The saga of the 12VHPWR connector, a modified 12 + 4 power rail for PCIe 5.0 graphics card systems, continues. As you may recall, PCI-SIG has been active a flexible type of connection called 12V-6 × 6 (just a tongue twister, right?) which looks at some of the obvious issues with poor and potentially insecure communication. Although this is a long, long way from being completed, some users think they have seen updated connections on Nvidia RTX 4070 cards in the wild, and now you can add the RTX 4090 to the list.
A Reddit user goes by “prackprackprack” taking a closer look at their new RTX 4090 Founder’s Edition (the first type of GPU produced and sold directly from Nvidia) they think they are seeing shortened pins first revealed by Igor’s Lab. Post (shown by Tom’s Hardware) isn’t exactly scientifically accurate, but from a casual check, it looks like the pins are shorter than the ones on the 12VHPWR connectors we saw last year. The small design means that the connection must be inserted fully and securely to ensure a secure connection, and the card will (probably) fail if it is inserted too thin. The connection has the same 600-watt rating as the original design.
Actual cases of GPU or power failure due to overheating or melting of the 12VHPWR have occurred a few, but it’s difficult and inconsistent, especially when owners are spending $1,000 or more on the latest graphics card. So far Nvidia hasn’t said anything about testing the 12V-6×6 upgrade or implementing software updates that go along with the upgraded hardware. No third-party cards from manufacturers like Gigabyte or MSI were seen with modified connections.
As a member of PCI-SIG, it is not surprising that Nvidia would work on a 12V-6×6 connector long before it is finished. But the company needs to be confident in its performance – or be more concerned about the 12VHPWR’s problems – if it’s already putting it into cards sold to retail customers.