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16-pin connectors could be mandatory for all Nvidia RTX 5000 graphics cards – here’s why that’d be bad news for some GPUs

Nvidia’s next-gen graphics cards could get a bit pricier at the budget end of the market – well, indeed it’ll be across the board for Blackwell GPUs, but affordable cards will see the greatest impact – if a new power connector rumor is right.

This comes from Moore’s Law is Dead (MLID), a regular source of leaks on YouTube, who believes that Nvidia might mandate a 16-pin power connector with RTX 5000 graphics cards.

This is the 12V-2×6 connector, by the way – a revised, safer take on the 12VHPWR effort that came in with the RTX 4090 (complete with that memorable cable melting controversy – which is still an ongoing concern, to a slight extent).

And the possibility is – and remember, it is just a consideration Nvidia is mulling, and a rumored one at that – that Nvidia could insist all card makers use the 12V-2×6 connector in every board throughout the Blackwell range.

Meaning that this could include the RTX 5060, or even lower if Team Green is so inclined to make an RTX 5050. (Which would be a great move, surely, just for the 50/50 gags as a commenter on YouTube astutely points out).

The main source of this rumor is an insider at a graphics card maker, though separately, an OEM adds that they are stockpiling new PSUs (which support said 16-pin connectors) in preparation for a next-gen Nvidia launch later this year. (Rumored to be Blackwell, of course – though some have raised doubts about whether these GPUs will turn up this year, MLID is pretty firm about this).

A source at Nvidia also told the YouTuber that the 16-pin connector for GPUs is effectively ‘industry standard’ by now so it wouldn’t be ‘crazy’ for Team Green to commit to mandating it for next-gen graphics cards.

Analysis: 16-pin pain point

Currently, some RTX 4000 graphics cards sport a 16-pin connector, but not all of them by any means, particularly at the lower-end of the GPU spectrum where older 8-pin connectors are still the mainstay (and can cope perfectly well with power requirements at that level).

With this move – if it happens, and that’s a hefty-sized if – every single board would have 16-pin for power, even the lowliest Blackwell GPU in theory. This unification would save Nvidia money on production and supply chain costs, and with every card using 12V-2×6, this would simplify board design (and allow more space for other components, too).

The sticking point for buyers here is if they have an older PSUs which doesn’t boast a 16-pin connector, that’s an obvious problem, but with a workaround. As the Nvidia source in the above chatter from the grapevine points out, all that means is they have to buy an adapter for their graphics card.

It’s all well and good saying this, but the problem is at the cheap end of the graphics card market, GPU buyers are obviously looking to be as thrifty as possible. And here, the cost of the adapter is an appreciable percentage increase to the price tag of a low-end graphics card. In short, it’d mean the mentioned RTX 5050 – if it ever happens – would make a bit more of a dent in your wallet. (But it’s not much of an extra consideration with top-end eye-wateringly expensive graphics cards, of course).

As if Nvidia hasn’t neglected the budget arena enough in recent years, this would be another small but meaningful fly in the affordable GPU ointment.

We should stress again that this is just a move Nvidia is supposedly considering, and the 16-pin connector might not be mandated throughout the whole range either – it’s just that this is apparently a possibility.

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