PCIe 5.0 is right around the corner with it debuting on Intel's new Alder Lake platform, with the new 600-series motherboards led by the Z690 chipset rocking PCIe 5.0 slots and DDR5 memory support.
We're now hearing about a new PCIe 5.0 power connector that would be quite the leap from what we have now, with a new PCIe Gen5 power connector teased. The new PCIe 5.0 power connector would offer up to a huge 600W of power, up quite significantly from the 150W offered over the current 8-pin PCIe power connector.
The new PCIe 5.0 power connector has 16 lanes (12 power, 4 signal lanes) and is a totally new connector. You can see the 12 power lanes, but the strange new 4 signal lane position underneath the 12 power lanes is new. This new connector has smaller spacing than current connectors, down to 3.0mm from 4.2mm. The new connector is 18.85mm wide, making it much smaller than dual and especially triple 8-pin PCIe power connector setups.
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This means we can have future GPUs with a single, smaller power connector offering up to 600W (and more) of power over a single cable. PCI-SIG says that each pin can handle 9.2A of power, meaning a total of 55.2A at 12V with maximum power hitting 662W although the spec itself is 600W.
As VideoCardz points out, some manufacturers including Amphenol have started listing the specs of the new 12VHPWR connector, where they explain: "Amphenol ICC introduces the Gen 5, Minitek; Pwr PCIe; connector system. This new introduction CEM 5.0 PCI Express; 12VHPWR auxiliary hybrid connector and cable assembly support the 600W GPU cards".
"The 12VHPWR connector is not designed to mate with legacy PCI Express; 2x3 and 2x4 12V Auxiliary Power connectors. The 12VHPWR connector power pins have a 3.00mm pitch, while the contacts in a legacy 2x3 and 2x4 connector lie on a larger 4.20mm pitch. New PCIe® Connector System (CEM5) is designed for power applications with current rating up to 9.5A/pin (12 pins energized) and the 4 signal pins supporting signal transmission".
- Rated current up to 9.5A per contact with all 12 power contacts and 4 Signal contacts
- Fully isolated terminals
- Positive locking on housing with low thumb latch operation
- Low level contact resistance: 6m max.
Also as VC points out, the 12-pin PCIe power connector that NVIDIA uses on its GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs is effectively useless with this new PCIe 5.0 high power connector. Correction: the 12-pin PCIe power connector on the Ampere cards is compatible with the new PCIe 5.0 high power connector, so the Ampere connector is not useless.
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We could see NVIDIA use the new PCIe 5.0 power connector on its new flagship GeForce RTX 3090 Ti or RTX 3090 SUPER graphics card that has been teased recently, and should arrive in January 2022. I don't think those cards will be using 600W of power, but gimme, gimme, gimme new Ada Lovelace and RDNA 3 graphics cards with up to 600W and I'll be a happy man.
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