by Nvidia) expects to see the shortened connector pins first revealed by Igor’s Lab. The post (spotted by Tom’s hardware) isn’t exactly scientific, but upon casual scrutiny, it just looks like the pins are shorter than those on the standard 12VHPWR connections we’ve seen in the last year. That small change in physical design means that the connection needs to be inserted more fully and securely to ensure a secure connection, and the card will (presumably) not power up if it’s only partially inserted. The connection has the same maximum of 600 watts as the previous model.
There have been actual cases of GPU or PSU damage due to 12VHPWR overheating or melting relatively few, but they’re frequent and consistent enough to be concerning, especially when owners are spending $1,000 or more for the latest and greatest graphics card. So far Nvidia hasn’t said anything about trying the updated 12V-6×6 design or implementing the software changes that come with the tweaked hardware. No third-party cards from manufacturers such as Gigabyte or MSI have been identified with the changed connection.
As a PCI-SIG member, it’s no surprise that Nvidia is working on the 12V-6×6 connector long before it’s finalized. But the company must be very confident in its effectiveness — or extremely concerned about problems with the 12VHPWR — if it’s already installing them in cards sold to retail customers.