Nvidia confirms 12-pin 'included adapter' for the Ampere Founders Edition cards

Nvidia 12-pin power connector
(Image credit: Nvidia)

The green team seems to have just confirmed that Nvidia Ampere GeForce cards are going to be shipping 12-pin power adapters in the Founders Edition boxes. In the recently released video showing the first Ampere Founders Edition design, Nvidia has also spoken about the reasoning behind the oft-discussed new power connector the company is using for its GeForce RTX 30-series cards.

The new enthusiast-class GPUs—set to launch next month with a livestream announcement on September 1 at the GeForce Special Event—include a new "compact electrical design, with a new 12-pin power connector that allows more space for components and cooling, and is compatible with 8-pin connectors in existing power supplies with an included adapter."

This tacit confirmation that there'll be an adapter in the box is good news for anyone worried they were going to have to buy a new PSU in order to get a 12-pin power cable for their shiny new Ampere graphics card. 

Though given that Seasonic's recent leak shows it's recommending an 850W PSU as a minimum requirement, there's a high chance that a good few people looking to buy an Nvidia RTX 3090 are going to have to take a trip to our best PSU guide to find a new unit.

In another big change to previous generations, the new 12-pin connector is mounted vertically on the card's printed circuit board (PCB) in order to save space. From what we've seen it looks like the socket is around the same sort of size as a single 8-pin socket, but is able to deliver either the same, or potentially a little more, juice than a pair of them.

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The vertical mounting is smart, massively reducing the power connector footprint on the card, though is going to need some serious engineering around the shroud to ensure it's not an absolute pain in the ass to plug in and unplug the 'included adapter'. It's also going to need to be sturdy, because from that little schematic I fear for its longevity if you push a cable in just a little too firmly…

This also confirms that the GeForce Ampere PCBs are going to be impressively compact, with a large cutout to fit that X-shaped shroud and underslung axial fan design which leaked a while back. Though it's expected that this is only the Founders Edition PCB and that the add-in board partners (AIBs), such as Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte, will be able to use a more standard oblong PCB. And potentially the likely cheaper twin 8-pin power sockets too.

With Nvidia now dropping its own Ampere breadcrumbs leading up to the big reveal on September 1 this new era of graphics really is getting started in earnest. I wonder when AMD Big Navi is going to break cover and try and spoil the party.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.