New Intel ATX 3.0 specs recommends new 12VHPWR connector to minimize faults

New Intel ATX 3.0 specs and recommendations for 12VHPWR connectors looks to resolve issues with faulty connections for GPUs like the GeForce RTX 4090.

1 minute & 25 seconds read time

When NVIDIA launched its new Ada-generation of GPUs with the GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080 combo, it introduced a new way to connect desktop graphics to a power supply. The 12VHPWR connector, presented as a new standard by Intel, allows more power to be delivered using a single connection on the GPU side.

For many enthusiasts, us included, it was a brand-new thing with NVIDIA adopting the 12VHPWR connector for the entire GeForce RTX 40 Series range. Once the GeForce RTX 4090 made its way into consumers' hands, though, reports of faulty and melted cables began to emerge.

This became one of the most talked about aspects of the GeForce RTX 40 Series launch and led to several external and internal investigations to find the root cause. Some speculated that the 450W power draw of the RTX 4090 was simply too much for a single connector in terms of heat.

Ultimately, the issue was given the old "user error" label - with the main issue being that cables were not secured properly on the GPU side. Still, due to the large nature of cards like the GeForce RTX 4090 and the snug fit of modern-day GPUs in cases it wasn't hard to see how this could have occurred. And with that, the design of the 12VHPWR connector remains a concern.

Although Intel hasn't launched a GPU that uses the connector, the company is behind the ATX 3.0 specs. Today comes word that it's now recommending a 4-spring design instead of the 3-dimple design seen so far.

Crimp Contacts inside of the cable plug are recommended to use the 4 Spring design instead of 3 dimple design which will increase the contact area for electrical current flow inside the 12VHWPR connector and reduce the temperature rise of each contact.

Findings from Igor's Lab show that NVIDIA has used both designs for GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs, so it will be interesting to see how quickly the company adopts the new recommendation from Intel.

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Kosta might be a relatively new member of TweakTown, but he’s a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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