Asus recently announced its ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II power supply and that it ships with a PCIe 5.0-ready 12-pin PCIe power cable. And wouldn't you know, this connector is awfully familiar. It first appeared on Nvidia's RTX 30-series Founders Edition cards that connected to a pair of regular 8-pin PCIe power cables via an adapter. Many assumed this was a proprietary Nvidia connector, but it turns out Nvidia may have been ahead of the curve, as Asus states that the Thor Platinum II is PCIe 5.0 ready.
The power requirements of high-end graphics cards continue to trend upwards. Cards with triple 8-pin PCIe connectors are commonplace. Three 150w PCIe 8-pin connectors can deliver a total of 450W, and when combined with 75W available from the PCIe slot, a high-end card has at least 525W on tap, but even 525W might not be enough power for future graphics cards.
According to information from Igor’s Lab (opens in new tab), and previously reported on PC Gamer (opens in new tab), the governing PCI SIG body has defined a new High Power Connector or 12VHPWR as part of the new PCIe 5.0 standard. This is good news as graphics cards have evolved beyond the rather ancient six- and eight-pin standards. Power supplies need to evolve to cope with the increased requirements of 500W or higher GPUs. Having a single power cable will help with cable management too—no one likes all those power cables messing up the look of their build.
Note that the picture below shows four signalling pins located underneath the main 12-pins. These aren't present on the Asus connector indicating that they may be optional.
According to Amphenol ICC (opens in new tab) (via Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab)), the new connector is designed to deliver at least 600W. While a single connector is definitely more user-friendly, it certainly doesn’t bode well for GPU efficiency going forward. Are we getting to the stage where sub-1000W PSUs will no longer be enough for a decent gaming rig? The power requirements of a next-generation gaming rig could look pretty scary.
The Asus ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II will be joined by more powerful models towards the end of the year. They certainly look like premium PSUs and are likely to be the first of many new PCIe 5.0 PSU designs built to support next-generation gaming rigs.