Huge Power! – ASUS’ cable-free GPU power connector can deliver over 600 watts

Huge Power! - ASUS' cable-free GPU power connector can deliver over 600 watts

GC-HPWR is ASUS’ solution for cable-free GPU power

Thanks to @momomo_us, official documentation for ASUS’ new GC-HPWR connector is now available online for enthusiasts to digest. GC-HPWR is ASUS’ customised power connector that enables the creation of “cable-free” graphics cards like ASUS’ TUF Gaming Megalodon graphics card, which draws power from a new connector from a user’s motherboards. 

Based on the connector’s specifications, it is a modified version of the HPCE (High Power Card Edge) connector that is used in many high-end servers and is capable of delivering over 600 watts of power. Since this new connector is on a motherboard, we can expect motherboards with GC-HPWR connectors to feature 12VHPWR, or a collection of PCIe 8-pin power connectors to fuel this high power connector. While this new connector enabled “cable-free” GPUs, it will require a lot of extra power connections (and cables) on supported motherboards.

One advantage of ASUS’ HPCE-based GPU power solution is that the power connector itself has been heavily stress-tested within the server industry, which means that this new power connector will likely be free of the reliability issues of 12VHPWR connectors. That said, this new GPU power standard needs changes to both graphics cards and motherboards to function, and ASUS may have a difficult time getting the broader PC industry to adopt this new standard. 

Huge Power! - ASUS' cable-free GPU power connector can deliver over 600 watts

While ASUS’ GC-HPWR connector is a novel solution to the GPU power cable problem, it is arguable that this is a problem that the PC industry needs to solve. Are GPU power cables really a problem, and doesn’t this solution only cause more problems for users?

If motherboards only feature one GC-HPWR connector, PCs will be limited to a single graphics card, something that could be a major problem for workstations. Another problem is that it requires motherboards to be able to route an additional 600 watts of power. If a motherboard supports more than one of these connectors, it will need to be able to route over 1200W of potential GPU power. This cable-free GPU power solution could lead to more expensive motherboards, especially within the workstation market. 

Huge Power! - ASUS' cable-free GPU power connector can deliver over 600 watts

Overall, ASUS’ GC-HPWR connector is a solution that solves a problem that isn’t really a problem. Yes, a system that doesn’t need visible power cables looks very clean, but are power cables really a problem? If you want your PC to look prettier, you can already purchase braided power cables to improve the look of your system, or simply buy a power supply that has pre-braided cables.

While ASUS has clearly put a lot of effort into their new power connector, it is hard to see this new power standard receiving widespread adoption, especially when it requires changes to how both motherboards and graphics cards are manufactured. It’s a lot simpler for the industry to simply stick to the tried and true method of sticking power cables directly into your graphics card. 

Do you think ASUS’ new GC-HPWR power connector will be used in more than just a few niche motherboards and GPUs? You can join the discussion on ASUS’ GC-HPWR GPU power connector on the OC3D Forums.