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Nvidia may have finally fixed its melting power connectors

The 12VHPWR connector used in some of Nvidia’s best graphics cards works well for most people — but not for everyone. There have been reports of the connector melting inside the case, rendering the GPU unusable.

Nvidia seems to have learned from this experience, though. As it turns out, the Founders Edition of the RTX 4070 is no longer using 12VHPWR. Will the change be the remedy to these problems?

The new connector on an RTX 4070.
Igor's Lab

As spotted by Igor’s Lab, the new connector looks similar to the 12VHPWR, but there are some subtle changes. While tricky to spot at a quick glance, a closer inspection reveals that the difference lies in the four sense pins located below the 12-pin port. The previous version had a 0.45mm offset, but the new connector spec (CEM 5.1) features a 1.7mm inward offset. The pins are simply shorter.

PCI-SIG refers to the new connector as the 12V-2×6. It conforms with the ATX 3.1 standard and it can now be found in the RTX 4070 Founders Edition, as well as some cards made by Nvidia’s board partners, such as the MSI RTX 4070 Gaming X Trio. In the case of MSI, the connector is referred to as 12VHPWR H+, but Wccftech reports that an H++ variant is also somewhere out there.

It’s a bit strange to see the discrepancy in connectors. Which is the new design, is it the H+ or the H++? No one knows, but despite the lack of a standardized spec, the connector is already being mass-produced by Astron.

No matter the name, this new connector could potentially solve the problems some RTX 4090 have been dealing with since last year. For a quick refresher, there have been cases of the connector melting either at the GPU or the PSU side. In worst-case scenarios, the melting occurred on both sides. It appears that the cards became susceptible to this problem if the connector was not seated properly, but because of the size of the GPU and cable itself, it’s often hard to fit it inside the case without bending it — which only exacerbates the problem.

A person holds the connectors of an Nvidia 12VHPWR cable from an RTX 4090 graphics card. The ends of the connectors are burned and melted from where the cable has overheated.
Shiftyeyes67k / Reddit

With that said, this issue doesn’t seem to affect Nvidia’s less top-tier cards. The RTX 4080 uses the same connector, as does the RTX 4070 Ti, but all the reports talked about issues with the RTX 4090. No wonder — it’s the most power-hungry card of them all. In theory, all RTX 40-series GPUs are at some risk if not connected properly, though, so make sure not to bend the cable when you’re installing the card.

Relying on a complete lack of user error is a risky business when a $1,600 graphics card is involved, especially one as large as the RTX 4090. Although it’s too late to change anything in those existing GPUs, it’s nice to see Nvidia is taking steps to improve the connector in its newer releases.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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