RIP 12VHPWR – Nvidia and PCI-SIG have a replacement in the works
PCI-SIG’s new 12V2x6 power connector is designed to replace 12VHPWR with improved safety
If we are completely honest, the PCIe 5.0 12VHPWR (12 Volt High Power) PSU connector is a disaster. You only need to look at the reports of melted connectors to know that the power delivery standard has problems, and while it has been convenient for manufacturers to blame user error on these failures, it is clear that that the 16-pin 12VHPWR needs a major rework.Â
Thanks to Igor’s Lab, we now know that Nvidia and PCI-SIG are working on an updated power delivery connector called 12V2x6, a specification that will replace 12VHPWR as part of the base PCIe 6.0 standard and as part pf the ATX 3.1 standard. In short, 12V2x6 is designed to deliver the same maximum power of 600 watts to connected hardware, and do so with increased safety margins and no room for user error.Â
At Computex, evidence of this new power standard was already available, as can be seen from the image of MSI’sÂ MAG A850GL power supply, which was showcased at the event with a 12V2x6 connector label instead of a 12VHPWR connector label.
Currently, the 12V2x6 standard does not appear to be finalised, and the new 12V2x6 standard appears to be compatible with 12VHPWR. What has changed with this new standard is how 12VHPWR’s sense pins are detected, as sense pins are shorter in the new 12VH2x6 connector, This design change will only allow the cable’s sense pins to be detected when the cable is fully seated, preventing GPUs from accessing high levels of power without a fully seated cable.
Right now, Nvidia are reportedly working on two different versions of their new 12V2x6 connector, and it is probable that we will see new graphics cards with this connector next year, likely as part of a mid-generation Ada/RTX 40 series refresh. Perhaps Nvidia will release an RTX 4090 Ti with a 12V2x6 connector.Â Â
(12VHPWR (Left) and 12V2x6 (Right))
The creation of the 12V2x6 power standard is a clear admission that the 12VHPWR standard was flawed, and it is great to see that companies are acting to address the issue with a new hardware revision. While it is a shame that 12VHPWR was not designed with 12V2x6’s safety features in mind from the start, Nvidia and PCI-SIG’s actions to address these issues with a new hardware revision is a positive thing.Â