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PCI-SIG reportedly working on a replacement for 12VHPWR cable

Nvidia and PCI-SIG have been collaborating on an updated power connector in response to the issues reported with the 16-pin (12VPHWR) version. The incidents of cable melting were attributed to improper connections between the power supply and GPU, resulting in overheating. Consequently, the focus of the revised version was to enhance safety measures that would effectively minimise such occurrences.

According to Igor's LAB, both entities have been working on a new connector design for several months now. The design known as 12V2x6 will undergo more standardised testing to ensure that each cable version is designed to meet the specified requirements. Importantly, this new design is part of the new PCIe 6 standard. Additionally, it is a part of the CEM 5.1 specification for the ATX 3.1 standard that PCI SIG has proposed.

The new PCIe 6 connector will maintain compatibility with some existing 12VHPWR connectors, but the new version will have different specifications, including adjusted sustained power metrics that may necessitate firmware changes in PSUs and GPUs.

There are no differences between the 12VHPWR and 12V-2×6 headers, meaning that the cables should still be compatible. Both connectors will use the same 12 power rails and four sense pins, the main focus of the updated version. The most notable change is the relocation of the pins, which are positioned further back to ensure they engage only when the cable is fully inserted. Additionally, encoding will need to be updated to comply with the new standards.

Nvidia and PCI-SIG are currently evaluating two options for the cable connector design. The current draft is said to be at an advanced stage, and it is possible that the new connector will be implemented on graphics cards starting next year. It is worth mentioning that the 12V-2×6 connector has already been observed on some PSUs showcased at Computex 2023. MSI, for example, presented a new yellow connector that appears to be designed to meet the new standard, as indicated by the new label on the A850GL PCIE5.

The team over at HardwareBusters also confirmed that the 12+4 pin cable configuration on the PSU side will remain unchanged for manufacturers and brands (such as Corsair) that don't use 12+4 pin connections on modular PSUs. However, if a PSU does use 12+4 sockets, then the new connector design will indeed have implications on that side as well. While there are indications of backward compatibility, it hasn't yet been confirmed by PCI SIG.

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KitGuru says: A revised power connector may debut as early as next year. Whether or not it will fix all of the issues remains to be seen. 

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