There’s been a ton of worry in the lead up to Nvidia’s Ampere-based RTX 3000 GPUs, particularly the part around the fabled new 12-pin connector that you’ll need to power it all. Don’t worry: Nvidia’s just shown off a design of what the connector looks like and, yes, it’ll work with your existing power supply.
The connector design was shown off in a new video from Nvidia focusing on the design of graphics cards. It’s largely a historical piece, focusing on how GPUs were designed in the past and how the cooling, chassis and mechanics works.
There’s a ton of super granular detail, if you care about that, like the roles transistors play and different designs for the springs that attach to a GPU.
But at 6 minutes in, the video talks about changes in the upcoming Ampere line. That change is the introduction of a new, smaller 12-pin power connector.
Here’s what Nvidia said in an embargoed release provided to Kotaku Australia and other outlets:
A compact electrical design, with a new 12-pin power connector that allows more space for components and cooling, and is compatible with 8-pin connectors in existing power supplies with an included adapter.
I’ve reached out to Nvidia to clarify whether this meant their new cards would be shipping with an adapter — at least the ones that use a 12-pin connector, anyway — or whether Nvidia meant their new 12-pin connector was simply compatible with power supplies that already have an adapter of their own. Update: NVIDIA has confirmed to Kotaku Australia that GPUs with the 12-pin connectors will come with an adapter, so you won’t need to have one already.
The video also covered other advancements that we can expect to see in the upcoming Ampere GPUs, like changes to the standard back plate, vapour chamber cooling, and fan positioning.
The new 12-pin connector makes a ton of sense when you see the difference in size, but also when you think about what more can be done with the space. Smaller connector means more room for a bigger heat sink, or at least more space for the vapour chamber cooling solution that Nvidia’s obviously going to deploy on their new flagship GPUs. It might even be commonplace across the whole RTX stack, considering vapour chamber cooling is standardised in the next-gen consoles — and even before then with the Xbox One X.
More info about the upcoming Ampere GPUs and the new Nvidia RTX cards is due on September 2. They’re likely to be pricey — but given how quickly the RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 sold out last time, and given the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 is around the corner and there are plenty of games screaming for a new high-end GPU, I’m not expecting people to hold off for long.