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Nvidia Ampere's 12-pin power and up to 850W PSU requirements confirmed by Seasonic

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A new 12-pin PCIe power adapter purportedly set to be used with the Nvidia Ampere (opens in new tab) generation graphics cards has been confirmed by a power supply manufacturer. The new connector takes a 2x8-pin power direct from the PSU and shrinks it down into a single 12-pin connector.

What wasn't clear from the initial rumours, and not made obvious until Andreas Schilling over at HardwareLuxx (opens in new tab) received a Seasonic-made connector, is the scale of this new 12-pin configuration. It's considerably smaller than a 2x8-pin connection, and nearly occupies the same footprint as a single 8-pin connector. 

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Seasonic officially calls the new connector the "Nvidia 12-pin PCIe Molex Micro-Fit 3.0 Connector", which suggests this is the very same proprietary connector designated for the next-generation Nvidia graphics cards, assumedly the RTX 30-series.

It's assumed that Nvidia's Founders Edition cards will be the only ones to initially use the brand new connector, although there has so far been no official confirmation on its end use.

There's also no word on how the connector, or compatible adapters, will be distributed to users. It's likely all cards that require its use will come with an adapter cable. However, that cable may have to be an extension, and not direct to the PSU, as not all PSUs follow the same pin configuration.

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A traditional 8-pin PCIe connector (or 6+2-pin) features three +12V pins and five ground pins, and is able to deliver 150 watts per connector to a graphics card. 

HardwareLuxx reports that the new 12-pin connector comes with six +12V pins, four ground, and two Sense pins (used to indicate what configuration the connector is being used in, in order to adjust power delivery accordingly (as is the case with 8-pin and 6-pin connectors).

As listed on the exterior of the box, the Seasonic power connector recommends a PSU capacity of 850W or more for use with the cable—and one would assume the graphics card to go with it. 

With Intel also looking to reshape the gaming PC power with the ATX12VO specification, which takes the burden of 3.3V and 5V conversion off the PSU and integrates it into the motherboard, we could see a significant shake-up in the ageing connection and power standards that have ruled PCs for decades. Although it may be some time before the whole industry follows suit.

Jacob Ridley
Jacob Ridley

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.